Month: August, 2013

Enrollment at DWU breaks university’s record; retention highest in years

Friday, August 30, 2013

Dakota Wesleyan University has come to realize it’s not always about how many students you draw in, it’s every bit as important to keep the ones you’ve got.

DWU’s enrollment for the 2013 fall semester is looking to be the highest it has ever been with numbers coming in this week at 873 enrolled students, of those 170 freshmen.

This year’s enrollment surpasses the university’s all-time record in 1966 of 850 students and President Amy Novak gives a lot of credit back to the university staff, as well as the new science facility, which was dedicated Thursday.

“We have a solid incoming freshman class, but we are just as excited to see that our returning students have enjoyed their experience here, which is reflected in our record retention numbers,” Novak said.

Final counts for enrollment and retention won’t be in until later into September, after the final drop date, but going by current numbers DWU’s retention of freshman to sophomore students has reached 77 percent, which is a jump from five years ago when it was 57 percent. Retention is calculated by the number of the previous year’s freshmen who returned as sophomores.

“The entire campus has come together to bring that number to where it should be,” Novak said. “Our student life department has taken a lead on giving students activities throughout the week, encouraging students to stay on campus on weekends and get involved; our coaches have recruited stellar student-athletes who want to succeed in education as much as they do on the court or field, and as a university we have been more intentional in giving students opportunities to meet and volunteer with staff and faculty, building relationships.

“We also have a brand new science facility that we dedicated Thursday, and considering the majority of our student body is majoring in the sciences or medical fields, we know we have gained some students the past two years with the Glenda K. Corrigan Health Sciences Center as a draw, and retained some students this year who were attracted by the state-of-the-art facilities.”

As well this year, DWU launched a new M.B.A. in Strategic Leadership and expanded its degree completion program for registered nurses with associate’s degrees. 

“We are excited about these online offerings and the growing interest in these programs by adults examining ways to improve their skills and strengthen their opportunities for employment advancement,” Novak said.

The campus dedicated the Glenda K. Corrigan Health Sciences Center on Thursday with more than 650 campus and community members in attendance. The $11.5 million facility is four stories, 48,000 square feet, and has chemistry labs, biology labs, research labs and four nursing simulation labs, as well as classrooms and faculty offices.

DWU is a private, liberal arts university associated with the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church.  For more information about Dakota Wesleyan University, go to


Historic day for DWU: $11.5 million Health Sciences Center dedicated

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Daily Republic

The faces Glenda Corrigan saw Thursday afternoon were heartwarming.

During a dedication ceremony at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, students, faculty, alumni and supporters gathered around the new $11.5 million building with Corrigan’s name near its peak.

The Glenda K. Corrigan Health Sciences Center was officially christened.

“I don’t think they could have done better,” said Corrigan, a 1964 graduate of DWU. “This building is just awesome.”

Corrigan and her husband, Fritz, were two of the major donors toward the construction of the building, a four-story, 48,000-square-foot structure that contains chemistry, biology and physics labs; two undergraduate research labs equipped with state-of-the-art equipment for student use; four nursing simulation labs; classrooms for nursing, athletic training, the sciences and mathematics; and faculty offices.

“All these young people going in here now, we didn’t realize it but this is going to impact a lot of their lives,” Fritz Corrigan said as he dodged students weaving in and out of the building’s doors. “That’s what this is about.”

Dakota Wesleyan broke ground on the project Sept. 30, 2011. Although it was already being used when classes started Monday, Thursday’s ribbon cutting was the building’s formal dedication.

The Corrigans and DWU graduates Paul and Donna Christen each gifted $5 million toward the building, the biggest donations in school history. The foursome snipped a ribbon in front of about 600 people to wrap up an hour-long dedication. DWU President Amy Novak said about 100 of those in attendance were donors to the project.

Novak said the structure holds 13 classrooms and has 414 windowpanes. Large stairwell windows reveal an expansive view of Mitchell. From the top floor, landmarks such as Avera Queen of Peace Hospital, Holy Family Catholic Church and the Farmers Alliance grain elevator are visible.

Novak is optimistic about the impact the building will have on Mitchell and the region.

“This is a dream come true,” Novak said. “To see the kids walk through those doors and walk into the classes and see this vision come to fruition, it’s already creating a transformation, and I can only imagine the transformation that will continue.”

The building will be the new home for the Donna Starr Christen College of Healthcare, Fitness and Sciences.

“Our vision is seeing thousands of young, eager students walking through these doors over the next decade,” said Paul Christen, a 1950 DWU graduate and Donna’s husband. “They’ll be leaving with a quality education and ready to serve in the fields of health, fitness and science. The Corrigan building will help change the lives of these students.”

