Six new degree programs headed to Dixie
Published: Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, April 4, 2012 11:04
Dixie State College administrators are closing the gap on degrees needed to become a university and are finding ways to provide more degree options for students.
DSC administrators are in the process of providing students with six more degrees. The list of degrees are: art, social science composite, history, community recreation administration, Spanish and online marketing. With these degrees DSC will only lack one degree needed to reach university status.
“In addition of the new science labs to the old library there will eventually be a new chemistry degree, which will be the last core and foundational area on the list of degrees before becoming a university,” said Donna Dillingham-Evans, executive vice president of academic services.
DSC administrators are waiting on donations and funds before they can start developing the chemistry degree.
There are five levels a degree goes through before it is approved. On campus a degree is approved by a curriculum committee and the academic council. Then it is sent to the DSC Board of Trustees to be reviewed. From the trustees it is reviewed by a state program review committee. Afterward the degree is approved by the Utah Board of Regents.
Dillingham-Evans said the art degree is currently being reviewed by the state, the social science composite and history degrees are still on the curriculum level, and the other three are still in development. Dillingham-Evans would like to see these degrees ready by July but can make no promises.
Brent Hanson, associate dean of fine and performing arts, said, “Art has enjoyed really healthy enrollments over many years, so there are students who are eager to have the opportunity to complete bachelor's degree.”
Hanson said the art degree is a core degree needed at DSC to be like other universities. There are already students ready to take advantage of the degree.
“With the theater degree we had students who graduated with their bachelor's degree the first year we had the degree approved,” Hanson said. “That means they were already juniors just waiting for the rest of the curriculum and the degree, and that will happen in art. There will be students who will graduate with a bachelor's degree in art the first year we have the degree.”
DSC administrators are in the process of hiring new faculty members in preparation of these new degrees. The anticipated goal is to have 10 new faculty members by next spring, Dillingham-Evans said. Among the 10 new faculty members they are looking to hire teachers with doctorate degrees in marketing, Spanish and art.
Dillingham-Evans said many institutions choose to have large freshman and sophomore classes to help fund upper division classes. That is not the plan at DSC.
“At Dixie we have 101 years of successful preparation by using small classes with freshman and sophomores,” Dillingham-Evans said. “We want to retain those small classes.”
Dillingham-Evans said there is a way to provide small classes for freshman and sophomores and still have upper division classes. Through partnerships with other institutions, such as the University of Utah, DSC can provide adjunct professors who have their PhD and can teach upper division classes.
“[The University of Utah] deliver not only graduate programs to our area, but they also deliver some selected classes for us,” Dillingham-Evans said. “We already have a partner, and what we know is that the University of Utah has highly qualified individuals in their departments.”
This alternative delivery approach will be used to help provide some courses for the community recreation administration and Spanish degrees.
This approach has already worked in providing lower division courses, such as music and in the past for math and history, Dillingham-Evans said. Through this partnership DSC can provide it's students with highly qualified adjunct professors for upper division courses as well. Some of the adjunct professors the U of U provides are Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Prize winners.
Dillingham-Evans said it works really well because each academic department of each institution meet as a state and articulate the courses, which means they are transferable from institution to institution.
“In the short term, we pay more for that adjunct to the department (of our partner), a lot more, but in the long run it's good for our students to have that as options out there and to learn from different types of people,” Dillingham-Evans said. “We can get more degrees this way for a larger population of interest than we can by waiting to hire three teachers in this area and three teachers in that area.”
All of the alternative delivery courses will actually be taught on campus, some of them in what is called the extended format. So instead of offering every class every semester, will offer a class at least every two years, Dillingham-Evans said. The majority of the time the classes will be available online.
“Life kind of interferes,” Dillingham-Evans said. “If people move or they have to get jobs and they can't take a class on campus at a specific time, the online class allows them to take it whenever they are available.”
Dillingham-Evans said there will always be face to face classes for freshman and sophomores, even in the alternative delivery degrees. The idea is to provide students taking lower division classes with full-time professors who will teach them to learn and prepare them for upper division classes and graduate programs.
Dillingham-Evans said when those students get to upper division classes, then there will be more choices of how they take the class — such as online, hybrid classes, block classes and Friday and Saturday classes.
“We already offer this matrix of opportunity and various classes, so it's not really a whole lot more different then what we are already doing with the University of Utah,” Dillingham-Evans said.