Volume XXIX, No. 5 • Feb. 4, 2005

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Newly discovered plant fossil named for BHSU professor emeritus - top

This fossil grass species has been named Berriochloa gabeli in honor of Dr. Mark Gabel, a longtime BHSU professor who now serves as curator for the herbarium on campus. Image courtesy of Journal of Paleontology.

A newly discovered species of fossil grass has been named in honor of Dr. Mark Gabel, retired Black Hills State University biology professor who now serves as curator of the herbarium on campus.

The fossil grass species Berriochloa gabeli was described in the Jan. 2005 issue of the Journal of Paleontology by Dr. J.R. Thomasson, from Fort Hays State University. Thomasson was a BHSU faculty member from 1977–1982.

The article stated that Berriochloa gabeli “is named in honor of Dr. Mark Gabel whose studies have contributed importantly to our knowledge of Tertiary fossil plants from North and South America.” The Berriochloa gabeli fossil grass species dates to approximately eight million years before the present, and was found in several sites in Nebraska and Kansas.

Gabel, botanist and paleobotanist, says that he is greatly honored to have a fossil grass named after him. The naming of a new species for a researcher in the field is the highest professional honor bestowed upon a paleobotanist.

Gabel has been working with several BHSU undergraduate students and alumni to study many species of fossil plants from the Great Plains region to determine the species present and the climate during the time from 6 to 15 million years before the present. Prior data indicate that the Great Plains was changing from a forest to a grassland during that period. Recent fossils collected, along with other fossil species, indicate that the Nebraska – Kansas area was a subtropical grassland while the plants were living. In the last several years Gabel and his students and former students have expanded their work to South America. Elke Kuegle, who graduated from BHSU in 2004, and Doug Backlund, who graduated in 1991, are currently working on a project to identify fossil seeds from Argentina.

Gabel joined the BHSU faculty in 1982 and received professor emeritus status in 2003. He has a bachelor’s degree from Augustana College as well as a master’s degree and Ph.D. from Iowa State University.

Music professor to present paper at national symposium - top


Dr. Randall D. Royer, associate professor of music at Black Hills State University, will present a paper at the Desert Skies Research Symposium in Music Education in Tucson, Ariz.

Royer’s paper, titled, “High School All-State Musicians Survey and Their Interest in the Music Professions,” reports the results from a survey administered to high school All-State musicians in a five-state area encompassing Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota and North Dakota. Musicians in three different performing groups, bands, choir, and orchestras, from these regions, were also surveyed.

According to Royer, the survey was designed to show how many of the best high school musicians had an interest in music or music-education profession. According to the survey, 33 percent of the All-State musicians surveyed expressed an interest in majoring in music or a music education.

The Desert Skies Research Symposium is designed to provide a forum in which researchers can share the results of their investigations in music education. Professors and researchers from all over the United States and several other countries attend this biennial event.

Royer will present the specific South Dakota information from this survey at the South Dakota In-Service Music Conference in Brookings later this month.

Royer also recently gave a workshop at the Wyoming All-State Music Conference held in Gillette. His workshop, “Teaching Guitar for the Non-Guitarist” gave tips and advice for public school music teachers who teach guitar in middle school and high school classrooms.

Royer has been a member of the music department faculty at BHSU since 1997. Royer teaches various music courses and presently directs the BHSU Jazz Ensemble and the Dakota Chamber Orchestra in residence at BHSU.

Black Hills State will sponsor workshops concerning Fetal Alcohol Syndrome - top

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), an umbrella term used to describe a broad range of effects associated with alcohol use during pregnancy, causes ongoing problems for affected children, students and adults as well as specific issues for educators, the justice system, mental health providers and social service professionals. A workshop is planned in Rapid City to address problems associated with FAS.

The two-day workshop will be presented twice, Feb. 22-23 and Feb. 24-25, at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel in Rapid City.

These workshops are designed for service providers in the health, social service, mental health, addictions treatment, education and juvenile justices systems. Family members of those affected by FAS and others will also benefit from the workshop and learn how to cope with this devastating problem, according to the organizers.

The workshops will provide knowledge, technical support, problem-solving practice and assistance with the development of strategies that are beneficial in working with children with FAS. The long-term goal of the workshop is to assist those working with children with FAS in their efforts to decrease the secondary disabilities associated with the syndrome.

