named interim vice president of academic affairs at BHSU - top
Dan Farrington, director of grants and special projects at Black Hills
State University, has been named interim vice president for academic
affairs. Dr. Lyle Cook, current vice president for academic affairs,
recently resigned to become provost and vice president of academic
affairs at Eastern Kentucky University.
Farrington joined the BHSU
administrative staff in 1997 after retiring from Merck Research
Laboratories where he served as senior director for animal science
research. Farrington arrived at BHSU to lead
an increased effort on finding and utilizing external funding sources
which has netted a dramatic increase in grant funding from $500,000 in
fiscal year 1997 to an expected $2.6 million in fiscal year 2003.
absolutely delighted to have a person with Dr. Farrington’s experience
and achievements, both in the academic world and in the private sector,
available to fill the crucial position of academic vice president,”
said Dr. Thomas Flickema, BHSU president. “He will do an outstanding
job for Black Hills State.”
Farrington, who has a doctor of
veterinary medicine (DVM) from Colorado State University (CSU) and a
Ph.D. in microbiology and preventive medicine from Iowa State University
(ISU), had responsibility for all animal science research manpower and
facilities for the conduct and monitoring of clinical trials at Merck.
He was also responsible for the direction and control of nine
departments in 11 locations throughout the world with a staff of over
140 members and five research farms located in Australia, Brazil,
England, Germany and the U.S.
Farrington spent several years as a
tenured associate professor of veterinary microbiology at Iowa State
University, Ames, Iowa, where he conducted research in animal
respiratory diseases. Farrington’s research has led to three patents
for antimicrobial and biological agents. Iowa State University named
Farrington the inaugural recipient of the William P. Switzer Award in
1998. Patents from his vaccine research have provided the
longest-running royalties in ISU technology resulting in over $3 million
for the university’s research foundation.
In 2001 Farrington was called upon by
the Department of Agriculture to serve as a consultant in the campaign
to eradicate foot-and-mouth disease in the United Kingdom. He has also
organized and conducted animal health emergency training courses dealing
with animal diseases and the threat of bioterrorism.
After graduating from CSU in 1968,
Farrington joined the Twin Falls, Idaho, Veterinary Hospital as an
associate veterinarian practicing as a large animal vet. The following
year he joined a predominantly equine practice in Valley, Neb., where he
provided resident veterinary services to the largest thoroughbred
breeding, training and racing farm in Nebraska.
In 1971 he accepted a National
Institute of Health fellowship at ISU to begin his Ph.D. studies. His
research and dissertation focused on swine respiratory diseases and his
minor work was in wildlife biology. He completed his bachelor's degree
in zoology at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, in 1960. After
graduating from college, he spent four years in the United States Marine
Corps as an artillery officer.
Farrington and his wife, Judy, have
three grown daughters: Mary, a physician; Jenifer, a pharmacist, and
Sarah, a registered dietitian.
Vice president for academic
affairs accepts a position as provost at Eastern Kentucky University
Cook, vice president for academic affairs at Black Hills State
University, has accepted a position as provost and vice president of
academic affairs at Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) in Richmond, Ky.
He will begin his new job July 1.
Cook came to BHSU as vice president for academic affairs in 1996.
Since that time he has been instrumental in many changes and
improvements at the university.
“I will certainly miss Black Hills State University,” Cook said.
“I’ve enjoyed working with Dr. Flickema. We have made great strides
in our efforts to improve the university and attract top faculty. I feel
I’m leaving BH in good hands. Lots of exciting things have happened
here and many others are in progress. The university is a far better
institution than many people in the region know.”
Cook noted he will miss being involved in several recent ongoing
developments including the institution of an Honors Program, the growth
of the Summer Institute of the Arts, an increase in cooperative efforts
with South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, as well as the
multitude of possibilities associated with the development of an
underground lab in Lead.
The vice president, who earned both his undergraduate and graduate
degrees in mathematics, strived to maintain some time in the classroom
when possible to keep a connection with the students and faculty.
“Teaching is so enjoyable for me and is such rewarding experience.
I’ve tried to make time to teach here and if I can schedule it with
the demands of the new job, I’d like to continue doing the same at EKU,”
Dr. Thomas Flickema, president of BHSU, expressed his admiration and
appreciation Cook’s contributions at BHSU. “Dr.
Cook has a tremendous opportunity with this position as provost at a
campus of 16,000 students, but we really hate to see him go. He has been
the driving force behind so many of the academic accomplishments on this
campus over the last seven years,” Flickema said. “Dr. Cook has
strengthened the quality and numbers of our faculty, stimulated
research, fostered the Summer Institute of the Arts, and represented the
institution superbly in state and national settings. Vice President Cook
is totally committed to academic excellence, and his record at Black
Hills State University
demonstrates his ability to achieve excellence. He has done a superb job
for us and we will miss him.”
Eastern Kentucky University is a regional comprehensive university
consisting of five colleges serving approximately 16,000 students. Cook
said he is looking forward to the new challenges there.
Prior to coming to BHSU, Cook served as dean of the College of
Science at Louisiana State University in Shreveport, La. Prior to that
he held positions at Idaho State University in Pocatello, Idaho.
Cook received his bachelor’s degree from Southeast Missouri
State University in mathematics and his Ph.D. from Oklahoma State
University in mathematics.
Dan Farrington, director of grants and special projects at BHSU, will
serve as interim vice president of academic affairs while a national
search is conducted to fill the position.
Hills receives Distinguished
Faculty Award as he retires from BHSU - top
heart is with this university.” These words, spoken by Dr. Tom Hills,
are perhaps the best explanation for the guiding force behind the
dedication, loyalty and integrity shown in the actions of the longtime
Black Hills State University political science professor. Hills, who is
also a graduate of BHSU, was recently honored with the Distinguished
Faculty Award and is retiring after 34 years at the university.
Hills has been lauded in many ways for his exceptional dedication to
teaching and service through the years at BHSU. This year his peers
selected him to receive the esteemed Distinguished Faculty Award.
Hills, in many ways, exemplifies what Black Hills State University
is. A dedicated professor, an inspirational and encouraging advisor to
students, a trusted colleague and always, as one fellow professor said,
“fiercely loyal to South Dakota, Black Hills State University and the
students. He has always sought to do what is best to improve BHSU.”
