Volume XXIX, No. 17 • May 6, 2005

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Welcome to Black Hills State University
  • Carol Ginsbach, custodial worker, Facilities Services


  • Angela Hines, secretary, EAFB Branch Campus

Hesson honored as distinguished faculty member - top


Dr. James Hesson, Black Hills State University professor of biokinetics in the division of physical education and health since 1990, was recently chosen by his peers to receive the prestigious Distinguished Faculty Award. Hesson will be recognized during commencement for his achievements.

Hesson, a lifelong promoter of health and wellness, is a natural at his chosen profession because his goal in life is reflected by what he does everyday. As a health professor, Hesson may have found the perfect outlet for what he describes as his “purpose in life.”

“My purpose in life is to motivate and inspire others to achieve success,” Hesson says. “What I enjoy most about my position here is the opportunity every day in every class to motivate and inspire students to achieve success.”

Hesson makes the most of his ongoing opportunities to motivate and inspire students by not only providing information for the students but also serving as a role model for students by being physically active and health conscious himself.  

“What you do speaks louder than what you say. If behaviors don’t match words, there’s no credibility,” Hesson says. “I teach the benefits of exercise; my students see me exercise every day; and they see me enjoying the positive benefits of exercise.”

A colleague who nominated Hesson for the award says that he teaches with enthusiasm and enjoyment and that students respond to and appreciate his efforts.

“Dr. Hesson serves as a role model to our students in the classroom and in modeling a healthy lifestyle. He treats everyone with courtesy, respect and dignity. He is always professional and he is dedicated to the students and to Black Hills State University,” according to the nomination letter.  

A member of 10 professional organizations, Hesson has authored, co-authored or contributed to more than 30 textbooks since 1984. He has written several books on weight training and other fitness activities and served as a contributing author and research resource for Esquire magazine in 1996.  Hesson averages two publications per year including textbooks, textbook chapters, instructors’ manuals and test banks. He also reviews new textbooks for several publishing companies.

Hesson remains humble about his accomplishments noting that the BHSU community has a large number of extremely dedicated and hardworking members. 

“The fact that I was chosen for this award at BHSU, where I know there are so many deserving recipients, makes the award an even greater honor,” Hesson says.

Through his lifetime, Hesson has seen major shifts in his field and has been at the forefront of several exercise and fitness changes. Hesson, who began advocating weightlifting as a lifetime fitness activity long before it was accepted as such, noted that he has taken a lot of abuse for his recommendations and ideas.

He recalls being on a high school football team which had a rule against weightlifting for team members. It has been gratifying for him to witness the changes and see weightlifting recognized as a valuable part of mainstream exercise guidelines.

“When I played football in high school, if athletes were caught weightlifting, they’d be kicked off the team,” Hesson says. By the 70s, Hesson notes that  weightlifting had become more acceptable, at least for athletes. By the 80s, Hesson says that many teams required weightlifting which was a complete reversal from earlier years.

“Now team members who don’t lift weights face expulsion from the team,” Hesson says. “I recognized the benefits of weightlifting and lifetime fitness. That’s why I published books on the subject.”

Hesson began weight training 20 years before authoring a book on the subject and continues to promote weight training and fitness as a lifetime activity.

 “Actually weight training is a life-giving activity because when you do this you are able to enjoy life more. You can go do more fun things,” Hesson explains. “Exercise has to be enjoyable. People seek pleasure and avoid pain, so exercise needs to be a pleasurable activity.”

Hesson is active in many on-campus and community organizations. He also serves on many campus committees, as many as 14 in one year. Hesson is the only original member of the BHSU strategic planning committee and currently is serving his third three-year term on the faculty senate.

Hesson presents health and fitness information several times a year to local schools, churches and service organizations as well as giving professional presentations at state, regional and national conferences.  He is a member of the Spearfish Lions Club and volunteers to help at track meets, cross country meets and many other events.

Hesson worked every summer for 10 years, beginning in 1993, at the United States Olympic Training Center (USOC) in Colorado Springs, Colo. He worked with world-class athletes and the latest training and conditioning techniques.

“It was a great opportunity for me to give something back to the Olympic movement. It was an opportunity to work with world-class athletes and help optimize their performance,” Hesson says. “It was a great experience for me and very beneficial for my students. The knowledge I gained at the USOC was directly applicable to many of the courses I teach at BHSU.”

