Volume XXVII  No. 3 • Jan. 17, 2003

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Hemmingson named assistant director of grants at BHSU - top

Sharon Hemmingson has been named assistant director of the grants and special projects office at Black Hills State University.

“Sharon’s experience in working with faculty and students and her success in writing and administering a series of federal TRIO grants will bring important new capabilities to the grants office and help ensure its continued success,” Dr. Dan Farrington, director of grants and special projects, said. He also noted that her experience with student success programs would strengthen the external funding efforts in that area.

Hemmingson is looking forward to her new assignment with the grants office. "The success of the faculty and staff in securing grant and contract funding in the past five years has been phenomenal,” Hemmingson said. “One of my major roles will be to further expand the capacity of the grants office to provide ongoing technical assistance and support for faculty and staff efforts. I also hope to encourage and generate new proposals related to student persistence and achievement."

Hemmingson was previously director of student support services at BHSU. She has a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from BHSU. Hemmingson joined the BHSU staff in 1986.

Farrington will remain director of grants and special projects in addition to  taking on additional duties as the project director for a major National Institutes of Health grant working on health disparity issues with Indian tribes in Montana and Wyoming. The grants and special projects office is being relocated to Woodburn 309.

“The addition of Sharon to the staff of the grants office is a demonstration of the university’s commitment to continuing to develop external funding options,” Farrington said.

Babbitt photographs are part of a juried show at the Dahl Arts Center - top

Photographs by Steve Babbitt, associate professor of photography at Black Hills State University, are part of a new juried exhibit at the Dahl Arts Center in Rapid City.

The exhibit “Art of the New West” will be featured in the Ruth Brennan and Central Galleries of the Dahl Jan. 17 through March 24. An opening reception will be held Jan. 17 from 7-9 p.m.

Two of Babbitt’s gelatin silver prints were selected to be a part of this exhibit that includes work by 34 artists. For this exhibit the Dahl Arts Center asked artists living and working in the United States west of the Mississippi River to submit contemporary work that contributes to a dialogue about the state of the western ranch in the 21st century.

“The land, its people, and activities feed directly into the work that is being done. This is a strong, diverse investigation of the West,” said Theodore Waddell, juror.

Babbitt has been teaching classes in journalism and photography at BHSU since 1994. He holds a master’s of fine arts degree in photography from the San Francisco Art Institute.

BHSU and Montana-Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council awarded NIH health disparities grant - top

Black Hills State University is participating in a new program funded by the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities, National Institutes of Health, to address significant health disparities of American Indians in this region. The $1,050,000 three-year grant was awarded to a consortium led by Black Hills State University (BHSU) in partnership with the Montana-Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council (MT-WY TLC), Billings, Mont., Project HOPE Center for Health Affairs in Lead and the Black Hills Center for American Indian Health, Rapid City.

Over the grant period, BHSU, the MT-WY TLC, and consortium members will develop and strengthen a partnership between BHSU, tribes in Montana and Wyoming, and tribal colleges that will provide a foundation for ongoing efforts to reduce specific health disparities and build a collaborative research infrastructure that will form the foundation for a sustainable long-term research program. Faculty from BHSU and other research partners will work closely with tribal health directors and with faculty from tribal colleges.


Gordon Belcourt, M.P.H., executive director of the MT-WY TLC, will serve as co-project director of the grant, working with Daniel Farrington, D.V.M., Ph.D., the project director at BHSU.

“The Montana-Wyoming American Indian population has poorer health status than most other American Indian groups and has much higher rates of death from cancer, heart disease, injuries, and pneumonia and influenza than the rest of the U.S. population,” Belcourt said. “This grant and the partnership it establishes with BHSU and the research consortium will lay the groundwork for developing the resources and funding that will help us to begin to understand and improve health for Indian people in this region.”

The National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities, National Institutes of Health (NCMHD/NIH) initiated the Centers of Excellence in Partnerships for Community Outreach, Research on Health Disparities, and Training (Project EXPORT) grant program in 2002. Twenty academic institutions, including BHSU, received awards in the first round of Project EXPORT grants in September 2002.

