Dixie State University approved to add academic programs, center for innovation

Dixie State University will start offering a Bachelor of Science degree in bioinformatics, merging the study of biology, computer science, chemistry and mathematics, photo date and location not specified | Photo courtesy of Dixie State University, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — To accommodate its recent growth, Dixie State University has added two unique majors, a pair of new minors and a new center devoted to helping students create their own products and businesses.

The additions come at the close of the Utah Board of Regents meeting held March 31 on the DSU campus.

The newly approved Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center will be housed in DSU’s Innovation Plaza, formerly East Elementary. The goal of the center is to provide support to students, faculty and community members as they research, patent and develop new marketable products and viable companies.

“The TIE Center is the umbrella under which several different efforts fall,” Dr. Kyle Wells, dean of DSU’s College of Business & Communication, said. “The progression of an idea to a company is a monumental task with many pitfalls. Guidance, mentoring, and support are key.”

The TIE Center is joined by the addition of two baccalaureate majors, which bring Dixie State’s total number of unique majors to 33. Students will soon be able to graduate from Dixie State with a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in applied sociology as well as a Bachelor of Science in bioinformatics.

Dr. Matthew Smith-Lahrman, applied sociology program director, said the new degree will be reflective of DSU’s “active learning, active life” approach to education through a combination of academic instruction and real-world experience.

Sociology faculty member Dr. Robert Oxley said that graduates of the applied sociology program will be better prepared to enter a competitive job market.

The Bachelor of Science in bioinformatics will provide hands-on experience in a relatively new field of study that merges biology, computer science, chemistry and mathematics in order to utilize data in sequencing genomes, studying protein structures and maintaining patient databases.

Bioinformatics is becoming increasingly essential to processing data from research and development in life science, biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical and agricultural fields.

The degree will offer students a well-rounded experience and prepare them for master’s and doctorate programs in a spectrum of fields from bioinformatics to environmental sciences and health.

Students interested in the arts will benefit from new minors in photography and graphic design, both of which were approved by the board. These new minors join the 34 already offered at Dixie State.

Additionally, the DSU department of media studies was given approval to add a broadcasting emphasis to the media Studies degree, which currently features emphases in multimedia journalism, strategic communication and social media.

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