Volume XXIX, No. 48 • Dec. 16, 2005

Submit items to Campus Currents

Campus Currents is distributed every Friday. To submit an item send it to Campus Currents, Unit 9512, or email it to Campus Currents. The deadline for submissions is Thursday at 8 a.m.

Meeker returns fulltime to Institutional Advancement; Albers named athletic director - top

Steve Meeker
Jhett Albers

Steve Meeker, vice president for Institutional Advancement at Black Hills State University, will return fulltime to the advancement office in order to focus all of his efforts on his duties there. Since the fall of 2003, Meeker has also been serving as athletic director. Jhett Albers, associate athletic director, will take over as athletic director.

Dr. Thomas Flickema, president of BHSU, announced the changes Thursday and praised both individuals for their dedication and hard work.

“Steve has done a marvelous job for us as athletic director,” Flickema stated. “He took over the athletic department at a time of uncertainty and confusion and created a positive environment and made a series of decisions that will have a profoundly positive effect on the long range development of the athletic program. He stepped in at a critical time and handled all challenges superbly.”

According to Flickema, Meeker brought the athletic department through a difficult time, including a Title IX review, and now turns the position over to Albers who has shown strong leadership and decision-making skills.

“Jhett has impressed everyone with his ability to make sound judgments and his organizational skills,” said Flickema. ”He has been associate athletic director for two years and understands the needs of the athletic program and the role of the athletic director. We are delighted to have an individual of Jhett’s qualifications available.”

Meeker says he is excited to once again focus all of his attention on leading campus fundraising efforts to raise money for academic scholarships and capital needs.

“It’s important to enhance our fundraising efforts for the entire campus and I’m dedicated to doing that,” Meeker said. "As vice president of institutional advancement for Black Hills State University, I am entrusted with raising funds for BHSU to support building endeavors, acquire the latest equipment, fund endowed chairs, and most critically, underwrite student scholarships. That is what I'm committed to doing.”

Albers will continue to serve as head volleyball coach and is looking forward to taking over the athletic director duties.

"In the past two years as associate athletic director, I’ve had the experience of being surrounded by quality people, not just in the athletic department and Young Center, but in all areas of the university campus, as well alumni, boosters and members of our community who all contribute to the success of an athletic department. I am grateful for this opportunity and looking forward to the future role of athletic director at Black Hills State University,” Albers said.

Both Meeker and Albers are graduates of BHSU and have longstanding records of exceptional and dedicated service to the university.

Meeker first began working at BHSU in 1986 as an admissions counselor. He was later named coordinator of enrollment management. In 1990 he was named director of advancement, and in 2001, Meeker was promoted to his current position as vice president for institutional advancement. Meeker is a native South Dakotan who graduated from Britton High School in 1980 and BHSU in 1984.

Albers served as the head varsity volleyball coach at Spearfish High School prior to joining the coaching staff at BHSU in 1999. Albers earned a bachelor’s degree in 1987 and a master’s degree in 1991 from BHSU.

Regis University staff visit BHSU campus to learn about retention program - top

A six-member team of staff people of Regis University in Denver, Colo., recently visited Black Hills State University to discuss details of a successful retention program instituted at the university. The Regis staff members met with Ven Thompson, director of institutional research, Dr. Joe Valades, director of retention, and other members of the retention center at BHSU.

The Regis staff members initiated the visit after hearing Thompson and Valades present at a national retention symposium earlier this year. Thompson and Valades presented a paper, “Establishing a First-Time, Full-Time Retention Center” at the Consortium for the Student Retention Data Exchange Symposium in Dallas, Texas. The paper was among seven papers that were chosen for the consortium’s best practices track.


“They are looking to advance their retention efforts and after hearing our presentation at the national symposium, they requested a site visit for additional details and insight,” Valades said. He noted that they are most interested in establishing an early alert system, known as PASS, similar to the one BHSU is currently using.


The customized computer program PASS, an acronym for Program for Academic Student Success, provides early alerts of potential problems which leads to early intervention via personal contact. The system, which was created and developed by Thompson, integrates current data and creates a system for faculty to easily and quickly notify the retention office of potential problems. Through PASS, faculty have access to class rosters and are asked to make referrals when they notice extended absences from class or other potential problems. The faculty referrals are sent directly to the retention office where staff members evaluate the concern and determine the best way to respond. Last year, the PASS system received more than 900 referrals.


 “Overall, I think it was a very successful visit,” Valades said. “There was excellent open dialogue among the staff people.


He noted that Regis is seeking a program that will include faculty input submitted electronically. An electronic system would be especially useful at Regis because they have a large contingency of online students.


The BHSU retention program at BHSU was established in 2002 at the direction of Dr. Thomas Flickema, BHSU president, following the creation of a statewide task force on retention. Since then the retention rate at BHSU has increased steadily and is currently at the highest rate in 10 years.


