ST. GEORGE — The Dixie State University Board of Trustees unanimously approved the institution to offer a Bachelor of Science in applied and computational mathematics at its general session Friday.
The new degree, which will first be offered during the fall 2019 semester upon approval from the Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities, will feature three distinct emphases in actuarial science, data analytics and scientific computing. These emphases will prepare students for a wide range of career opportunities in fields such as actuarial science, operations research analytics and statistics in areas of marketing, insurance, finance, education and math.
“We already have what we call a ‘pure math’ degree and a math education degree, so this new ACM degree will be the answer to the rapidly growing job market for mathematicians in business and other areas,” Ross Decker, chair of DSU’s mathematics department, said.
Dixie State will provide an interdisciplinary approach to these emphases by collaborating with the university’s business, economics, communication, computer science, physics, engineering and finance programs. Through this applied approach, students will learn to employ math to real-world problems and develop the knowledge and skills necessary for immediate employment or entrance into graduate school.
“The ACM program is innovative, engaging and diverse in its emphases,” said DSU assistant professor of mathematics Dr. Vinodh Chellamuthu, who designed DSU’s new program. “It will serve the immediate community by providing access to a high-quality mathematics degree that emphasizes applications of mathematics to solve real world problems arising in various settings.”
The applied and computational mathematics degree also will help Dixie State meet the needs of regional job market trends. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, math occupations are projected to grow 28 percent by 2024, with Utah reporting the greatest percentage of new tech jobs in the country in 2016 at 7.7 percent. Additionally, actuarial science has ranked as the most in-demand degree program nationwide.
“Mathematics can be an intimidating subject for some, but there is real magic that happens when students see how math impacts everyday life and why it’s so important to society,” Chellamuthu added.
In addition to the applied and computational mathematics degree, DSU’s Board of Trustees approved the addition of an entertainment, arts and animation emphasis to Dixie State’s bachelor’s degree in art to meet the significant student demand for such an offering. Dixie State is the first institution in the region to offer an entertainment, arts and animation program.
The addition of the academic programs is in line with Dixie State’s new goal to offer 50 different baccalaureate majors by 2020. The institution’s five-year strategic plan, Dixie 2020: Status to Stature, originally laid out a goal to offer 42 four-year degrees in that time frame.
With that milestone already accomplished, the university recently challenged itself to increase the original goal. The baccalaureate program must receive final approval from the Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities, which is expected to occur in February, before it can be fully implemented.
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