Two BHSU faculty members
receive grants from the Chiesman Endowment to promote democracy -
Two Black Hills State University faculty members, Vincent King,
assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Ahrar
Ahmad, professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, recently received
separate $6,000 grants from the Chiesman Endowment for Promoting
The professors are taking very different approaches in their studies
of democracy. Ahmad, a political science professor, will study a
relevant and timely issue as he considers the intellectual and
historical forces in “the continuing discussion about the
compatibility of democracy and Islam in the world.”
King, who teaches English classes at BHSU, will use the grant to
show “that the antebellum romances of James Fenimore Cooper
and William Gilmore Simms are nuanced meditations on American
Ahmad’s grant, titled “Islam in South Asia: Intellectual and
Historical Forces in the Construction of Democratic Alternatives,”
will suggest that while the local political culture and unique political
experiences may have contributed to a distinctive developmental dynamic
in Pakistan and Bangladesh, “it is the intellectual debates regarding
Islamic reformism that created the basic foundation for the possibility
of democracy in the region.”
Ahmad notes that although there are about 56 countries that are
members of the Organization of Islamic Conference, only about 10 or so
have tried to institutionalize the principles and practices of democracy
as understood in the West.
“Of these small minority of countries,
Pakistan and Bangladesh (which together have almost as many Muslims as
there are in the entire Arab world) have tried valiantly, if at times
fitfully, and with occasional lapses, to pursue democratic ideals.”
Ahmad explained that the primary question examined in this research is
to explore the reasons why the prospect of democracy appears to have a
more optimistic future in South Asia than in many other parts of the
Since Muslims constitute almost one-fifth of the world’s
population, occupy regions that are rich and volatile and have
significant economic and strategic interests for Americans, and have
generated many misunderstandings, it is “not only interesting but
essential to understand both the spiritual and political aspects of this
faith. An examination of the historical and intellectual context in
which two Muslim countries are struggling towards a democratic future
will clarify the conditions in which democracy came about in these
countries and indicate the possibilities of democracy in others,”
Ahmad earned a master’s degree from the University of Waterloo in
Canada and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Dhaka in
Bangladesh. He has a Ph.D. in political science from Southern Illinois
University at Carbondale. He has taught at the University of Dhaka in
Bangladesh, at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, and at John A.
Logan College in Illinois. He teaches courses in comparative politics
and international relations. His research interests revolve around
issues relating to the evolution and role of the Third World state,
post-colonial studies, and comparative political economy.
King’s research will focus on the canon of antebellum American
literature established by seven central critical works published between
1941 and 1960. King explains that “American fiction writers eschewed
realistic descriptions of domesticity in favor of outrageous tales of
adventure. These tales invariably feature protagonists who flee the
confines of society for the freedom of the wilderness or ocean. Unbound
by the restrictions of verisimilitude, the American romance is the
perfect vehicle to explore the myth of America.”
“I wish to show that these classic romances are nuanced meditations
on American democracy,” King said. “The cultural function of the
romance in antebellum America,” King argues, “is to justify, amend,
critique, and, on occasion, undermine pastoral conceptions of America
that originated with the Puritans and that still have resonance today.
In short, the romance is a meditation on the pastoral mythology that is
the foundation of American democracy.”
King received his bachelor of arts degree from Emory University and
his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina. In addition to southern
literature, his research and teaching interests include film and
The Chiesman Foundation For Democracy, Inc. was organized to promote
and support greater awareness of the meaning of democracy and democratic
ideals by our citizens. The Chiesman Foundation For Democracy is a
nonpartisan, nonpolitical and educational corporation.
BHSU Community Band and
Chamber Winds winter concert rescheduled - top
The Black Hills State University Community Band and Chamber Winds
winter concert originally scheduled for Monday, Feb. 24 will now be
Monday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m. in the David B. Miller Yellow Jacket
Student Union Jacket Legacy Room.
“With the recent stretch of bad weather, some of the community
members couldn’t make it to rehearsal,” said director Christopher
Hahn. “We have members from Belle Fourche, Rapid City, Lead, Deadwood,
and Brownsville. I wanted to give them a chance to learn the music and
perform with the rest of the band.”
The band will play “comfort” music-traditional fare including
marches, ragtime, spirituals, and some big band music.
During the concert a raffle will be held to win a conductor’s baton
and a chance to conduct the band. The winner needs no musical ability.
For more information contact Hahn, instructor of music at BHSU, at
The stock market game
hosted by BHSU receives international attention - top
The South Dakota Stock Market Simulation (SDSMS), hosted by Black
Hills State University, will have an international aspect this semester
as 18 South Dakota schools as well as several teams from a school in
Colombia, South America, participate in this on-line learning experience
by investing a hypothetical $100,000 in a stock and mutual fund
portfolio selected by the student.
