State of the University Address
President Kay Schallenkamp - August 23, 2011
Welcome to the 2011 Fall Semester. I hope you had a restful and fun filled summer and are ready to move into another academic year.
This summer has been marred by a number of untimely and tragic deaths of loved ones. We have lost Dr. Audrey Gabel, who was a researcher in the Herbarium, and Police Officer Nick Armstrong who was a student at the University Center-Rapid City. In addition, many of our faculty and staff have said their final farewell to parents, children, siblings, spouses, friends, and loved ones over the summer. The support of our colleagues is essential in the healing process. Let us take a moment of silence to reflect on how precious life is and pledge our support for one another.
Each year, the strategic plan and the campus’ efforts to accomplish the goals of the plan frame the context of the State of the University address. To acquaint our new faculty and staff and to refresh those of you who are not part of the Strategic Planning Committee, the Strategic Plan is based on a Vision Statement and a Positioning Statement:
Vision Statement: Black Hills State University will be recognized as an innovative, high quality University in the state, Greater Black Hills region, nation, and world.
Positioning Statement: Black Hills State University transforms lives through innovative, high quality academic programs and a dynamic learning community.
While the above two statements are concise, they are packed with powerful words that provide direction and accountability.
Four goals have been identified for our strategic plan. They are:
- Goal 1: Provide a learning environment that inspires and facilitiates personal transformation and instills life-long learning to meet the changing needs of society.
- Goal 2: Engage in strategic partnerships that serve the interests of the University and the community at large.
- Goal 3: Provide an inclusive and socially responsible learning community.
- Goal 4: Secure and allocate fiscal resources to be recognized as an innovative, high quality University.
During the summer, the individuals who chair each of the four goals worked with her respective committee members to determine our progress in addressing the goals. We would greatly exceed our allotted time today if I provided a comprehensive report on the activities of the past year but I believe you will find the following summary indicative of the importance of our strategic plan in guiding our decisions and future directions.
Goal 1 activities (Dr. Kristi Pearce, Chair):
A measure of high quality programs is the review and assurance from outside accrediting bodies or national oversight groups that we are moving in the right direction. This past year has provided overwhelming affirmation of our efforts.
The Higher Learning Commission selected BHSU to be one of 14 universities among its member institutions to pursue a new and unique track in its accreditation process. Our selection was not a random act but was based on our reputation for successfully addressing accreditation expectations. This past year, with the leadership of Dr. Pearce, BHSU has assumed a prominent role in the Pathways Project through presentations and panels at the HLC annual meeting. We have also been asked to serve as a mentor for new institutions joining the process.
The business program has been pursuing AACSB accreditation for the past 4 years. This spring, after submission of the candidacy report, our consultant recommended that we be moved to consideration for full accreditation within the next year. We received notice yesterday that our visit is scheduled for October 2012. It is unusual for an institution to progress through the candidacy period so quickly. Dr. Romkema and the business faculty and staff are commended for their efforts to address the standards for accreditation which is accomplished by less than 5% of all business programs worldwide.
NCATE is often perceived as a hurdle for teacher preparation programs. This wasn’t the case for our faculty and staff who not only met the standards for continued accreditation but received recognition at an exemplary level for several areas. The final report was submitted over the summer and the NCATE board will issue its opinion in the next several weeks when the celebration officially will begin. Speaking of celebration in the context of education, we received notification on August 10 that BHSU has been selected as the 2011 winner of the AASCU Christa McAuliffe Award. This award is based on the impact a program has on K-12 learning outcomes and the redesign of the program as a result of these outcomes. The specific project being recognized is Project PRIME which is coordinated through the Center for the Advancement of Math and Science Education (CAMSE). We will be recognized at the national meeting of AASCU in October and again at the annual meeting of the Teacher Education Council of State Colleges and Universities (TESCSU). Only one university among AASCU members receives this award each year.
