UVU: Utah Valley University’s Women’s Success Center continues its mission to help women earn their degrees
Erik Flores, UVU Marketing
What began as one woman in a single office with a small budget has developed into Utah Valley University’s Women’s Success Center, which includes a skilled team of professionals who have assisted more than 10,000 women in earning their college degrees.
Founded in 2011, the Women’s Success Center has been helping women graduate by offering scholarships, success coaching, childcare, networking, academic research programs, student advocacy, and leadership training. The Center’s purpose is to remove barriers to help students navigate the landscape of higher education. While the program is designed specifically for women, it is available to every student on campus.
Financial challenges are the biggest barrier for students staying in school and finishing their educations. WSC leaders announced that generous donors gave a total of $517,125 for student scholarships at the recent 2022 annual luncheon at doTERRA headquarters.
“The impact of the scholarships is hard to quantify because, while they are given to help students continue and complete their education, the full impact on their lives, their families, and our state is hard to measure. Research shows that educating women improves entire families, neighborhoods, and broader communities as women serve and lead out in business, public service, and communities,” said Candice Gardner, senior director of development at UVU.
One major barrier faced by many students, especially women who come to the WSC, is affordable childcare, which is offered at UVU’s Barbara Barrington Jones Family Foundation Wee Care Center. The center offers student-parents high-quality, on-campus childcare that uses top-ranked curriculum. The center is nationally accredited and meets or exceeds state licensing requirements.
Erik Flores, UVU Marketing
Childcare is provided during the hours that parents are in class and serves children ages six weeks to 12 years. Enrollment is first-come first-serve, and tuition is based on an income sliding scale. Priority enrollment is given to single parents, low-income families, and students approaching graduation. These services are available to online students and can be used while students are serving internships.
Another part of the WSC programming is mentorship or success coaching, where coaches guide students using a holistic approach, meaning that they see the whole student and are aware that there is more on a student’s mind than just homework. Success coaching is available to all UVU students of all genders and backgrounds.
Some of the topics covered by the success coaches are navigating UVU, success in and out of the classroom, parenthood and single caregivers, major/minor exploration, well-being, scholarship and financial aid, and post-graduation opportunities.
The WSC’s Women’s Leadership Academy is another popular program among students. The Academy’s purpose is to help students develop and define their unique leadership identity, explore and understand issues that impact women leaders, and build and expand their personal networks. The Academy is a credit-based, two-semester class that is tailored to give students the knowledge, experience, and skills to lead in any capacity.
Another service offered is the WSC’s Research Insitute, which includes the Bonnie Ballif-Spanvill Endowed Faculty Fellowship, and serves as a multidisciplinary, collaborative hub for female researchers and research about women. It is designed to help female faculty, staff, students, and community members conduct and present research and recruit and retain more women as UVU faculty, students, staff, and advocates.
August Miller, UVU Marketing
“The purpose of the Bonnie Ballif-Spanvill Endowed Faculty Fellowship is to provide resources to read, write, study, research and contribute. I congratulate the Women’s Success Center and their encouragement of women to engage in scholarly pursuits,” said Bonnie Ballif-Spanvill.
“The Research Institute creates a hub of scholarly work by and about women, designed to be the tide that raises all ships,” said Tara Ivie, associate vice president of inclusive excellence at UVU. “This is a multidisciplinary, collaborative platform to elevate women’s voices across academia, industry, and the community. This collaborative approach elevates the status of women in multiple spheres as we work toward equity for all people regardless of identity.”
For more information about UVU’s Women’s Success Center, or to donate to the Scholarship fund, please visit the Scholarship Luncheon fundraising page.