Volume XXIX, No. 38 • Sept. 30, 2005


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Valades and Thompson to present at national conference - top

Joe Valades
Valades
Ven Thompson
Thompson

Black Hills State University staff members Dr. Joe Valades, director of retention, and Ven Thompson, director of institutional research, will present a paper at a national retention conference next week.

The two will present, “Establishing a First-Time, Full-Time Retention Center” at the Consortium for the Student Retention Data Exchange Symposium in Dallas, Texas. The paper is among seven papers that were chosen for the consortium’s best practices track. During the conference one of the seven will be recognized with a $1,000 prize for best overall paper. In addition to the presentation, Thompson and Valades will appear on a television program produced by the consortium.

According to Valades, the 10-page paper gives an overview of the BHSU retention program and an outline of components utilized to establish the successful retention effort at BHSU.

“We’ve been selected for the best practices track and will be sharing our experiences establishing a retention program,” Valades says. “The paper illustrates step-by-step what we did to get the retention program established at BHSU. It looks at all components and what needs to be done. The paper outlines how to start a retention program as well as how people here are communicating and cooperating to make it work.”

“We started this program from ground zero,” Thompson says. “This paper outlines how we did that and how the retention program works.”

The BHSU retention program at BHSU was established in 2002 at the direction of Dr. Thomas Flickema, BHSU president, following the creation of a statewide task force on retention. Since then the retention rate at BHSU has increased steadily and is currently at the highest rate in 10 years.

“I attribute the rate of retention increase to a university-wide effort,” Valades says.

According to Valades, the mission of the retention center at BHSU is to offer a student-centered, service-oriented office focused on ensuring student success. The center provides assistance and information to students, faculty and staff in an effort to maintain student enrollment, enhance student satisfaction with their university experience and facilitate academic success.

The BHSU retention program focuses on first-time, full-time freshmen and includes a customized computer program, known as PASS, for early alerts of potential problems which leads to early intervention via personal contact.

The PASS system, an acronym for Program for Academic Student Success, was created and developed by Thompson. The software integrates current data and creates a system for faculty to easily and quickly notify the retention office of potential problems. Through PASS, faculty have access to class rosters and are asked to make referrals when they notice extended absences from class or other potential problems. The faculty referrals are sent directly to the retention office where staff members evaluate the concern and determine the best way to respond. Last year, the PASS system received more than 900 referrals.

Early intervention has shown to be very effective in helping students get back on track with their coursework, Valades says. He says that students generally respond favorably to the personal contacts.

The early alert provides an opportunity for staff members to meet with these students and offer options for improvement. Valades mentioned that two really big saves are the notices of mid-term grades and notification of student who have not pre-registered.

Although the BHSU retention rate is still below the national average, the rate is currently the highest it’s been in the last decade.

“We have room to grow and improve. We are shooting for the national benchmark,” Valades says.


Chrysler will publish paper in international journal - top

Earl Chrysler
Chrysler

A publication co-authored by Dr. Earl Chrysler, professor in the College of Business and Technology at Black Hills State University, and Stuart Van Auken, Florida Gulf Coast University, was recently accepted for publication in the refereed International Journal of Information and Communications Technology Education.

In their paper, “Using Indices of Student Satisfaction to Assess an MIS Program,” Chrysler and Van Auken present the results of an analysis of Management Information Systems (MIS) alumni evaluations showing the perceived relative value of required courses during their first year on the job, then again in their current position. Alumni also indicated their evaluation of the entire MIS program using a series of bipolar semantic differentials.

Chrysler and Van Auken developed multiple regression equations that indicated the impact of different types of courses on the satisfaction students perceived with the entire MIS program during. It was found that while both sets of courses contributed equally to student satisfaction during the first year on the job, the set of courses that had a distinct managerial emphasis made a stronger contribution to student satisfaction in their current positions.

Chrysler, who has been a member of the BHSU faculty since 2002, has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in business administration from San Diego State University. He received his doctorate in business administration from the University of Southern California.


BHSU students find ways to "Make a Difference" - top

Spearfish residents should expect the unexpected as students at Black Hills State University reach out to the community with “random acts of kindness” in anticipation of national Make a Difference Day which is Saturday, Oct. 22.