Dr. Charles Schad, a member of the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome National Task force who is also a professor emeritus at Black Hills State University, saw firsthand the effects of FAS in classrooms across South Dakota. As an educator he was motivated to address the needs of FAS children and adults.

According to Schad, FAS creates problems with learning, emotions and behavior. FAS is characterized by brain damage, facial deformities, and growth deficits. Heart, liver, and kidney defects also are common, as well as vision and hearing problems. Individuals with FAS have difficulties with learning, attention, memory, and problem solving. Schad notes that since ancient times women have been warned about the dangers of drinking alcohol citing references in the Old Testament as well as from the Greek philosopher Aristotle. However, he says that although the warnings are longstanding, efforts to eliminate FAS have not been overly successful.

FAS is a set of physical and mental birth defects that can result when a woman drinks alcohol during her pregnancy. When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, such as beer, wine, or mixed drinks, so does her baby. Alcohol passes through the placenta right into the developing baby, and the baby may suffer lifelong damage as a result.

Speakers at the workshop include David Boulding, an attorney who is an advocate for change in the legal system’s approach to people dealing with FAS issues. Boulding has spoken, trained and written about fetal alcohol issues at conferences in the United States, Canada and a number of foreign countries.

Val Kvigne, a skilled FAS director, trainer and coordinator with expertise in providing instruction, training and technical assistance to American Indian Tribes and Indian Health Service Hospitals and Clinics, will also speak at the workshop. Another presenter is Deb Evenson-Hill, a noted FAS specialist who has provided educational instruction, social services/mental health training, and judicial system guidance to public and professional audiences throughout the United States and Canada.

The signs and symptoms of FAS are numerous. A baby with FAS may be born with a small head and identifiable facial features. He or she may have abnormalities or deformities of the limbs, hands or feet. Heart, liver and kidney problems are common, as well as vision and hearing problems. Children with FAS may experience slow growth and poor coordination. They may have difficulty staying focused, recognizing and understanding patterns, predicting "common sense" outcomes or mastering math and reading skills. Schad notes that children do not "outgrow" FAS and it has serious consequences. They become adolescents and adults who may have difficulties with learning, attention, memory and problem solving. FAS is a problem for this particular region.

The workshops are sponsored by BHSU and the Aberdeen Area Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board with grant funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The workshops are open to the public at no charge. For more information about the workshop call Mary Rogers at 642-6615 or for registration information call Peggy Gubbrud at 642-6204.

BHSU offers course in personal finances - top

Black Hills State University will host Credit When Credit Is Due, a four-session course on personal finances, Tuesdays, Feb. 8, Feb. 15, Feb. 22, and March 1, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Clare and Josef Meier Hall room 205.

Credit When Credit Is Due is a common sense approach to personal finances and has been called the most innovative money management education program available. This educational program covers a wide range of personal financial management topics. It demonstrates how to take positive steps to improve a person’s credit rating, spot financial problems, and evaluate credit deals. Instructors review three chapters at each class session.

Financial professionals from First Western Foundation will serve as instructors. The cost for the four-session course is $30. This fee covers instruction costs, materials and food. For more information contact Jean Helmer, director of United Ministries at BHSU, at 642-6556 or JeanHelmer@bhsu.edu.

ESP mentalist to perform at BHSU on Valentine's Day - top

ESP mentalist Christopher Carter will perform at Black Hills State University on Monday, Feb. 14, at 7 p.m. in the David B. Miller Yellow Jacket Student Union Yellow Jacket Legacy Room.

Carter makes a living playing with people’s minds. Students throughout the U.S. have raved about his comedic, dramatic, and theatrical performing style. Carter’s shows include tricks such as exploding a light bulb through his powers of concentration, astounding audience members with personal facts that they have never before revealed to anyone, or even making audience members believe that they are experiencing touches and taps from invisible hands. Campus Activities Magazine named him Performing Arts Entertainer of the Year 2001.

The performance, which is sponsored by the University Program (UP) Team, Kaleidoscope Committee, is free to the public. For more information or to request accommodations for people with disabilities, please call Crystal at 642-6418.

