How IAS graduates are giving back to Dixie

By Chelsea McCracken

Bart Peacock and Taelyn Gleason are current employees of Dixie State University. But they have more in common than that---both are also graduates of DSU's Integrated Studies program. Housed in the Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences (IAS) department, Integrated Studies allows students to create a customized major by combining two emphasis areas from a list of more than 30. IAS faculty member Dr. Chelsea McCracken spoke with Bart and Taelyn to learn more about how their experiences in the program led to careers at DSU. CM: What year did you graduate, and what were your emphasis areas? BP: I graduated in 2016 in Operations Management and Communications. TG: I graduated May 2018. My emphasis areas were Chemistry and Psychology. CM: What's your current role at Dixie? BP: Currently, I am the Director of Facility Operations and Energy. The Operations Management emphasis provided me with further knowledge and insight into ways to better manage and organize personnel and facilities. It also provided tools toward enhanced processes and heightened effectiveness in my division of the DSU Facilities Management Department. The communications aspect taught me how to think more critically and to communicate more effectively. TG: My current job with DSU is an Adjunct Lab Professor for the Anatomy Labs. All of the skills and thinking I learned through my Integrated Studies classes have helped me to teach my students to think and learn how so many things are integrated. CM: What got you interested in the Integrated Studies program? How did you find out about the program? BP: I happened upon the program while browsing through a course catalog. The Integrated Studies program interested me with the potential to learn and develop in multiple areas. I liked the idea of a well-rounded education, being able to combine and apply knowledge from two different disciplines. TG: I had a couple of people tell me about how you could get your degree in two areas rather than just one (or a major and minor). After art class one day, I went into the IAS offices to see what this degree was all about. I loved so many classes in psychology and chemistry so being able to continue to take those classes and work towards my degree taking what I wanted with my prerequisites was just what I wanted! CM: What were some of your favorite experiences in the program? BP: I enjoyed hearing about the future goals and dreams of other students and how they planned to apply the learning and experience they were gaining toward their future careers. It was very rewarding to attend classes with students with such diverse interests and backgrounds. There were exercises and discussions that were geared toward entertaining other viewpoints and ideas, which stretched my way of thinking. TG: I loved taking Integrated Studies classes that were specific for getting the degree. They made you think and learn about how your two emphasis areas actually were “integrated” and how you could use them in real world terms. It was so helpful to truly see what your areas were and how they integrated. CM: How did the Integrated Studies program prepare you for the future? BP: From the day I started at DSU eight years ago, my goal was upward mobility. In fact, I had my current position in mind all along, as I knew that the person whom I replaced was to retire soon. I became better prepared with knowledge and skills that I listed on my resume and used during the application and interview process. The two areas of emphasis that I selected are directly applicable to the work that I perform daily. The Integrated Studies Faculty were very instrumental in helping me tailor my studies and final project toward my desired outcome and ultimate success. TG: Integrated Studies benefited me in my career as I prepared for medical school because so many of my prerequisites for medical school were included in my program I chose. My future plans are medical school---I’m currently in the application process and am excited for my future! (Taelyn Gleason (R) is an Adjunct Lab Professor for the Anatomy Labs at DSU. She is pictured here on a cultural immersion trip to the Dominican Republic with DSU Rural Health Scholars.) (Featured Image: Bart Peacock is the current Director of Facility Operations and Energy at DSU.)