Last Updated: December 21, 2017, 3:53 pm

Academic attractions influence enrollment

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It turns out that students don’t just come to Dixie State University for the practically year-round warm weather.

Although the nice weather in St. George was a factor in his decision to attend DSU, it wasn’t the only factor or the most important, said Sam Werrett, a freshman psychology major from West Jordan. 

Now that DSU is a university, students are finding that by choosing to attend DSU they’re choosing to earn a university degree at a price that is affordable.

“You get a university degree at a community college price,” Werrett said.

A competitive price, bachelor’s programs and the planning of master’s programs are all attractions to new students as well as reasons for current students to stay.

While more programs are being offered at DSU, the price of enrollment is staying in line with the community college values DSU has. These programs enable students to stay at DSU and earn a university degree without having to transfer. All of these changes at DSU are bringing exciting changes to the demographics of students.  

When DSU was a two-year college, students really had no choice but to move away to earn a bachelor’s degree, said Angie Williams, St. George resident. Now there isn’t really a need for students to transfer to Logan and deal with the cold like she did at Utah State University.

The plan to offer master’s programs at DSU is continuing to decrease the need for students to transfer.

The process of getting master’s programs has a lot of steps, said William Christensen, executive vice president of academic services. Even if DSU applied for a master’s degree before Christmas, it would probably take until at least next fall to get the program passed.

Offering master’s degrees at DSU is a long process, but it is necessary to gain the reputation of a university, Christensen said. 

“To have that university stature, I feel that we need at least a couple of master’s programs,” Christensen said.

He said the question isn’t if master’s programs will be offered at DSU, but when, and which degrees will be offered.

As DSU officials work toward master’s programs, they are also working on strengthening and maturing the programs that have been added in the last few years, which allowed DSU to gain university status, Christensen said. 

The importance of strengthening our DSU’s bachelor’s programs is apparent in the 10 percent increase in upper division enrollment, Christensen said.

A lot of programs are in the works, Christensen said. One building that students can look for in the next couple of years is a health and human performance building. With the construction of this new building, bachelor’s programs related to this building will be created. He said some programs that are in the works are exercise science, physical education teacher education and recreation management.

He said DSU is starting to see students stick around rather than leave after two years so, the student demographics are changing, and that’s exciting to see.

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