New master’s, bachelor’s degrees approved at Dixie State University

Students train in physical therapy, date and location not specified. The Dixie State University Board of Trustees approved the addition of a Bachelor of Applied Science in Health Sciences beginning in the Fall 2019 semester. | Photo courtesy of Dixie State University, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — To meet the expanding educational needs of its growing student body, the Dixie State University Board of Trustees unanimously approved the addition of new academic programs, including master’s and baccalaureate degrees.

Contingent on receiving approval from the Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities, Dixie State University plans to begin offering a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy, a Bachelor of Applied Science in health sciences, certificates in computing fundamentals and design and a minor in physics starting Fall 2019.

Indicating the university’s overall growth, the board’s approval for the latest academic programs comes less than two months after it accepted master’s programs in athletic training and technical writing & digital rhetoric as well as a bachelor’s degree in marketing. With final approval of the newest programs, Dixie State will offer four master’s degrees, 45 bachelor’s degrees, 11 associate degrees, 42 minors and 68 emphases. That’s up from just two bachelor’s degrees in 1999.

The new marriage and family therapy program, available as a Master of Science or a Master of Marriage and Family Therapy, will offer curriculum that focuses on working with children. The program will provide students with extensive opportunities to develop their skills in practical environments through clinical practicums.

According to a press release issued by the university, the program will help alleviate workforce shortages in Washington County. Currently, new patients wait up to six months to receive appointments with child mental health practitioners. Statewide, Utah has one of the lowest rates of marriage and family therapy practitioners in the country.

Students train in the field of marriage and family therapy, date and location not specified. The Dixie State University Board of Trustees approved the addition of a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy beginning in the Fall 2019 semester. | Photo courtesy of Dixie State University, St. George News

“We are really excited to offer a high-quality, hands-on program that will prepare therapists to work in mental health,” program director Nathan Meng said in the press release. “We are especially excited to offer a specialization in child and adolescence.”

The Bachelor of Applied Science in Health Sciences, an online program, will serve as an avenue for students who have completed an Associate of Science degree in a health science field to earn a bachelor’s degree. The curriculum will include upper-division health care courses as well as classes on communication, health care administration and leadership methods to train students for supervisory roles within the health care system and get them ready to enter graduate programs.

According to the university, the program also will prepare graduates to fill thousands of open health care manager and supervisor positions. Looking forward, the demand for baccalaureate-trained health care professionals is only expected to grow, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 21 percent growth in medical and health service managers from 2016 to 2026.

“This degree creates a pathway for students to complete their baccalaureate degree in a reasonable amount of time and prepares them for career advancement,” Drew Wilcox, program director of the physical therapist assistant program, said in the press release. “It is unique to Dixie State. Nothing like this exists in the state, and few degrees nationwide can compare.”

The Certificate of Computing Fundamentals will introduce students to the computing discipline and teach them fundamental skills in information technologies, computer science, design and web development. The design certificate will teach students design theories, principles and processes.

The minor in physics will help those majoring in fields such as chemistry, math, computer science, mechanical engineering, biology and exercise sciences develop a firm understanding of physics.

Adding these academic programs is in line with Dixie State’s strategic goal to offer 50 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.

To learn more about the educational opportunities and academic offerings available at the university, visit the Dixie State Academics website.

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