Dixie State College will take one of the final few steps toward becoming an accredited university this month, and students will play a major role in the process.
The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities will conduct a seventh year site visit on DSC’s campus Oct. 8 – 10 to evaluate if the school is eligible to move forward. Nine members from the NWCCU will be conducting an assessment of the college, and part of that procedure includes speaking with students one-on-one.
Student Body President Brody Mikesell, a senior integrated studies major from Henefer, said the evaluators will be on campus speaking to students, and he encouraged students to take time to communicate with the NWCCU representatives if given the opportunity.
He said it’s the students’ opinions the evaluators are looking for. The NWCCU wants to know if the students feel they are being adequately educated and if the campus is up to par.
Students who aren’t approached by evaluators, but want their voices heard, are encouraged to attend the open forum on Oct. 9 in the Dunford Auditorium from 5-7 p.m. This will be a meeting dedicated to educating students on the accreditation process, and it will give students the chance to contribute feedback and concerns.
Deborah Bryant, assistant professor of business and official liaison for NWCCU, said student attendance is crucial for the meeting.
“It’s not the [NWCCU representatives] talking to the students,” she said. “It’s them talking with the students and giving the students a chance to say what they think.”
Bryant said evaluators will ascertain how the students feel about the faculty, staff, trustees and administration.
“This is kind of making us accountable and transparent,” Bryant said. “It gives [students] an opportunity to give input. It’s a chance for the students to have a say in the processes of assessment.”
According to a statement released by the NWCCU, “Maintenance of accreditation standards helps ensure the educational community, the general public, and other organizations that DSC has a clearly defined mission with appropriate educational objectives, has established conditions under which its achievement can reasonably be expected, appears in fact to be substantially accomplishing them, and is so organized, staffed and supported that it can be expected to continue to do so.”
Students who are in support of DSC moving forward to becoming a university, or students who may take issue with some of the points listed above, will be given the opportunity to voice concerns or present support at the meeting.