ST. GEORGE — Dixie State University is moving ahead with plans for its first postgraduate programs, with the initial master’s level course offerings possibly happening as early as next fall, university officials said.
Leading the way is a proposed Master of Accounting to be offered by the School of Business and Communication, according to Michael Lacourse, Dixie State’s provost and vice president of academic affairs.
“We anticipate that if all goes according to plan, the master’s in accounting degree will be approved at the January meeting of the board of trustees,” Lacourse told St. George News.
“After that is done, then we will submit the proposal to the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities,” Lacourse said. “At the same time, we will submit additional paperwork that outlines how we are going to operate the graduate education programs here at Dixie State University.”
In addition to receiving accreditation from the commission, approval must also be obtained from the Utah State Board of Regents and the U.S. Department of Education, Lacourse said.
“We’re really hoping to be able to start in June with accounting, but that might not happen,” he said. “Most likely, it will start in September.”
Also in the works are plans to offer master’s programs in software development and science in genetic counseling, both of which could be in place by fall 2019 or earlier, Lacourse said, adding that other future program possibilities are also being envisioned.
“I think getting three or four (graduate programs) up and running in the next two-plus years is a good start.”
To lay the groundwork for graduate studies, university officials have already accomplished several key steps, including appointing a director of graduate studies, creating an oversight committee, establishing criteria for graduate faculty members and beginning the process of recruiting graduate faculty.
Also, at its regular meeting Nov. 3, the board of trustees unanimously approved several new university policies related to graduate studies.
“We have the foundation to move forward and I am so excited,” said professor Pam Cantrell, who was tasked with drafting the new policies and who joined Lacourse in presenting them to the board for approval.
Dixie State University offers 52 bachelor’s degrees with 65 different emphases, according to its website, in addition to 19 associate degrees, 36 minors and 16 certificate options.
Thanks to its largest-ever freshman class, the university saw a record enrollment of 9,673 students this fall, an increase of more than 7.5 percent in total head count from the previous year.
Dixie State University was recently named one of the country’s most affordable colleges with high acceptance rates, according to rankings posted on GreatValueColleges.net, which puts Dixie State at No. 32 on its Top-50 list.
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