According to Megan Wyett, a senior education major from Casper, Wyo., the student leader who is the driving force behind the special day of volunteering at BHSU, students decided to participate in the national “Make a Difference Day” because they want to be more involved in and contribute to the community.

There will be a community informational meeting Thursday, Oct. 6 at 6 p.m. in the market place of the David B. Miller Yellow Jacket Student Union to discuss volunteer ideas and suggestions. The volunteer activities are being coordinated by Michael Smith and Donna Trainum with AmeriCorps VISTA at BHSU. Students from several student organizations will do a variety of projects throughout the day.

“This will be a chance to get the campus out into the Spearfish community and a way for BHSU students to give back to the community,” Wyett said. She noted that sometimes BHSU students live in the area for just a few years while others choose to make Spearfish home after graduation. Either way, Wyett wants students to show their appreciation for the Spearfish community and get others involved.

“This is only one day, but it’s a chance to represent how students are out there making a difference throughout the year. Our students have been making a difference in the community for a long time,” Dr. Judith Haislett, vice president of student life at BHSU, said. “This day, designated as a specific volunteer day, is an opportunity to recognize and thank the students who participate in community service activities. We’re hoping it will encourage other students to volunteer as well.”

Make a Difference Day at BHSU is part of a national effort sponsored by USA Weekend and the Points of Light Foundation. Now in its 14th year, Make a Difference Day is the nation’s largest single day of volunteering and is known as the nation’s day of doing good. USA Weekend will select several participating organizations to receive grants which are then donated to local charities.

To find out more about Make A Difference Day or to volunteer call 642-6471.


Swarm Day parade winners announced - top

Woodburn Hall received recognition as the best BHSU office float and for the best use of theme in the 2005 Swarm Day parade. This year’s theme was “Hollywood Homecoming.”

Woodburn Hall float for the 2005 Swarm Day parade

Black Hills State University and the Spearfish community displayed their homecoming spirit during the annual Swarm Day parade last week. This year’s theme was “Hollywood Homecoming.”

The 2005 winning floats were: BHSU Alumni Association, best community organization; First Premier Bankcard, best community business; Heide Hall, best overall; Pangburn Hall, best residence hall; Psychology Club, best student organization; Woodburn Hall, best BHSU office; and Woodburn Hall, best use of theme.

Winners of the marching band competition were: Sundance High School, best band overall and best Division A band; Spearfish High School, best Division AA band; Kadoka High School, best Division B band; and Spearfish Middle School, best middle school band.

See all the winning floats.


University Assessment Committee minutes - top

The University Assessment Committee met Monday, Sept. 26 at 12 noon in Meier Hall room 207.

Present were Earley, S. Hupp, Sickler, C. Cremean, J. Alsup, D. Wessel, Hagerty, Siewert, Romkema, and Sarkar.

Membership

Chair presented 05-06 membership list and introduced student representative, Ms. Brandi Sickler.

Operational guidelines

Chair reported that the academic computer representative should be dropped. Other editorial changes were made. A motion was made and seconded to approve. The motion passed.

Annual assessment reports

Chair handed out the list of majors which have submitted annual reports in the past. Discussion was held about how to frame annual reports with new general education requirements. There was some discussion about how to indicate improvement in remedial courses and retention and how to separate Ellsworth academic achievement out of total data. The committee agreed chair should ask if it was okay to dedicate this academic year and ask for plans for assessing new Board of Regents (BOR) goals of global issues, intensive writing, and undergraduate research/creative activity. The committee also agreed faculty should collect data for 04-05 and 05-06 to be incorporated in an assessment report next year. The plans for evaluating the new BOR goals would be due Feb. 6 if the proposal is approved.

Total Quality Enhancement (TQE)

Alsup reported that the College of Education was involved in a TQE grant to evaluate student achievement in education degree programs as BHSU. It would be more detailed and specific than the annual reports done for the University Assessment Committee but was designed to provide assessment of student academic achievement. He and Dr. Pat Simpson in the College of Education were the co-chairs and would be contacting faculty to see if they could participate.

The committee agreed to meet Monday, Oct. 17 at 12 noon in the Meier Hall conference room and bring any relevant materials they might have.


Grant opportunities announced - top

Below are the program materials received in the Grants Office, Woodburn 309, through Wednesday, Sept. 28. For copies of the information, contact the office at 642-6204 or e-mail requests to grants@bhsu.edu. Fellowship information will also be posted on the Student Union bulletin board near the information desk.

