Volume XXVI  No. 46 • Dec. 13, 2002

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Welcome to Black Hills State University - top

  • Curtis McGuigan, custodial worker, Dining Services

Two hundred thirteen degrees will be awarded at BHSU's commencement ceremony this Saturday - top

The 144th Black Hills State University commencement ceremony is Saturday, Dec. 14 at 10 a.m. in the Young Center.

Degrees will be presented to 213 students including three bachelor of arts degrees, 90 bachelor of science degrees, 43 bachelor of science in education degrees, and 17 associate degrees. BHSU will award 60 master’s degrees which is a significant increase in the number of graduate degrees awarded in recent years.

The increase in the number of graduate degrees, which this time are all education curriculum and instruction majors, is due in part to the establishment of cohort groups. According to Tim Molseed, education professor and coordinator of graduate studies, three cohort groups, which consist primarily of practicing teachers, completed requirements for their degrees and are graduating this semester. These cohort groups first began meeting in the fall of 2000 in the communities of Spearfish, Rapid City and Hot Springs.

Molseed noted that this will probably be the largest group of graduate degrees awarded for some time since ongoing cohort groups have since had different starting dates. Currently there are two additional cohort groups in Rapid City as well as two cohorts with students completing their degree entirely online. Molseed said that a third online cohort is scheduled to begin next semester.

The cohorts and online courses are examples of how BHSU has increasingly strived to offer classes in formats advantageous to students. The majority of the university courses are offered on campus in Spearfish, however, courses are also available at three locations in Rapid City including the branch campus at Ellsworth Air Force Base, the Rushmore Building near Western Dakota Technical Institute and on the campus of the School of Mines and Technology. Additional courses are available through distance learning options including online, videoconference, and correspondence courses.

Following the commencement ceremony a reception hosted by the president will be held in the Young Center field house for all graduates and their families.

An honors breakfast will be held prior to commencement at 8 a.m. in the Yellow Jacket Legacy Room of the David B. Miller Yellow Jacket Student Union. The summa, magna and cum laude graduates will be recognized.

Cremean presents at American Literature Association Symposium - top

Dr. David Cremean, assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at Black Hills State University, recently presented an essay at the American Literature Association Symposium on the Gothic in American Literature. The international conference in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, included participants from several countries.

In his essay entitled “Gothic God, Gothic Grace: Cormac McCarthy’s Child of God” Cremean argues that McCarthy attempts to bring to life a theology that gothicizes both God and grace by showing the extremity human actions often reach. Cremean discusses the novel’s portrayal of the link between the existence of such extreme human actions and God’s activity in or control of the world and God’s grace, claiming that each must intertwine with the nature of evil itself in some mystical way.

Cremean received his doctorate in English from Bowling Green State University in 2001 and joined the BHSU faculty in 2002.

BHSU professor and students conduct geophysical research - top

Dr. Steve Anderson, professor of geology and planetary science at Black Hills State University, recently presented three research papers coauthored by BHSU students at the American Geophysical Union Annual Meeting in San Francisco, Calif.

BHSU student Shawn McColley, a senior environmental physical science major from Custer, 

coauthored two of the papers. The other paper was coauthored by Julie Dahl, a graduate student from Rapid City.

The first paper, "The development of preferred pathways in lava flow interiors: Insights from analog 

Black Hills State University student Shawn McColley (center) hikes at the foot of a thick, blocky lava flow (right) from Sabancaya Volcano in Peru. McColley and BHSU professor Steve Anderson conducted research on lava flows in Peru. Snow-capped Ampato Volcano rising to over 20,000 feet is visible in the background.

experiments," showed results from work conducted at Arizona State University (ASU) last January. Anderson, McColley, and Jon Fink of ASU created 20 different simulated lava flows using polyethelene glycol wax, and were able to image the interiors of the flows with video cameras mounted under a Plexiglass tank containing the simulation. Since the hot, molten interiors of lava flows are impossible to observe directly, the experiments provide volcanologists with a unique perspective on the processes at work in the development of the flows and may help scientists better ascertain hazards associated with lava flow advance. The project is funded by NASA and the BHSU Faculty Research Committee.