For his exceptional service to students, scholarship, and service,
Hills has been admired for his directness and commitment. With the
unique ability to convey both the excitement and seriousness of the
academics Hills has taught, informed and inspired countless numbers of
students. His practical insights into the workings of political parties
add a valuable dimension in the classroom.
Hills’ classroom style has been described as “stimulating,
substantive and enthusiastic.”
As his longtime friend and colleague Dr. George Earley commented when
presenting the Distinguished Faculty Award this week, Hills is qualified
for the esteemed award based on a number of factors including the very
same qualifications used to elect people to the Roman Senate in ancient
“It appears to me that the Distinguished Faculty award should go to
the person who has the same qualifications as those elected to the
ancient Roman Senate,” Earley said. “Those characteristics were:
length of service, depth of experience, gravitas, pietas, and dignitas.
Dr. Hills has met all five standards by demonstrating a remarkable
record of length of service, depth of experience, academic achievement,
love of BHSU, and respect for faculty and students.”
Hills certainly qualifies for length of service as he has been
employed here since 1969 and attended as a student before that. From
serving as president of the Student Senate when he attended in the late
50s and 60s, to serving as president of the Faculty Senate, Hills has
made the most of his time at BHSU and always looked for ways to improve
the institution in which he so strongly believes.
In addition to being a distinguished faculty member, Hills has
actually been an integral part of the historical narrative of the
university. In the 45 years he has been associated with the university,
Hills has seen the university go through dramatic changes. One major
change is the notable difference in the physical facilities of the
campus. When Hills first came to BHSU as a student, the campus consisted
of a group of six buildings. He has seen the campus expand dramatically
and develop into one of the most beautiful campuses in the state. Hills notes the addition of two residence halls, Heidipriem
and Thomas, as well as the library, the Student Union and Jonas Hall and
a walkway to connect the two. More recently of the Donald E. Young
Sports and Fitness Center and an eight-building apartment complex has
been added to the campus. Currently construction is underway for a new
academic/music building that will once again change the physical layout
of the campus. Hills looks back on all the changes with pride and
Hills also pointed out the dramatic increase in enrollment over the
years. As a student, he was one of 600 students; now he teaches some of
the more than 3,600 students currently enrolled. Hills feels that BHSU
had the potential to become the second largest university in the state,
given a more favorable political situation.
Another noteworthy change at BHSU in the time since Hills has been
here is the expansion of the curriculum. Hills is especially proud of
the addition of a political science major. While BHSU has a history as a
teacher training school, it is now recognized as a regional public
institution of higher learning. During every step of the way, Hills was
there serving on committees and always doing what he thought was best
for the university.
His depth of service is evident by his sole claim a variety of honors
and leadership positions held at the university on nearly every level.
From service as student senate president to faculty senate president to
chairman of the dean’s council, Hills has experienced a tremendous
depth of service. Through
the years he has been active on nearly every committee and influential
on practically every issue on this campus. He also was always ready to
volunteer and participate in other events such as freshmen orientation
One of the highlights of service for Hills has been involvement with
the student Legislative intern program. Hills was commemorated last year
for his 25 years of serving as coordinator of the program. Hills feels
the Legislative intern experience has positive lasting effects for the
more than 100 students who have participated and noted that many of the
students have gone on to successful political careers.
“The program gives students the opportunity to get hands-on
political experience,” Hills said. “I know quite a number of my
former interns have remained active in politics and government since
their internship experience.”
In regards to gravitas or weightiness, Hills’ academic
record shows a number of impressive honors, assignments, memberships and
publications. The list includes receiving a Fulbright Scholar Award for
Academic Administrators to go to Germany and Czechoslovakia in 1992;
speaking at the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar on
Diplomacy at Sarah Lawrence in 1976; presenting at the U.S. Department
of State Scholar-Diplomat Seminar in 1981;
attending the summer seminar on national elections in Germany in
June of 1999 and many other designations. He is active in several
professional and academic associations including the American Political
Science Association, the South Dakota Political Science and Public
Affairs Association, and serving as a board member of the Chiesman
Foundation for Democracy.
The fourth qualification noted for ancient Roman senate is pietas or
love for the institution. Hills has demonstrated his love and
respect for BHSU in many ways.
Fellow professor Dr. Riley Chrisman perhaps described Hills’ love
for the university best when he said, “Throughout the years here Hills
has maintained his strong commitment to the university and to the
students. No one has had a greater commitment to Black Hills State
University. For Tom, Black Hills State lives, it is family, it is a part
Finally the degree of dignitas or respect is evidenced by the
number of honors and awards Hills has earned over the years and the
expressions of respect by both students and fellow professors. In the
70s, when Hills served as the Vets’ Club advisor, he earned the title
of Outstanding Student Advisor. In the 80s students responded to his
dedication and chose him as the Student Senate Outstanding Teacher. One
fellow scholar indicated that “Hills has acquired the rare and
enviable reputation of being both a demanding and popular instructor.”
Upon hearing of his impending
retirement one former student recently wrote to Hills to congratulate
him on his professional career and expressed his thanks and appreciation
for Hills teaching and dedication.
“I know I echo the thoughts of the thousands of students when I say
thanks for being what educators should be. For taking an interest in the
development of people and making a positive impact in their lives. You
didn’t just recite things out of a book or lecture on what someone
else had written. You made us think about how we should be interested
and involved in the things that happen in the world around us. You took
the real world and brought it into the classroom, and that is something
that few do,” wrote Bill Schuttler, Class of ’95, who is now
a life insurance service supervisor in Greeley, Colo.
Hills also has the respect of his colleagues who reiterate their
respect of his teaching methods and dedicated service. One colleague
said, “Tom always had a strong commitment to the students and to BHSU.
While he is demanding in the classroom, he is also understanding. He
expects his students to produce but is willing to work with them.
Throughout the years he has maintained his strong commitment to
students. And no one has had a greater commitment to Black Hills State
Hills enjoyed teaching a variety of politics and government classes
and may be best remembered by a generation of students for his world
politics class, which was a general education requirement for all
graduates for many years. He especially enjoyed the challenge of
reaching those general education students who many times were not, at
first, especially interested in the subject matter.