Within the facility and college will be the Arlene Gates Department of Nursing, named for the late Arlene Gates, a memorial made possible by her husband, Ron Gates, of Mitchell. Before the dedication for the entire building, there was a ceremony for the Gates Department on the building’s third floor. The family of Arlene Gates was also described as a major donor.

The afternoon ceremony started at the Sherman Center on DWU’s campus and eventually moved in front of the Corrigan Center. The indoor ceremony included prayer, a choir and a church-like service influenced by the university’s Methodist affiliation.

Bishop Bruce Ough started his sermon by asking all in attendance, “Don’t you love it when a dream and a plan come together?”

“Today, we’re celebrating the triumph of God’s unlimited imagination,” he added.

Mark Puetz, of Puetz Corp., attended Thursday’s ceremony and was pleased with the project’s final outcome. The Mitchell-based company designed, managed and constructed the project, with the help of some sub-contractors.

“I think the best part of being a part of the design and construction process is you have all these thought processes about what you envision this space to look like,” Puetz said. “Now you actually see it. It’s pretty amazing.”


Labor Day hours set at DWU

Friday, August 30, 2013

Dakota Wesleyan University offices will close Monday, Sept. 2, in observance of the Labor Day holiday.

The McGovern Library will also observe holiday hours this weekend.

The library will be open Saturday, Aug. 31, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The library will be closed on Sunday, Sept. 1, and will have limited hours from 6 to 10 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 2. Java City will be closed Saturday-Sunday and open Monday night.

Offices and the library return to regular hours on Tuesday.


DWU Annual Freshman Food Drive brings in more than 2 tons

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Dakota Wesleyan freshmen conducted their annual food drive Sunday, bringing in 4,230 pounds of food to the Mitchell Salvation Army Food Pantry.

“It was a phenomenal turnout for us,” said Brandon Vetter, DWU campus pastor and food drive organizer. “I’m really pleased with how it went – we had about 285 freshmen and student leaders canvassing the city of Mitchell and as always, the city was very generous.”

This year’s class of freshmen, along with DWU staff and current students, conducted the food drive from noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 25. Donations were brought to the Mitchell Salvation Army Food Pantry where DWU and Salvation Army volunteers sorted and shelved the food.

Last year’s food drive brought in 4,350 pounds, which is the all-time record, but Vetter isn’t disappointed that this year’s drive didn’t beat it.

“Mitchell has always given generously toward the Salvation Army Food Pantry during the Freshman Food Drive,” Vetter said. “I honestly think we brought in probably the same amount of food as last year but less canned goods, which weigh more. The food pantry was asking for a lot of dry goods like macaroni and cheese, boxed potatoes, Hamburger Helper and cereal and I think we were able to bring in a lot of that for them – so the students and the town did an amazing thing today.”

The Freshman Food Drive is a large component of the New Student Orientation weekend at Dakota Wesleyan and an activity that is structured to help new students acclimate to their new community, as well as the university’s motto of “Sacrifice or Service.”

“We say it every year and that is that the food drive is ‘faith in action,’” Vetter said. “The food drive is just one of the ways Dakota Wesleyan helps teach the next generation to give back to its community and volunteer their time to help a neighbor. We don’t just want to sit in a classroom and teach students to be leaders; here at DWU, we send them into the world and have them experience that role.”

The Mitchell Salvation Army Food Pantry is open from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday-Friday, and donations may be dropped off during that time or from 3 to 6 p.m. at the thrift store.

According to the Salvation Army’s statistics, 2,622 bags of food were distributed in the months of May through July in 2012 and the need has increased to 4,351 bags during the same summer months this year.

“The food pantry’s needs have never really gone down for quite some time, really since the recession,” said Major Linda Jones, of the Salvation Army said earlier this month. “When I first came here seven years ago, we were only servicing 300 people from the pantry, now we serve 600-900.”

DWU is a private, liberal arts university associated with the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church.


Dakota Wesleyan University opens its doors to next generation in education

Friday, August 23, 2013

DWU Sets Dedication For Brand New Science Facility

When Dakota Wesleyan University laid its first cornerstone in 1884, Dakota was still a territory, campus was far from the “diversions of town,” and the people of Mitchell gathered for a parade and festivities to celebrate the beginnings of what was once a one-building campus.

They knew that one building can be the difference.

Throughout its 128 years, DWU has grown, and this fall it renews its commitment to educating tomorrow’s leaders in the sciences and medical fields with the grand opening of the Glenda K. Corrigan Health Sciences Center, 100 years after students first walked the halls of the campus’s first science building.

The dedication of the Glenda K. Corrigan Health Sciences Center will be held at 11 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 29, in the Sherman Center, concluding in front of the new science center and followed by a noon picnic in East Main Dining Room (within Rollins Campus Center). There will also be a public dedication of the Arlene Gates Department of Nursing within the Corrigan Health Sciences Center at 9:30 a.m. on the third floor. Classes will be suspended during this time and the entire campus and Mitchell community is invited to celebrate this historic moment.