Basic Research for Chemical Imaging (DOE)

The Division of Chemical Sciences, Geosciences and Biosciences, Office of Basic Energy Sciences (BES) of the Office of Science (SC), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in keeping with its mission to assist in strengthening the Nation’s scientific research enterprise through the support of basic science, announces its interest in receiving grant applications for projects on basic research needed to advance chemical imaging. They are interested in forefront advances of imaging techniques with spatial resolution on the molecular scale relevant to the basic science of chemical and physical transformations. Of particular interest are applications that combine molecular-scale spatial resolution and ultrafast temporal resolution to explore energy flow, molecular dynamics, breakage or formation of chemical bonds, or conformational changes in nanoscale systems. Proposed research must advance the scientific objectives within one of the nine core research areas in the Chemical Sciences, Geosciences and Biosciences Division: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Sciences; Chemical Physics; Photochemistry and Radiation Research; Catalysis and Chemical Transformations; Separations and Analysis; Heavy Element Chemistry; Chemical Energy and Chemical Engineering; Geosciences Research; and Energy Biosciences Research.

Deadline: March 15, 2006. Detailed descriptions of core research areas can be found at www.science.doe.gov/bes/brochures/CRA.html.


Higher Education Challenge Grants Program (USDA)

The Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service requests applicatons for the Higher Education Challenge Grants Program (HEC) for fiscal year 2006 to stimulate and enable colleges and universities to provide the quality of education necessary to produce baccalaurate or higher degree level graduates capable of strengthening the nation's food and agricultural scientific and professional workforce. The purpose of HEC is to strengthen institutional capabilities to improve teaching programs in the food and agricultural sciences or in rural economic, community and business development, including curriculum, faculty, scientific instrumentation, instructional delivery systems, and student recruitment and retention, to respond to identified state, regional, national or international educational needs.

Deadline: Feb. 2, 2006. A link to the full announcement can be found at www.fedgrants.gov/Applicants/USDA/CSREES/OEP/USDA-GRANTS-092605-004/Grant.html.


Information Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (NSF)

The National Science Foundation’s ITEST is designed to increase the opportunities for students and teachers to learn about, experience, and use information technologies within the context of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), including Information Technology (IT) courses. It is in direct response to the concern about shortages of information technology workers in the United States. Supported projects are intended to provide opportunities for both school-age children and for teachers to build the skills and knowledge needed to advance their study, and to function and contribute in a technologically rich society. ITEST has two components: (a) youth-based projects with strong emphases on career and educational paths; and (b) comprehensive projects for students and teachers. This solicitation complements and is not intended to overlap with the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program described in Section IX. Information Technology (IT) is within the scope of the ATE program, so proposals for the development of IT classroom materials for students or teachers, or for professional development of IT teachers in support of technical careers, should be submitted to the ATE program.

Deadline: The preliminary proposal is due by Nov. 2, 2005. The full proposal is due by Feb. 24, 2006. See http://fedgrants.gov/Applicants/NSF/OIRM/HQ/05-621/Grant.html for more information.


Innovations at the Interface with the Sciences and Engineering (NSF)

This solicitation describes the opportunities available for support through the National Science Foundation's Mathematical Sciences Priority Area in the following three categories: Interactions between Mathematical Sciences and Computer Science (MSPA-MCS); Interactions between Mathematical Sciences and Engineering (MSPA-ENG); and Interactions between Mathematical Sciences and Physical Sciences (MSPA-MPS). Other opportunities supported through the Mathematical Sciences Priority Area are described in other existing solicitations. They are listed below for information and completeness of the existing competitions in the Mathematical Sciences Priority Area. Investigators interested in the competitions should consult with the specific solicitations listed below:

Investments in the Mathematical Sciences Priority Area will deepen support for fundamental research in mathematics and statistics, and the integration of mathematical and statistical research across the full range of science and engineering disciplines. Investments in interdisciplinary research will focus primarily on mathematical and statistical challenges posed by large data sets, managing and modeling uncertainty, and modeling complex nonlinear systems. Innovative educational activities that foster closer connections between research and education in the mathematical sciences will also be supported.

Deadline: Dec. 20, 2005. See http://fedgrants.gov/Applicants/NSF/OIRM/HQ/05-622/Grant.html for a link to the full announcement.


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