Volume XXV No. 20 • May 18, 2001

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.

Faculty/staff recognized for outstanding service - Top

Black Hills State University employees recognized for outstanding service this year are front, Margaret Lewis, committee award; second row, Leone Geppert accepting the outstanding service award for Tim Johnston and his food service staff; Sheryl Styles and Lil Odell (standing back), university area service award; Cheryl Leahy, outstanding university service award; Chris Schultes, student service award; and Jade Harney, student service award.

Several staff members and one faculty member were recognized recently at the annual Black Hills State University Special Recognition Tea.

Margaret Lewis, assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, was nominated for, and won, the “Committee Award.” This award is for faculty and staff who have been actively involved in campus committees.

Lewis was nominated by Riley Chrisman who wrote in his nomination, “Margaret has always served the institution through her work on committees—faculty senate, general education council and the curriculum committee, just to name a few. She is very intense and quite concerned about students and spends considerable extra time with her advisees.”

The Student Service Award, which was presented to Jade Harney and Chris Schultes, is conferred upon an individual who best fulfills or promotes BHSU’s mission as a liberal arts university through his or her services that assist students through mentoring, service to student organizations, clarification of BHSU information/policies and advisement.

Harney, director of the university apartments, was nominated by Mike Isaacson who wrote, “Jade’s life is devoted to the service of students. This is evident in his job duties as well as his extra-curricular activities. Jade’s job (and passion) is based in personnel-staff training and professional development. He is extremely well-read in the area of leadership development and our department is fortunate to reap this great benefit.”

Schultes, director of Humbert Hall, was nominated by Harney, who wrote, “Every Thursday night, Chris has set aside this night to enter into her girls’ lives. She generally cooks up a batch of cookies, and then sets out to fulfill her girls’ needs of home cooked cookies and a listening ear of someone who genuinely cares.”

The Outstanding University Service Award is conferred on an employee of BHSU who displays outstanding dedication and commitment to the responsibilities of their 

position through service to the public and support of fellow employees. A nominee must have demonstrated performance qualities which serve as an example to others. Two BHSU staff won this award.

Tim Johnston and his staff in the food service department of BHSU were nominated by Darlene Swartz who wrote in her nomination, “Whenever there are conferences or workshops, Tim and his staff provide an excellent environment which enhances the effectiveness of the training sessions.”

Cheryl Leahy, enrollment center senior secretary, also received the Outstanding University Service Award. She was nominated by Jennifer Butler who wrote in her nomination, “Cheryl is simply amazing. She has a way with students that others should learn from. Financial aid plays a big role in a college students’ life. Cheryl works diligently with students to explain/create a financial aid package for each student. She does not “sugar-coat,” and this helps the students with reality. She is one of the most honest people I know.”

The University Area Award is earned by an area of the university that has displayed outstanding dedication and commitment to the responsibilities of that area. Creativity in the effective use of resources, management of a significant project or projects or assignment within rigid constraints may be considered for this award. Continued performance at a consistent high level may also be considered.

This year, the university printing center earned this award. The nominators for this award were Daniel Farrington and Donna Bucher who wrote in their nomination, “Under the leadership of Lil Odell, the university printing center consistently provides timely and high quality services to this university. This is done with a ‘can do’ attitude and no matter how tight the timeline or the size of the job, they get it done without complaint. …There is not a service area in the university that consistently provides such a superior effort with as little fanfare as the university printing center. This office is a fine example of what a service area should provide to its customers and a positive influence on us all.”

Hills visits Chinese Foreign Affairs College - Top

With Chinese and U.S. relations the subject of recent news stories regarding the emergency landing of a U.S. Navy surveillance aircraft on Hainan Island, a five-day visit to the Chinese Foreign Affairs College to study national security issues is timely topic for Dr. Tom Hills, professor of political science at Black Hills State.

Hills will be leaving for China at the end of the month to attend a National Science Foundation (NSF) short course for college teachers titled “China’s Perspective on National Security Issues.” The May 28 to June 1 presentation will be held at Beijing’s Foreign Affairs College. Founded in 1955 by the late Premier and Foreign Minister Zhou En-lai, the college is the sole institution of higher learning affiliated with the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

“The short course is taught by people from the Foreign Ministry,” said Hills. “They are well connected and informed. It should be a gold mine of information.”

Topics to be covered at the foreign affairs college include: the impact of globalization on Chinese security, Chinese perceptions of old and emerging regional security concerns, views on Taiwan reunification, China’s drive for military modernization, Chinese defense policy, Chinese national security and sovereignty and Chinese perspectives on arms control and disarmament. 