The music program has been notified that it has successfully completed its re-accreditation process. The rigorous review by the visiting team occurred after the music faculty and staff submitted a detailed self-study. It is also noteworthy that the chemistry program continues to move forward for accreditation through its professional association. The Physical Education program received national recognition from the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE). This is the first of our education programs to receive this level of recognition from a SPA.
This spring we were notified that Carnegie had updated our classification from a baccalaureate intensive institution to a Master’s level. This change will assist us in grant submissions as well as our peer institution comparisons for funding purposes.
As noted in our Positioning Statement, BHSU transforms lives through innovative, high quality academic programs and a dynamic learning community. This requires the entire campus to provide exceptional opportunities for our students in and out of the classroom.
This past year our athletics program began its transition to NCAA Division II and was accepted into the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. The scrutiny by the NCAA and the RMAC was intense and it was gratifying to receive accolades for the focus of our athletics program and the integrity of our coaches and staff. It is noteworthy that 11 of our 12 athletic teams had a team GPA exceeding 3.0 this past year.
Other recognitions received in 2010-2011 included selection as a Military Friendly school which honors the top 15% of higher education institutions for doing the most to embrace America’s veterans as students. Twenty students in photography had their photographs included in Nikon’s 2011 Best of College Photography publication placing the program among the top 10% in the nation. The BHSU Bookstore received the top award from the National Association of College Stores for its “Share a Bear” promotion; a project to provide Teddy Bears to underprivileged children during the holidays. The BHSU athletic website was named the No. 1 website in the NAIA in the category of “Outsourced Website” by the Sports Information Directors of America. This award is particularly gratifying since you may recall that just last summer we lost nearly all of our web site and had to start nearly from scratch to rebuild it.
Experiential Learning is an important component of our HLC Pathways Project as well as a focus of our strategic plan. Succinctly, we recognize it takes experience to get a job and a job to get experience. Through our experiential learning initiative, all students should have specific experiences related to their major as part of their resume upon graduation. Our definition of experiential learning includes internships/practica, service learning related to the major, undergraduate research, creative projects, international study, or leadership. The GS 100 courses integrate service learning to engage freshmen students and to create a bonding relationship among the students and with the University. One of the service learning projects involved research related to our residence hall facilities and the needs/expectations of the students. This information was later used by the consultants in designing the master plan for the residence halls. Service learning is also integrated into upper level courses in the majors. Internships increased from 276 in 2009-2010 to 428 in 2010-2011.
Undergraduate research continues to grow. This spring BHSU sent 20 students to the National Conference on Undergraduate Research. Increasingly, student research funding is written into grants with nearly 30 students receiving funding to conduct research in the science program this year. Two years ago, line item funding was provided to budgets specifically targeted for student employment. We know student retention is higher for those students who develop strong relationships with the university. On campus employment provides the opportunity for these relationships to develop as well as provides work experiences related to the students’ majors. This year, departments were encouraged to use their funds to hire students to assist with research and for instructional purposes. Three programs used 7 students to assist with teaching or researching projects. In addition, specific job descriptions with outcomes were developed by several offices to give students the ability to select employment that is consistent with their career goals.
The integration of technology into the instructional programs is critical as pedagogical styles and techniques shift. During the past year, our Information and Instructional Technology Services staff supported over 1,300 computers and 29 video conference courses as well as numerous hybrid and online courses. They fielded over 5,600 work requests, increased wireless access by 60% and disinfected 169 computers. The physical reorganization in the library will provide opportunities for our technology staff, the faculty enhancement personnel, and the instructional design staff to collaboratively provide increased instructional design assistance to faculty teaching face to face courses as well as online courses.