Hesson earned his doctoral degree in scientific basis of human motion from Brigham Young University in 1980 where he graduated as valedictorian. Hesson earned bachelor's and master's degrees in physical education, health, and athletic coaching from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. He has also earned three of the highest and most difficult certifications in his field and is believed to be the only person teaching in South Dakota who has earned all three of these certifications.

Before joining the BHSU faculty, Hesson served as a professor and coach at Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss. He also taught and coached at Rice University in Houston, Texas; Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah; Corio Technical School in Australia; the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, and in Lincoln Public Schools. 

Hall named dean of the College of Education at BHSU - top


Dr. Nancy Hall, vice president for academic affairs, at Minot State University, has been named the new dean of the College of Education at Black Hills State University.

“I am passionate about teacher education and public education and feel that this position is a good match for my skills, interests and experiences,” Hall said. “When I came to BHSU, I was so impressed with the university and the College of Education. It’s an honor for me to be selected to lead the College of Education at Black Hills State. The faculty are interested in continuous improvement and I look forward to working with them to help the college grow and develop.”

Hall says that she and her husband view the move to Spearfish as a “move home.” They previously lived in the Black Hills region for 15 years and Hall says she “still has a soft spot in her heart for the Hills.”

Hall, who has been at Minot State University (MSU) since 1994, previously served as principal for a Rapid City elementary school and at Douglas High School near Ellsworth Air Force Base.

According to Dr. Dean Myers, vice president of academic affairs at BHSU, Hall’s background, experiences and connections to the area will serve her well in her new role as dean of the College of Education at BHSU. 

“We are very pleased that Dr. Hall accepted the deans’ position and look forward to her arrival in July,” Myers said. “Her background in education administration is exactly what we were looking for in a dean candidate.”

Hall completed her doctorate in educational administration the University of South Dakota in 1991. Since then she has continued with formal and informal training in the assessment of learning, accreditation, community leadership and selecting and developing leaders. She recently attended the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota for an immersion program in educational leadership.

Hall has a master’s degree in education administration as well as endorsements for elementary principal, reading specialist and gifted education from South Dakota State University. She earned her undergraduate degree in elementary education from the University of Minnesota.

Hall has significant leadership experience in primary through high school education as well as higher education. Before joining the faculty at MSU, Hall served as an elementary teacher, remedial diagnostician, administrator of gifted education, assistant principal and principal.

For the last five years, Hall has served as the chief academic officer at MSU. Her duties include responsibility for the areas of academic policy, planning, curriculum, faculty development, academic personnel administration, library, records, academic budgeting, research and the centers of excellence. She previously served as dean of institutional planning and chair of the education department at MSU.

Hall has an impressive record of grant writing and publishing. Under her leadership, MSU grants and contracts grew from $2.7 million to $7.7 million. She recently co-authored a book which sold more than 10,000 copies and won the national Golden Lamp Award and has led to numerous invitations for speaking engagements. Hall notes that she has had a grant funded or has been published in a refereed journal every year since she has been involved in higher education.  Hall has extensive experience with educational technology and the accreditation process as well as a strong record of service on the local, regional, state and national level.

Dr. Thomas Flickema, president of BHSU, said he is delighted that Hall will be joining the administration at the university.

“Dr. Hall brings a wealth of experience to our campus, on the K-12 and the university levels. Moreover, she has extensive working relationships with a wide range of off-campus constituencies that will be beneficial to the university.”

Hall will begin her new position in July.

Black Hills State University will hold 149th commencement May 7 - top

The 149th Black Hills State University commencement is scheduled for Saturday, May 7 at 10 a.m. in the gymnasium of the Donald E. Young Sports and Fitness Center.

Degrees will be awarded to 365 students including 40 master’s degrees, two bachelor of arts degrees, two bachelor of applied technical science degrees, 222 bachelor of science degrees, 70 bachelor of science in education degrees, and 29 associate degrees.

The commencement address will be given by Dr. Kathryn Johnson, who was recently named to the South Dakota Board of Regents. Dr. Albin Sandau, 2004 Distinguished Faculty member, will speak to the graduates. Diplomas will be presented by Dr. Thomas Flickema, BHSU president, and Ms. April Meeker, BHSU registrar.