“Given the situation with the surveillance plane, I wonder what their reaction to 15 Americans there will be,” said Hills. “I’m sure they will try to impress us as a merging super power.”

The BH professor is excited at the prospect of introducing up-to-date information about China to his college classes. He plans to use this newfound information in his class on governments of the world and in an advanced international relations class.

“It makes such a difference in teaching when you’ve been there,” said Hills. “It gives you a better feel for the culture and the people.”

His excitement about the visit is tempered with some apprehension regarding the language differences. He doesn’t expect to come in contact with significant numbers of English speaking Chinese people. He also doesn’t expect to see many signs written in English naming locations and giving directions.

To assist him, Dr. Lidan Lin, an assistant professor of literature at BHSU and former resident of China, has prepared some cards with important addresses and phonetically written phrases. Hills has also made arrangements with the assistant director of foreign affairs college to meet him at the airport.

Not a newcomer to international travel, the BH professor has been to Germany twice, once in 1992 as a Fulbright scholar and again in 1998 to attend a seminar. He was able to visit several European countries, their governments and historical sites during those trips. He was in the first Fulbright group allowed into Czechoslovakia.

The BHSU political science professor plans to bring back academic materials and souvenirs from China to share with his students. He will be arriving in China a day early and plans to stay three days after the course is completed. He wants to visit some of the cultural sites such as the Beijing Opera, the Chinese Acrobats, the Forbidden City, Tiennamen Square, and the Great Wall.

“I want to get a feel for the culture,” he said. “You need to get out and see the people not just spend five days in a classroom. I also want to be able to say I saw Mao (Tse-tung) in his glass coffin, if I can.”

NSF and BHSU are providing funds for the China trip. The university supports Hills’ travel, room and board.

Hills has been a member of the university faculty since 1969. He served as chairman of the junior college division, chairman of social science division and dean of the college of business and public affairs in addition to teaching. He is a 1962 graduate of BHSU and earned a master’s degree (1968) and doctorate (1969) from the University of Oregon.

Student Senate names Dr. Charles Lamb as outstanding faculty member - Top

The Black Hills State University Student Senate honored Dr. Charles Lamb, associate professor of biology, as the outstanding faculty member at the annual awards breakfast prior to commencement this spring. Presenting the student-generated award to Lamb, left, was William Stodden, president of the university student senate.

Gabel receives grant to continue Black Hills macrofungi study - Top

Dr. Audrey Gabel, professor of biology at Black Hills State University, was recently awarded a grant from the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks (Wildlife Division) for $3,908 to continue a study that began in 1998 to collect identify and document macrofungi in the Black Hills.

Gabel reports that the research on macrofungi is significant because it can, among other things, supplement existing plant and animal information now used for ecosystem management, provide a significant contribution to identifying the commonly occurring fungi and or unusual fungi, all of which can be used to determine unique areas for management,

help to establish indicator species which can be used to document environmental change and identify species of mycorrhizal fungi, which are critical to the quality of a coniferous forest and which can be used as indicators of decline in quality. According to the professor, the ectomycorrhizal fungi can also be used as indicators of air pollution.

Information from this assessment will supplement current data for preparation of at least one manuscript, which will be submitted to a refereed journal for publication and for a field guide, which is currently in preparation.

Gabel has been a faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences at BHSU since 1985. She has a Ph.D. in botany/mycology from Iowa State University.  

BHSU faculty receive Advanced Projects in Teaching with Technology grants - Top

Ten BHSU faculty members are recipients of Governor Bill Janklow's Advanced Projects in Teaching with Technology.

Janklow recently announced the awarding of $1.2 million to more than 60 faculty members at the state's six public universities. The grants are going to faculty who have previously received a Teaching with Technology grant and allows the faculty to keep on the leading edge of using technology in the higher education classroom. 

BHSU winners and their project titles are:

  • Steve Anderson - Hydrogeology, Environmental Geology/Chemistry/Geology Seminar
  • Abdollah Farrokhi - Writing for the Public
  • Richard Gayle - Probability and Statistics
  • Carol Hess - Teaching K-8 Reading Methods
  • Colleen Kirby - Organization and Administration of the Library Media Center
  • Roger Miller - Geographical Education
  • Kristi Pearce - Using Technology for Inquiry and Collaboration
  • Sandee Schamber - Middle Level Learners
  • Sharon Strand - English, Basic Skills, Grammar and Comp for English Teachers
  • Ronnie Theisz - American Indian Oral Literature

These Advanced Faculty Awards for Teaching with Technology were open to any faculty members who had won an earlier Teaching with Technology Award in 1998, 1999 or 2000. The advanced award winners will receive compensation and funds for equipment, software and training.