Nationally recognized educator and author will speak at BHSU - top


Jeffrey E. Mirel, a nationally recognized educator who has written several books on the decline of the public education system, will speak at Black Hills State University Thursday, Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. in the David B. Miller Yellow Jacket Student Union Jacket Legacy Room.

Mirel will present “Civic Education and National Crises: A History of the Ongoing Debate About What Young People Should Know” suggesting specific answers to what ails America's public schools and how public education can be improved. Mirel is a professor of education and history at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

Mirel’s first book, The Rise and Fall of an Urban School System: Detroit, 1907-81, won outstanding book awards from the American Educational Research Association and from the History of Education Society. He also coauthored, with David Angus, The Failed Promise of the American High School, 1890-1995. His current research focuses on educating for democratic citizenship.

Other publications by Mirel include Politics, Money and the Decline of Urban Public Schools, 1925-1975; “Don’t Know Much About History, Don’t Know Much about Biology…”: How High Schools Became Warehouses for American Teenagers; and Negotiating a New Nation: How Immigrants Responded to Americanization and Changed America in the Process.

Mirel’s presentation is sponsored by the Black Hills State University Chiesman Foundation. The presentation is open to the public at no charge. For more information contact George Earley at 642-6270.

BHSU will host student reception and information day Feb. 27 - top

Black Hills State University will host a student reception and information session Sunday, Feb. 27 at 1 p.m. in the Fontenelle II room of the Sheraton Hotel and Sioux Falls Convention Center.

The reception will provide information about opportunities available at BHSU, and university staff will be on hand to assist students with their college planning. Representatives from the Spearfish campus will be available to discuss admissions, financial aid, Internet classes and correspondence courses and to answer any questions regarding BHSU.

Reservations are not necessary. For more information contact the Enrollment Center at 1-800-ALL-BHSU (access the admissions prompt) or email admissions@bhsu.edu. To learn more about Black Hills State University see www.bhsu.edu.

Community members invited to join BHSU choral group for Ireland tour - top

The Black Hills State University choir will take part in a performance tour in Ireland this spring and are inviting community members to travel with them on the 10-day visit to Europe.

According to Steve Parker, director of choral activities at BHSU, there are a few remaining slots for alumni and community members to join the tour.

Parker said more than 25 singers are planning to take part in the performance tour. Parker noted that in the past, community members have joined the choir on excursions and have found it an excellent way to travel.

The European tour, May 12-22, includes stops in Galway with a walking tour of the city, Eyre Square, the cathedral and the Spanish Arch. The group will also visit Connemara National Park and Kylemore Abbey, the only Irish home of Benedictine nuns. Other stops include the cliffs of Moher, one of the most photographed spots in Europe; travel through the Burran, a fascinating geological area; time at the colorful seaside village of Lahinch; as well as visits to Killarney, the Ring of Kerry, the Blarney Castle, Kilkenny, the Rock of Cashel and Dublin. The choir will perform several times including concerts in cathedrals and a joint concert with the Carlow Singers.

For a complete itinerary or to make arrangements contact Parker at 642-6628 or email SteveParker@bhsu.edu. The travel cost is approximately $2,500 per person (for triple accommodations).

Resident assistants honored for academic achievement - top

Seven resident assistants (RAs) at Black Hills State University were recently honored for their academic excellence by being named the Academic Seven.

Each spring, hall directors recognize seven RAs who excel academically while successfully completing their residence life duties.

“It takes organization and the ability to manage several priorities at once to make it into the Academic Seven. We are proud of these students for their dedication to their studies as well as their dedication to the students in their residence halls. They have done an excellent job in all respects,” Dr. Judith Haislett, vice president of Student Affairs, said.

Resident assistants treated to a home-cooked meal by the hall directors were, front left to right: Erin Overcast, a senior elementary education major from Worland, Wyo.; Rachel Braaten, a junior elementary education major from Hot Springs; Amanda Tucker, a sophomore communication arts major from Madison; Theresa Mutter, a junior mass communications major from Oehningen, Germany; and Erin Power, a junior outdoor education major from Bismarck, N.D. Back, left to right: Denis Birgenheir, a junior psychology major from Rapid City; and Jennifer Schnabel, a junior English major from Emery.

