Trustees approve new degrees, programs

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More degrees are on their way to Dixie State University. 

The DSU board of trustees unanimously approved six additional or restructured degrees Friday at their first meeting of 2017. Expanded online education options and a new department in health care were also discussed at the meeting.

David Wade, director of academic planning, said the new degrees approved Friday will be the first wave of many degrees added at DSU in the next few years.

The new degrees coming to DSU include a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, a broadcasting emphasis within the media studies degree, a graphic design minor, a photography minor, a bachelor’s degree in information systems and data analytics, and a restructured medical laboratory science degree. The trustees also signed off on an entrepreneurship certificate and the Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center, which will replace the current East Elementary. 

“The great thing is most of these degrees require no additional funding and no additional courses,” Wade said. 

The only degree added that requires additional courses is the bachelor’s degree in information systems and data analytics, which will require two more courses in the CIT department.

Online education

DSU will also start to phase more classes into being taught online. 

Ryan Hobbs, the newly appointed director of distance and digital learning, announced his plan to the trustees to have 15 percent of DSU’s classes available online by 2020. Hired two weeks ago, Hobbs is the first director of distance and digital learning at DSU, President Biff Williams said.

“We’re about a decade behind in online education,” Hobbs said. “Having more classes online will hopefully help with retention of students at DSU, as there’ll be more opportunities for classes.”

New department in health care

The trustees also approved the creation of a new department of health care diagnostics and therapeutics at their meeting. This department will eventually offer a program in population health that will act as a “plan b” for students not accepted into the DSU nursing and dental hygiene programs, Wade said. 

Wade said they took counsel from an outside contractor who suggested DSU add a population health program, which is an approach to health that works to improve the health of an entire human population.

“Population health is in preventative care,” Wade said. “It seems to be a natural evolution from nursing and dental hygiene because it still deals with helping people.”

Construction updates

The two big construction projects planned for DSU in the future — the construction of the Human Performance Building and the renovation of Legend Solar Stadium — are well on their way to becoming reality, Williams said.

The first phase of the Legend Solar Stadium renovations will start Wednesday, when the stadium will be closed for the track to be ripped out and replaced. Legend Solar Stadium will have the improved track installed by June 30, Williams said.

The Human Performance Center is ranked as the No. 2 funding priority for the Utah legislature by the board of regents, Williams said. The Utah legislature will vote on funding the Human Performance Center during this year’s legislative session, which kicked off Monday. Williams said the plan is to start building the Human Performance Center by fall 2017. 

“I’m biased, but I’ve seen universities have less growth in five years than we’ll be having in one,” Williams said.