The SDSMS, under the direction of Donald Altmyer, associate professor
in the College of Business and Technology, currently has 140 teams
participating which includes 96 high school teams and 44 middle school
teams of three to five students per team. For the first time the state
competition includes 15 middle school teams from Cartegena, Colombia,
An article last year in “Mathematics Teaching in the Middle
School” drew national and international attention to the game. Jeff
Dungan, a member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM)
and seventh grade pre-algebra teacher at Colegio Jorge Washington
School, read the article "Bullish on Mathematics: Using Stock
Market Simulations to Enhance Learning" and contacted Altmyer about
the possibility of participating. The article was coauthored by Altmyer
and John Alsup, BHSU College of Education assistant professor. The NCTM
is the largest mathematics education organization in the United States
and Canada with more than 100,000 members.
The article described how an online stock market simulation can be an
excellent tool for motivating students to learn real-world mathematics
in a middle school classroom and details four activities that can
accompany the simulation. By
participating in stock-market simulations, students use ratios,
fractions, decimals and percents in meaningful situations. Students
examine line graphs of stock-price performance and bar graphs of company
earnings estimates. The students apply current technology such as using
the Internet to do company research, using spreadsheets for calculations
and preparing multimedia presentations for class discussion. The stock
market simulation connects important mathematics topics to one another
and applies classroom math concepts to a real-life, real-time context.
Teachers have discovered that the simulation can be an excellent
classroom tool that increases student motivation and learning.
Teachers from a number of different middle school and high school
classes, including finance, economics, introduction to business,
business math, gifted, personal finance, web development, consumer math,
accounting, government and pre-algebra, incorporate the stock market
simulation learning experience into their classes. Altmyer encourages
teachers to use a variety of classroom activities to accompany the
learning experience and provides recognition for teachers who
incorporate unique classroom activities.
The SDSMS is an educational product of the University of South Dakota
and Black Hills State University. The registration fee is $15 per team
and includes all teacher materials, a bi-weekly coordinator newsletter
and teachers entering five or more teams receive a 10-week, in-class
subscription to the Wall Street Journal. The top placing teams at the end of the 10-week trading
period receive cash prizes. The spring session began on Feb. 17 and
concludes on April 25.
For more information contact Altmyer, SDSMS coordinator, at (605)
642-6266 or by email at email@example.com.
The South Dakota Stock Market Simulation is sponsored by the South
Dakota Council on Economic Education, the Center for Economic Education
at the University of South Dakota and the Center for Economic Education
at Black Hills State University.
Altmyer, an associate professor of business, has been at BHSU since
1995 and has been the South Dakota Stock Market Simulation coordinator
BHSU graduate is now
conducting research in Antarctica - top
Mercer, a 1997 graduate of Black Hills State University who recently
earned her Ph.D.
in earth sciences with a focus
in organic geochemistry
from Dartmouth, is now doing post-doctoral research in Antarctica.
Her latest travel adventure is one of many far away sites she has
visited to conduct research including Hawaii and the South China Sea, as
well as sites all over the United States. She once spent a month on a
French vessel collecting ocean sediment along the western Pacific margin
(in the areas of Taiwan, Japan, China and Russia).
Mercer, who is originally from Spearfish, is in “the frozen
continent” for six weeks studying the dry valleys that are believed to
be the one place on Earth that may be most like the planet Mars.
Dr. Steve Anderson, BHSU professor, credits Mercer for her
achievements and encourages other students to “think big and make the
most of their educations.” He remembers that Mercer first came to BH
to “learn something about photography,” and in the process
discovered her interest and passion for science research.
“Jen never limited herself,” Anderson said. “Before she knew
it, she was a science major and ended up doing ocean research in Hawaii,
the South China Sea, and has traveled the world. In the process she was
able to not only do the science, but kept her interest in photography
and has photographed some of the most interesting landscapes anywhere on
Anderson said that only a small number of scientists ever make it to
Antarctica, which is a significant place to do research for a number of
“Antarctica contains over 90 percent of the planet’s fresh water,
despite being a desert environment,” Mercer said. Ironically it is
also quite possible to die from dehydration if you don’t have the
tools to thaw the plentiful water.
Mercer is studying organic compounds in the dry valleys of Antarctica
to figure out where the organic carbon that supports the modern-day
ecosystems originally comes from.
first glance it seems
that there is no life anywhere in Antarctica; in fact, the morphology
has been compared to that of the planet Mars. However, there is a very
interesting microscopic community where a nematode (a microscopic worm)
is the king of the food chain. It is unclear where the organic material
that supports the ecosystem originated. I can extract the organic
compounds from the soils and look for signals from ancient plants that
have been eroded out of rocks by the glaciers, or signals from algae,
oceanic material and particles from dust that may have blown over from
other continents,” Mercer said explaining her work.
currently involved in a project which focuses on the collection and
study of three species of this microscopic worm. The project is part of
a Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) program and is under the
direction of Dr. Diana Wall at Colorado State University and Dr. Ross
Virginia at Dartmouth College.