In addition to the award winners from BHSU, other winners for 2001 include six faculty member from Dakota State University at Madison; 18 from Northern State University at Aberdeen; six from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology at Rapid City; 14 from South Dakota State University at Brookings and seven from the University of South Dakota in Vermillion.

Aman scholarship established at Black Hills State - Top

A $10,000 music scholarship was recently established at Black Hills State University known as the Merlyn and Shirley Aman Scholarship Fund.

Merlyn’s brother Tom and his wife, Danielle Aman, established the scholarship honoring the two former BHSU employees.  Merlyn joined the BHSU music faculty in 1966 and retired in 1995. Though suffering with Guillain-Barre syndrome for many years, he was active in local, state and regional music organizations as a musician, clinician, judge, and composer. Shirley worked at the university for 22 years including employment as bookstore secretary and later as director of the printing center. She retired as director in 1994. They both have been and continue to be active supporters of all the events taking place at the university.

To be eligible for the Aman scholarship students must be majoring in music at BHSU. Preference will be given to students from Mobridge first, Standing Rock Reservation 

Tribal members second, followed by any transfer student for Sitting Bull College.

The principal of fund will be preserved with interest earnings used for the scholarships and management and distribution of the fund. If the scholarship criteria are not met for distribution, the earnings are to accrue for future awards.

Scholarship recipients are to be selected by the music faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences at BHSU.

BHSU graduate presents at McNair research symposium - Top

by Antonia Kucera, Media Relations Student Intern

Black Hills State University graduating senior Favian Kennedy is solid proof that hard work pays off. Kennedy, who is originally from Willingboro, New Jersey, was selected to present at the Rocky Mountain McNair Research Symposium and Graduate School Education Conference in Ft. Collins, Colo., this spring. He presented the research that he and three other BHSU students conducted.

Kennedy, a double major in psychology and sociology, heard about the opportunity through his work as a tutor in the BHSU Student Assistance Center. Student Support Services Director Sharon Hemmingson noticed that one of the featured speakers at the Symposium would be Dr. Orlando Taylor, a dean from Howard University in Washington, D.C., which also happens to be the graduate school Kennedy hopes to attend.

Besides the fact that the dean would be speaking, Kennedy was attracted to the event because it is a "program that is designed to help minorities and women get into graduate school." Being of African-American descent, Kennedy is a minority member himself.

The subject of minority groups is relevant to Kennedy's presentation titled "The Culture of Poverty in the Black Hills Community." The research was co-authored by BHSU students Natasha Chapmen, Amanda Blaseg, and Jessica Lyon, with Dr. Larry Landis, professor of sociology, as research advisor.

Kennedy's presentation explained how minority groups will internalize poverty, and how that poverty then becomes part of their culture. His research focused on African- Americans in the Black Hills area with an emphasis toward finding a solution to this problem.

"The autonomy of caste-like minorities is crucial to their empowerment and them being able to come out of poverty," Kennedy said.

Kennedy and his co-authors sent in an application with an abstract of their research to the annual symposium. Upon acceptance, he took on the responsibility of giving the 

Favian Kennedy accepts his diploma from Black Hills State University President Thomas Flickema. Kennedy, who graduated with a double major in psychology and sociology, plans to further his studies in graduate school. He recently presented research findings at the Rocky Mountain McNair Research Symposium and Graduate School Education Conference.

presentation so as not to miss out on a great opportunity.  

"The presentation was received fairly well," he said, and the experience overall was rich because "the program did an excellent job of being multicultural."

Besides having graduate-level research presented and various prestigious speakers, the event also included entertainment, such as dancers representing cultures from all over the world.

An opportunity Kennedy took advantage of was to meet Dr. Taylor, the main speaker at the symposium.

"I wanted to let him know I had in an application at his university," he said. 

The Rocky Mountain McNair Research Symposium is a relatively new program to BH, and Kennedy hopes the school becomes more attractive for future students. It is a very prestigious and reputable event that requires educational excellence. 

"Realize that this is a very professional conference," Kennedy advises future students, "prepare your research now. If you don't start now, you won't be prepared on time."

SDSEO will sponsor an open forum - Top

SDSEO will sponsor an open forum for all state employees Friday, May 18 from noon to 4 p.m. at Pangburn Dining room.

The forum, which is open to all state employees both on and off campus, will focus on understanding the benefits of being a member of SDSEO.

A representative from Piper Jaffrey will be present to discuss investment opportunities. Mary Foster, SDSEO member, will also be available to discuss the benefits of SDSEO membership. For more information contact Foster at 642-6081 or 642-7281.