But after 15 years, he wants to take what he’s accomplished there to a statewide playing field.
That’s why he once again is in the running for the top of the umbrella Utah Colleges of Applied Technology (UCAT) position.
As president, he would oversee eight campuses across the state from Logan to St. George, totaling about 60,000 students – or nearly twice the enrollment of the University of Utah.
His sole competition for the job is Robert Brems, who formerly held the post, resigned two years ago amid a scandal, but was rehired in October.
Next Monday, the UCAT board is due to interview Brems, after formally removing him from the president’s position. It will also review Bouwhuis at that time, and could make a decision that day.
“I love this institution, but you get to a point in life where you want to make your leadership influence a little broader,” Bouwhuis told the Clipper Monday.
He wants to be able to “make the concepts, strategies that are successful here” applicable to the UCAT system as a whole.
Among issues Bouwhuis is looking at tackling if offered the job are articulation, “to make sure students leave here (ATCs) with a certificate in hand, to make sure it is recognized in higher education with other colleges and universities.
“I’d like to strengthen our relationships with school districts, get more high school students into what we’re offering,” he said. “High schools have been somewhat restricted because of additional graduation requirements.
“At one point, 55 percent of our population were high school students, back in 2000,” he said of the DATC. “Now we’re at 22 percent,” with 78 percent adults.
“Even 70 (adult) 30 (high school students) sounds a lot better than the current mix,” Bouwhuis said.
Beyond the additional core curriculum high school graduation requirements, he said school districts “don’t have as much flexibility. School districts have had budget cuts. They want to keep as many students enrolled in their programs as possible.”
That’s because districts’ funding is based in part of average daily membership, or attendance.
Bouwhuis would also work closely with the State Office of Education.
The DATC was originally a vocational services arm of the Davis School District, the campus built on land that was formerly owned by the school district.
Because of its open entry-open exit philosophy, many students are continually entering or graduating from programs. Bouwhuis estimates 11,000 to 12,000 students will be served this year at DATC, averaging more than 3,200 at any one time.
The campus has seen many changes and improvements during his tenure, from such new buildings as the Barlow Manufacturing & Technology Building to the addition of such programs as composites, which has been hailed as a leading program in the region.
“We’ve got so many excellent people from the top to our hourly employees. We’ve got a great crew here,” he said of the DATC.