Monthly Archives: October 2014

Students, we want to hear from you! NDUS to host second #StudentSpk Twitter Chat

Twitter Chat FB photo Oct21

The State Board of Higher Education launched its new strategic plan for the system – The NDUS Edge – and wants to share this bold, new direction with North Dakota students! Join the conversation and take advantage of this unique opportunity to speak with the chancellor of the North Dakota University System and the State Board. Please encourage your fellow students to participate. We will start the conversation, then turn the tables and give you, the students, an opportunity to ask us questions!


What? #StudentSpk Twitter Chat hosted by @NDUnivSystem

When? Tuesday, Oct. 21 from 4 p.m. – 5 p.m. CDT

Why? The North Dakota University System serves to educate its students. In order for the State Board to govern the system and help support students, they need to know what students are thinking. That’s why we need to hear from you!

How do I participate? All you need to participate in the #StudentSpk Twitter Chat is a free twitter account. You can go to to sign up if you don’t already have an account. Once you have an account, follow these simple steps:

Follow @NDUnivSystem for reminders and updates about the chat and the State Board of Higher Education.

Share the information about this chat with your friends through your social media channels. They don’t want to miss this unique opportunity!

When it’s time for the chat, type the hashtag, #StudentSpk, into the search bar and you’ll be able to follow and participate in the conversation.

Respond to the host questions and those of your fellow participants. If responding to a host question make sure to mark your answer with the question number to keep the conversation on track. For example, if a question is marked “Q1” your response would be marked “A1.” And, don’t forget to always include #StudentSpk in your responses so everyone following along can see them!

To make it easier to follow the conversation and even slow down the pace of the tweets, you can open a free TweetChat account. Just go to, sign in with your twitter account, and select the hashtag you’d like to follow (#StudentSpk).

Come back here – – after the chat for some highlights from the conversation.

We hope you’ll join us to discuss the future of higher education in North Dakota. Talk to you Oct. 21!

Interview with student member, Christopher McEwen: What does the new strategic plan mean for students?

Christopher McEwen Student member, State Board of Higher Education

Christopher McEwen
Student member, State Board of Higher Education

A week after the new strategic plan was approved by the State Board of Higher Education, Chelsea Gleich, NDUS communications specialist, caught up with student Board member Christopher McEwen to discuss how he sees this plan impacting students.

Q: Where do you see the new strategic plan taking the university system?

McEwen: I can see the strategic plan helping guide the universities so they can better serve their students academically, as well as professionally.

Q: How do you see the plan impacting students?

McEwen: I can see this really helping with the promotion of retention. It will set clear goals for retention and graduation, and help students get through college on time.

Q: What are you most excited about as part of the plan?

McEwen: I’m really excited about Predictive Analytics Reporting (PAR) to identify problem areas for our students and allow us to help them more directly.

Q: Do you think this new plan – The NDUS Edge – addresses students’ needs?

McEwen: It’s a strong start to laying the framework for addressing serious issues affecting our students, such as retention, on-time graduation and affordability.

Q: What was your impression of the strategic planning process?

McEwen: I really appreciated having the opportunity to give input and how input was sought from multiple sources including students, so we can better assist students with what they need.

Q: Why did you want to serve on the State Board of Higher Education?

McEwen: I’m very passionate about helping my fellow students address issues of concern and making sure students are well-represented. I’ve worked with the North Dakota Student Association and other student groups, all working toward the ultimate goal of making sure student voices are heard.

Q: What are you most looking forward to over the next year?

McEwen: I’m really looking forward to understanding what we’re doing right and what we can do to improve.

Christopher McEwen is the voting student member of the State Board of Higher Education and a current graduate student at North Dakota State University pursuing a master’s degree in applied statistics. He was appointed to the SBHE by Gov. Jack Dalrymple and will serve a one-year term ending June 30, 2015.

State Board to vote on new strategic plan

Sneak Peek: Cover art for the upcoming strategic plan publication.

Sneak peek: Cover art for the upcoming strategic plan publication.

At its October 2 meeting, the State Board of Higher Education is set to discuss and potentially approve its 2015-2020 strategic plan. The plan that will be presented at the meeting is the culmination of months of stakeholder input, expert opinions from inside and outside the university system and discussion by Board members.