The learning environment is dependent upon the condition of the physical facilities and classroom amenities. Over the past few years, our focus has been on installing state of the art technology in the classrooms. This summer, classrooms have been painted in Jonas Hall and new flooring has been installed in many classrooms. As funds allow, the classroom furnishings will be updated to provide an environment that is conducive for team work and laptop usage. Next summer M&R funding will allow us to install new windows in Jonas which will address our current problems with the blinds when the windows are opened. The Life Sciences Laboratory and the University Center in Rapid City were opened this past spring to provide state-of-the-art teaching facilities. In addition, I believe you will be pleased with the changes in the Library which were accomplished through the creative planning of the staff to provide a more inviting and collaborative atmosphere. The changes in the Jacket Java area of the library were intended to encourage you to stop for coffee and share conversation in a comfortable environment. Finally, the final phase of the Woodburn re-modeling is in full swing. The lower level is now occupied by the Student Success Center which had been “temporarily” located in the back of the Jacket Legacy Room for the past 3 years. All of these changes have been deliberately designed to support learning in the classroom and throughout the campus.
It is important to clarify that these physical changes to our facilities were funded through dedicated system M&R funds or HEFF funds which are restricted to improving our buildings and cannot be used for other purposes. These funds could not be used to offset the base budget cuts we had to make this spring nor could they be used for salary increases. It is also important to note the Regents only recommend salary increases. The legislature is responsible for appropriating increases for all state employees. This year, the Regents top priority is salary increases as it has been for the past 3 years. They will do their best to work with the Governor and the legislators to make this a reality. However, as we move into the legislative session next January, your presence at Legislative Cracker Barrels or other events will be important to demonstrate the importance of salary increases to our decision makers.
At the end of spring semester, we finalized the budget cuts imposed by the legislature and the Governor for this fiscal year. The third consecutive year of reducing our budget was difficult. We were committed to avoiding layoffs as well as ensuring the University would be positioned to continue to meet the needs of our students now and in the future. I hope we will not be subjected to this level of budget reductions again but urge you to attend the Coffee and Conversation meetings following each Board of Regents meeting, the Listening Lunches with the Provost, or to contact you respective administrative team member, faculty senate or classified staff leadership, or me if you have questions or concerns. Every effort is made to provide opportunities for exchange of information and ideas. Please take advantage of them.
The restructuring of academic affairs is moving forward. This afternoon faculty and staff will have an opportunity to provide input regarding the naming of your respective school or department. You have also been invited by the deans to provide input regarding the naming of your college. Meetings will be scheduled with faculty senate and student senate. The website will provide a section for Frequently Asked Questions and an email will be sent to all students to reassure them that the academic programs and requirements are not impacted by the restructuring. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to talk with the Provost or Deans.
The purpose of the restructuring, in addition to realizing cost savings by reducing administrative overhead, is to build a university culture of interdisciplinary alliances, provide a balanced workload for each college by redistributing general education responsibilities and faculty/staff, strengthen intellectual synergy among the academic programs, and establish leadership teams which will work collaboratively to provide high quality and innovative academic programs.
Many of you have asked about the gap analysis funding study which was conducted by the Board of Regents this past year. They received the data at their retreat in August and now have a well documented picture of funding among the universities in the system. As you might expect, none of the 6 universities are over funded when compared with our national peer institutions. However, there is a distinction regarding the amount of underfunding among us. The Regents discussed how they can address these issues and are developing a plan. I believe it is safe to say we now have greater hope that some issues will be addressed in the future.
Goal 2 (Corinne Hansen, Chair)
The University recognizes we are part of a larger environment and it is imperative that we establish strong relationships and partnerships with community, regional, and national entities if we are to thrive in an ever changing and interdependent world.
This year much attention was given to our local partnerships. We know we have outstanding performing arts and athletic programs. Increased marketing and outreach resulted in higher attendance from community members. Two examples of this success were offered by the summer theatre performance of Peter Pan being sold out as well as the photography lecture by Sam Abel filling Meier Recital Hall with standing room only. Our First Friday series for music, Lunch and Learn lectures, Pow Wow, Business Expo, CEO events, Cracker Barrels, Madeline Young Lecture, Friday Science Lectures, and other events bring community members to campus. It is not unusual to hear new residents of Spearfish say they decided to retire here because of the campus and our outstanding programs. We also reach out to the children of the region through Neutrino Day, Scrubs Camp, summer camps and conferences and other events. Through our numerous volunteerism projects, BHSU faculty, staff, and students touch nearly every non profit entity in the city and provide over 10,000 hours of service each year.
