Dixie State name change recommendation committee identifies 6 naming themes to further process

Dixie State University campus, St. George, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Dixie State University, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Moving forward with the name recommendation process, the Dixie State University Name Recommendation Committee has identified six name themes based on data gathered in an open community survey.

In this March 2021 file photo, chair of the Dixie State University Name Recommendation Committee Julie Beck addresses attendees at a town hall at Dixie State University in St. George, Utah, March 30, 2021 | Photo by Megan Webber, St. George News

According to a press release from the university, the themes will serve as primary discussion points for upcoming focus groups with key stakeholders and do not represent final name recommendations.

Created by Salt Lake City-based communication firm Love Communications to help the committee narrow down the scope of name ideas, the survey, which was announced March 31, was completed by 14,449 individuals.

Stemming from the survey’s results, the committee is moving forward with the following themes: St. George, Dixie, geological, academic mission, Deseret and Utah.

The Name Recommendation Committee will research specific name options within each theme to consider strengths and weaknesses in areas such as trademark and website availability, uniqueness, compatibility to the institution’s history and academic focus, abbreviations and connotations. With this information, Love will facilitate at least 50 focus groups with a wide variety of stakeholders to gather more feedback.

“We are grateful for the community’s overwhelming response to the survey that demonstrates, once again, their deep commitment to and love for our institution,” Julie Beck, a DSU Board of Trustees member and chair of the Name Recommendation Committee, said in the press release.

“Our community has entrusted the Name Recommendation Committee with the important task of narrowing down the field of ideas. We feel a deep responsibility to taking this charge seriously and preparing Dixie State University for long-term continued success.”

When measuring the most important factors for the success of the university, academic reputation, job placement and heritage were among the top, followed by admittance to graduate schools, inclusivity, recruitment, employee recruitment, differentiation and athletic recruitment. Of the procedural factors taken into consideration, respondents found uniqueness, support of the institution’s mission and likability most important.

When breaking down university names into the three categories most often employed when naming institutions of higher learning — location identifier, institutional mission and historical identifier — roughly 70 percent of respondents attached above-average importance to a strong location identifier. The survey data slightly skewed toward names that describe a university’s academic focus as being important, while historical identifier was the lowest rated naming category.

Stock image of Dixie State University, St. George, Utah, date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Dixie State University, St. George News

The next step in the recommendation process will be involving more than 500 community members in focus groups to further collaborate with residents of southwestern Utah, institutional partners and university faculty, staff, students and alumni, as the Utah Legislature outlined in HB 278S01, Name Change Process for Dixie State University.

Also in line with the bill’s charge, the process will result in the committee recommending to the Dixie State University Board of Trustees a name that reflects the institution’s mission and significance to the surrounding region and state and enables the institution to compete and be recognized nationally.

More information about the Dixie State University name recommendation process, as well as the survey results, are available online.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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