The project, “Building Healthy Indian Tribes in Montana and Wyoming through Collaborative Research and Development,” began January 2003. The initial year of the project will focus on three pilot studies that will develop methodologies, data collection strategies, and research findings on diabetic retinopathy prevention, motor vehicle accident injury reduction, and accessibility and experiences with health care systems. In addition, a community outreach and education project focused on increased physical activity and nutrition will be developed and implemented. Individual tribes in Montana and Wyoming will choose whether to participate in specific pilot studies and community outreach and education projects. In addition, all of the studies and outreach projects will be designed and implemented with the input and collaboration of tribal health directors and involvement of tribal college faculty.

A purpose of the research grant is to augment and strengthen BHSU’s infrastructure and capacity to conduct basic, clinical, behavioral, and social sciences research aimed at addressing and ultimately eliminating MT-WY Indian tribe health disparities as well as to develop collaborative research arrangements with other research institutions. The long-range objectives of the grant are to 1) build research capacity for health disparities research in tribal colleges; 2) promote the participation of health disparity groups in biomedical and behavioral research and prevention and intervention activities; and 3) promote the conduct of tribal health and/or other health disparities research.


Co-project directors at BHSU are Dr. Steven Andersen, department of business and health care administration, Dr. Robert Schurrer, department of wellness, and Lisa Bryan, M.S., director of the Center for Indian Studies. Other co-project directors include Kathryn Langwell, M.A., senior fellow, Project HOPE Center for Health Affairs, and Dr. Jeffrey Henderson, president and CEO, Black Hills Center for American Indian Health.

The MT-WY TLC, comprised of Tribal leaders from the nine federally recognized and one non-federally recognized tribe in Montana and Wyoming, has a mission to promote the welfare of all the Indian peoples of Montana and Wyoming reservations. The MT-WY TLC also includes the MT-WY Indian Health Board, with representation on the Board of Directors of the National Indian Health Board. The MT-WY TLC provides coordination and direction to tribal health directors and to joint health projects affecting all American Indians in Montana and Wyoming. The TLC also has coordination and oversight responsibilities for tribal colleges on reservation lands in Montana and Wyoming.

The Project HOPE Center for Health Affairs, founded in 1981, is a nonprofit health policy research organization and provides objective research and policy analysis on both United States and foreign health systems. The organization has offices in Bethesda, Md., and Lead. The center’s senior staff includes economists, health policy researchers, statisticians, and sociologists. Of primary interest to center staff are projects related to health care access and insurance coverage for vulnerable populations, long-term care services for the elderly and for persons with disabilities and quality health care financing and organization. Project HOPE staff have also conducted extensive research on issues affecting health care in rural America. The Project HOPE Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis, funded by the federal Office of Rural Health Policy, is one of six national Rural Health Research Centers.

Henderson, a Lakota Sioux physician and board-certified internist and epidemiologist, is also the principal investigator for an ocular health pilot research study. Henderson has significant experience in planning and conducting longitudinal cohort studies among American Indians. In addition, efforts will be made to recruit a co-investigator for the Ocular Health Pilot Study from among the faculty of participating tribal colleges. Information about the study will be provided to all participating tribal colleges. A goal of the BHSU Project EXPORT grant is to involve faculty from BHSU and Tribal colleges in opportunities to design and conduct health disparities research on an ongoing basis. The intent is to recruit and involve junior faculty in all of the pilot studies.

According to Belcourt, the ultimate success of Project Export will be based upon several factors. “First, success will be determined by the development of effective outreach and educational materials and programs that address tribally-identified health priorities in Montana and Wyoming and that can be used by tribes on an ongoing basis. Secondly, Project Export will seek to obtain additional grant funds from foundations and government agencies to support a wide range of new health initiatives that result in improved health status of Indian people in Montana and Wyoming. The project will also foster a spirit of collaboration among the partner organizations and the Montana and Wyoming tribes and tribal colleges to provide a foundation for ongoing research and program development beyond the end of the project.”

BHSU, the only comprehensive liberal arts institution in western South Dakota, has a service area that includes nine reservations. 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. BHSU offers the only Indian Studies major in South Dakota. The university also offers a health administration major and a wellness management degree, which will be integral components of this research project.

