Individualized studies, dance degrees close to approval

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Administration at Dixie State University is working to fill in the blanks and build the university status by hopefully getting two degrees approved. 

There are two new programs — dance and individualized studies — that are going through the final process of being approved by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. This final process could take anywhere from three to six months. 

William Christensen, executive vice president of academics and chief academic officer, is overlooking the degree process.

“Having new degrees at Dixie is a wonderful way to build our new university status,” Christensen said.

Both the dance and individualized studies — if approved — will be bachelor’s degrees.

Sara Gallo, assistant professor of dance, said having a dance degree will fulfill a need that has been a need in the community for quite some time.

“[If approved], students who want to fulfill a dance degree can now do so,” Gallo said. “They can now choose the degree instead of having to transfer to another school or [claim] another major that they don’t really want.”

Gallo said the degree will be useful to students who want to teach or perform. It will be an all-around dance degree.

The individualized studies degree is going to be a bit more unique. Mark Jeffreys, honors program director and chair of interdisciplinary arts and sciences, was the key person in designing this degree.

“The individualized studies degree will be a customized degree that students can tailor to their own goals and experiences,” Jeffreys said. “It will be a truly individualized degree program, rigorous, yet unique for every student.”

Students will be able to build their own academic program. Students will be able to do what they want with their college degree. They will have to be able to demonstrate skills in statistical comprehension, upper-division writing and public presentation. After students are able to show these skills, they will be able to build a program that fits their needs and skills.

To be able to do an individualized degree, someone will already have to have at least 60 credits or an associate degree. All coursework will have to be approved by faculty mentors and a university committee.

“It is meant for grown-ups who have a sense of what they want from a baccalaureate degree and beyond, but who can’t find a single discipline that fits their needs exactly,” Jeffreys said.

The process for how a degree is chosen is a lengthy one; it goes through a process that starts at the college. It has to be pre-approved by four different committees on campus and the board of trustees. After it is approved by the committees, it goes to the Utah State of Higher Education, which is in Salt Lake City. From there it goes to the State Board of Regents. After it gets approved from these different places it goes to the national creditor, NWCCU, which has to approve every degree that a college has.

“These new degrees will be able to offer a high-quality degree program in a specific area,” Christensen said.