“Dakota Wesleyan celebrated its 125th anniversary three years ago, and we as a campus spent a lot of time commemorating our history and celebrating the achievement of 125 years of education, but we had no idea then that we would be here today creating a new chapter in that history,” said DWU President Amy Novak. “And we could never have gotten here without the most amazing and generous collection of alumni and supporters that any university could ask for. This building is theirs as much as it is for our current students, and we want to share this historic moment with all of them.”

Paul and Donna Christen, of Huron, kick-started the campaign to raise funds for a new science facility three years ago when they pledged $5 million toward the project. It was a generous, unprecedented offer made by alumni who had also given toward the Christen Family Recreation/Wellness Center. It was a dream come true and equally unprecedented when alumna Glenda Corrigan and husband, Fritz, of Edina, Minn., came forward in 2011 and announced that they, too, would contribute $5 million to build a new science facility.

History was being made and the landscape of campus was about to change.

DWU broke ground for the Glenda K. Corrigan Health Sciences Center, which houses the Donna Starr Christen College of Healthcare, Fitness and Sciences and the Arlene Gates Department of Nursing, on Sept. 30, 2011. A ground breaking ceremony was held during Blue & White Days that year with the donors present, as well as community leaders and alumni.

“It was a lovely and special day for Dakota Wesleyan,” Novak said. “There has been so much energy on campus since we announced the building; students, staff, Mitchell residents, everyone has been looking forward to this day.

“The return on this investment is already paying dividends for DWU and the regional economy. We have seen an increasing number of students enrolling in the science-related majors and overall enrollment is up. Many of those students are choosing to stay in our region contributing to the overall economic vitality of South Dakota.”

The four-story, 48,000-square-foot building contains chemistry, biology and physics labs; two undergraduate research labs equipped with state-of-the-art equipment for student use; four nursing simulation labs; classrooms for nursing, athletic training, the sciences and mathematics; and faculty offices.

There have been other gifts to the project as well. Ron Gates Sr., of Mitchell, made a gift to rename the nursing department in memory of his wife, Arlene, who passed away in 2011. The Arlene Gates Department of Nursing is on the third floor of the building, and nursing staff and students have been able to enjoy their state-of-the-art classrooms since moving in in March.

For more details and photos on the construction of the Glenda K. Corrigan Health Sciences Center, please click here.


DWU’s executive team restructuring gives new responsibilities, titles to current employees

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Dakota Wesleyan University celebrates institutional milestones this year with new position appointments, the dedication of the Corrigan Health Sciences Center and the inauguration of Amy Novak as president.

The university announced its 20th president in April, promoting Novak, former provost, to the position on April 18.

Since her appointment, Novak has made additional administrative appointments. Theresa Kriese, formerly vice president for finance and development, was named executive vice president of the college. Kriese, who has been at DWU since 2008, stepped up last year when DWU’s advancement office was in need of a leader and served as both vice president of her department in finance and took on the V.P. role in development.

“Theresa’s professional experience has been a constant asset to Dakota Wesleyan,” Novak said. “As provost, I worked closely with Theresa and Lori Essig as part of the president’s council, and our working relationship has been one molded by mutual respect and hard work.”

Novak’s executive leadership team also includes the newly appointed provost, Dr. Rochelle “Rocky” Von Eye, current math professor and dean of the Donna Starr Christen College of Healthcare, Fitness and Sciences.

“The university’s academic affairs department is in very capable hands with Dr. Von Eye in the position of provost,” Novak said. “Having served as provost for five years myself, and working closely with all of the deans and faculty, I am confident that Rocky will excel in this position. She is a fascinating and intelligent woman whom I respect.”

Von Eye was named a dean in 2009 when the university developed its three-college system. She
earned her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from South Dakota State University in mathematics and computer science, and her doctorate from University of South Dakota. She has been at DWU since 1984, teaching courses in computer science and mathematics. She has also been assistant academic dean and acting vice president for academic affairs. Von Eye has also received the Presidential Award for Excellence in mathematics teaching, and a Kellogg National Leadership Fellowship.

“The past few years have been a whirlwind of excitement and anticipation for all of DWU,” Novak said. “I have been just a small part of this long process, but it has been an honor. The entire campus is excited about this beautiful new building.”

The dedication of the science center will begin at 11 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 29, in the Sherman Center, followed by a ceremony in front of the new building with a picnic in Jackson Plaza. The entire community is invited to partake in this celebration and historical event.

Novak’s inauguration will take place at 11 a.m., Friday, Sept. 27, as part of the university’s homecoming festivities.