According to Valades, the mission of the retention center at BHSU is to offer a student-centered, service-oriented office focused on ensuring student success. The center provides assistance and information to students, faculty and staff in an effort to maintain student enrollment, enhance student satisfaction with their university experience and facilitate academic success.


Although the BHSU retention rate is still below the national average, the rate is currently the highest it’s been in the last decade. The retention rate for freshmen at BHSU has increased steadily since the program was established. 


Ven Thompson, director of institutional research at BHSU, explains details of the BHSU retention effort with Kelly McBride Hartman, director of the Enrollment Communication Center at Regis University in Denver, Colo. The Regis staff members initiated a visit to Black Hills State University after hearing Thompson and Joe Valades, director of retention, present at a national retention symposium earlier this year.

Yellow Jackets to host bonus basketball game - top

The Black Hills State University men’s basketball team has added a home game to their previously released schedule.

The additional game, in which the Yellow Jackets will play the University of Great Falls Argonauts, will be held Monday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. in the Donald E. Young Sports and Fitness Center gymnasium.

The Yellow Jackets are currently 3-0 in the conference. Their next regularly scheduled game will be Saturday, Dec. 17 vs. the University of Mary in Bismarck, N.D. Then the Jackets will host the annual Perkins Classic at the Young Center Thursday, Dec. 29 and Friday, Dec. 30 at 8 p.m. The tournament will feature BHSU, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Dana College and Concordia University.

University Assessment Committee minutes - top

The University Assessment Committee met Wednesday, Dec. 14 from 3 to 4 p.m. in the Meier Hall Conference Room.

Present were: Earley, Siewert, Sarkar, Hagerty, S. Hupp, Romkema, and Alsup. Absent were: D. Wessel, C. Cremean, and Brandy Sickler.

Assessment plans of new general education and institutional requirements:

  • Hagerty reported that the General Education Committee was still working on but had not found an acceptable way to measure student learning in global issues/globalization.

Undergraduate research/creative activity and writing intensive requirements:

  • Chair reported that the deans were doing a sample of syllabi to make sure that the new requirements were being listed in the syllabi of those courses designated by faculty as meeting this requirement.
  • Chair reported that about half of the assessment plans had been submitted with some given permission to submit next semester. Chair asked each of the members to read the plans and try to decide if those plans would actually accomplish the goals of the institution. The committee will begin to review and approve or disapprove them in January.
  • There was considerable discussion about what constitutes a successful assessment plan.

The next meeting will be Monday, Jan. 23 from 12 to 1 p.m. in the Meier Hall Conference Room.

Grant opportunities announced - top

Below are program materials received in the Grants Office, Woodburn 309, through Wednesday, Dec. 14. For copies of the information, contact the office at 642-6204 or e-mail requests to grants@bhsu.edu. Fellowship information will also be posted on the Student Union bulletin board near the information desk.

Interpreting America's Historic Places: Implementation Grants (NEH)

Implementation grants for Interpreting America's Historic Places through the National Endowment for the Humanities support public humanities programs that exploit the evocative power of historic places to address themes and issues central to American history and culture. Projects may interpret a single historic site, a series of sites, an entire neighborhood, a town or community, or a larger geographical region. The place as a whole must be significant to American history, and the project must convey its historical importance to visitors. Applicants for implementation grants should have already done most of the planning for their projects, including consultation with scholars and programming advisers, identification of the key humanities themes, articulation of program components, and performance of relevant research.

Deadline: Feb. 6, 2006. A link to the full announcement is available at http://fedgrants.gov/Applicants/NEH/OPUB/OPO/NEH-BR-02062006/Grant.html.

National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity, and the Planet (EPA)

The third annual P3 Grants are being announced by the Environmental Protection Agency. P3 competition will provide grants to teams of college students to research, develop, and design solutions to challenges to sustainability. P3 highlights people, prosperity, and the planet – the three pillars of sustainability – as the next step beyond P2 or pollution prevention. The P3 Award program is a partnership between the public and private sectors to progress toward sustainability by achieving the mutual goals of economic prosperity, protection of the natural systems of the planet, and providing a higher quality of life for its people. EPA and its partners offer the P3 Award competition to respond to the technical needs of the developed and developing world in moving towards the goal of sustainability. See the P3 Award website (www.epa.gov/P3) for details about this program.

Deadline: Feb. 20, 2006. More information can be found at http://fedgrants.gov/Applicants/EPA/OGD/GAD/EPA-G2006-P3-Z6 /Grant.html.

