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Reception will honor retiring faculty and staff and employee awards recipients

A BHSU employee reception is set for Tuesday, April 30 from 2-4 p.m. in the Student Union Jacket Legacy Room.  This reception is designed to recognize the distinguished faculty member, retiring faculty, longevity pin recipients, and those employees receiving awards.  The award presentation will begin at 2:30 p.m.

One hundred and twenty-five years of teaching experience at Black Hills State University will be lost this spring as five university professors will retire.

Two professors from the College of Education and three professors from the College of Arts and Sciences will leave their academic posts this year. Stepping down are Max Durgin, mathematics professor, 37 years; Patricia Fallbeck, professor of education, 30 years; Audrey Gabel, professor of biology, 17 years; Larry Landis, professor of sociology, 16 years; and Darlene Swartz, professor of education, 25 years.

Durgin began his association with BHSU as an undergraduate student in the late 50s and early 60s. He was a student athlete and even ran for student body president against another to-be faculty member, Tom Hills, in 1961. Completing his bachelorís degree in 1962, Durgin embarked on his professional teaching career as a math teacher in Belle Fourche.

The popular math teacher completed his masterís degree from the University of Northern Colorado in 1965 and accepted a teaching position at Black Hills State. By 1997 he had completed his doctorate in research evaluation and design at the University of South Dakota and continued his career as a member of the BHSU mathematics department. Throughout the years he has taught mathematics to hundreds of university students. In recent years he has expanded his academic proficiencies to include computer-consulting work and received a grant to develop a software program for county governments.

He has attended conferences and has been involved with his colleagues in revamping and updating the math curriculum to reflect the latest technology in math education.

During his 37 years in the classroom, Durgin has witnessed vast changes in teachingófrom blackboards and chalk to computers and graphing calculators. His dedication to teaching mathematics will be perpetuated through the Max Durgin Mathematics Scholarship recently established at BHSU.

Fallbeck has spent 30 years teaching and working in the special education area. She has held positions in physical therapy, hospital schools, and classrooms for children with mental retardation, special needs and emotional disorders. To update her teaching skills, she recently left the halls of academia for a year to teach in a second-grade classroom with a large number of children with special needs.

After graduating from BHSU in 1969 with a degree in special education, Fallbeck began her teaching career in the Rapid City public school system. In 1972 she accepted a teaching assignment at BHSU. She completed a masterís degree in 1970 at the University of Minnesota and a doctorate in education in 1981 from the University of Northern Colorado.

In addition to teaching hundreds of special-education majors and supervising many student teachers, she has been actively involved with professional special education, mental retardation and education associations. Her involvement has earned her much recognition. She was recently honored by the Northern Hills Training Center for her commitment and contributions. She is a two-time winner of the Mildred C. Thomson Award from Region VIII of the American Association on Mental Retardation. She also earned recognition twice as South Dakota Educator of the Year by the Association of Retarded Citizens. At BHSU she was recognized as advisor of the year in 1994.

A speaker at a recent recognition banquet summed it up best by describing Fallbeck as a ďdedicated professional who prepares others to be competent, confident and compassionate in providing service to people with disabilities.Ē

In recent years Fallbeck has been actively involved in teaching with technology and has taught several distance-education classes.

Gabel is completing her 17th and final year at BHSU teaching and serving as chairperson of the science department. When not in the classroom or handling administrative duties, she is involved with her students doing research.

Her goal as an educator is to transfer her interest, love, dedication and enthusiasm of biology and mycology to her students. She has done that through her research and by involving undergraduate students in her academic passion.

During the past several years Gabel and her students have been researching mushrooms and other fleshy fungi in the Black Hills. A total of 1,934 specimens representing 366 species were collected from multiple sites. Results have been sent to the South Dakota Natural Heritage Program. Data from her work represents the first documentation of fungi in the Black Hills. She also plans to write a field guide to common mushrooms of the Black Hills.