Retiring faculty members will be formally recognized during the ceremony. The 2005 Distinguished Faculty Award will be presented to Dr. James Hesson, biokinetics professor in the division of physical education and health.

Music will be provided by the BHSU Band, under the direction of Mr. Christopher Hahn, instructor of music; and the Black Hills Singers, under the direction of Mr. Stephen Parker, assistant professor of music. Jonathan Kelly, BHSU music graduate, will accompany the Black Hills Singers.

BHSU President Thomas Flickema will host a reception for the graduates and their families and friends, and BHSU faculty and staff members immediately following the commencement ceremony. The reception will be held in the Young Center Field House.

An honors breakfast will be held prior to graduation at 8 a.m. in the David B. Miller Yellow Jacket Student Union Jacket Legacy Room. The cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude graduates will be honored. Also, the female and male graduates with the highest grade point average will be recognized. Kerry Burns, an English major from Philip, will be honored as the highest-ranking female graduate. Scott Hobert, a mass communications major from Harrold, will be honored as the highest-ranking male graduate.

Wolff Helmer

Also honored at the breakfast will be the 2005 outstanding faculty, staff, and students who as selected by the BHSU Student Senate. Dr. David Wolff, associate history professor, will be honored as the Outstanding Faculty Member; Jean Helmer, director of United Ministries, will be honored as the Outstanding Staff Member; Ian Laber, a political science major from Winner, will be honored as the Outstanding Male Student; and Venessa Adcock, a senior human services major from Albuquerque, N.M., will be honored as the Outstanding Female Student.


CSA employees honored - top

The Career Service Advisory (CSA) Council at Black Hills State University recently hosted a luncheon to honor employees for their years of service. The annual CSA scholarship was also presented during the luncheon and special CSA awards presented.

Nancy Shuck, president of the CSA Council, emceed the awards ceremony.

 “BHSU employees are dedicated, positive, helpful, cheerful, and professional,” Shuck said.

Lil Odell and Kay Kerney were honored for 25 years of service. LeAnn Vandine, Roxy Schmit, Diane Mabey, Jane Dunbar, Shirley Brownell, and James Bechtold were honored for 15 years of service. Ralph Hoover was honored for 10 years of service. Nancy Shuck, John Wilkinson, Joanne Wilkening, Lynn Langer, Donna Bucher and Hasina Ahmad were recognized for five years of service.

Odell, who is supervisor of the printing center, does everything from ordering supplies and paper, to running the equipment, to providing customer service, to managing employees and additional work-study students. She was described as someone who “possesses excellent customer and employee relation skills.”

Kerney is senior secretary in the College of Arts and Sciences. Kerney’s supervisor, said that, while 25 years of service is a remarkable work record, it is not the longevity but the quality of the service that makes Kerney worthy of high recognition and regard. She described Kearney as “a dedicated and professional senior secretary with extensive responsibilities.”

Vandine handles fleet bookings and billings, parking, payroll and timesheets, and travel among other duties for the facilities services department. Vandine was praised for bringing “a friendly, can do attitude to everything she does.”

Schmit oversees all administrative systems management, reporting, data extracts and data interfaces for technical support services. Schmit also serves on several statewide committees for the Board of Regents and BHSU. Her supervisor noted that Schmit does an excellent job of balancing all the demands on her time and ensuring each deadline is met.

Mabey has worked at the child care center for 15 years, first as a child care provider now as coordinator of the center. Caring for the children and providing a safe, fun-filled, and educational environment are Mabey’s main duties.  She is also responsible for the food program, state child care assistance reports, parent billing, employee schedules, ordering supplies, and basically everything the center needs to remain operational, including following state licensing policies and procedures.

Dunbar, who now works in the registrar’s office, has also worked in the student union, for the residence life office and the business office. At the registrar’s office, Dunbar writes the degree audits and tracks curriculum changes. She also develops university catalogs and oversees the day-to-day operations of the office.  Dunbar’s supervisor noted that she has had a positive impact on the university and enjoys being challenged in an environment that is ever-changing.

Brownell is a financial aid assistant at the Ellsworth branch campus. Brownell was praised for being “excellent help for the students and a real asset to BHSU.” Her supervisor also noted that Brownell is “meticulous in her work and does a fabulous job.”