The second paper, "Three types of crust: Inferred emplacement rates and styles of a megablocky flow field surrounding Sabancaya Volcano, Peru,” reports on findings from a field study of lava flow surfaces conducted in Peru in May. The paper was presented by Dr. Tracy Gregg of the University of New York-Buffalo, and coauthored by Anderson, McColley, and researchers from the University of Nevada-Reno and the University of Maryland. The work is funded by the National Science Foundation.

The final paper, "The Geoscience Concept Test: A new assessment tool based on student misconceptions" reported the results of a study of misconceptions in introductory geology students and the development of an Earth science assessment exam that uses student misconceptions as incorrect answers in a 30-question multiple choice test.

The paper was coauthored by Dahl and researchers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and the University of Indiana. This work was funded by a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to BHSU and Harvard University.

Anderson earned his Ph.D. in geology at Arizona State University in 1990 and has published multiple articles and papers on his research related to volcanoes and lava flows. He has been a member of the science faculty at BHSU since 1991.

Ochse to serve as chair of the Strategic Planning Committee at Black Hills State University - top




Dr. Thomas Flickema, president of Black Hills State University, announced today that Dr. Roger Ochse, associate professor of humanities, will be appointed as co-chair of the University Strategic Planning Committee.

Ochse will serve as co-chair with Fred Heidrich, College of Business and Technology associate professor, who plans to retire this summer. Ochse, who has served on the committee for three years, will assume the position as chair of the committee in July 2003.

The Strategic Planning Committee is an appointed committee consisting of administrators, faculty and staff members selected by the president with a mission to maintain a strategic plan for the university and review university functions in relation to the plan.


Joe Valades named director of retention at Black Hills State University - top

Joe Valades, who was recently appointed retention director at Black Hills State University, is relying on his extensive background developing student success, his published academic research on retention and an “advisor rather than disciplinarian” focus to make a difference one student at a time in the retention rate at the university.

Valades, who has been employed at the university since 1998 most recently as coordinator of the Student Assistance Center, said he prefers the one-on-one interaction with students that this position demands and looks forward to meeting with students to offer counsel and encouragement. According to Valades, national research has shown that the most successful models for retention, a much studied and discussed topic, include direct contact with students with the major emphasis on “one meaningful interaction.” Valades has begun to make these “meaningful interactions” with students at BHSU who are struggling academically.

The location of the retention office in Woodburn 212 with the institutional research office allows Valades to access the knowledge and assistance of Ven Thompson, director of institutional research, to identify students who will benefit from a retention contact. “Ven has been phenomenal in getting the retention computer system set-up,” Valades said.

Thompson developed a powerful web-based retention computer program that is available to all faculty members to quickly and easily identify students who are struggling in their classes. Faculty members access the program through a log-in and then use a checklist to designate a number of factors that would indicate potential obstacles for individual students. The faculty members specify whether a student has a high number of recent absences, has performed poorly on tests, is not participating in classroom activities and then have the option to include additional comments.

Valades receives email notification of these comments and with the help of Rita Shewmake, who provides clerical support for the retention office, contacts each student to offer suggestions for improvement, emphasizing academic success as the key objective. Valades sees his role as one of encouraging collaboration between offices on campus that have resources to help students.

“I work to open the lines of communication to make the students aware of services available and to ensure students know their options,” Valades said. He often refers struggling students to the student assistance center and student support services for tutoring and encourages students to be involved in student organizations especially those directly related to their academic work. Valades also refers students to the career center to help them determine their goals and focus since students with undeclared majors and undecided future plans generally have less academic success. Career center counselors meet with students and use many resources including personality profiles and inventories to develop a specific focus and identify a major.

“At different times in the semester, the students need different things,” Valades said. “I try to use this first contact as an opportunity to connect with the student, give solace, be informative, offer advisement and perhaps a push. I find students respond best to a balanced amount of compassion and rigor.”

Valades deliberately incorporates the recent established student affairs “no run around” policy for the students. He uses communication, technology and personal contacts so students don’t have to “run around” to various offices to find out what they need.

Valades said the response from the students has been positive. “Once we let them know what is available, many times they are able to get back on track. The students are generally glad to know that someone is concerned with their success,” Valades said. After a face-to-face meeting, Valades makes suggestions and sets a follow-up appointment with the student. In the first semester of this program which actually began about mid-term, Valades estimates the office has made approximately 130 contacts with individual students.

