Monthly Archives: September 2017

Media Coverage Summary – Sept. 15

The following is a roundup of news on North Dakota University System’s 11 public colleges and universities for the week ending Friday, Sept. 15


Bismarck State College
EMS leader heads toward the heart of hurricane’s destruction
BSC recognizes Summer 2017 graduates
BSC Theater presents plays prepared in 24 hours

Dakota College at Bottineau
DCB To Host Self-Defense Class

Dickinson State University
DSU Bismarck collaboration receives one of four grants in US for teacher education
3 Day Startup: SBDC at Dickinson State to offer intensive entrepreneurial workshop
Dickinson State to observe Constitution Day Sept. 19

Lake Region State College
Student nurses ship books for charity
Auto program receives continued accreditation

Mayville State University
Join us in recognizing Banned Books Week
Smithsonian Institution poster set celebrating the impact and achievement of migrant farm workers will be at Mayville State September 14-19
Beautiful weather, an exciting football game, and teamwork make for a great Farmers Bowl

Minot State University
Deaf Education Program celebrates anniversary with multiple events
Walther earns Bakken U Scholarship
Minot State Veterans Services to host two events
Minot State Diversity Council announces 2017-18 campus & community events

North Dakota State College of Science
NDSCS accepting applications for Practical Nursing program in Fargo

North Dakota State University
NDSU physics student to receive Astronaut Scholarship
NDSU students create event app
NDSU To Hold Concert For Hurricane Relief
NDSU to host 21st annual Sonia Kovalevsky Day
Sidney native participates in NDSU White Coat Ceremony
Construction underway on 440-bed sophomore dorm at NDSU
Stepping On program aims to prevent falls
Big Iron Farm Show offers wide array of educational opportunities
EPA: Thumbs-up to ‘energy beet’ idea
Livestock industry is good for local economies

University of North Dakota
Streamlining student services
Askelson named interim executive director of RIAS
Technological gold
Active science
Climbing the ranks

Valley City State University
VCSU garners No. 1 ranking among public regional colleges in Midwest

Williston State College
College to Host Constitution Day

North Dakota University System
SPOL contract renewed to increase system goal alignment with all ND institutions
Lumina names NDUS recipient of Challenge Grant to boost attainment
Bakken U scholarship winners named

SPOL contract renewed to increase system goal alignment with all ND institutions

The North Dakota University System has renewed its contract with Strategic Planning Online software at the end of July in an effort to continue the progress of alignment of campus and president goals with the overall strategic plan of the university system.

NDUS purchased this cloud-based strategic planning software when the new strategic plan launched in 2015. The contract renewal for three years will be $50,000 per year for the system. If each institution purchased their own similar service at $20,000 per institution, the total cost would be approximately $220,000 per year. By sharing the service as a unified system, the cost savings over the three years is more than half a million dollars.

NDUS Chancellor Mark Hagerott said, “SPOL plays an integral part is our commitment to continuous improvement within the NDUS strategic plan.” He said SPOL was purchased to help address the Higher Learning Commission’s direction to ensure that each institution work systematically to improve its performance. HLC requires that the institution develops and documents evidence of performance in its operations.

“In our supporting material as well as in our discussions with HLC, we showcased SPOL as one of the tools we are using to meet these requirements. We know it made an impression and that it is a valuable part of our strategizing a successful future that meets the demands of our students and our workforce,” said Hagerott.

“As part of our commitment to the State Board of Higher Education and its goals for the system, it was determined that SPOL technology would be implemented and used to track clear metrics of success. The program has done that for us and we continue to focus the system for continued development and shared services and goal-oriented metric,” said Ryan Jockers, NDUS Institutional and Strategic Analytics Coordinator.

After utilizing SPOL for three years, the North Dakota University System has seen improvements in its strategic planning process because all institutions can be aligned on one system. The ability to engage stakeholders within the NDUS has increased as SPOL allows all 11 institutions to align their goals to the NDUS Strategic Plan, all in one central location.

SPOL also provides the framework to conduct their own internal strategic planning implementation, where progress can be documented and analyzed. Multiple institutions have utilized this feature, and are using SPOL to create a culture of effective strategic engagement.

As NDUS institutions progress through their strategic initiatives, SPOL has allowed for the discovery of efficiencies between institutions. NDUS Strategic goal four calls for the system to “Maximize Strengths of a Unified System.” SPOL uses reports related to identify cross-institutional initiatives, which creates opportunity for collaboration and shared services among the institutions.