“Our health care administration and wellness management departments are strongly positioned to provide support for cutting edge research on health disparities,” BHSU President Thomas Flickema said. He noted that the project is compatible with the university’s strategic goals and that this research will greatly strengthen research capabilities.

Dean's list announced at Black Hills State University - top

The academic affairs office at Black Hills State University has released the dean’s list for the fall 2002 semester. A total of 495 students were named to the dean’s list. Students must maintain a grade-point average of 3.5 or above while taking at least 12 credit hours to be named to the dean’s list. Students are listed by hometown or current place of residence.

See list

Students collect more than two tons of clothes for Argentina orphanages - top

Students at Black Hills State University and Spearfish elementary schools worked together in a clothing drive that was “overwhelmingly successful” as they collected more than two tons of clothes that will be donated to orphanages in South America.

Members of the Human Services Club at BHSU organized the clothing drive and encouraged 

spirited participation at the elementary schools by making 
the collection a contest among classes. Elementary students brought bags of donated clothing to their classrooms for a period 
of two and one-half weeks 
which accumulated to more 
than two  tons of clothes overall.
Members of the Human Services Club (left to right) Jeremy Taper, Jennifer Thurm and Becca Wharton and Bob Stanelle (front), director of student development, are surrounded by some of the clothes that were collected during a clothing drive at the Spearfish elementary schools. The BHSU Human Services Club will donate the clothes to orphanages in South America.

The BHSU students became interested in assisting in some way after a group of BHSU students traveled to South America last spring during the BHSU Career Center Global Opportunities tour. The clothes will be distributed among several orphanages in Parana, Argentina, an area that currently suffers an unemployment rate of more than 25 percent and has an increasing rate of abandoned children with limited adoptions due to the overall economic situation of the country.

Jeremy Taper, a human services major from Curtis, Neb., and Jennifer Thurm, a pre-law student from Rapid City, said they were amazed and surprised at the generosity and responsiveness of the elementary students and their parents.

“The students just kept bringing bags of clothes. It was completely overwhelming. I just couldn’t believe it,” Thurm said.

“Spearfish is a giving community. These students were anxious to donate to help others,” said Taper.

The elementary students received some extra motivation to donate as they competed amongst their school for a pizza party. The students in Mrs. Wishard and Mrs. Wendt’s classroom at East Elementary collected 382 pounds of clothing to earn first place. At West Elementary the winning classroom was Mrs. Hrinda’s classroom which donated 250 pounds of clothing. Many classrooms donated more than 200 pounds of clothing.

Melina Zamarripa, a political science student at a university in Parana who also served as a tour guide and interpreter when the BHSU group visited, is coordinating the distribution of clothing in Argentina. Several BHSU students became friends with Zamarripa when she worked with their tour group and remain in contact with her. With an active interest in helping others, Zamarripa is eager to assist with this much-needed clothing distribution project.

Due to the overwhelming response and the volume of clothing collected, BHSU is seeking financial assistance or direct donations from a transportation firm to deliver these clothes to Argentina.

“We have about three times as many clothes as we expected,” said Bob Stanelle, director of student development. “We are now sorting and preparing the clothes that will be sent. We are seeking volunteers to help prepare and also to help fund the cost of shipping.”

Stanelle attributes the success of the clothes drive to the hard work of the BHSU students as well as the timing and the generosity of the community. “Right before Christmas people were evidently in a giving mood,” Stanelle said. “This is an example of what can be accomplished when people work together.”

Every year the BHSU Human Services Club coordinates a community service project.  Previously the club has donated Christmas presents to the Artemis House and served as bell ringers for the Salvation Army.  


Photography Gallery at Black Hills State features design exhibition - top

The First Annual Design Exhibition is currently being held at the Black Hills State University Photography Gallery in the basement of Jonas Hall.

Student illustrations and designs from the fall 2002 Advanced Computer Publishing course are on display until Feb. 14. Works include magazine covers, self-portraits, illustrated poems, and a variety of other design projects.