In April, NDUS hired Connie Sprynczynatyk as the Director of Strategic Planning. Since then, Sprynczynatyk has conducted over 100 interviews with higher education, business and community leaders, and leveraged technology to gather even more input. Under her direction, NDUS hosted the first student twitter chat, surveyed young professionals in North Dakota and conducted a faculty/staff survey in which over 1,600 employees participated.

Armed with this knowledge, the Board, campus presidents and NDUS senior staff gathered for a strategic planning retreat July 31. This was an intense, exhilarating day of brainstorming and laid the groundwork for a strong, new direction for the system. Since then, the campus presidents and NDUS senior staff have been working diligently defining the metrics and strategies that the Board will need in place to meet these goals.

Now, it’s time for the Board to see the culmination of their effort. The draft strategic plan is posted along with the Board agenda. Stay tuned for a special edition SBHE Update showcasing the bold, new direction for the university system in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, check out this video for a glimpse into the strategic planning process.


Board orientation to be held following meeting

Board members are invited to attend orientation following this week’s Board meeting. The orientation will provide attendees with an overview of the North Dakota University System and the requirements for serving on the Board. To encourage transparency, this training will also be streamed live for anyone who would like to watch.

The orientation includes four main agenda items:

  • Campus overview presentations
  • Duties and responsibilities of Board members
  • NDUS department overview presentations
  • Budget overview presentation

Following the recommendations set forth by the Association of Governing Boards, each new Board member will also be assigned a mentor to help them get acclimated. Board Chair Kirsten Diederich will mentor Kevin Melicher, Don Morton will mentor Christopher McEwen and Janice Hoffarth will mentor Eric Murphy.

The agenda for Board orientation is available here.



BSC adds online nuclear simulator

BSC adds online nuclear simulator

BSC recently added the Nuclear Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) online simulator to its energy education resources. Integrated into BSC’s online Nuclear Power Technology curriculum, the simulator was created in collaboration with the Energy Providers Coalition for Education. This simulator includes all the aspects of an actual nuclear power plant.

BSC ranked fifth in nation

BSC was ranked fifth among two and four-year institutions granting associate degrees in engineering technologies and engineering related fields in the August 18 issue of Community College Week. The ranking included BSC’s energy and engineering-related degree programs.

Union addition complete
The 15,000 square-foot cafeteria addition to the BSC Student Union opened Aug. 25. The Mystic Marketplace includes a grill, pizza and pasta, a full salad bar, a chef stage and a grab ’n’ go area. Remodeling of the rest of the building is scheduled for completion next spring.

DCB in discussions with International Peace Garden

DCB in discussions with International Peace Garden

Dakota College has begun discussions with the International Peace Garden’s Board of Directors to collaborate in offering a new hands on intensive horticulture program. Early fall and late spring practical learning activities would occur at the garden and late fall and early spring lessons would take place on campus.

Aquaponics program in the works

Work has begun to design an aquaponics program as an addition to the college’s unique natural resource offerings. Aquaponics is a method of producing edible fish and vegetables in an indoor symbiotic environment which stimulates the growth of both fish and vegetables.

Institutional research position created

The institution has created an internal research position to assist with analysis regarding student achievement and enrollment demographics, as well as supplying data for grant applications.

DSU enrollment increases by 30 students for 2014-15

Enrollment increases by 30 students for 2014-15

Student enrollment rose from 1,449 to 1,479 for the 2014-15 academic year, including all eligible transfers, new and returning students and high school students receiving college credit. Of those 1,479 students, 207 are enrolled in classes at the university’s campus in Bismarck and 80 are full-time international students representing 26 countries.

U.S. News & World Report ranks DSU in Best Colleges report

The 2015 edition of U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges ranks DSU as No. 4 in the category Best Public Regional Colleges in the Midwest. The ranking, now in its 30th year, evaluates 1,800 schools across the country on such factors as academic excellence, graduation rates and retention, student selectivity and financial and faculty resources.

Rodeo team ties up huge win in first event

The DSU rodeo team dominated during its season opener in mid-September at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. The women’s team won the event with 685 points. The Blue Hawks also placed in five of the six top spots in the all-around. DSU senior Bobbi Jo Grann, who finished first in barrel racing and third in goat tying, won the women’s all-around with 275 points. Teddi Rose Schwagler finished runner-up, while Sadie Jane Gjermundson placed third, Jardyn Schaefer was fifth and Kristy Langseth rounded out the top six.