At the state and national level, faculty and staff develop partnerships with universities for research and professional development. We also work with federal agencies and private foundations for grants and other funding opportunities. Some of the universities with which we work include the University of Las Vegas, University of Tennessee, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Indiana University, University of Nebraska, San Diego State University, Berkeley, University of Minnesota, as well as our colleagues across South Dakota. Federal agencies/foundations include the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Health, Department of Education, Internal Revenue Service, Economic Development Administration, National Park Service, Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Interior, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Corporation for National and Community Service, Small Business Administration, National Endowment for the Arts, and National Endowment for the Humanities. BHSU faculty and staff have provided service to almost every State agency and lent consulting expertise to numerous domestic and global industries.
At the international level we have MOU’s with 10 universities in China, France, Hungary, Korea, Lithuania, Mongolia, Poland, and Slovenia. This year we will have 99 international students representing 26 countries. Additionally, students have studied in Mexico, Spain, Greece, and England.
We know social media is increasingly important in our efforts to be known throughout the region, nation, and world. We also know our web presence is extremely important for our prospective students, alumni, donors, and others. In fact, a recent national survey revealed that 50% of prospective students say a bad web site has a negative effect on their perception of a campus and 20% say they will remove a university from consideration if the web site is poor. I thank everyone on campus who has responsibility for their respective web site and to the staff in Marketing and Communication for your attention to our site. It is also important to note that many offices on campus promote the university through social media. These venues are effective in communicating with our students, alumni, and others but must be done so with a professional voice. The Marketing and Communication office are available to assist you in implementing plans to communicate via social media.
Goal 3 (Dr. Lois Flagstad, Chair)
Black Hills State University continues to expand its reach as demonstrated in our student demographics. This fall, our students represent 65 of the 66 counties in South Dakota, 44 states, and 26 countries. Just 3 years ago, 12% of our students were from ethnic minority groups. This year 19% report they represent minority groups. 26% of our students are classified as adult learners (24 years and older). We are making strides in regaining our presence in Wyoming with 11% as compared to 8% three years ago. An important indicator of the preparation of our freshmen class this year is a 15% increase in the number of students with an ACT over 24 compared to the class of 2008. Our students increasingly come to BHSU from other universities as witnessed by the fact that over 60% of our graduating class this past May was classified as transfer students. The NSSE survey is given to entering freshmen and graduating seniors. It is gratifying that their perception of the quality of advising is very favorable. But, even more gratifying is that more freshmen said they would choose BHSU again than at any of the other SD regental universities. The above statistics should make us feel very good about our students and BHSU. It is clear we have many positive characteristics among our students. It is also clear that we need to continue to focus on retention and graduation issues. In May, 22 faculty and staff attended the student success conference held for the 6 campuses in Chamberlain. Following the conference, a number of participants requested an opportunity to follow up on the suggestions and new ideas that had been developed. Through funding from the Board Office, 3 campuses (NSU, SDSM&T, and BHSU) will continue efforts to improve student success and increase retention which will lead to graduation. On October 3 & 4, the consultants will be on campus to work with faculty and staff.
Our commitment to sustainability continues to expand. Both the Life Sciences Laboratory and the University Center-Rapid City met LEED Silver standards. Our energy consumption continues to decline through energy efficient initiatives such as motion detectors for lighting and software that turns off computers in the labs when they are not in use. Individual efforts such as shutting down computers or adjusting thermostats for heating and cooling, reducing paper consumption, etc. also assists in reducing our carbon footprint. The campus garden near the apartment complex and the herb garden at the Union provide fresh produce which is used in the Hive. The wind turbine generates electricity and re-cycling bins around campus are often filled to capacity.