“My goal was to make students aware of, and hopefully, interested
in what is going on in the world today,” Hills said. He also enjoyed
teaching many other classes and, looking back, he mentions that
constitutional law was one of his favorite courses to teach.
Hills said he first came to BHSU because he was interested in
education, and now more than four decades later, he leaves his faculty
position still interested in educational issues. His long-term interest
in politics and government may move from teaching to actual
participation as he is considering some form of political service in the
Hills’ entire family is dedicated to education. His mother was a
teacher and his three brothers all devoted their lives to education as
well. Two of his brothers served as college professors and the other one
was a superintendent for many years.
After earning a master’s degree and doctorate from the University
of Oregon, Hills returned to BHSU as a full-time faculty member in 1969.
Hills served 13 years as an administrator at BHSU, as dean of the
College of Business and Public Affairs. Looking back Hills says he is
certain he made the right decision when he decided to step down as dean
and feels the same about this decision to retire now. As he said at that
time, “I don’t regret the decision. I regret that I have to make the
Five years ago, Hills once again devoted his time to his greatest
priority – classroom teaching. Now he is retiring from the university
and looking forward to having the time to consider a variety of future
endeavors. He would like to
do some international traveling and also plans to put some miles on his
new Harley Davidson motorcycle. His years of teaching government and
politics may come into play as well as he is considering taking an
active role in public service by seeking elective office or serving on a
“It is difficult for me to express my affection for this
university, the students and my colleagues here. I don’t know what I
am going to do without it,” Hills said in the midst of this
always-hectic time of preparing for finals and finishing classes.
This year Hills is also making arrangements to leave the university
but those who know him know he will never really leave BHSU.
As one professor noted, “Tom has a never-ending commitment to
students and the university and we can be sure he will continue to help
strengthen our institution in some way, even after he physically leaves
the campus—such is his dedication and commitment to BHSU.”
longtime faculty members retire at BHSU - top
Hills State will lose a century and a half of teaching experience when
five long-time faculty members retire this spring. The five, Dr. Tom
Hills, Mr. Fred Heidrich, Dr. Mark Gabel, Mr. Richard Hicks, Dr. Don
Chastian, are all looking forward to retirement with mixed emotions and
planning to continue being involved in their teaching area in one way or
another. The faculty were recently honored at a reception at BHSU and
will also be recognized at the commencement ceremony.
Fred Heidrich, who has been at the front of business classrooms at Black
Hills State University for 28 years, in addition to spending four years
here as a student, has mixed emotions as he prepares to leave his
When Heidrich, 54, graduated from BHSU in
1970 with an undergraduate degree in business, he remembers making the
statement that he hoped he would have the opportunity to return to his
alma mater to “change some things I didn’t like.”
His tenure of nearly three decades of teaching as well as service
on many committees and as interim dean have given him that opportunity,
and he is proud of the developments at BHSU.
Heidrich has seen the university, and in
particular the College of Business, go through a number of positive
changes and has often served in leadership positions to spur those
improvements. He has been chair or co-chair of the University Strategic
Planning Committee since it was formed and has also served as department
chair and interim dean of the College of Business.
Heidrich says he is proud of the way the
business programs have evolved and cited the addition of several popular
new majors including marketing, business services management and health
“When I look back, I see that the business
curriculum has changed from being primarily focused on secretarial and
teacher education to a diversified management aspect,” Heidrich said.
Over the years, Heidrich’s teaching
philosophy has revolved around his strong belief
“that students learn best by doing.” In the classroom,
Heidrich relied on many hands-on case applications that gave students
the opportunity to learn by working with actual specific cases.
Although Heidrich says he doesn’t believe
students have changed very much over the years, he thinks that
expectations of students have changed. “Students will meet whatever
level of expectation you demand of them,” Heidrich said; his former
students will attest to the fact that he continually set high standards
for them and they learned a great deal as a result.
There are a number of factors at BHSU and in
the educational setting overall that convinced Heidrich that the time is
right for him to retire and focus his energies in a different venue.
Heidrich cited the successful culmination of recent accreditation
visits; the construction of a new building on campus; and changes in the
way classes are delivered brought on by the advent of technology; as
some of the deciding factors.
The professor pointed out several highlights
of his professional career including the opportunity to visit the New
York Stock Exchange, the improvements in the business curriculum, his
service on the Strategic Planning Committee, and the honor of being
named the Distinguished Faculty member by his peers.
“It’s been a great ride. It has been a
challenging and rewarding experience and this is a great time to be
retiring,” Heidrich said.
Heidrich isn’t sure what he is going to be
doing once he retires but knows that “given my nature I’m sure I
will find another job.” He mentioned that he is interested in
consulting, writing test banks and several other opportunities. Whatever
the future brings, Heidrich knows he will miss the university and is
looking forward to the next step of his life with anticipation and
“BHSU has been such a part of my life for
so long; it is gratifying to see the changes, and now it’s time to
move on,” he said.
has been the key to Dr. Mark Gabel’s
teaching success through the years and research will continue to be an
important part of Gabel’s life as he makes the transition from
professor in the classroom to professor emeritus. Gabel is retiring this
spring after 22 years of teaching science classes at BHSU.
sees research as a vital component for faculty to stay current in their
field and feels that “involving undergraduates in research
opportunities is probably the best form of teaching there is.”
Gabel should know. He has been providing this
ultimate form of teaching for science students at BHSU for decades.
Gabel expressed great satisfaction in working with the many quality
students who go through the science program and feels a sense of
accomplishment when some of these students later come back to thank the
faculty for their efforts. One such student, Jeremiah Smith, recently
expressed his appreciation of Gabel’s influence on his education and
continuing scientific research.
“Dr. Gabel gave me my first taste of
biological research as a junior at BHSU and I have not turned back
since. More than anything, Gabel’s dedication to biological research
and uncompromising commitment to academics influenced me to pursue my
graduate education,” said Smith, who is now attending graduate school.
“The lessons learned in Mark’s lab guide my research still today.
The most important of those lessons is that one should take full
advantage of their educational opportunities and the necessity for
persistence in biological research. These lessons are as true in life as
they are in academia.”
