Volume XXX, No. 18 • May 19, 2006

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Resignation - top

  • Clare Casselman, senior secretary, Institutional Advancement

Flickema receives honorary doctorate during commencement - top

Dr. Thomas Flickema, who will retire at BHSU president this summer, received an honorary degree, Doctor of Public Service, during the 151st commencement ceremony.

Dr. Thomas Flickema enters the spring 2006 commencement ceremony

The South Dakota Board of Regents awarded its highest honor to Dr. Thomas Flickema, who will retire July 1 as president of Black Hills State University.

The honorary degree, Doctor of Public Service, was presented to Flickema in “recognition of extraordinary service and leadership to the South Dakota system of public higher education.” The degree was conferred at BHSU’s commencement ceremony. Regents’ officials say the title is reserved for individuals whose exceptional personal and professional contributions merit special acknowledgement.

“Tom Flickema has a special talent for building robust academic programs at the institutions he serves, by recruiting, selecting, and mentoring strong faculty,” said Regents President Harvey C. Jewett. During Flickema’s presidency at BHSU, the number of faculty members with the highest degrees available in their field increased from 53 percent to 77 percent. “Students are the ones who benefit from this emphasis on quality faculty and a diverse curriculum, leaving here with an education that prepares them for successful life experiences,” Jewett said.

Flickema came to BHSU as interim president in August 1994. He was named to the post permanently the following February after a nationwide search. His career in South Dakota public higher education also includes serving as vice president for academic affairs at Northern State University from 1983 to 1994. In addition, he held academic or administrative appointments in Michigan, Nebraska, and California. A Michigan native, Flickema earned his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in history from Wayne State University in Detroit.

“Under his guidance, Black Hills State University has become the third largest university in South Dakota and a leader in liberal arts education. Dr. Flickema has worked very hard to improve student retention and expand the university’s reach through its off-campus course offerings and specialized research centers,” Jewett said. Jewett also noted that outside grant funding, foundation assets, and scholarship support at BHSU grew significantly under Flickema’s leadership.

College of Education receives grant to conduct research about special education student outcomes - top

Dr. Greg Cooch

The College of Education at Black Hills State University recently received a grant to conduct a six-year research project for the state about the outcomes of exiting special education students in the years following their departure from high school.

Dr. Greg Cooch, education professor who is overseeing the grant at BHSU, says the state special education department asked BHSU to conduct this major research project. He added that BHSU will work closely with the office of special education department while conducting this research. The grant will be used to design, implement, test, and refine a system over a six-year period.

Cooch explains that the state currently doesn’t have a comprehensive effective system for monitoring, tracking and reporting the status of high school students who have received special education services in the public school system. Some school districts in the state have conducted post-school surveys, but this is the first comprehensive statewide approach to collecting information for all individual school districts in the state. School districts are now being required to report these types of findings to comply with the No Child Left Behind legislation.

Cooch says the research has the potential to bring about some major findings and may ultimately change the delivery of special education programs.

“We don’t really know where these kids are ending up,” Cooch says. “The initial run will be to gather data to determine whether or not what we are doing is effective. We don’t know what these students are doing after high school. Can they get jobs? Are they employable? How many attend college? This is the kind of information we will be gathering.”

Researchers will enter information about exiting special education students to find out what their plans are when they are finishing high school. A year later a follow-up survey will be conducted to find out what they are actually doing. The survey will include data on work history, education history, living arrangements, access to insurance and more.

“We’ll aggregate the data and then provide specific data to school districts for their use. We’ll be simply reporting the findings, the school districts will have the option of responding to the findings,” Cooch says.

Cooch notes that school districts can use this information to help students plan for their future, choose correct courses of study and make specific plans.

“The research will provide the state and individual school districts with reliable and important data regarding student outcomes and allow school districts to interpret the effectiveness of their respective special education delivery system,” Cooch says.

Approximately 1,200 students who have received varying degrees of special education assistance exit high school each year in South Dakota. Cooch noted that any student who has an IEP (individualized education program) is considered a special education student for this research project.

