A structure built with you in mind

The Division of Online & Continuing Education at Weber State University has recently gone through a monumental restructuring. The reason? The growing imperative to understand the needs of area businesses and efficiently meet those needs. 

Through the beginning of 2024, the organization filled two new positions dedicated to business development, four new positions dedicated to educational program creation, and three more dedicated to keep these programs running. 

Previously, one position was responsible for all three areas of focus, making it difficult to give each area the appropriate attention. Splitting that single role into three means greater flexibility and deeper engagement.

“The reorganization will allow Weber State to engage with local businesses in a way it never has before,” said James Hedges, dean of WSU’s Division of Online & Continuing Education. “We want all our graduates to have clarity of off-ramps into employment opportunities in different industries. We need to know what the knowledge, skills and abilities are that are making our graduates successful in the workforce. We can’t figure that out without employers's help.”

The structure is intended to facilitate an ongoing conversation between industry and the university.

“We don’t just want to touch base here and there, but continually assess what business needs are and be responsive to those needs so we are preparing the workforce of the future,” Hedges said.

Many of the positions related to the restructuring are now filled, and our teams are in the midst of training. Here’s a brief overview of their responsibilities: 

Business Development Team 
The business development team serves as the connective tissue between Weber State University and you. Made up of Holly Suisse and Denise Call, the team will perform business needs analyses throughout northern Utah, determine industry trends, and reach out to business representatives to learn more about what skills are missing in your offices. They welcome discussions on how to build educational offerings, which you can learn more about in a later article. 

Program Consultants
While the business development team is responsible for finding out what business needs Weber State should meet, program consultants are responsible for how those needs are met. They’ll thoroughly examine what education WSU is best positioned to offer in order to meet industry needs. Then work with faculty members and instructional designers, operations team and others to create different educational packages for businesses. All the while, the business development team will be in contact with businesses to ensure we’re hitting the mark. 

Program Managers
Once program consultants have stood up the educational offerings, program managers keep them humming. They'll make sure that registration processes and other core functions for existing programs are running smoothly. In addition, they are positioned to notice what isn’t working and make improvements in their experience. 

These three new position types are the building blocks for WSU becoming more responsive to business needs. Together, let’s bring in a new era of university/industry partnerships.