“Nematodes are everywhere
on the planet, even in all plants and animals. Yes, each of you has
nematodes in your body, and you can’t deny it…you even have several
species,” Mercer writes. She explained that one form of nematode that
most people recognize is the heartworm, which is a less desirable form.
The nematodes are dormant in the soil until the conditions are warm
or moist enough, then they wake up and feed according to Mercer. “So,
we just collect big bags of soil and bring them back to the lab. Then we
put some water on the soil and wake the worms up. When we put them under
the microscope, they are moving around and feeding on whatever they can
find! They are quite cute under a microscope,” she said.
Mercer started out her new year near the South Pole, which has been
an interesting experience for her already. Besides the actual research,
she has also made time for other unusual activities there. She
“survived” survival school which included a night in a snow hut, ran
in a 4.5-mile road race and participated in a alternative arts gala that
featured art pieces and costumes made from trash. A native of South
Dakota, Mercer compared the weather during the road race to conditions
she remembers in her home state.
“The weather wasn’t the greatest since it was snowing and the
wind was blowing in our faces for the 2.5 miles of uphill [running]. It
was exactly like a winter in South Dakota,” Mercer said.
Mercer said sleeping in a snow hut was very cold at first but after
changing into dry clothes and eating a “bumper bar,” she was nice
and toasty the rest of the night. “A ‘bumper bar’ is some sort of
New Zealand concoction like a power bar, but the first ingredient is
butter, followed by several types of sugar…it’s pure energy. To stay
warm you have to eat and drink constantly so that your metabolism has
something to burn and so that you’re properly hydrated,” Mercer
Mercer has returned to her alma mater last semester to speak to
Anderson’s geology students before heading to Antarctica. She has
plans to continue this research, eventually extend her studies to the
Arctic, and is looking at the possibility of teaching college courses in
the near future.
Mercer said she always enjoyed science classes as an elementary
student and became especially interested in geology in the eighth grade.
However, she started BHSU with plans for a journalism major.
“It was during the spring of my freshman year when I realized that
I should really become a scientist,” Mercer said. She was taking Dr.
Steve Anderson’s physical geology class at the time and after a period
of serious consideration, she changed her major and the course of her
always felt that my education at BHSU was an integral part of my
success. I had professors
in the arts and sciences who were phenomenal in the classroom and
supportive of students’ interests.
Faculty at BHSU are among the best professors I’ve seen
anywhere. They far surpass the quality of my Ivy League professors in
graduate school,” Mercer said.
also credits the university for providing exceptional research
opportunities to undergraduate students. “One of the best things about
BHSU is that there is a lot of opportunity for students to get involved
in research and hands-on experience. These types of experiences are
usually given to graduate students at larger schools, so students from
BHSU have a leg up on research experience by the time they graduate,”
Mercer looks back on her educational experience she encourages other
students to explore their options, make the most of their experiences
and not limit themselves.
every opportunity you have to expand your experiences in life. You’ll
be amazed at the times when some past experience comes in handy and
gives you an advantage,” Mercer said.
BHSU students encouraged to
consider study abroad program - top
Applications are being accepted now through March 30 for
participation in this year's study abroad program in Grenada, Spain. The
program will run from June 1 to July 10. According to Peggy Buckwalter,
associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, the cost of $1,600 per
applicant covers tuition, books, room and board, and cultural
excursions. Visit the website
for more information.
Walt Disney World College
Program will return to BHSU March 17 - top
Disney World representatives will once again visit Black Hills State
University to interview students and present an informational presentation Monday,
March 17 at
2 p.m. in the Student Union Jacket Legacy Room.
Disney program offers paid internship opportunities in a variety of
fields. Their internship program is recognized as one of the top
internship/training programs in the country, providing students the
opportunity to earn college credit and take Disney classes while
polishing their leadership skills.
will be interviewing for six-month positions, which typically start in
June and continue through November and into December. Students must
attend the formal presentation in order to be considered for an
information can be found online at www.wdwcollegeprogram.com
or by contacting Sarah Chase, career counselor and internship
coordinator, at 642-6219 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Semi-formal dinner dance
will be March 22 - top
The BHSU Residence Hall Association will hold a semi-formal dinner
dance Saturday, March 22 in the Student Union Jacket Legacy Room
beginning at 6 p.m.
Straight, No Chaser will provide live music from 6-10 p.m. A catered
meal with choice of ham or prime rib will begin at 6:30 p.m. Shutterbuzz,
the campus photography club, will be available to take pictures the
night of the event.