Faculty Senate minutes - top

The Faculty Senate met Dec. 1 at 3:15 p.m.

Members present were: Kristi Pearce, Randall Royer, Verona Beguin, Earl Chrysler (for Steve Andersen), Barbara Chrisman, Jim Hesson, Micheline Hickenbotham, Roger Miller, Christine Shearer-Cremean, Sharon Strand, and Ian Laber (Student Senate representative).

Pearce called the meeting to order. The agenda was approved, and minutes were approved as corrected.


Laber reported that the Student Senate meeting included visitors Kathy Johnson, vice president for Financial Affairs; Donna Kloppel, comptroller; Judith Haislett, vice president for Student Affairs; and Rich Sattgast, state auditor. A discussion was held concerning GAF funds and why the changes in process have to be made. The students were told that 100% of fees they pay are returned to this campus. The Student Senate is involved with collecting for TOYS for TOTS. Pickup will be held at the Bookstore and the Young Center.

Pearce reported on the Council of Deans meeting. There is a request that the faculty attach syllabi for IGR courses to their Appendix F. This will insure that the established goals are being included and are a part of the course content. SIRS for spring 2004 will be used for Appendix F evaluation this year. George Earley will be meeting with the Curriculum Committee regarding the committee involvement in general education assessment. There is discussion related to responsibility for this assessment being with the Assessment Committee or with the Curriculum Committee. Recruitment of students by South Dakota State University (SDSU) from California and other states has enhanced the interest in Black Hills State University doing the same. Access to buildings is an issue.

Old Issues

A discussion was held concerning the Faculty Senate and Student Senate forum. The forum will be Wednesday, Jan. 26 at 3 p.m. The topic will be improving communication on campus. The committee for the event will include Hickenbotham, Miller, Strand, and Laber plus another student.

The new award committee will include Royer and Beguin. Pearce will also participate. It is suggested that the award be dedicated to someone who has played a major role in the enhancement of the institution.

Pearce pursued the issue of Faculty Senate funds.

Strand presented her statement on book buyers on campus. It will be sent to the departments to poll faculty. Legal issues related to this need to be checked out. Laber announced that the Student Senate has a website for students to exchange books.

At the previous meeting an issue related to the purpose of the Faculty Senate was brought up by Chrysler. A discussion was held concerning the exclusion of faculty input on academic issues. The problem of micro-management from the central office of the Board of Regents is a major issue. The lack of campus communication by local administration is a frustration for many faculty. A motion was made to disband the Faculty Senate. The motion failed for lack of second. As a result of the discussion, Pearce will invite Dr. Flickema to meet with the senate in January.

A discussion was held as to whether lower enrollment programs should be done away with in order to strengthen others. Assessment reports for each area require a minimum of 10 students to be considered a valid instrument. Areas may go back five years to get a total of 10 students who have graduated.

The issue of evaluation of administrators is continuing. Research is being done to find an evaluation instrument for this purpose.

Five faculty members have applied for sabbatical. These requests were reviewed and some questions were discussed related to them (i.e. how often may a person have a sabbatical; how many can be funded). Requests were approved and forwarded.

The meeting adjourned at 4:50 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by Chrisman as secretary of the Faculty Senate.

Gilman Program seeks applicants for scholarships to study abroad - top

The goal of the Gilman Scholarship is to diversify the kinds of students who study abroad and the countries and regions where they go. Specifically, the Gilman Program offers scholarships for students who have been traditionally underrepresented in education abroad including, but not limited to:

  • students with high financial need (must be Pell Grant recipients);
  • students from diverse ethnic backgrounds;
  • students going to non-traditional countries (especially outside of Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada);
  • students attending community colleges;
  • students in underrepresented fields of study;
  • students of non-traditional age;
  • and students with physical challenges.

Applicants who are selected as award recipients will receive up to $5,000 that can be used towards eligible study abroad program expenses. Students may apply online via the Gilman website, www.iie.org/gilman. The online application deadline for the fall 2005 cycle is April 4.

For more information contact Sharon Hemmingson, director of Grants and Special Projects at BHSU, at SharonHemmingson@bhsu.edu or (605) 642-6371.

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