Although humble about his own contributions,
Gabel has been a major force in the on-going improvements in the
university science department and is proud of the accomplishments of the
entire department, especially in the last 10-15 years.
He says that being a part of those changes and seeing the
improvements has been the most meaningful part of his career. He feels
that BHSU “has increased the quality of science instruction
tremendously and I am satisfied to be associated with our faculty who do such a
great job of teaching, research and service.”
Gabel feels there are a number of factors
that contributed to the significant enhancement of the science
department. He cited the leadership, the recruitment and retention of
quality faculty members, and noted that the location of the university
is a natural draw for science study. “Almost any science person would
want to be here because it’s so diverse and there is so many research
opportunities,” Gabel said.
Mike Barnes, hatchery biologist at the
McNenny Fish Hatchery who has worked with Gabel and his students on a
number of research projects, feels that
Gabel has been critical in improving the statute and focus of the
science department at BHSU.
a non-university colleague of Mark, I have always been extremely
impressed with Mark’s humility and graciousness. It is obvious he is
extremely intelligent, an accomplished scientist, and a very good
teacher. He is a most decent human being, a pleasure to be around, and a
fun guy to cooperate with on various research projects. I consider it an
honor to have worked with Mark in the past and hope that we can continue
to work together in his new status as an emeritus professor,” Barnes
Gabel plans to be involved in a variety of
research projects in the future and is already making plans for a summer
research project with a student. He also plans to work to improve the
campus herbarium and explore future research and grant writing
Chastain, who earned his undergraduate degree at BHSU and then returned
as an English faculty member and later began teaching technology
classes, is retiring after 34 years at the university.
Chastain, 63, originally attended BH with the
intention of transferring to finish his architectural degree elsewhere.
A summer stint with an architectural firm convinced him architecture was
not the vocation for him so he focused on something he had always liked.
“I really enjoy sharing what I know so I
changed my major to teaching,” Chastain said. Since then he has had
ample opportunity to share some of what he knows to the hundreds of
students in his classrooms. He first joined the BH faculty as an English
teacher in 1969 and later moved to teaching technology classes since he
had a background in that area and has retained an active interest in the
“At first I was a little leery to go from
teaching English to technology,” Chastain said. “I wasn’t sure it
would be as challenging and fulfilling as the literature classes were
and wondered if it might be a little boring.” He soon found his new
classroom was anything but boring, and his new courses turned out to be
an ongoing challenge especially with the advent of computers and
constant changes in technology.
“Dr. Edwards brought in a Hewlett Packard
computer and said this is how you turn it on; after that, it was up to
me to figure out the rest. It has been anything but boring since then.
It’s a challenge.”
Chastain pointed out that the technology
staff must learn new software on a regular basis since they change
software frequently to keep up with the industry. He noted that many of
the programs are quite complex and have a high learning curve.
Chastain said he has enjoyed working in the
academic setting. “I really enjoy what I’m doing here. It’s not a
job, it’s a profession for me and I know that it [teaching] impacts
peoples lives.” Chastain has taken that responsibility seriously and
strived to make his classes meaningful for students.
He complimented fellow colleagues for their
abilities. “I’ve always been fascinated by people who do things
really well, rather it’s a cab driver in a city or an artist creating
masterpieces, it’s a delight to be around people who do things
well.” He feels he has had that opportunity while working at BH. He
feels the academic environment is unique, and while it has its problems,
there are definite advantages as well.
The longtime professor noted that he has seen
fluctuations in the ability and desire of students through the years but
overall thinks students have remained pretty much the same and
compliments the students on their motivation and desire to learn. “Our
students are here for class and I feel privileged to have the
opportunity to teach them. The general attitude of the students is the
same. They come here to learn.” And students have had the opportunity
to learn from someone who looks forward to sharing what he knows every
day they spent in the classroom with dedicated professor Chastain.
Chastain noted that he is especially
satisfied that a course he developed many years ago, Biblical
Literature, is still being taught today.
Retirement might be a misnomer for Chastain
as he has already agreed to teach part-time next year and is also
coordinating the TTL session on campus this summer. He thinks those
activities may help him adjust to retirement. He also has plans for many
other activities including helping his wife with her business.
Soft-spoken art professor Richard Hicks has
made strong statements in the classroom through the years as he relied
on a multi-tiered approach to teaching the importance of fundamentals,
skills, creativity and responsibility for students.
“I always tried to present the fundamentals
and worked to help students develop artistic skills and encouraged
development of creative abilities,” Hicks said. At the same time Hicks
believes it is important to “hold students responsible” for
accomplishing the goals of the class. “Ultimately the students decide
if they want to be responsible but I think that’s an important part of
the learning process.”
After 34 years in the classroom, Hicks
has seen a multitude of changes both on campus and in the students. He
noted the increased number of non-traditional students and the fact
that, to their credit, students are more aware of class policies,
grading and those types of issues.
Hicks, 67, said he enjoys teaching many
different types of classes, especially art history, and that through the
years three-dimensional design evolved as one of his favorite classes
and is currently his specialty area.
Hicks said one of the best aspects of his job
has been the “long-term good working relationship” with fellow
longtime BHSU artists and professors Dick DuBois and Jim Knutson. “The
three of us get along well and that makes everything better.” Hicks
joined the BHSU staff in 1970. He earned a bachelor’s degree in art
from Albion College and a master’s of fine arts from the University of
He feels his time teaching at BHSU has been
“a good experience. I’ve enjoyed the students and the opportunity to
teach. Now it’s time for me to do something else.” He is looking
forward to retirement as a time to continue doing artwork as well as
spend more time participating in the volunteer activities he loves. Last
fall, Hicks taught an art class for troubled teens at the Canyon Hills
Lutheran Center. That experience has inspired him to look at additional
volunteer opportunities when he retires this spring. He has plans to do
volunteer work teaching art to special groups and is considering giving
tennis lessons for the city. He also plans to take a German class and
continue singing with his church choir.
Retention efforts are
successful at BHSU - top
increased emphasis on retention at Black Hills State University has
shown positive results after the first six months of formal
implementation according to Joe Valades, retention director at BHSU.
“Since we started this fall, results are optimistic,” Valades
said although he indicated that the real measurement of improvement
would be available after the program has been in place for at least one
full academic year. The retention rate of first-time, full-time freshmen
from the fall
2002 semester to the spring 2003 semester was 86.59 percent compared to
81.13 percent from the same time last year and 79.93 the previous year
according to Valades.