Bechtold, a custodial crew leader, has worked in Jonas Hall, the Young Center and Woodburn Hall. Currently, Bechtold oversees and assists his crew in maintaining the Young Center.  Bechtold’s supervisor said that his leadership abilities assure that assigned tasks will be completed in a timely manner. He was praised for his continuous “can do” attitude. 

Hoover has worked as a custodian in Wenona Cook, Pangburn, Humbert, Heidepriem and Thomas halls, in addition to the student union and the campus apartments. Hoover was praised for his hard work to maintain a safe and healthy environment for hall residents and his ability to handle stressful situations in a calm manner.

Shuck currently works for both the division of physical education and residence life office. She is also serving as president of CSA Council for the third consecutive year and is a member of the strategic planning committee and is the Board of Regent’s CSA council representative. Shuck is called on to serve as recording secretary for many committees because of her ability to take shorthand and write detailed and accurate meeting notes.

Wilkinson, who was originally hired as a groundskeeper and has been promoted to irrigation specialist, now installs, maintains and oversees all irrigation systems on campus. Wilkinson also aids in all office relocations and helps in many other grounds activities. It was noted that Wilkinson is “an ideal supporter of BHSU athletics” who often participates in the BHSU alumni basketball game.

Wilkening, accounting assistant, works in the business office. She handles accounts payable, state funds and capital projects, and hires and supervises work-study students. Wilkening was described as a “personable and always professional employee who is an amazingly quick study on new procedures.”

Langer, who now works in the Marketplace for dining services, previously served as assistant supervisor for dining service’s bakery. Langer’s supervisor noted that she likes to try different recipes and ideas to make the very best product she can and noted that Langer will help with the success of the marketplace.

Bucher worked for university support services before joining the grants office staff as a senior secretary.  Her responsibilities have evolved from receiving and processing to providing direct administrative support for the South Dakota Title II program, Project EXPORT and other major grants.

Ahmad, accounting assistant in the business office, works with student accounts receivable, the administration of the monthly payment plan, the administration of the Perkins Loan Program, and general bookkeeping for the BHSU Foundation.  Her supervisor noted that Ahmad is continually looking for ways to improve customer service and “goes the extra mile to strengthen students’ knowledge of the opportunities available to them in the programs she administers.”

Diane Bishop and Becky Bruce were also honored at the luncheon as the “CSA employees of the semester.”

Bernadine Butcher, a sophomore communication arts major from Wall, received the CSA scholarship which is awarded annually to a non-traditional student. Butcher, a single mother, works in the university printing center and maintains a grade point average above 3.5. Shuck praised Butcher for her persistence in working to complete her education to create a better her life for herself and her children while serving as a positive role model by showing that people can reach his or her potential no matter what stage of life or challenges he or she is facing.   

Lil Odell, director of the printing center, and Kay Kerney, senior secretary in the College of Arts and Sciences, were honored for 25 years of service to Black Hills State University.

LeAnn Vandine, secretary for facilities services; Jane Dunbar, registration officer; Roxy Schmit, data processing supervisor; and James Bechtold, custodial crew leader; were honored for 15 years of service to BHSU. Not pictured are: Diane Mabey, director of the child care center; and Shirley Brownell, financial aid assistant at Ellsworth.

Nancy Shuck, secretary; Joanne Wilkening, accounting assistant; and Lynn Langer, baker; were honored for five years of service to BHSU. Not pictured are Donna Bucher, senior secretary; Hasina Ahmad, accounting assistant; and John Wilkinson, grounds crew leader. Diane Bishop and Becky Bruce were also honored at the luncheon as the “CSA employees of the semester.”
Bernadine Butcher (left), a sophomore communication arts major from Wall, accepts the CSA scholarship from Nancy Shuck, CSA president.  

Flickema featured in patriotism video - top


A video created to encourage patriotism among young people includes an introduction and other comments by Dr. Thomas Flickema, president of Black Hills State University.


In the opening and closing remarks, Flickema discusses the true meaning of patriotism and encourages all people to become patriotic citizens by doing their civic duty. Flickema also praises the local National Guard unit, which headquartered on the BHSU campus and includes several university staff members and students.


The video, produced by the Committee for Citizen Awareness (CCA) based in Washington, D.C., will be sent to all public and private high schools, community and junior colleges and cable television stations in the state. Copies will also be sent to chamber of commerce offices and public libraries in the region.