Examples of assessment and accreditation efficiencies resulting from SPOL include:

  • Dakota Nursing Program (DNP):

–      A nursing education consortium made possible through the collaborative efforts of four state colleges: BSC, LRSC, DCB, and WSC

–      The DNP has chosen to place their entire assessment/accreditation process into Strategic Planning Online (SPOL)

–      Furthers the idea of a holistic strategic planning environment, and provides the ability to link the planning processes of the four institutions to assessment outcomes

–      Training and full implementation of assessment module completed in May 2017

–      Planned implementation of accreditation module in Fall 2017


“Students throughout the North Dakota University System will benefit as the institutions not only align their goals with the system, but begin to discover the cross institutional initiatives that can be streamlined, which then creates efficiencies to provide a more positive student experience within the system. SPOL allows for the discovery of these types of initiatives almost instantaneously. Without a centralized process this would be very difficult to accomplish,” said Jockers.

For more information:

Lumina names NDUS recipient of Challenge Grant to boost attainment

The North Dakota University System was selected to receive a $99,500 Attainment Challenge Grant from Lumina Foundation. Funding will support strategic initiatives to increase the state’s postsecondary attainment rate to 65 percent by 2025, with the potential to reach 70 percent attainment by 2030.

According to the 2017 issue of A Stronger Nation, Lumina’s annual report on postsecondary attainment, North Dakota’s attainment rate was 48.8 percent in 2015, the most recent year for which data is available. That’s above the national rate of 45.8 percent, but short of estimates from labor economists who say 60 percent of all jobs will require some form of high-quality postsecondary credentials by the end of this decade.

The grant will support efforts to develop a framework for meeting the state’s 65 percent attainment goal, with a focus on defining the labor market value and learning outcomes of postsecondary credentials. The grant will also aim toward bringing adult learners, first-generation students and underrepresented populations new programs that are tailored to meet changing workforce needs.

“Workforce studies are projecting a need for more credentialed employees in the future and broader education possibilities will need to be positioned to answer that demand,” said Mark Hagerott, NDUS chancellor. “Our attainment goal helps us achieve those broader educational opportunities which will help ensure that our workforce remains competitive.”

The grant will support efforts to increase attainment of North Dakota’s underrepresented populations. Just over 30.3 percent of American Indian adults, 34.6 percent of Hispanic students and 26.8 percent of African-Americans hold a two- or four-year degree, compared to 46.8 percent of white North Dakotans.

“We applaud the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education for its commitment to increasing education attainment beyond high school,” said Jamie Merisotis, Lumina’s president and CEO. “Today’s workplace demands a greater breadth and depth of talent and North Dakota is wise to pursue a strategy focused on ensuring its residents possess the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in our rapidly changing labor market.”

“We must do more to increase our potential to attract and retain businesses in search of skilled workers,” said Don Morton, chair of North Dakota’s State Board of Higher Education. “By working to reach our attainment goal, we will build momentum and create a better environment from which to learn and grow for our students and ultimately our state.”

Lumina launched its Attainment Challenge Grant program last fall and committed to support states with up to $100,000 for developing and implementing evidence-based policies to improve student success, close equity gaps, and help their states reach a robust postsecondary attainment goal. The development of high-quality action plans made these states eligible for challenge grant funding of up to $100,000 each: Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Vermont.

The NDUS website will keep up-to-date with progress on the grant and any updates that will be occurring. In addition, NDUS will be looking for opportunities to engage a wide range of stakeholders in work toward meeting the attainment goal. Please visit for more information.

Bakken U scholarship winners named

Two students attending North Dakota University System institutions have been named as the most-recent recipients of the Bakken U scholarship.


Owen Short, a Dickinson State University (DSU) student and current oil field worker, received a scholarship from the North Dakota University System’s Bakken U initiative, a program developed in 2016 to increase access through decreasing barriers to educational opportunities for individuals, and their dependents, employed in the energy industry in North Dakota.

“Bakken U scholarships originally came as a suggestion from oil country, as to how higher education could help oil field workers and employers in the west,” said North Dakota University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott. “We responded to both the students and the employers by instituting Bakken U and I am now proud how the campuses in the west can award scholarships. It’s incredible to see this scholarship come to fruition and really have an impact on students’ needs to create an affordable and accessible education to those students who are or have been involved in North Dakota’s oil field.”

Short moved to North Dakota with his family nearly six years ago from Louisiana to find work in the Bakken Shale Formation, and has since made his relocation permanent. To help fund his education, Short is working for Benz Oil while pursuing a degree in English at Dickinson State. After graduation, he plans to enroll within the North Dakota University System to obtain a law degree. “Becoming a lawyer has been a dream of mine since an early age,” said Short. “This aspiration of mine has been fostered by admiring my mother who herself was a lawyer.”