“The fall-to-fall retention rate will show the big picture,”
Valades said. He indicated that the retention rate for first-time
freshmen for the following fall was previously 51 percent; the retention
office has implemented a number of initiatives seeking to improve that
“This is a university-wide effort,” Valades said. “It’s been
a coordinated effort among several university offices and departments to
anticipate the needs of students and provide referrals and services for
students.” Valades sees the role of the retention office as one of
intervention collaboration and providing referral information about
various campus services to students.
“This is a matter of the university developing retention
intervention as a means of improving the educational experience for all
students,” Valades said. “We want to make sure students feel they
got a good education here and their academic career has been a good
experience for them.”
The main components of the retention plan include a first-year
experience program that links general classes into a smaller learning
and social community; coordination and referral to student assistance
opportunities such as tutoring and special needs assessment; working
with the records office to determine why students transfer; intervention
efforts through residence life to reach students who are struggling; and
an increased effort by the Career Center to work directly with students
with undeclared majors to help them determine the focus of their
education. The retention office also continues to make direct personal
contact with students who are struggling academically or socially and
provide support and referral options.
According to Valades, many students struggle with the transition to
college, not only in the academic setting, but with their new living
environment as well. These students, who are facing separation from
their family and community, sometimes need help normalizing the process.
“We tell them it takes a year to adapt and also emphasize the
behaviors and attitudes necessary to be successful,” Valades said.
Retention director Valades recently referred first-year student Eliza
Bollock to the Career Center to take the FOCUS Career Inventory after
discovering she was unsure of her academic plans. Bollock found the
inventory helpful in defining what she wants to do and has since
declared a major in pre-physical therapy.
“The inventory showed strong points in working with people,”
Bullock said. “It gave me some insight about what I am good at and
helped me decide what to do.” She recommends the inventory to other
students who are uncertain about their major or their future plans.
Sarah Chase, career counselor at the Career Center, explained that
the FOCUS inventory is a computerized career-planning inventory that was
implemented late last fall. Since that time more than 80 students have
participated in the program. After students complete the inventory,
career counselors follow up with individual student visits to go over
the results and provide career guidance.
“We look for underlying themes in occupations and find common
themes in the inventory results to help the students focus their
academics,” Chase said.
“We also let the students know that the inventory isn’t an
end-all answer. It isn’t going to provide a clear-cut answer of
‘this is what you are going to be’ but rather is a tool to guide
them and give them ideas. From there we can show students what is
available and refer them to other resources in that field.”
Chase indicated that students from all academic levels take the
inventory. Beginning students most commonly take the inventory but
higher-level students also request the inventory as they sometimes begin
to question their academic path. Students with undeclared majors are
targeted for the FOCUS program to help them deal with the uncertainties.
“If we can help students define a specific area of interest, the
students are more likely to persist, continue their education and be
successful,” Chase said.
A new program, known as Black Hills Experience under the direction of
Dr. Sharon Strand, was recently received a Bush grant to continue. The
first-year experience program aims to link academic classes and
emphasize the importance of life-long learning skills for first-year
students while targeting perceptions of isolation, especially for
students from small rural high schools. The students are arranged into
small groups with linked classes, which provides both academic and
social benefits to the students. The students are encouraged to make
connections to events in the campus and community. Statistics after the
pilot program this fall showed increased retention and success rates for
students in the first-year experience program. Students in the program
were retained at a 93.26 percent rate compared to an 85.11 percent rate
for non-BHE students. These students also had higher grade point
averages than the non-BHE cohort.
The retention director works with Ven Thompson, director of
institutional research, to identify at-risk students by using nationally
recognized indictors such as increased absences, poor grades and
undeclared majors, along with low ACT scores or limited admission.
“The institutional research component is essential,” Valades
said. “Ven can access data right at the beginning of the semester and
then we make contacts and referrals throughout.”
The retention office relies on a web-based computer program known as
the Program for Academic Success (PASS) to receive and utilize
information from faculty members concerning individual students.
“The PASS system has established an excellent line of communication
and we are then able to follow-up with students,” Valades said. This
semester alone, Valades has received more than 200 notifications from
faculty and staff alerting him to students in need of academic
The retention office has also been working with the university
records office to determine why students transfer and how it may have
been possible to better meet the needs of these students.
The student assistance center, which provides tutoring, continues to
be the biggest referral source for the retention office. Valades advises
students about the availability of tutors and other academic resources
at the student assistance center. Students who qualify are also referred
to student support services.
In addition, staff members with residence life are also instrumental
in identifying students who are discouraged either with academic
progress or in personal matters.
Future plans for the retention effort include analyzing data on
students’ involvement in organizations and in leadership roles to see
how those activities may affect retention. National statistics show that
students who are involved in activities report feeling a stronger
connection to the university community and have a higher rate of success
in college. Valades would like to find out if that holds true for
students at BHSU as well. It may be helpful to let students know that
participation in organizations can have a positive effect on their
education as well as a positive effect for their professional
Chase assists Kristi Buckley with the FOCUS career inventory
program. Buckley, who is a pre-nursing major considering a switch
to a business major, said she
found the program helpful because it brought up points she hadn’t
considered before. Joe Valades,
retention director, referred Buckley and many other students who are
unsure of the academic plans to the Career Center.
Hills State University will hold 145th Commencement May 10
The 145th Black
Hills State University commencement is scheduled for Saturday, May 10 at
10 a.m. in the gymnasium of the Donald E. Young Sports and Fitness
commencement address will be given by Mr. Randall Morris, South Dakota
Board of Regents member. Dr. Patrica Fallbeck, 2002 Distinguished
Faculty member, will give the faculty charge to the graduates. Diplomas
will be presented by Dr. Thomas Flickema, BHSU president, and April
Meeker, BHSU records director.
retiring faculty members will be formally recognized during the
ceremony. The 2003 Distinguished Faculty Award will be presented to Dr.
Tom Hills, political science professor.
the first time in nearly 20 years, two honorary degrees will be awarded.