Contact Linn Nelson, assistant professor of mass communications at BHSU, at
642-6422 or linnnelson@bhsu.edu.

BHSU Career Center hosts career fair and interviewing skills workshop - top

During the month of January the Career Center at Black Hills State University will host a human services/non-profit organization job fair and an interviewing skills workshop to help prepare students for future employment opportunities.

The Third Annual Human Services/Non-Profit Organization Job Fair will be held Thursday, Jan. 23 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the David B. Miller Yellow Jacket Student Union Jacket Legacy Room. At the job fair students can learn about various employment, volunteer, and internship opportunities by talking to representatives of local and national human service organizations. Sixteen employers are currently registered for the fair. The list of employers can be found at www.bhsu.edu/careers by clicking on the Career Fairs link.

An experienced recruiter who has interviewed over 16,000 students will conduct an intensive all-day interviewing skills workshop Saturday, Jan. 25 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the David B. Miller Yellow Jacket Student Union Jacket Legacy Room. The session will discuss why recruiters ask the things they ask and what they are looking for in responses. Those in attendance will experience six critiqued practice interviews to improve confidence and personal interviewing skills.

All career fairs and workshops are free of charge and open to the general public. Contact the BHSU Career Center at 642-6277 or wildbill@bhsu.edu for more information.

Prejudice Awareness Month events continue - top

Activities that various groups at BHSU have organized to open discussion about prejudice and raise awareness about the impact of prejudice and raise awareness about the impact of prejudice on everyone's lives continue throughout January, Prejudice Awareness Month.

A former Skinhead will speak at a lecture about hate groups Wednesday, Jan. 22 at 7 p.m. in the David B. Miller Yellow Jacket Student Union Jacket Legacy Room. He will relate his journey from hatred to compassion and share first-hand knowledge of what motivates various hate groups. He has been featured on the Today Show, Frontline, CNN, MTV, and the Discovery Channel. The lecture is sponsored by the University Programming Team at BHSU. Contact Megan Wyett at 642-6418 for details.

An interactive cultural awareness activity titled “Survivor: Exile Island” will conclude the series Tuesday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. in the David B. Miller Yellow Jacket Student Union Market Place. Participants will become members of one of two island societies. After members learn the rules of their society, they will send delegates to the other island to interact with that culture. The challenge of the cross-cultural simulation is to survive in that culture without being exiled from the island. Discussion will be held over free pizza after the simulation. United Ministries and the Center for Indian Studies are co-sponsoring this event. Contact student chair Becky Meyers at 717-5722 for more information.

There is no charge for admission and the public is welcome to attend.

Black Hills State will host middle school science fair - top

The annual Spearfish Middle School science fair will be Friday, Jan. 24 at the 
Donald E. Young Sports and Fitness Center field house. Typically 250-300 sixth, seventh and eighth grade students bring their science projects to the Young Center for the fair, according to Charles Lamb. The displays will be open for public viewing from 12-2 p.m. following the morning judging sessions. 

University Assessment Committee minutes - top

The University Assessment Committee met Tuesday, Jan. 14 at 3:30 p.m. in Jonas 103.

Earley, J. Miller, H. Johnson, DeJong, Siewert, Lembcke, and Schamber were present. Absent were Calhoon, Pearce, Norby, L. Cook, Haislett, Myers, and Gallagher.

The committee reviewed the following annual reports and made the recommendations shown:

  • Psychology was accepted as is with notes for changes next fall.
  • Music was accepted as is.
  • English was accepted pending modifications.
  • Speech communication was rejected and returned for resubmission.

The next meeting will be Tuesday, Jan. 21 at 3:30 p.m. in Jonas 103. Reports to be reviewed are theatre, chemistry, and technology.

Faculty 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 at the Grants Office, Woodburn 218, 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. The next application deadline is Friday, Jan. 31 at 12 p.m.

The applicants are encouraged to contact the committee members for advice prior to completing their proposals. The members are John Alsup, Steve Anderson, Tom Cox, Abdollah Farrokhi (chair), Jim Hess, Kathleen Parrow, Shane Sarver, and Rob Schurrer. 

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