“Through collaborative efforts, Dickinson State University and the Bakken U initiative are providing great opportunities for students in the region to obtain a degree and strengthen components of the energy industry,” said Jennifer Withers, assistant dean of students at DSU.

The Academic Success Center at DSU maintains a Bakken U Student Advisor (BSA) to provide information to potential and current students about academic and student support services available to be successful in and out of the classroom. The BSA promotes student access to a variety of learning services including: connecting with content specific tutors; applying for financial aid and scholarships; connecting with academic advisors; accessing supplemental instruction services; and annual reviews of academic goals and progress.

“We are proud of our mission to serve residents of the region by offering high quality, accessible programs,” said Dr. Carmen Wilson, DSU’s provost and vice president for academic and student affairs. “The services offered through DSU for the Bakken U initiative support those who are impacted by the volatility the of the energy industry while they pursue an education that will serve them throughout their lives.”


Minot State University student Nicole Walther is one of two individuals who was awarded the Bakken U Scholarship for 2017-18, the North Dakota University System announced.

The scholarship is given through donations from the North Dakota Petroleum Council. Dickinson State’s Owen Short was named as the second award winner.

Walther, a Williston native, is currently pursuing a degree in finance. She earned a degree in math in 2012 at MSU and worked for five years for Pilot Thomas Logistics until May 2017 to return to school. During her five years with the company her duties include working with inventory, logistics and customer service. She believes that getting a degree in finance will help her become a more efficient and valuable employee.

“I am hoping with the continuation of my finance degree, I can apply my knowledge of operations to a company that helps balance their needs financially as well as operationally,” Walther said. “I want to be able to take the information I’ve learned in the classroom and utilize it in a functioning form. My dream job is to help establish proper procedures and future planning for companies that works financially, but still helps maintain a strong operational setting.”

This marks the second straight year a Minot State student has earned the Bakken U Scholarship awarded by the NDUS and the North Dakota Petroleum Council in the scholarship’s three-year history.

Along with Walter’s drive to improve her abilities on the job, she indicated a desire to continue to work and live in western North Dakota – and to support the oil industry.

“My family is based out of Williston and I’m proud to say Williston is my home,” she said. “In my family, with my brothers and myself, we are fifth generation workers in the oil field, so it’s not just a job but a way of life. With Williston being a central hub to the oil field, I am hoping to establish myself within a company to grow and make a permanent home.”

Walther is excited to return to Minot State as there is a familiarity with the university and is grateful of the opportunity the Bakken U Scholarship has provided.

“It was extremely nice to come back to Minot State. Old Main is still the same building and I know my way around,” she said. “Getting the Bakken U Scholarship made returning to school and getting a finance degree much more obtainable and will help greatly reduce my financial burden.

The North Dakota University System plans to continue to award scholarships to support energy industry employees and their dependents. More information about the Bakken U initiative can be found at

BSC implements new assessment methods

Community college is first to adopt tech available in Blackboard


Kara Welk, institutional assessment coordinator at BSC, smiled as she walked faculty members through as assessment module recently at the National Energy Center of Excellence.

In some of the final days before Fall semester, Bismarck State College faculty brought their laptops to the National Energy Center of Excellence for some interactive training designed to offer new ways of assessing their classrooms.

Over three days, Kara Welk and Scott Helphrey walked the faculty members through new processes. The training was broken into several modules to hit numerous points. Those in attendance were happy to take the opportunity to expand their knowledge base, noting that the transition to Blackboard as the learning management system of choice across the university system had been as smooth as could be expected. As of last week, BSC was the first to take the assessment training.

According to Welk, those participating in the training would keep reports throughout the coming year. At the start of next summer, an institutional report would be provided, which would help the assessment process improve, year-by-year.

Essentially, the training provided attendees with an increased technological ability with which to assess their respective classrooms. Instead of being a presentation-only training module, the activities allowed for high levels of interaction. Attendees were given opportunities to explore tools through content they were already familiar with – their own respective course offerings.

Welk, institutional assessment coordinator at BSC, said the assessment training was something she and Helphrey had built up over the summer.

“In Blackboard Learn there are things you can do to assess the classroom,” she said, noting that meant such things as inputting rubrics into the system to align them with classes. Faculty members noted the value of that particular detail, as well as the overall training. “I think it went well. We got positive feedback. Assessment doesn’t necessarily have a great reputation, but the feedback we’ve gotten was that folks think this will work well – it’s a good connection between what they do in the classroom and what we can use institutionally.”