Preservation and Access Education and Training Grants (NEH)

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announces the following grant opportunities in promotion of the humanities. These grants support national or regional (multi-state) education and training programs on the care and management of, and the creation of intellectual access to, library, archival, and material culture collections. Eligible projects include:

  • the development and presentation of courses and programs on the care and management of collections for staff in cultural organizations who are responsible for the day-to-day care of collections;
  • the development and presentation of courses or programs that focus on the skills and knowledge required to provide or enhance intellectual access to humanities collections;
  • graduate programs in preservation and conservation; and
  • preservation field services that serve a multi-state region and provide surveys, consultations, workshops, reference services, and informational materials to the staff of institutions responsible for the care of humanities collections.

Deadline: July 3, 2006. See http://fedgrants.gov/Applicants/NEH/OPUB/OPO/PE/Grant.html for details.

National Network for Environmental Management Studies Fellowship (EPA)

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established the NNEMS program in 1986 to foster a growing interest among higher education students in environmental careers. The NNEMS program is a comprehensive fellowship program that provides students an opportunity to participate in a fellowship project that is directly related to their field of study. The NNEMS program is sponsored by EPA’s Office of Environmental Education (OEE). Only applications submitted by associate, undergraduate, graduate, and advanced students will be considered under this announcement.

Deadline: Feb. 13, 2006. The link to the full announcement is available at http://fedgrants.gov/Applicants/EPA/OGD/GAD/EPA-OEE-06-01/Grant.html.

National Spatial Data Infrastructure Cooperative Agreements Program

The Department of Interior through the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) Cooperative Agreement Program (CAP), has a requirement by which the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) will facilitate forming partnerships among the Federal and non-Federal sectors to assist in building the NSDI. The purpose of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) Cooperative Agreements Program (CAP) is to fund innovative projects in the geospatial data community to build the infrastructure necessary to effectively discover, access, share, manage, and use digital geographic data. The NSDI consists of the technologies, policies, organizations, and people necessary to promote cost-effective production, and the ready availability and greater utilization of geospatial data among a variety of sectors, disciplines, and communities. Specific NSDI areas of emphasis include: metadata documentation, clearinghouse establishment, framework development, standards implementation, and geographic information system (GIS) organizational coordination.

Deadline: Feb. 1, 2006. A link to the complete announcement can be found at http://fedgrants.gov/Applicants/DOI/USGS/OAG/06HQPA0007/Grant.html.

Faculty Research Committee funds available - top

The Faculty Research Committee has funds available for the current fiscal year. Proposal forms are available on the Grants Office website.

It is anticipated that successful applicants will request support for research equipment, travel to research sites, support for the production of creative work, or release time for research or creative work. Preference is given to new applicants, particularly in the areas of education, business, social sciences and humanities.

The committee reviews proposals on an ongoing basis. Applicants are encouraged to review submission requirements and to contact the committee members for advice prior to completing their proposals. Committee members are Steve Andersen, Dan Bergey, Dorothy Fuller, Vincent King, Tim Molseed, Rob Schurrer, David Siemens, Sheng Yang, and Kathleen Parrow, chair.

Applications are now being accepted for the first meeting in the spring semester. To be considered at that meeting, applications need to be submitted to the Grants Office, Woodburn 212, by Thursday, Jan. 26, 2006.

Proposals are now being accepted electronically. To submit a proposal electronically, attach it to an email and send it to PeggyGubbrud@bhsu.edu. A signed original must also be submitted to the Grants Office, Unit 9504, or delivered to Woodburn Hall 212.

Instructional improvement grants available - top

The Instructional Improvement Committee (IIC) encourages, through monetary grants, the application of existing knowledge to specific teaching situations to improve the quality of instruction at BHSU.

Any full-time faculty member, full-time adjunct faculty, or other full-time staff member engaged in student instruction may apply for grant funds administered by the committee. Grant funding will normally be available up to a maximum of $1,000 per project. Priority will be given to projects that will have a broad-based, visible, continuing impact of instruction across faculty members and/or disciplines. Funds are available for development of materials and methods to improve teaching and learning, equipment to enhance teaching and learning, travel to conferences or workshops which enhance teaching and learning, and bringing consulting lecturers and teaching specialists to campus to offer presentations to and/or with faculty and teaching-support staff at BHSU.

Faculty members who apply for grants to support travel to a conference or workshop are limited to receiving no more than one grant every three years. In the other categories, priority will be given to those who have not received an IIC grant in the last academic year.

Proposals for grant funding will be reviewed by the IIC on a monthly basis. Proposals are being accepted through Friday, Dec. 30, 2005, for consideration at the next meeting. The deadline for proposals to be considered at the February meeting is Friday, Jan. 27, 2006.

Proposals are now being accepted electronically. To submit a proposal electronically, attach it to an email and send it to PeggyGubbrud@bhsu.edu. A signed original must also be submitted to the Grants Office, Unit 9504, or delivered to Woodburn Hall 212. Proposals must consist of the proposal and budget outlines following the specified format available on the Grants and Special Projects web page.

Back to News   Campus Currents archives