Students may have questions and concerns about the future details of Dixie State College, and President Stephen Nadauld is fully aware of it.
Nadauld spoke about hot-topic campus issues Tuesday night at the Direction of Dixie forum held in the Gardner Center.
He spoke about multiple changes and plans concerning university status. After his presentation, he took questions from attendees. Many of the questions hit upon common topics: tuition, name change, housing and degrees.
Nadauld spoke about tuition first.
“Tuition will not go up because we are called a university and not a college,” he said. “Tuition has gone up in the past to offset the lack of funding from the legislature. It’s because the revenues of the state have not been there.”
The past tuition increases have been higher than administrators have wished, Nadauld said, but he doesn’t think there will be another one in the next year.
“Whatever happens to tuition will be a function of the legislative ability to help us and not university status,” he said.
What did change, and will continue to change, is the amount of degrees the institution provides. Nadauld said he and others met with consultants a few years ago to identify what Dixie needed to add to become more like state and national universities; the amount of degrees provided was an apparent hole.
After a few years of work, Dixie now has 38 four-year degrees in 22 content areas. With new degrees comes new faculty.
“We have added 50 plus faculty, and every one of them has a Ph.D.,” Nadauld said.
Master’s programs are also in the plans for the institution’s academic future.
“We will add some master degrees as we are able to hire the faculty and identify the needs of the community,” Nadauld said. “We will probably not add too many bachelor’s degrees since we have the complement…but we have 80 to 90 percent of the typical degrees.”
Nadauld addressed the recent interest in the name change. He used a metaphor of having a baby to explain his thoughts.
“We have had some fits and starts along the way and some tenderness relative to tradition and history of the name,” Nadauld said. “I have to keep reminding myself that this is not my baby, or the staff’s baby, but mostly it is the community’s baby. A long awaited baby. We are here to serve the needs of our community.”
He then talked about how people have had many different opinions of what the institution should be called, but he said that they are opinions.
“Names have lots of issues…so we put in place a process to see what people think about names,” he said. “People have strong opinions. If you like red and I like green, then am I better than you? Names are kind of like that.”
Nonetheless, a name will be picked and not everyone will think that it is the greatest, Nadauld said.
“I get that ‘Dixie’ has some baggage for some people,” he said. “I get that it’s absolutely beloved by other people; I get that it’s not my baby. I like that. All the talk about the name is good for us. We are a university.”
As for the mascot, that might be awhile.
“I don’t anticipate getting into mascot changes right away,” Nadauld said.
He then took a lighter side by adding some humor when he said: “I guess if you all thought we had to do that sometime down the road, then I would retire and let you do it. I have been there, done that.”
There is an approach to new student housing that the school is entertaining, Nadauld said. The institution would do a public/private partnership where a private party would run a property for 30 years and then hand it over to the institution.
Part of these plans would include an apartment-style building designed to house more than 300 beds and that would provide a kitchen, which the current dorms do not include. It would be located at the space between the current dorms and the science building.
Nadauld said he hopes the old dorm buildings will be torn down and replaced by two more similar buildings to create a total of more than 900 total bed spaces. He said this could take place in the next five to six years.
In addition to the buildings, a swimming pool could be constructed in the midst of the housing area.
“I would love to have a swimming pool in the middle of the units,” Nadauld said. “That is my vision.”
Some students questioned if the current food services will be improved.
Nadauld said the issue is the volume of students who would eat on campus.
“We are still largely a commuter campus,” he said. “We do not have the volume of students to justify providing the variety of food that you could get on other campuses. If we get to 900 students on campus, then we might have the volume to justify diversifying the food offerings.”
He said the issue will be revisited in the fall, but the food services are always open to suggestions. Also, an email was sent to all students’ Dmail accounts, which contained a survey about food services.
Nadauld said he hopes students will help support the transition into university status.
“I just love students, and I want to build a student success institution,” he said. “I’m here because I believe in you. My objective is to see you succeed.”
A tentative date for when the Board of Regents officially vote the institution into university status will be Jan. 25.