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Utah regents approve outdoor products degree program

By The Associated Press  |  Posted Aug 1st, 2015 @ 6:40pm


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LOGAN, Utah (AP) — Students at Utah State University who love the great outdoors will have a unique opportunity to turn that passion into a career starting this fall.

The Utah Board of Regents approved a decision Friday to make the school the only one in the nation with a bachelor's degree program for outdoor product design. Lindsey Shirley, an associate professor of family and consumer sciences education, created the program, the Herald-Journal in Logan (http://bit.ly/1OGY1rQ ) reported.

"In Utah, we have a unique opportunity to offer a career pathway program to students that meets an industry demand for technical designers," Shirley said in a statement.

The outdoor products industry is a growing one that has created a demand for trained technical designers, Shirley said.

The proposed program was approved by USU's Board of Trustees in April and has already garnered support from companies.

Blackpine Sports, a Utah-based camping gear manufacturer, has offered to fund the first scholarship for students in the program.

"I believe the outdoors industry is a little different than other markets," said Matthew Lawrence, Blackpine Sports' director of operations.

"Having a degree program like this will finally connect the passion people have for outdoor experiences with the skillset necessary to be successful designers," he said.

The program will focus on design for outdoor apparel and will encompass 13 new courses as well as existing classes such as sustainability, chemistry and marketing. School officials said the program could grow to add classes on making goods such as tents or kayaks.

Utah students wanting to pursue technical design for outdoor products have had few options. Utah State previously only offered an interdisciplinary studies degree with an emphasis on fashion design and art.

Salt Lake Community College and Bridgerland Applied Technology College both offer two-year associate's degrees in fashion design.

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Information from: The Herald Journal, http://www.hjnews.com

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