An honorary doctorate of humane letters will be presented to both Guido
S. Della-Vecchia and Johanna T. Meier.
will be provided by the BHSU Brass Ensemble, under the direction of
Christopher Hahn, and Kristine Schaffer, Adam Lawson, Andrea Farr and
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.
breakfast will be held prior to graduation at 7:45 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 highest-ranking female and male graduates will be recognized.
Jennifer Thurm, human services and sociology major from Rapid City, will be
honored as the highest-ranking female graduate and Desmon Mitchell, a
psychology major from Spearfish, will be honored as the highest-ranking
BHSU will award honorary
doctorate degrees to Della-Vecchia and Meier - top
Black Hills State University will award honorary doctorates of humane
letters to both Guido S. Della-Vecchia and Johanna T. Meier at the 145th
commencement ceremony May 10 at the Donald E. Young Sports and Fitness
Center on the BHSU campus.
The married couple were chosen for this honor on the recommendation
of the BHSU music faculty, the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences,
the university commencement/awards committee, the faculty senate, and
the vice president for academic affairs. The South Dakota Board of
Regents of Education conferred to grant the honorary doctorate degrees.
“Mr. Guido Della-Vecchia and Ms. Johanna Meier were chosen for this
honor in recognition of the achieved distinction within their profession
and the outstanding contributions to the people of South Dakota. The
couple’s distinguished operatic career, their contributions to the
community of Spearfish, and dedication to the advancement of the arts
make them important and outstanding role models for the people of South
Dakota,” Thomas Flickema, BHSU president, said. “The two have had an
important positive influence on the arts in this community as well as
the entire state of South Dakota. These honorary doctorates will bestow
upon Mr. Della-Vecchia and Ms. Johanna Meier
the recognition they so
BHSU has awarded only 11 honorary degrees in its history and this is
the first time in nearly 20 years that an honorary doctorate has been
awarded. Josef Meier, Johanna’s father, received an honorary doctorate
of humane letters from BHSU in 1972.
After Della-Vecchia retired from his career as a classical singer in
1980, he and Meier made Spearfish their permanent home in 1984. In 1991,
the couple assumed ownership of the Passion Play, where Della-Vecchia
continues to sing as the official Passion Play soloist. Della-Vecchia
also performs frequently in the community and region.
Meier assumed the role of CEO and director of the Black Hills Passion
Play in 1991. The play was brought to America from Germany by her
father, Josef in 1932 and has been in continuous production ever since,
giving performances all over the United States and Canada. The first
local performance of the Passion Play was held in Woodburn Auditorium on
the BHSU campus during the summer of 1938. The production played for
five weeks that first summer. Working with Black Hills area businessmen,
the Passion Play found a permanent home in Spearfish and an outdoor
amphitheater was constructed in 1939. For years the Passion Play had two
permanent amphitheatres, one in Spearfish and the other in Lake Wales,
Fla. At present, the Passion Play retains a permanent amphitheatre in
Spearfish, where it serves as a powerful cultural experience as well as
a major tourist destination.
Meier continues to contribute to cultural education in South Dakota
and Spearfish community through the School of Opera and Vocal Arts,
which she started in 1997. This endeavor has become a successful part of
the Black Hills State University Summer Institute of the Arts through
her dedication and professionalism. As the artistic director of the
Summer Institute of the Arts, Johanna Meier brings in accomplished
performing artists from across the United States to further the musical
education of aspiring opera singers. The performance of these students
attracts growing audiences and represents a substantial step in the
realization of her dream of making Spearfish a cultural center.
Della-Vecchia has also been a fervent supporter of the arts,
particularly on a regional basis, and has been the artistic consultant
and co-founder of the Black Hills Chamber Music Festival in South
Dakota. In addition, he has assisted in the artistic direction of the
Summer Institute of the Arts.
Della-Vecchia, who was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1930, began
vocal studies at the age of 18. In 1951, during the Korean conflict, he
joined the army and was sent to Germany, where he sang as an Entertainer
in Special Services throughout the country. Della-Vecchia later refined
his musical art by going abroad again to study with several of Italy’s
foremost maestri at the Cherubini Conservatory in Florence and at the
Florence Comunale. Beginning in 1961, Mr. Della-Vecchia made extensive
concert and operatic tours throughout the United States, including
appearances at Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall at the Lincoln Center.
His earliest performances were in the extremely demanding role of
Fernando in Favorita and the role of Fenton in Verdi’s Falstaff
in a production staged and conducted by the eminent Boris Goldovsky.
Additional roles in his repertoire include Cavaradossi in Tosca,
Rodolfo in Boheme, Pinkerton in Butterfly, Enzo in Gioconda,
and the title role in Andrea Chenie. Mr. Della Vecchia
demonstrated great versatility; he sang the exacting role of Tamino in
Mozart’s Magic Flute at Avery Fisher Hall with the Little
Orchestra Society, and the role of the supremely Italian tenor Alfred in
Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, which he performed during the 1979-80
season in Memphis and Columbus in a production starring Beverly Sills.
Meier, a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, made her debut
with the New York City Opera, where she sang for 10 years, and went on
to an extraordinary international career as a member of the Metropolitan
Opera for 15 years, achieving recognition as one of the foremost
Wagnerian sopranos of her era. Meier sang with most of the major
symphony orchestras in the United States and abroad, including the New
York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic,
the Cleveland Orchestra, l’Orchestre de Paris, the Munich
Philharmonic, the Toronto Symphony, the National Arts Centre Orchestra
in Ottawa, and the famous Concertgebouw at the Holland Festival.
She has appeared two times on PBS Great Performances, first in the title
role of Vannesa and then with the San Francisco Opera in the
world premiere of Dangerous Liaisons. She also
appeared in a televised BBC concert at Royal Albert Hall in London.
Her European appearances also included performances at the Vienna
Staatsoper, the English National Opera, and with the opera companies of
Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Paris, Rome, Venice, Madrid, Barcelona, Zurich,
and the Netherlands, to name only a few. Meier was the first American
ever to sing the role of Isolde in Tristan and Isolde at the
Bayreuth Festival in Germany. She also appeared with the Canadian Opera,
and the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, as well as in Japan, Mexico
City, Israel, and at the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico.