Currently the focus is on first-year students but Valades said he will branch out in the future to consider the unique needs of different types of students.

President Thomas Flickema appointed Valades to his new position in October. Valades earned a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1994. He has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Nebraska-Omaha as well as two bachelor’s degrees from the University of South Dakota - one in English and one in social work. He began his employment at BHSU in 1998 with student support services.

In addition to this appointment, Valades recently took on another role, that of advisor for the hockey club. Although he doesn’t have much experience in the sport, he agreed to become the advisor at the urging of a student and he is actively supporting the student group in their activities and competitions.

Holiday open house takes place this weekend - top

Tom and Judy Flickema will host a Christmas open house this Sunday, Dec. 15, at their home, 815 State Street in Spearfish. Career service staff members are invited to the open house from 2  to 3:30 p.m., followed by a faculty open house from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Exempt employees and community members are invited to attend from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

BHSU emerging leaders head for the future - top

The Black Hills State University 2002 Emerging Leaders Program came to an end recently as a group of 14 freshmen graduated and moved ahead into futures as outstanding student leaders.

The Emerging Leader Program is an opportunity for students to examine essential components of becoming effective leaders. Over a period of eight weeks, 

participants learn about building trust in a group to make a strong and healthy team, using communication effectively, the importance of diversity and individuality, and the importance and value of leaders. Those who participate in the experience are required to join a student The 2002 Emerging Leaders graduates are: (back, from left) Megan Wyett, Mandy Gustafson, Amy Ackerman, Venessa Adcock, Andy Steele, Beth Shaw, Tenise Diehl, Kristi Parquet, Jessi Moeller, and Megan Bietz; (front, from left) Christopher Busby, Emily Varland, Erin Power, Jenny Henglefelt, Whitney Martin, Marie Wolff, and Lindsey Aberle.
organization, volunteer for community service, attend group sessions and keep a journal.

Journal entries were read aloud as each student was awarded a certificate of completion. The certificates were presented by Jane Klug, director of Student Services, and Jade Harney, director for Heidipriem Hall, with assistance in announcing by three Emerging Leaders alumn, Venessa Adcock, Spearfish, Christopher Busby, Rapid City, and Megan Wyett, Casper, Wyo.

The 2002 Emerging Leaders graduates are: Jenny Henglefelt, Alexandria; Andy Steele, Geddes; Emily Varland, Gregory; Jessi Moeller, Hartford; Lindsey Aberle, Lead; Whitney Martin, Lead; Kristi Parquet, Midland; Tenise Diehl, Webster; Megan Bietz, Gillette, Wyo.; Mandy Gustafson, Rawlins, Wyo.; Amy Ackerman, Riverton, Wyo.; Erin Power, Bismarck, N.D.; Marie Wolff, Hettinger, N.D.; Beth Shaw, Sioux City, Iowa.

Student breakfast to be held during finals week - top

The BHSU Student Affairs Office will once again be providing a midnight breakfast for students during finals week Monday, Dec. 16 from 10 p.m. to 12 a.m. in the Student Union Market Place. 

The breakfast is free to all BHSU students. Contact Heather Johnson, BHSU Career Center, at 642-6278 for more information.

University Assessment Committee minutes - top

The University Assessment Committee met Tuesday, Dec. 3 at 3:30 p.m. in Jonas 103.

Present were Earley, Siewert, Pearce, H. Johnson, J. Miller, Schamber, and Altmyer. Cook, Haislett, Myers, Calhoon, Norby, Lembcke, and Gallagher were absent.

Schamber presented the annual report for general education. General discussion followed of what the report indicated about general education and ways to evaluate general education. A motion was made and seconded to approve the report and recommend to the vice president of Academic Affairs that the plan be kept as originally designed by the General Education Committee. Motion passed.

A discussion was held concerning ways to encourage assessment. Mention was given to members attending conferences on general education in Seattle, Philadelphia, and summer institutes in Minnesota. The committee talked about holding local discussions and conferences to encourage assessment. Small group instruction design as done by Pearce was also discussed. The committee finally agreed to work on being more specific on requirements for reports. Discussion was continued into next semester.

The next meeting is Dec. 10 at 3:30 p.m. in Jonas 103. Reports to be reviewed are political science, Spanish, American Indian studies, and math.

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