LRSC business program receives recognition

Business program receives recognition

The Business and Office Technology program at Lake Region State College in Devils Lake was presented the Director’s Award of Excellence during the opening session at the 44th Annual Department of Career and Technical Education Professional Development Conference held at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel in Bismarck.

Peace officers graduate

Two academies of peace officer students graduated in August. Lake Region State College, in cooperation with Grand Forks area law enforcement, graduated 16 students from its Grand Forks Academy August 20th. Another 27 students graduated August 21st from a Fargo academy run by LRSC in cooperation with Fargo area law enforcement.  LRSC has conducted a summer academy in Fargo since 2002 and Grand Forks academy since in 2010. The college also has launched an academy in Bismarck starting this fall. Lake Region State College also offers its peace officer training program in Devils Lake each fall and in Minot each spring.

MaSU residence halls near capacity

Residence halls near capacity

MaSU residence halls are filled to 93% of capacity, up for 82% last year. This coincides with Mayville State’s continued enrollment increases. The number of students enrolled on the first day of classes for fall semester was at 1,066, a new record for the first day of fall semester.

MSU Foundation exceeds fundraising goal

With $1.1 million raised, the Mayville State University Foundation exceeded the overall fundraising goal for the2013-2014 fiscal year by 78%. Funds raised so far during the first quarter of the current fiscal year put the Foundation on pace for the possibility of exceeding the goal again this year.

UND new faculty tour makes stop at Mayville State

MaSU personnel were happy to have the annual UND new faculty tour bus make a stop at Mayville State in August. The group enjoyed a social at the newly opened Edson and Margaret Larson Alumni and Leadership Center followed by dinner at the campus dining center.

Educators attend Northern Plains Writing Project Institutes at MiSU

Educators attend Northern Plains Writing Project Institutes at MiSU – Teachers from near and far attended this year’s Northern Plains Writing Project Institutes at Minot State University. NPWP’s purpose is to strengthen what the state’s K-12 teachers do in their classrooms. It helps teachers improve how they teach writing, as well as advance their teaching credentials and careers. Teachers presented their writing lessons at the North Dakota Council of Teachers of English annual conference in Mandan and have the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., in November to attend the National Council of Teachers of English Convention.

MiSU’S Power Center plans precollege experience – The POWER Center, a TRiO-Student Support Services program, offers a precollege enhancement course. The course, financed by the Bank of North’s College Planning Center, is designed to prepare first-year students for their university experiences. Approximately 25 POWER-eligible students will be invited to move into their residence halls and spend three nights and four days on the MiSU campus immediately prior to the start of fall semester. Through this course, participants will learn about all the resources MiSU and Minot offer.

Caroline’s Carts have arrived at all Minot’s Marketplace Food stores – The North Dakota Center for Persons with Disabilities, a Center of Excellence at Minot State University, and Marketplace Foods have made Caroline’s Carts available at each Marketplace Foods location in Minot. Caroline’s Carts were created by parents who realized their daughter would eventually outgrow a typical shopping cart. Their mission was to make Caroline’s Carts available to retailers everywhere to enable individuals with special needs to participate in mainstream society through the common activity of grocery shopping with their family.

CNA Training now available on the NDSCS Wahpeton Campus

CNA Training now available on the NDSCS Wahpeton Campus

In September 2014, NDSCS began offering CNA Training (Certified Nursing Assistant) through the trainND department on the Wahpeton campus. The CNA program is designed for students who are interested in preparing themselves for employment as a Certified Nursing Assistant or who are interested in a career in nursing.

NDSCS announces alumni Letterwinners Hall of Fame

The NDSCS Athletic department is inducting seven new members into the Letterwinners Hall of Fame: Steve Calvin (Milwaukee, Wis.), John Grogan, Larry Hamilton (Kokomo, Ind.), Greta Holmes (Bloomington, Minn.), Joe Murphy (West Fargo, N.D.), Tommy Reynolds (Texas) and the 1963-1964 Men’s Basketball Team. Inductees will be honored on October 4, 2014 on the Wahpeton campus.