Tickets go on sale to Black Hills State University students, faculty,
and staff Feb. 24 in the Residence Life Office, Woodburn 101. The cost
is $12 per person or $20 per couple. Only 110 tickets will be sold.
After March 3, tickets will be open to the general public.
Hills State University will offer lifelong learning courses - top
Hills State University will offer a variety of lifelong learning courses
this spring. Classes offered include: Building Robots for Parent and
Child; Take Two Apples, Exercise and Call Me in the Morning; Outlook
Email; Desktop Design; and Small Business Basics which includes three
separate class sessions.
Aaker, coordinator of extended services at BHSU, encourages interested
people to register early for the classes. “Early registration helps
avoid disappointment when classes fill quickly. It also helps avoid the
disappointment of canceling a class due to low enrollment, only to find
that last minute registrations would have filled it,” Aaker said.
may register for classes up until one week before the class is scheduled
to start. Tuition fees must be paid when registering. Students may
register by phone at 642-6771, by fax at 642-6031, by mail at BHSU,
Extended Services, 1200 University Unit 9508, Spearfish, SD 57799-9508,
or by stopping in the office in Woodburn Hall room 219, Monday through
Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. These lifelong learning classes are open to
the public at a minimal cost.
Robots for Parent and Child will
meet Tuesdays, March 4, 11, 18, 25 and April 1 from 6:30-8 p.m. in
Woodburn Hall room 313A. The class gives parents the opportunity to have
fun building a robot with their child. This class is designed to teach
the basics of robotics. Each
parent and child pair will use a LEGO Mind-Storms system and work on
their own project. Robots
may be able to move around obstacles and follow a bright light or do
acrobotic stunts. Basic computer
knowledge and fifth-grade level science is required. Students in fifth
through eighth grade with an adult are encouraged to register. Cost for
this class is $59 per child/adult team. Tom Termes, BHSU assistant
professor, will be the instructor.
Take Two Apples, Exercise,
and Call Me in the Morning is a
nutritional class offered Mondays, April 7, 14, 21 and 28 from 7-8:30
p.m. in the Hall of Fame room of the Donald E. Young Sports and Fitness
Center. This class will focus on
using food to restore and protect your health.
Eating well has no side effects, doesn’t cost as much as doctor
visits or drugs, and leaves you feeling in control of your life.
Participants will gain an understanding of the role exercise
should play in their lives and learn about using free weights and
exercise equipment in the Donald E. Young Center.
Cost is $59 with an option for a Young Center pass during the
class times for $10. Instructors are Michelle Buxton and Kyle Atchley.
Topics in the Outlook Email
class include an introduction to email; signing up for an account;
logging into the account and checking email; composing email; using
address books; junk mail filtering; using folders; and performing
account maintenance. This class is intended to be a beginner’s class
and will teach the basics of email using free accounts available online
such as Yahoo and Hotmail. The
class is scheduled for Saturday,
March 29 from 9-11 a.m. in Jonas Hall room 201. The cost is $19 and Ryan
Ogan, computer support analyst at the BHSU computer center, will be the
The Desktop Design
class will cover using graphic elements and layout techniques to draw
attention, enhance readership, and improve retention of printed
publications. This course will provide a background in basic design
methods to improve the visual impact and effectiveness of printed
publications such as newsletters, brochures, posters, invitations and
booklets. Topics include: choosing typestyles, creating graphic
elements, working with artwork and digital files, and layout techniques.
This class will meet Saturday, March 8 from 9-11 a.m. in Jonas Hall room
110. Corinne Hansen, director of university communications at BHSU, will
be the instructor. Cost is $19.
Small Business Basics
includes three separate classes: Business Plan, Tuesday,
April 8; Basic Forms, Tuesday, April 15; and Understanding Financial
Statements, Tuesday, April 22. All classes will be held in Jonas Hall
room 110 from 7-9 p.m. The cost is $19 per two-hour class. Participants
may register for as many of the classes as they wish. Instructors for
these small business classes are BHSU College of Business professors
Priscilla Romkema, Liz Diers and Verona Beguin.
more information contact the BHSU extended services office at 642-6771.
Graduate Council minutes
The Graduate Council met Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 3:30 p.m. in Jonas 110.
Present were Earley, Sujithamrack, Salomon, Mueller, Strand, Fuller,
Erickson, Molseed, and Silva.
Cook and Alsup were absent.
The committee reviewed the curriculum proposal for ECE 519 -
Infant/Toddler Development. It was unclear whether or not this course
was designed for undergraduates or graduates so the committee tabled the
proposal pending further information from Dr. Calhoon.
The committee reviewed proposed new rules for graduate faculty
status. The rules were modified and approved. The chair will take them
to the deans and the vice president for consideration.
The next Graduate Council meeting will be March 18 at 3:30 p.m. in