Volume XXIV No. 31 • Aug. 4, 2000

Submit items to Campus Currents - Top

The Campus Currents is distributed every Friday. If you would like to include an item in the newsletter send it to Campus Currents, Unit 9512 or by e-mail to Campus Currents. Deadline is Thursday at 8 a.m.

CSA position open - Top

The following career service position is open:
  • computer support specialist, computer center

For additional information, check the announcement bulletin or contact the personnel office.

Regents to host open forum - Top

The South Dakota Board of Regents invites members of the Black Hills State University community to an open forum with regents Friday, Aug. 11 between 4 – 5 p.m. in the Hall of Fame room at the Donald E. Young Center. 

The regents have set aside this hour during their August meeting on campus to give interested persons an opportunity to interact and ask questions of the regents.

Regents approve writing major at BHSU - Top

The South Dakota Board of Regents gave approval to two new degree programs recently including a minor in writing at Black Hills State University.

The regents also approved a major and minor in electronic commerce at Dakota State University.

"Both of these degrees that were approved are in fields in which industry craves skilled graduates. A minor in writing may not seem like an innovative concept, but communication style and delivery have changed dramatically," said Regents President Harvey C. Jewett, IV.

The writing minor will be offered at Black Hills State beginning this fall. The minor requires 18 credit hours after six credit hours in composition required as part of the general education.

The new minor has been designed to improve written communication skills for students in any major with emphasis on advanced, imaginative, and technical modes. The program will help students demonstrate proficiency in the standard forms, arguments, and audience analyses expected of graduates in their major field of study. A student earning a writing minor will be allowed to choose particular emphases – scholarly, creative or technical as best fits his or her career plans and major. It will encourage the student to explore the uses of technology in writing, word processing, internet communication and research, desktop publishing, the location and evaluation of information, and the integration of 

written and graphic communications. 

A writing internship is also a part of the minor and it will link students to businesses and organizations in the region and local community, and allow students to gain practical experience writing, while also improving the relationship between the university and wider community.

"In any profession, good communication is critical. We must continue to offer courses that will build our graduates’ communication skills," said Jewett.

A pilot program initiated in the spring of 1998 assigned technical writing students to Spearfish area businesses, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. The program met with an enthusiastic response from the community. Several employers cited the need for writing skills as critical in their workplace, and hoped the university would continue to educate students in writing in tandem with technical business writing.

"I think the approval of a minor that gives students improved writing and communication skills is an excellent example of how the Board of Regents is committed to producing graduates that possess the knowledge and skills that employers desire," said Regents Executive Director Robert T. Tad Perry.


Austin book receives positive reviews - Top

Dr. Len Austin’s book The Counseling Primer (Leonard A. Austin, Ed.D., Black Hills State University, Spearfish, SD Taylor & Francis, January 1999) recently received a good review in the Christian Counseling Today.

The review described his work as a "…concise, tightly written, information packed, no nonsense book that tells counselors - those in training and counselors with experience - what they need to remember if they are to be knowledgeable about their field. For a good precise reference book that presents professional counseling information in an easy-to-find format, this is a valuable resource."

Austin, an assistant professor of educational psychology at BHSU, says "many teachers will gravitate toward counseling during their teaching careers, and this book gives them the basic information and practical knowledge that they will need to be successful."

Austin's book is designed to bring synthesis to the entire course of study that would-be counselors would experience in their master's degree program in the area of counseling. Teachers who are interested in becoming school counselors will find important chapters on theories, terms, ethical codes, tips on taking exams, sample forms, and preparing for comprehensive written and oral exams.

Johnson will present at physics teachers conference - Top

Dr. Andy Johnson, associate director of the Center for Advancement of Mathematics and Science Education, will present a paper and a poster at the summer meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers and the Physics Education Research Conference (PERC) in Guelph, Ontario, this summer.

Johnson will present a paper titled ""I don't know how to say it exactly. . . you know what I mean?" -- Constructing and checking scientific meanings in physics discussions."

This paper introduces some ideas about communication in physics classes, and shows how, given supportive classroom circumstances, students can talk in ways that support their development of ideas about physics. Johnson explains that in normal conversation, most of the relevant information is assumed and inferred by speakers and listeners. This succeeds only when 

members of a conversation agree on a set of meanings that provide a foundation for the talk. 

Learning a new topic such as physics requires the development of new agreed-upon systems of meanings that, for the students, did not exist before. His paper discusses the following: How do students discover a need to develop meanings? How do new meanings come about? How can we support their invention?

Johnson will also present a poster at the conference on a related topic. The title is: "Identifying the development of scientific meanings by preservice teachers in a guided inquiry physics course."

"My purpose for presenting this poster is to support research on student conversations in physics courses, by providing a language that can allow researchers to talk about what is going on in group discussions," Johnson said.

Theisz chosen as contributing editor for American literature text - Top

R. D. Theisz, of the BHSU humanities department, has been invited to become a contributing editor for the prestigious Heath Anthology of American Literature, widely used in American literature courses throughout the world. He will be contributing to the Post-Civil War section of Volume II of the Anthology. Professor Theisz has also been invited to make contributions to the new Infography website published by Fields of Knowledge to provide guidance through the sources on the Internet which are often irrelevant or otherwise dubious. His contributions will address bibliographic entries on "Native American Literature" and "Native American Music."

Whiteface and his swing band will perform - Top

Frederick P. Whiteface and the Swing Fantabulous will perform at the Central States Fairgrounds in a scholarship fundraiser in his name Aug. 5 at the Fine Arts Building, 800 San Francisco Street, Rapid City. A reception will be held from 7-9 p.m. and the band will perform from 9:15 p.m. – 12:30 a.m. Tickets are $5 at the door. The performance is sponsored by the Native American Music Association. Whiteface, BHSU Class of ‘49, received the first ever lifetime achievement award at the first Native American Music Awards ceremony and he received the first best jazz/blues artist award. He was the director of city planning for Rapid City in 1976. He was also the music teacher that started the first high school band program at Wall High School.

Grants opportunities announced - Top

Below are the program materials received July 27-Aug. 2 in the grants office, Woodburn 220. For copies of the information, contact our office at 642-6627 or e-mail requests to us at grants@mystic.bhsu.edu. Fellowship information will also be posted on the Student Union bulletin board near the information desk.
  • American Political Science Association. Small Research Grant Program. Due Feb. 2, 2001.
  • American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). Various fellowships and grants. http://www.acls.org/