Dixie State name change process continues, focus groups discuss themes

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Photo: Dixie State University

ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4) – Another step in the process to rename Dixie State University has been completed.

After 47 focus group discussions with more than 300 stakeholders, Love Communication says they have shared the findings with the Dixie State University Name Recommendation Committee.

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In late April, six themes for the new name were identified after a survey of nearly 14,500 people. Those themes were:

  • St. George
  • Dixie
  • Geological
  • Academic mission
  • Deseret
  • Utah

Love explains that the focus groups were conducted to provide the committee with information to narrow down the themes.

According to the findings, participants liked a name based on the school’s academic mission because it would formalize its new polytechnic direction. But concerns were brought up that terms like ‘tech’ or ‘polytechnic’ are not fully understood because there is not a technological university in Utah.

Institutional names like Deseret were suggested, which would allow the DSU acronym to remain, but participants worried it may be problematic because of the religious connotations the word carries, as well as the lack of familiarity outside of Utah.

While participants supported the Dixie theme, because it honors the community’s heritage, they raised concerns about its location confusion and meaning outside of Utah. Participants reportedly felt the same about the St. George theme.

Participants also supported the geological/geographical theme, citing its uniqueness and lack of negative connotations. There were also concerns reported about its lack of academic prestige.

According to Love, participants liked having Utah in the name, preferring the location identifier it provides but struggled to find a usage that would set it apart from the other colleges and universities in Utah.

A final theme is expected to be selected by the Name Recommendation Committee in the coming weeks after reviewing information from studies and surveys already conducted.

Once final name themes are selected, the committee will research specific name options within the theme. The final name recommendation will be ready to take to the University’s Board of Trustees for a vote this month, officials hope.

For more on this process, visit Dixie State’s website.

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