Rep. Stephanie Herseth is also featured in the video. According to the producers, high profile citizens are chosen from each state to create a local connection to national civic issues.


The videotape explores the role of patriotism in America and the obligations and benefits of patriotism both in daily life and in national/international crises such as the aftermath of September 11. The videotape also features Former Secretary of State Colin Powell; war veterans former Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole (R-KS) and former Senator Max Cleland (D-GA); and Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE), ranking Democrat and former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.


According to the Committee for Citizen Awareness website, this video and a series of other related videos will be viewed by more than 30 million people nationwide. They feature distinguished participants such as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Former Education Secretary Richard Riley and Caroline Kennedy, author and daughter of President John F. Kennedy. The CCA receives more than 400 notes per month from schools and other organizations expressing their appreciation for them. And one survey found that 84 percent of the high school students who viewed the videotapes said they would recommend them to a friend.

Honors program receives national recognition - top


The honors program at Black Hills State University has been awarded one of three National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) consulting grants for nearly established honors programs.

The matching grant of $600 will help in underwriting the fees of a consultant who will assist the BHSU honors program in faculty development and an external review of the program. A consultant will be selected from the list of NCHC recommended site visitors.

“These grants are a new project to help us give something back to the membership in a practical way,” said Dr. Robert Spurrier of Oklahoma State University, the chairman of the NCHC committee which designed the project and evaluated the applications. “The award is recognition of the potential the Black Hills State University Honors Program has. NCHC is delighted to provide assistance to new programs of exceptional merit.”

The grant proposal was submitted by Dr. Roger Ochse, professor of English who is also director of the BHSU Honors Program.

“We are proud to be one of three programs selected internationally for this award,” Ochse says. “We have a great emerging program with a lot of great talent. There is much potential for the honors program at BHSU. This national recognition from a prestigious organization proves that.

The South Dakota Board of Regents recently approved an expanded curriculum for the BHSU Honors Program. The university Honors Program offers special challenges and opportunities to a select number of academically-talented and highly-motivated undergraduates according to Ochse.

Members of the Honors Program are drawn from all three colleges at BHSU to enrich their education and encourage them to fulfill their potential at BHSU. Members have the unique opportunity to interact with other honors students in classes, colloquia and social functions.

The BHSU Honors Program, which was established in June 2003, offers special honors sections of first year courses, interdisciplinary team-taught colloquia classes and opportunities to take courses for honors credit through individual “honors option” contract. Most honors courses are comprised of twenty-five students or fewer and are taught by selected faculty members who are dedicated to the honors concept of challenge and individual attention. Honors scholars can satisfy honors credit requirements through individualized research, field experiences, internships, and “honors options” within regular courses.

NCHC is an organization with national offices in Lincoln, Neb. More than 700 honors programs at colleges, universities and community colleges nationwide comprise its membership. Honors programs at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois, and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi also received the recognition and consulting grant from NCHC.

NCHC’s mission is to serve honors professionals and students and to advance undergraduate education. NCHC values an atmosphere that promotes academic opportunity and challenge for honors students and faculty. Within this intellectual environment, members of honors communities demonstrate integrity, respect, and excellence. 

Duet club to perform - top

All American Duos” is the theme of the Spearfish Piano Duet Club spring concert which will be held Tuesday, May 10 at 7:30 p.m. in Clare and Josef Meier Hall on the campus of Black Hills State University.

Performers include Karen Blunk, Priscilla Romkema, Pamela Baum, Janeen Larsen, Laura Kolb, Megan Moore, Morgan Miller, Jean Arehart, Sandra Asheim, Jennifer Bailey, Marianne Bieber, Rita Hicks, Synva Chrysler, and Rita Hicks.

The concert is free and open to the public. A variety of music by American composers will be performed, from classical pieces to ragtime and jazz favorites such as “Tiger Rag” and “Fiddle Faddle.”

The Spearfish Piano Duet Club is open to advanced pianists who wish to learn and perform duet literature as well as any interested listeners. University students and local pianists and piano teachers over the age 18 are encouraged to become members. For more information call 642-6241.   

The Spearfish Piano Duet Club, which includes university students and community pianists as members, will present a concert Tuesday, May 10 at 7:30 p.m. Among the performers will be, front row, left to right, Synva Chrysler and Marianne Bieber, and back row, left to right, Jean Arehart and Sandra Asheim.

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