Students prepare for finals
week at Black Hills State University - top
State University is offering students a variety of ways to help deal
with the stress of finals week as the spring 2003 semester comes
to a close. Several special activities are underway to help students do
their best during this stressful time.
Students, as well as faculty and staff, were encouraged to take a
break for quite time in a specially created “comfort zone” in room
124 of the David B. Miller Yellow Jacket Student Union. The “comfort
zone” features healthy refreshments and a peaceful music for students
and faculty to relax a bit as they prepare for a busy week of final
exams and end-of-semester activities. The
“comfort zone” is sponsored by the BHSU Alcohol/Drug
Prevention Committee, Bacchus & Gamma Peer Educators, the UP Team,
the Health Awareness Committee, United Ministries, and the Student
Students “kneading to unwind” were given the opportunity to have
a massage by Tommi Jo Krautchun of Cowgirl Essence Massage in Spearfish.
Krautchun, a 1998 BHSU alum, returned to her alma mater to offer
massages to students suffering from the stresses of finals week.
In addition, some students in the residence halls will be receiving
“Finals Survival” packages compliments of their parents. The
Residence Hall Association offered parents the opportunity to purchase
the kits designed to fulfill the needs for both healthy snacks and some
junk-food cravings of students as they put in long hours studying and
completing class projects.
For students studying late, the student affairs office is sponsoring
a midnight breakfast Monday, May 5 from 10 p.m. to midnight at the
Student Union marketplace. Breakfast nourishment will be provided.
Hills donates Chastain
sculptures to BHSU library - top
|Black Hills State University retiring political
science professor, Dr. Tom Hills, recently donated a set of Civil
War sculptures created by former BHSU employee Pat Chastain to be
displayed at the E.Y. Berry Library and Learning Center on campus.
Hills explained that he decided to gift the sculptures to BHSU
as a symbol of his dedication and commitment to the university.
sculptures mean a lot to me, and giving them to BHSU is indicative
of how much I love this university,” Hills said. “BHSU
|Retiring professor Tom Hills (left)
presents a set of Civil War sculptures created by former BHSU
employee Pat Chastain (center) to Arnie Hemmingson, chief
information officer (right).
an extremely important part of my life for 38 years, four years as
a student and
34 years as a faculty member.
It is my intention to present them as a gift to my alma mater,
Black Hills State University, to be placed in the library.”
purchased the set of 15 Civil War figures some years ago and has
since displayed them in his office. The figures were sculpted by
Chastain, who worked at BHSU for
13 years before retiring in 2001. When creating these sculptures
in 1995, Chastain relied on Hills’ expertise to verify details
and craft realistic sculptures.
said, “I knew Tom was a Civil War history buff, and he helped me
immensely with these sculptures.” Chastain
noted that the uniform details, which can't be indicated by color
because all the sculptures were produced in crushed pecan shell
and dyed red, were vital for authenticity.
husband, Don, did a lot of research for me. He and Hills reviewed
the sculptures as they were being crafted and verified that the
details were accurate. Without their help, I would never have been
able to make these sculptures.”
sculptures were created, Hills was one of the first to purchase a
set. This set is now remain on the BHSU and be displayed in the
coffee shop area of the library.
Chastain has continued to create sculptures in the years since
she retired. She is currently working on a commissioned sculpture
of a Civil War drummer boy that will eventually be bronzed and
marketed on the East Coast.
Senator Tim Johnson visits
BHSU campus - top
Senator Tim Johnson, after a tour of Black Hills State University
this week, said he is impressed with the changes on campus and the
progress of the university.
“I am impressed with what the university has accomplished and what
BHSU is doing for our state,” Johnson said following a meeting with
university officials including Thomas Flickema, president; Dr. Lyle
Cook, vice president of academic affairs; Dr. Dan Farrington, director
of grants and special projects; and Dr. Ben Sayler, director of the
Center for Advancement of Math and Science Education (CAMSE).
Johnson first toured the former Central elementary building, which
now houses CAMSE, where Sayler explained
the professional development opportunities in math and science education
that BHSU offers to teachers throughout South Dakota and the surrounding
region. Sayler described the center’s efforts to enhance the
preparation of future math and science teachers and discussed a summer
program that CAMSE hosts for highly motivated and talented high school
students. Johnson also
viewed the CAMSE resource center which is full of instructional
materials for teachers.
The Central building is also in the planning stages to be the site of
a DNA research center. BHSU received a Congressional earmark for
$630,000 through the efforts of Johnson last year to establish a DNA
research center that will provide testing and research for the region. The
center, known as the Center for the Conservation of Biological
Resources, will do wildlife testing and research which will provide
economic, educational and community outreach opportunities for the
entire region. Farrington explained that the center will provide
much-needed research and testing services for the region as well as
provide training and employment opportunities in molecular biology and
Farrington also outlined the recent National Institutes of Health (NIH)
grant that the university received to study disparities in Native
American health issues. BHSU is making plans
for the new project EXPORT, with a $1,050,000 three-year grant
was awarded to a consortium led by BHSU in partnership with the
Montana-Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council (MT-WY TLC) in Billings, Mont.,
the Project HOPE Center for Health Affairs in Lead and the Black Hills
Center for American Indian Health in Rapid City. The university will
rely on the strengths of three diverse areas, the Center for Indian
Studies, the business and health care administration department, and the
wellness management department, to conduct this research.
Johnson noted the extraordinary service outreach by the university
through the years. “This
university has provided some excellent outreach in the past especially
with Native American issues, and these recent developments sounds like
continuations of that exceptional service,” Johnson said.
Johnson also visited a science department laboratory and was
introduced to a group of anatomy lab students. The group then toured the
new music/academic building which is under construction in the center of
the BHSU campus. Project manager Wayne Musil indicated that construction
is progressing well and is currently approximately two weeks ahead of
schedule. The new building, which will provide enhanced studio
facilities for music students and faculty as well as classrooms and
offices for the College of Business faculty, is expected to be ready for
the fall semester at BHSU.
Senator Tim Johnson, second from the left, visits with Black Hills
State University officials recently. Pictured are President Thomas
Flickema, Johnson, Darrell Shoemaker, Johnson's West River director, Dan
Farrington, and Lyle Cook.