Welk noted that the training could aid in classroom assessment in multiple ways.

“The expectation is that there is a connection between what happens in our classrooms and what we have as institutional outcomes,” she said. “To demonstrate that, we need to have data available. By doing this in Blackboard it can help faculty think through and see how it affects things in the longer term. The hope is that it will take some of the burden out of faculty time.

“This is designed to move forward with all courses – online or onsite,” Welk continued. “Even the in-person classes will have an ‘online’ presence.”

While most of the faculty who attended the training presided over predominantly on-site courses, the variety of courses they taught was fairly large.

“It was very exciting to see more Career and Tech programs there, and energy folks,” Welk noted. “There was a liberal arts perspective, as well. To see this cross-section of our campus will help give us a better statistical sampling. As we were moving through this process and figure how this would work for institutional outcomes, we had to tweak things to make sure that the assessments would work in any type of classrooms.”

Data input for the assessments will continue through Fall and Spring semesters. Institutional-level reporting will commence at the end of the school year, followed by a synthesis over the summer months.

“It’s encouraging to see the direction we’re going,” Welk concluded. “We’re excited as an institution to be here. It’s been a big transition for faculty to come over to Blackboard – it’s work up front but in the long run I think it will set us up for success and improve student learning.”

Media Coverage Summary – Sept. 1

The following is a roundup of news on North Dakota University System’s 11 public colleges and universities for the week ending Friday, September 1


Bismarck State College
BSC and VCSU announce collaborative elementary education bachelor’s degree

Dakota College at Bottineau
Paramedic Technology Program has Record Enrollment

Dickinson State University
“High school loser can do chemistry now’
Dissolution case involving DSU Foundation comes to a close
If Music Be the Food: Faculty recital at DSU to benefit AMEN food pantry

Lake Region State College
Precision Ag students pay it forward

Mayville State University
Custom neon sign will be the grand prize at Farmers Bowl Auction heads or tails game
Performing Arts Hall of Fame inductees for 2017 have been named
MSU Child Development Programs providing EHS services in Fargo and West Fargo

Minot State University
North Dakota Art Gallery Association receives grant
NDCPD awarded Administration for Community Living Core Grant

North Dakota State College of Science
NDSCS announces summer 2017 President’s Honor List

North Dakota State University
Outreach, mentorship opportunities help attract women to engineering
‘Why not us?’: NDSU eyes pesticide testing lab
New report shows economic benefits of tribal colleges in ND
Minnesotans “Make Hay” for Drought-Stricken Neighbors
Fighting hunger in the garden
Deadline nearing for registration in NDSU equine therapy program
Doing our best for captive and wild species
Anthrax may be a danger to North Dakota’s livestock
Areas of county in moderate, severe drought conditions
Artificial intelligence cyberattacks are coming — but what does that mean?
Flexible education option helps nurses advance their careers
Social media sites see uptick in fake charities during natural disasters
Schluessler gets hands-on experience at cheetah sanctuary
Knowing the Herd: What to Know for First Time Bison Fans
NDSU hosts ‘part-time job fair’ to help their students

University of North Dakota
One IT for One UND
A year of good things, with more to come
Online and onward
SMHS researcher receives first portion of $1.6M for epigenetic study
Up, up and away

Valley City State University
VCSU online education programs ranked 10th in nation
Introduction of new staff

Williston State College
College Receives CPR/AED Training

North Dakota University System
State Funds Available for Dual Credit Instruction

State Funds Available for Dual Credit Instruction

Instructors of dual credit courses in North Dakota have just been given a financial incentive thanks to the state legislature.

Following the authorization of a pilot program offering credit incentive to qualifying instructors earlier this year, funds have now been made available in the form of vouchers from North Dakota University System. These vouchers will be available for dual credit instructors and may be used toward graduate level classes at a public or private postsecondary institution.

Lisa Johnson, NDUS director of academic affairs, said the vouchers were a great step forward for dual credit courses and instructors.

“We are grateful to the North Dakota legislature for their support and financial assistance to help ND dual credit instructors attain the educational credentials required to teach dual credit courses in our state,” Johnson said. “Dual credit plays an important role in helping the state meet educational attainment goals and particularly those students who choose to pursue a college degree among their choices of college, career, or military preparation.”

The voucher credit can be used to cover the cost of tuition, not to exceed $316.88 per undergraduate credit or $321.84 per graduate credit. Voucher credits earned from the 2016-17 year can only be applied to tuition expenses during the 2017-18 school year.

The application for dual credit instructional voucher can be found by contacting university system at 328-4143.