Dixie State shares results from name change focus groups narrowing possible theme

Dixie State University, St. George, Utah, Nov. 21, 2019 | File photo by Reuben Wadsworth, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Dixie State University’s name change process partner Love Communications released their findings from the first round of focus groups, including three final themes, on Wednesday. 

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

The report included support and concerns from 47 focus groups for six previously finalized name themes, including St. George, Dixie, geological/geographical, Deseret, Utah and academic mission. Love Communications announced in its report that the themes academic mission, Utah and St. George should receive further review and discussion from the Name Recommendation Committee before a final round of focus groups. The other three themes were dismissed. 

“We are grateful to the hundreds of community members who assisted with these important focus groups,” Name Recommendation Committee chair Julie Beck said in a statement.

She said the collective experiences and insights are immensely beneficial to this process.

“As the report illustrates, there are many considerations and various pros and cons for each theme, but this vital data will greatly assist the committee in recommending a name that does the most good as the institution moves into the future.”

In this file photo, a charter bus arrives on the Dixie State University campus to take students to Salt Lake City where they plan to rally at the capitol building in support of a bill that would remove “Dixie” from the university’s name, St. George, Utah, Feb. 24, 2021 | Photo by Hollie Stark, St. George News

According to the report, the Utah theme received the most support — with 70.2 points out of 100 — and Deseret received the least support — with 33.4 points out of 100. Based on responses from focus group participants, Love Communications chose to eliminate the themes Deseret and geologic/geographic due to concerns about their connotations and poor survey performance.

The theme Dixie was also set aside, but Love Communications recommends that the institution dedicate additional time to developing ways to honor the region’s history and heritage should the term Dixie be removed from the name, according to the report. 

The report says equal passion was expressed by both proponents and opponents of retaining the current name, and yet nearly everyone expressed the same goal – helping the university become nationally regarded while still serving the Southern Utah region as an open-enrollment, comprehensive university.

“Based on all available data as well as the prevailing sentiment from the focus groups and rubrics, we think it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible for the institution to fulfill this mandate into the future with its current name,” the statement says.

According to the report, some possible name recommendations based on the three themes that received support and consideration from the focus groups are: Utah Institute of Technology, Utah Polytechnic University, Utah Technological University, St. George University, University of St. George, St. George State University, Southwestern Utah State University, Utah Western University and University of Southwest Utah. 

“Participating in this extensive process has offered me a glimpse into the phenomenal support and love the Southern Utah community has for Dixie State University,” Aaron Evans, Love Communications vice president, said in a press release from Dixie State. 

Love Communications now recommends that the Name Recommendation Committee consider names based on the three remaining themes and then conduct an additional round of focus groups once those names have been chosen. The committee said they hope to have a final name recommendation ready to present to the university’s board of trustees for a vote by the end of this month, according to the press release.

More information about the name change process and timeline can be found on Dixie State’s website.

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

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