Board of trustees discuss graduate degrees, success of growing student population

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The board of trustees meeting held on Nov. 3 was geared toward academics and was a monumental meeting for the future of Dixie State University. Policies for graduate degrees and graduate admissions were passed, taking DSU one step closer to offering graduate degrees.

The action items of this meeting were all about voting in policies that will lead the university into a new direction for the graduate programs scheduled to be offered. Michael Lacourse, vice president of academic affairs, introduced the first four new policies developed for the first benchmark for the offering of graduate programs.

Dr. Pam Cantrell, a part-time STEM faculty member, introduced and explained policy numbers 701-704, which included graduate degree requirements and admission requirements. These policies were voted in by the board of trustees.These policies outline the requirements for graduate program faculty, graduate program requirements and the requirements needed for graduate classes. These policies were inspired by the policies that sister institutions such as Weber State University and Utah Valley University have made and builds a foundation for the graduate programs that will be offered at DSU.

After the voting in of these policies, a teary-eyed Cantrell: “This is such a moment for us. We have the foundation to move forward, and I am so excited having been a part of this, so thank you very much.”

Along with policy changes, Title IX updates were also addressed. Cindy Cole, associate general counsel member and Title IX coordinator, discussed how the next 18 months would be a time set aside for rulemaking, which was not done previously for sexual misconduct. Within this timeframe, new rules will be made and added to Title IX. Cole also addressed the changes that have already been made. The 2011 Dear Colleague letter on sexual violence and the 2014 Title IX Sexual Violence questions and answers document were taken away. The 2017 questions and answers document set new guidelines that focus on fundamental fairness on both the victim and the accused. Housing issues and issues of class attendance for the victims and the accused are addressed in this update. The 60-day timeframe for investigation rule that was put in place in 2011 was also done away with, and replaced with the phrase: “a reasonable timeframe.” These changes may not take place on campus until the 18-month timeframe has passed.

Cole also reported on the 2017 issue of the Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, which reports the cases of murder, manslaughter, rape, theft, and arson, along with other crimes. According to the report, there was one rape case on campus in 2016. Cindy Cole stated said she has concerns that there will be more cases of rape and sexual misconduct on campus within the next year due to the increase of students on campus, and the desire for students to come forward will also increase.

When the board asked Cole how DSU’s level of safety holds up compared to other schools, Cole said: “We are a very safe school. I would say we are safer than most universities comparatively in the state.”

Lacourse also discussed Academic Performance Solutions, which is software that will help with Academic costs through analytics about data about campus program growth, class size trends and student demand patterns. Not only will this software give students access to DSU’s data, but the data of all of the other universities that use APS as well. This software will allow DSU to have discussions about resources distributed based on student growth, capacity issues, etc.