BHSU will use a post-school outcomes database in a secure website to gather information on the following topics: year of graduation; exit status, eg., regular diploma, aged out, GED, dropped out, etc.; race/ethnicity; disabling condition; anticipated post school outcomes-employment/education; adult Services linkages; participation status in statewide assessments; work status during last year of school; and number of math classes taken in school e.g., general math, algebra.

The post-school outcome data will be reported at the federal, state, and district levels. Goals can then be developed at the state and local levels to improve programs and outcomes, practices and procedures, cross agency coordination, collaboration and policy. Ultimately Cooch would like to see this research project lead to increased collaboration efforts between school districts and higher education institutions.

“The office of special education has confidence in BHSU and has asked us to lead the study collecting this information,” Cooch says. “The research has long-term implications for students in the school districts as well as for the university as a whole. There may be opportunities for us to do additional research and find ways to collaborate to a greater degree.”

Many BHSU photography students chosen as finalists in national contest - top

Photo by John Burnap, BHSU senior mass communications major

Photo by John Burnap, BHSU senior mass communications major

A number of Black Hills State University photography students won top awards in a national contest. Competing against the nation's finest art and photography schools, BHSU ranked second in the nation for number of students chosen from a school or university.

Photographers Forum Magazine chose 28 BHSU photography students as finalists for the 26th Annual College Photographers Competition. BHSU students have dramatically increased their standing in the competition over the past five years. In 2002 only one BHSU student was chosen as a finalist; this year 28 BHSU students were chosen as finalists. The annual competition, which is sponsored by Nikon Camera, draws submissions from art schools and universities across the United States and Canada.

Photography mediums included color, black and white, digital and alternative silver processes. The photographs chosen as finalists will appear in the 2006 Best of College Photography Annual to be published in June by Photographers Forum Magazine and Serbin Communications.

In this year's competition, more than 30,000 photographs were submitted for consideration. Only the top four percent of entries were chosen as finalists. From these finalists the judges chose 100 images for special designations, such as first-place, second-place, and third-place as well as honorable mention, in each of the two categories: color and black and white.

Casey Van Sickle, a senior art major from Spearfish, received a third place in the color category. Students receiving an honorable mention include: John Burnap, a senior mass communications major from Deadwood; Michelle Hall, a senior mass communications major from Lead; and Janette Hettick, a senior mass communications major from Roscoe.

Other BHSU finalists included: Janeen Canfield, a senior English major from Spearfish; David Conway, a senior mass communications major from Rapid City; Karri Dieken, a senior art major from Chadron, Neb.; Kayla Gotfredson, a senior mass communications major from Spearfish; Devin Eppler, a communication arts major from Sundance, Wyo.; Jennifer Hahn, a junior mass communications major from Chadron, Neb.; Jenna Swenson, a sophomore mass communications major from Mitchell; Jessica O'Brien, a junior communication arts major from Rapid City; Sara Pishke, a junior mass communications major from Corsica; Amy Rohrbach, a senior mass communications major from Hill City; Victoria Spaid, a senior communication arts major from Lead; Jami Whitehead, a junior mass communications major from Sturgis; Bethany Steinhauer, a junior mass communications major from Custer; Loni Williams, a junior mass communications major from Rapid City; Annie Woodle, a junior mass communications major from Spearfish; Jamie Avent, a junior mass communications major from Spearfish; Holly Howard, Heidi Newland, Jessie Brown, Heather De Haan, Jenni Denevan, Jenny Sand, Elizabeth Verhey and Heather Harvey.

Flickema leads campus tour as a part of Capital for a Day activities - top

BHSU president Dr. Thomas Flickema conducts a campus tour for state officialsDr. Thomas Flickema, president of Black Hills State University, conducted a campus tour for a group of state officials as a part of the city-wide Capital for a Day event. Representatives from the Department of Labor also did a presentation on campus as a part of the day-long event culminated by a presentation by Gov. Rounds.

Reading Council participates in First Lady's Reach Out and Read program - top

BHSU Reading Council member Nicole Krcil distributes books to kidsNicole Krcil, a member of the Black Hills State University Reading Council, distributes books following the First Lady’s Reach Out and Read program. This was one of several events held in Spearfish in conjunction with Capital for a Day. Krcil and other Reading Council members, including Dr. Joanna Jones, advisor for the student group, assisted at the story time and then presented books to the children in attendance.

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