NDSCS presents 2014 Homecoming Honorees

NDSCS will recognize a group of distinguished alumni and friends during Homecoming week on October 3, 2014 on the Wahpeton campus. Honorees include Tim Purdon, Alumnus of the Year; The Miller Family, Tradition Award; Judy and Doug Peterson, Wildcats of the Year; Industrial Builders, Inc., Friend of the College; Shirley Fox Trydahl, Parade Grand Marshal; and Jim Johnson, Commitment to Excellence.

New national ag research center to be located at NDSU

NDSU hosts ESPN College GameDay a second time

 NDSU was selected to host ESPN College GameDay for the second year in a row, bringing the national spotlight to Fargo and the state of North Dakota.  NDSU is one of four non-FBS schools to host College GameDay since 1993 and the first to do it twice.

New national ag research center to be located at NDSU

The National Agricultural Genotyping Center to be located on the NDSU campus will provide students opportunities to gain experiences in cutting-edge technologies in genomics through employment or internships.  A portion of the center’s work will be developing diagnostic kits for detecting pathogens in plants, animals and food.

Program celebrates 100 years of educating architects

NDSU’s architecture program celebrates its centennial this year. The program has established a reputation for educating design leaders. Many architecture graduates are principals and designers in award-winning regional, local, national and international firms.

UND’s Jane Croeker awarded Governor’s Award for Excellence in Public Service

UND’s Jane Croeker awarded Governor’s Award for Excellence in Public Service

Jane Croeker, director of health and wellness promotion at the University of North Dakota, recently received North Dakota Governor’s Award for Excellence in Public Service for efforts to improve the quality of life and health of UND staff, faculty and students. The award was presented at a Bismarck luncheon during State Employee Recognition Week.

Norwegian Ambassador Skypes with UND students

Norwegian Ambassador to the United States, Kåre Aas, talked to UND students via Skype about the Arctic and unprecedented challenges and emerging opportunities it offers Norway and the rest of the world.  Students and others gathered at the UND Center for Innovation Idea lab for the Friday, Sept. 26 talk.

UND’s Mary Haselerud Opp named Teacher of the Year

University of North Dakota instructor Mary Haslerud Opp recently has been named the Communication, Speech, Theatre Association of North Dakota (CSTAND) Teacher of the Year for 2014.  Haslerud Opp is the director of public speaking and interpersonal communication courses for the UND Communication Program where she has taught since 1980.

U.S. News again ranks VCSU No. 2 among public regional colleges in Midwest

U.S. News again ranks VCSU No. 2 among public regional colleges in Midwest

VCSU was ranked No. 2 among Top Public Regional Colleges in the Midwest in the 2015 edition of U.S. News Best Colleges. VCSU held the same position in the 2014 U.S. News rankings. For six consecutive years, VCSU has been ranked either first or second in its category and has been North Dakota’s highest-rated Public Regional College.

Two to be inducted into VCSU Music Hall of Fame

Myron Sommerfeld and the late John Reed will be inducted into the VCSU Music Hall of Fame Sept. 27. Reed was choir director at VCSU for more than 25 years. VCSU alumnus Sommerfeld, who taught music in North Dakota for more than 25 years, continues to perform with his band, Myron Sommerfeld and His Music.

STEM center delivers tractor simulator to Heritage Center

In September, the Great Plains STEM Education Center at VCSU will deliver one of its Ag Cab Lab simulators to the Heritage Center in Bismarck for installation in the Innovation Gallery. The tractor/combine simulator demonstrates STEM-rich modern farming practices.

WSC hosts Japanese exchange

Japanese Exchange

WSC just finished up their third short-stay exchange visit with sister school, Kokusai Junior College in Tokyo.  Twelve Japanese students and two chaperones spent 10 days immersed in a once-in-a-lifetime ND experience.  When they weren’t in the classroom, they spent time on a farm, at a bbq, shopping and sight-seeing.

Heller to retire

After 25 years at Williston State College, bookstore manager, Andrea Heller has made the difficult choice to retire on May 15, 2015. To honor her years of passionate work for WSC, the bookstore in the newly renovated Stevens Hall will be named “Andrea’s”.

Women in Leadership Expo

WSC hosted its first annual Women in Leadership Expo on Friday, Sept 26.  The expo featured a luncheon, exhibitor booths, book signing, wine, food and speakers Tammy Miller from Border States Electric and keynote Amilya Antonetti.