As a result of her research, Gabel has presented and published numerous articles regarding her research on fungal diseases of grasses. She serves as a fungal consultant for Mycological Questions and Problems in South Dakota, is a reviewer for the Journal of Iowa Academy of Science and a reviewer for Proceedings of the North American Prairie Conference. She is active with many campus committees and also holds memberships in several professional academies and academic societies.

The dedicated scientist came to BHSU in 1985 after a teaching assignment at Iowa State University. She earned her bachelorís degree at Nebraska Wesleyan University in 1961, a masterís degree in 1979 and a doctorate in mycology and botany at Iowa State University in 1985.

Landis has held numerous teaching and administrative positions at one time or another during his distinguished 43-year professional career. He has been a teacher, department chairman, and curriculum coordinator at the high school level. At the higher education level, he has served as a director of applied social science and economic statistics, assistant to the vice president for academic affairs, director of institutional research, acting director of admissions, assistant vice president for academic affairs, vice president for academic affairs, state director of the postsecondary review entity program, director of institutional research, interim dean, interim vice president, and professor of sociology.

Landis earned a bachelorís degree at Western Illinois University in 1959 and taught in public high schools in central and northern Illinois for six years. He completed a masterís degree in social science from WIU in 1963 and a doctorate in sociology from the University of Iowa in 1974.

In 1965 he accepted a teaching position at Drake University where he taught sociology. At Drake, he held several administrative positions; including assistant vice president for academic affairs. In 1986, Landis was offered the position of vice president for academic affairs at BHSU with the Clifford Trump administration. In 1995 Landis accepted an appointment from the regentsí office to head the State Postsecondary Review Program (SPRE) monitoring student loan default rates.

Before returning to BHSU as a professor of sociology in 1997, Landis put his administrative talents to work again as interim dean of academic affairs at Huron University and later as interim vice president for academic affairs at Dickinson State University.

As a teaching professor, the BH sociologist pursued his scholarly interests in the application of technology and the electronic media to instruction and the application of social and cultural perspectives to the analysis and understanding of institutions and social change.

During his teaching and administrative years, Landis has continued to publish and present research projects to academic conferences and to professional journals. His scholarly skills and work ethic were recognized in 2001 when he was awarded the BHSU Spirit of Work Award for Excellence. He has served on many advisory committees, councils and task forces throughout the region in the spirit of community service and professional development.

Swartz has been an advocate for children and teaching college students about the importance of a quality early childhood education. She has pursued her teaching goals with zeal since she her arrival at BHSU in 1977.

Her teaching career began in 1955 when she completed her bachelorís degree in secondary English at the University of South Dakota. She taught for the Bureau of Indian Affairs for ten years and then became a reading teacher at Redlake and Pine Ridge Schools until 1969.

During those early teaching years, Swartz continued her education, earning a masterís degree in elementary education from the University of Northern Colorado in 1957. By 1970 she had obtained a second masterís degree in learning disabilities and special education from Northern State University in Aberdeen.

After completing her doctorate in reading from the University of Northern Colorado in 1972, she accepted a faculty position at Northern Montana College and a year later served as school principal at the college until 1975.

As a professor at BHSU, she has taught numerous early childhood classes, practicum classes, guidance classes, methods classes and supervised student teachers. She has worked to bring accreditation to the universityís child-care center and worked with the state Department of Education and Cultural Affairs to establish early childhood standards.

In recent years Swartz has worked to incorporate the latest technological concepts in her teaching. She received a Governorís Grant Award integrating current computer technology and software into the courses she teaches.

A dedicated faculty member, Swartz is involved with university councils and committees and holds memberships in several professional education associations. She also acts as a consultant to education programs and parent groups and is serving as a field researcher for a testing company.

Swartz is involved in several community organizations, networks, centers and agencies concerned with the education of young children.

Her dedication to teaching and learning has earned her the distinction as a role model for early childhood instruction.

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