LDS Business College changes name, adds four-year degrees

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LDS Business College will be renamed Ensign College, effective Sept. 1, and the school will also begin offering four-year degrees.

The announcement was made during the school’s weekly devotional on Tuesday by Elder Paul V. Johnson, commissioner of Church Education for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This will be the sixth name change in the college’s history. The school is located in downtown Salt Lake City in the Triad Center complex.

Students and others affiliated with the former LDS Business College attend a devotional in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square Tuesday, where the school’s name was changed and curriculum changes announced. (C. Royce Hinton)

According to its website, officials decided on the name “Ensign” because its campus sits just below Ensign Peak, a historic landmark that Brigham Young saw upon arriving in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. To Young then, and to the college now, it is “a symbol of the spirit of international outreach and the ancient promise that here one could learn the ways of God,” according to a press release.

In addition, the school will offer three new Bachelors of Applied Science degrees: business management, communications, and information technology. Students can pursue these degrees starting in Fall 2021.

These changes come because the college realized 80% of their students were forced to transfer schools to pursue their desired programs.

New degrees fall under “Applied Science” because of the applied, real-world nature of the curriculum. “We work closely with employers to make sure our graduates get real-world experience through projects and internships,” their website reads. 

Students of Ensign College come from 59 foreign countries, according to their website. Despite the diverse population of students, the employers that hire their graduates aren’t as diverse.

“The employers that we work with are almost exclusively Utah employers,” Ensign College President Bruce C. Kusch said. Currently, they do offer an exploratory experience for Mexican students to find internship and career opportunities in Mexico. This is the first of its kind. If there is a demand in the future, according to Kusch, they may explore other areas in the world to replicate that experience. 

President Bruce C. Kusch at the pulpit during Tuesday’s devotional. (C. Royce Hinton)

Even though the new bachelor’s degrees are completed after students complete 120 credit hours, President Kusch doesn’t expect that Ensign College students will complete their degrees in four years. “Many of our students are working,” he said. “Right now our students are a little under twelve credits a semester on average.” Students would have to take 15 credits per semester to graduate in four years.

Meg Zullo Bentley graduated with her associate degree in social media marketing in spring 2019. Currently, she’s employed by a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but she said the name change could help other alumni on the job hunt.

“I think maybe changing the name might give it more exposure, not just to members,” she said. “I think that people that aren’t associated with the Church that are looking to employ people might respond better to that.” She said she often found herself explaining to potential employers what “LDS” meant.

She expected something to change when, in 2018, the Church started to put an emphasis on using its entire name. 

The student/faculty ratio hovers around 21:1, according to data from 2018 on the school’s website. Ensign College officials do not expect there will be a need for more faculty in the near future.

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