As part of being socially responsible, we must take care of ourselves. The South Dakota Employee Health Program encourages us to walk at least 10,000 steps each day. I know some of you were aghast at the low number of steps recorded after you received your pedometer this summer. It is gratifying to see groups of you walking over your lunch hour or during breaks. As the weather cools remember you can access the Young Center and its safe walking track, fitness room, and swimming pool. Membership is only $20/month and if you pay a 6 month membership you receive a month free. Also, Bob DiBonto and his student interns will provide free fitness evaluations and exercise suggestions upon request.
Goal 4 (Kathy Johnson, Chair)
As state funding declines, we must become more entrepreneurial and successful in finding new sources of revenue or increasing current sources.
As many of you know, University Advancement has been in a quiet stage of a major gifts campaign for the past 3 years. We are pleased to be over $12.5 million in this campaign. In the past year alone, we have had a 41% increase in contributions to the Foundation. We had 83 individuals contribute over $1,883 to be members of the 1883 Club and had a 36% increase in the number of individuals who have a life time giving in excess of $50,000. We have been notified that 51 individuals have included BHSU in their estate plans which make them members of the BHSU Founders Society. Six of these individuals are current employees. The annual campus campaign raised over $44,000. In a year when the economy is weak, it is gratifying to have so many faculty, staff, alums, and other supporters express their support of our students and the University through their generosity.
As tuition increases, much attention has been given to providing scholarship support for our students. Most of the donations received by the Foundation have been earmarked for scholarships. Many of these are endowed funds which will provide scholarships in perpetuity. We also know that many scholarships are available through external agencies and it is well known many are not awarded each year. Thus, we began an initiative to alert students to these scholarships and I am pleased that this past year, we had a 20% increase in scholarships awarded to our students through other sources. If you are aware of such opportunities, would you please forward the information to Kanda Guthmiller so she can include these in her communication to students.
On Fridays, we encourage faculty and staff to wear BHSU apparel to show our support for the University. We also request a $1 donation to the foundation. This campaign, known as “Show I Care by What I Wear”, provides scholarships to dependents of BHSU employees. Last year, we were able to award two $300 scholarships. This fall, two $500 scholarships will be awarded. The recipients are Tonya Wenzel, daughter of Lorena Wenzel in Facilities Services and Taylor Johnson, daughter of Bryan Johnson in Facilities Services. Not only do we congratulate Taylor and Tonya but we thank Bryan and Lorena for sending their daughters to BHSU. Through this program, we are able to help our own. You are also given an opportunity to enter your name in a drawing each time you contribute a dollar to this campaign. The winner of a $25 gift certificate to the Bookstore to purchase more BHSU apparel is Jean Kennedy.
Saturday we have our first home football game. Tailgating will open at 11:00 in the Young Center parking lot followed by kickoff at 1:00. Please remember admission for you and your family is free with your Buzz Card.
On Sunday, we will have an opportunity to assist our new students move into the Residence Halls. You can volunteer to help carry belongings or to direct traffic. Please contact Sandy Crain to assist our new students and their parents during a very stressful time for them. Sunday evening we will have the campus/community picnic to collectively welcome our students. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the Cashier’s window in Woodburn.
On Monday morning, we will welcome our new freshmen to campus through our reception line from the Hive to the Jacket Legacy Room at 10:15. Please bring pom poms, noise makers, and signs to give our students a great BHSU welcome. Those of you who participate in graduation know how much the students appreciate the send off we give them at the conclusion of the ceremony. These bookend events to welcome students and later congratulate them upon their success are becoming a tradition that frames our students’ memories of BHSU.
In conclusion, there is no question that we will continue to face challenges with the economy, increased expectations from our policy makers and public, and personal moments of frustration and fatigue. However, as individuals, we are guided each day by our Vision Statement to be committed to scholarship, student-centeredness, educational excellence, lifelong learning, integrity, inclusiveness, innovation, and change. Each of us must keep these front and center. If we do, nothing will prevent us from achieving our vision.
Thank you for all you do for BHSU and our students. Please have a great year.