Gallery features Student Art Show - top
annual spring juried Student Art Show is currently on display at the
Ruddell Gallery in the David B. Miller Yellow Jacket Student Union. The
show, which includes a variety of work by Black Hills State University
students, will be on exhibit through Saturday, May 10. For more
information contact Jim Knutson at 642-6104.
of Arts and Sciences holds research symposium - top
Hansen presents "Arabs and Commies and Nukes, Oh My: Propaganda,
Stereotypes and the Perception of Evil in American Society" at the College of Arts and Sciences
2003 research symposium
held recently at Black Hills State University. Twelve students
participated in the symposium.
South Dakota Stock Market
Simulation announces winners - top
The South Dakota Stock Market
Simulation (SDSMS), hosted by Black Hills State University, recently
announced the winners of its 10-week-long competition, which ended
Friday, April 25.
Twenty schools and 141 teams of students, including 15 teams of
middle school students from Colegio Jorge Washington in Cartgena,
Colombia, participated in the spring 2003 simulation program. The teams
of three to five students started the trading period Feb. 18 with
$100,000 in “play” funds. They then researched companies and bought
and sold shares on-line.
The top teams in the high school division, listed with their ending
portfolio values, were: first place, Corporate Avenger from Watertown,
$138,443; second place, Pine Ridge Thorpes from Custer, $137,428; third
place, The Kamakazies from Watertown, $133,591; fourth place, Invincible
Flying Hatchet from Emory, $131,044; and fifth place, Neckrophiliacks
from Custer, $120,691. The Corporate Avenger was also named the top team
in the state with a return on investment of 38.4 percent for the 10-week
The top teams in the middle school division, listed with their ending
portfolio values, were: first place, Jeff Dungan’s team from Colegio
Jorge Washington, $116,800; second place, the Eagles from Colegio Jorge
Washington, $108,754; and the Fishsticks from Edison Middle School,
The fall 2003 SDSMS will begin Monday, Oct. 13 and conclude the
10-week trading period Friday, Dec. 19.
The SDSMS program is an educational tool that motivates students to
learn in subjects such as social studies, math, business, computers,
economics and accounting. It is sponsored by the South Dakota Council on
Economic Education and the Centers of Economic Education at Black Hills
State University and the University of South Dakota.
Contact Don Altmyer, SDSMS coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit the SDSMS website at www.sdakotasms.com
for more information.
Nearly 300 attend Festival On the
Green - top
||Organizers estimate that nearly 300 people
attended the annual Festival On the Green last week at Black Hills State
University. The event, which is held annually, included live music from
area bands, arts and crafts booths, and food vendors.
nears completion - top
music/academic building is nearing completion on the BHSU campus. Work
is progressing on the interior as the exterior takes shape. The $8.25
million building will accommodate the music department as well as the
College of Business offices. The area dubbed "office alley" gives a
preliminary view of some of the offices. According to Wayne Musil,
project manager, construction is ahead of schedule and going well.
Construction workers plan to remove the construction fence the week
after finals and begin landscaping work on the new campus green area.
Grant opportunities announced
Below are the program materials received April 10-30 in the Grants
Office, Woodburn 309. For copies of the information, contact our office
at 642-6627 or e-mail requests to us at email@example.com.
Fellowship information will also be posted on the Student Union
bulletin board near the information desk.
Department. Economic Development (DoC). The
Commerce Department invites applications to plan and build capacity
and infrastructure, conduct research and undertake technical
assistance to promote a favorable business environment, boost
employment and increase private investment.
until funds are spent. www.commerce.gov
(“Economic Development,” and scroll down to “Notice of Funding
Business Opportunity Grants. The
Agriculture Department is inviting applications for rural business
opportunity grants to improve economic conditions in rural
communities by supporting technical assistance for business
development and economic development planning.
Deadline: June 2 to
file applications with the state rural development offices.
(click “Browse,” then “2003,” and the publication date); and
Institutes of Health. Effects
of Violence (HHS/ED). The
National Institutes of Health, the Administration for Children and
Families, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the
Education Department’s Office of Special Education Programs are
inviting proposals for investigations of the effects on children of
exposure to domestic and community violence, war and terrorism.
Deadline: June 25, 2003 and 2004 and June 24, 2005.
of Health and Human Services. Senior
Medicare Patrol (HHS/AoA). The
Health and Human Services Department’s Administration on Aging is
seeking applications to train seniors to serve as expert resources
to detect and stop health care error, fraud and abuse.
Deadline May 22, 2003. www.aoa.gov/egrants;
www.aoa.gov (scroll down to “AoA
of Housing and Urban Development.
Youthbuild (HUD). The Housing and Urban Development Department will invite
applications for projects to help disadvantaged youths (ages 16 to
24) finish high school and gain job training by building and
rehabilitating housing for homeless and low-income individuals. Deadline: June 6, 2003. www.hud.gov
(click on “Grants”)
Department. Children’s Justice Technical Assistance: Native
Communities (DoJ). The
Justice Department’s Office for Victims of Crime is inviting
applications to help Native American tribes develop a
multidisciplinary approach to investigating, prosecuting, treating
and advocating for victims of child abuse and child sexual abuse.
Deadline: May 29 for required electronic applications.
Science Foundation (NSF). Biological
Research Collections. The
National Science Foundation is inviting proposals to support
biological collection, enhancement, computerization of
specimen-related data and other activities to ensure materials
necessary for research in a broad area of biological sciences.
Deadline: July 18 for full proposals.
research funds available - top
The Faculty Research Committee has
funds available for the current fiscal year. Write a short (about
three-page) proposal. Proposal forms are available in the Grants and
Special Projects Office, Woodburn 309, or can be printed from the website.
It is anticipated that successful
applicants will request support for faculty release time, research
equipment, travel to research sites or research support for the
production of creative work. Preference is given to new applicants,
particularly in the areas of education, business, social sciences and
humanities. Applications are now being accepted for faculty release time
for spring 2004. Release time is awarded to full-time faculty who teach
on the BHSU campus. The next application deadline is Friday,
May 16 at
The applicants are encouraged to
contact the committee members for advice prior to completing their
proposals. The members are John Alsup, Earl Chrysler, Tom Cox, Abdollah
Farrokhi (chair), Jim Hess, Kathleen Parrow, Shane Sarver, and Rob