Dixie State University offers 5 new baccalaureate degrees

Dixie State University dance students, undated | Image courtesy of Dixie State University, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — As Dixie State University students settle into the Spring 2016 semester, they have more degrees to chose from than ever before, as the institution recently added new baccalaureate degree programs in Dance, Communication Studies, Media Studies, Individualized Studies and Exercise Science.

The addition of these baccalaureate degree programs brings the institution’s total to 30, an impressive increase from just 10 years ago when the university only had its first five. These added programs come after a lengthy process of receiving approval from nine different governing bodies.

“It is a landmark accomplishment that we have added 25 new bachelor’s degrees over 10 years — not to mention the number of new administrative units, associate’s degrees, emphases, certificates, and minors we have also added in that time,” Director of Academic Programs and Curriculum Dr. David Wade said. “Hundreds of new courses have been created and approved to support the new programs. This takes a great deal of work from faculty and staff across campus to make this happen.”

Dixie’s Dance Department, under the leadership of Dance Director Dr. Li Lei, has snowballed since 2000 and has established a dance company and ballroom dance team, increased enrollment, offered dance emphases in Integrated Studies and provided dance workshops for local dance students.

“We have been listening to our students, local high school students, alumni and community members and are ecstatic to achieve this enormous goal,” Lei said. “We continue to grow as a university every time we are able to add a new degree. Dixie State University has provided quality education and preparation for students from all over, and we are thrilled to continue to help students prepare for their careers.”

The former Communication Department has awarded degrees to more graduates than any other department on campus for the last four years and has now expanded to become the Communication Division. In order to offer more specialized training for students, the division split the Communication degree into two programs: Communication Studies and Media Studies.

“We’re really looking at two disciplines, which were being offered in our generic degree as a blanketed degree of sorts,” Dr. Brent Yergensen, associate dean of the Division of Communication, said. “While there are similarities between the two areas, Communication Studies is about training in group work, leadership, and critical thinking applied to organizational settings, while Media Studies is about production of media in film, radio, television, new media, and journalism.”

Offering a completely new program to students, the Bachelor of Individualized Studies is hosted in the Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences Department within the School of Education. The program is designed to serve adults in the area who have some college experience but not baccalaureate degrees.

“Individualized Studies is a mosaic degree; a customized bachelor’s degree in which students learn to build their own individualized academic plans that they tailor to their goals and experiences,” Dr. Mark Jeffreys, chair of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, said. “There are some students who are not a good fit for traditional majors or who have not yet found a compelling reason to return to school and finish their degrees. We built this degree for them.”

The new exercise science program will provide majors with unique learning opportunities through laboratory courses, community engagement opportunities, and a required internship experience. The new degree includes science-based curriculum, which will provide students with a foundation in anatomy, physiology, nutrition, psychology and biomechanics.

“This is a huge area of growth for us. Through the strategic plan, we identified academic programs we would like to build, and there is so much potential,” DSU President Richard B. Williams said. “We are excited to bring these programs to Dixie.”

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