The State Board of Regents approved Utah Valley State College's first master's degree with a unanimous vote this afternoon during their meeting at Dixie State College — another landmark for the institution transitioning to Utah Valley University July 1.

Briant Farnsworth, dean of UVSC's School of Education, said the Master's of Education graduate program has been in the works for a few years now and UVSC is sufficiently prepared to bring the education program to the next level.

"In anticipating this degree in UVSC's future, we had discussions with the Utah System of Higher Education and all the institutions within USHE to find their recommendations, in addition to having conversations with our local school systems to discover their needs in regards to educators," Farnsworth said. Elizabeth Hitch, vice president for academic affairs at UVSC, said this new master's degree is intended to support education locally, particularly in meeting the needs of a rapidly growing community, an initiative at the heart of the institution's mission.

"This is really just a starting point for UVSC," Hitch said. "Our preparation for this degree will carry over in preparation of more master's degrees in the future for UVU and the communities it serves."

UVSC's Masters of Education curriculum has also been established and reviewed by the Board of Regents and is ready to roll out with the program beginning in the fall 2008 semester. Farnsworth said in anticipation of the program additional doctoral-level positions have been created and filled at the college as well. For the past year the School of Education has also been collecting names of interested students and currently has a list of 105, although Farnsworth said they will have to go through the application process like everyone else and only 20-30 will be accepted for the first go around.

"We're very excited to provide this program for students ready to take their experience beyond the baccalaureate level," Farnsworth said. "We hope this program will help students increase their skills and create new opportunities in their futures."

UVSC also received board approval for the Master's of Education tuition and fee rates, which will be reviewed and possibly approved by July 1.

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