Expert: Parents should be aware of sexting as new school year begins

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

By Allison Jarrell
Pierre Capital Journal
Published Aug. 19, 2013

Some kids do it flirtatiously, while others do it to humiliate each other. The means and motives behind “sexting” vary in degree, but no matter the context, creating and distributing sexually explicit images or text can have severe consequences for youth, a South Dakota criminal justice expert said.

Sexting – a term coined to describe sexualized texting – most often occurs via cell phone camera and is common with “younger adults who have the technology and are at an age where sex is commonplace to them,” said Jesse Weins, assistant professor of criminal justice at Dakota Wesleyan University.

Weins has spent years researching and writing about the legal ramifications of sexting. He said the sexting conversation has shifted in recent years from prevalence to the associated risks and problems it incurs.

It’s a blurry line, according to Weins, who said risks and consequences all depend on a child’s age and the type of image or text distributed.

Weins said recent studies have found correlations between teenagers creating and forwarding sexual material of themselves or their peers and their likelihood of engaging in early or risky sexual behavior or other cyber victimizations – such as recording sexual assaults.

“A lot of people think of teen sexting as an isolated incident. They don’t realize that it is also generally tied to online pornography consumption,” Weins said. “We’re hitting probably the first generation ever, especially among young males, whose primary means of really seeing and understanding sexuality comes from online pornography.”

Weins added that increased sexting has also fueled the rise of adult predators, who often use their social media and online presence to take advantage of minors.

“Certainly kids who are actively engaged in posting sexual material of themselves and others are going to end up with bigger risks in those areas too,” he said.

Legal consequences for minors or juveniles involved in sexting are decided on a case-by-case basis. Weins said there are four or five civil and criminal laws that can be applied to each case, ranging from invasion of privacy to child pornography charges.

“With these new fields of pioneering technology, we just don’t really have any kind of a nationwide consistency on how to deal with them at this point,” Weins said. “I don’t think we will for some time. The level of change and the way technology has changed has just made it really hard to get to that point.”

Weins said it’s important that parents maintain oversight of property such as cell phones.

“Parents just plain need to be aware of their kids’ cell phone usage,” Weins said.

Jesse Weins is an assistant professor of criminal justice at DWU and dean of the College of Leadership and Public Service. Weins was one of the first in the nation to address teen sexting from a legal perspective. To read more, click here.


Classes set to begin at Dakota Wesleyan, McGovern Library’s fall hours are set

Monday, August 19, 2013

Dakota Wesleyan University has begun welcoming back student athletes and will hold its annual New Student Orientation weekend Saturday-Sunday, Aug. 24-25, with classes beginning Monday, Aug. 26.

“New Student Orientation is a chance for all new students – freshman and transfer students – to get accustomed to campus, residence life staff and the city of Mitchell,” said Diana Goldammer, director of student life.

NSO, as it’s referred to on campus, is jam-packed with activities, both fun and academic, including a session for parents. To see the weekend’s full schedule, visit

“One of the most beneficial aspects of arriving early on Saturday (Aug. 24) is that we have our freshman move-in crew ready at Dayton Hall (the freshman dormitory) to help students and their families make the big move into the dormitory,” Goldammer said. “Students, staff and faculty volunteer to lug couches, refrigerators and everything else up to the new students’ dorm rooms – it’s semi-controlled chaos and it’s usually a lot of fun.”

Following the “Big Move,” students are shepherded through finalization and IT support by their team leaders, and then there will be a picnic for the students and families and bowling in town. Sunday is a mad rush of activities with All College Church in the Sherman Center – open to the entire community – and the annual Freshman Food Drive from noon to 3 p.m. Following the food drive will be a beach party at Lake Mitchell and later that night, a carnival for DWU students on Dayton Lawn, including a zip line.

“I’m really excited for the new events we’re adding this year,” said Jeff Holstein, a 2012 DWU graduate and student activities coordinator. “The beach party and carnival are new concepts for us, but we wanted to bring something new to NSO and maybe start some new traditions. Beyond having your stuff moved in for free, finalizing for classes, and introducing students to our commitment to service, NSO is geared to give students the chance to hang out at fun events and meet new people. Freshmen will never have a chance like this where they will be put into a group with such a diverse collection of students from different clubs, sports or personalities to network with. I loved my time as a student at DWU and used to volunteer for NSO weekend as a team leader – it’s a pretty great job to get to plan for these things now.”

The McGovern Library on campus will also begin its fall schedule once school begins. Right now, the library is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Beginning Aug. 26, the library will be open from 3 p.m. to midnight on Sundays; 7:30 a.m. to midnight, Monday through Thursday; 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.


DWU Freshman Food Drive organizers hope to set new record; more than 4,000 pounds collected last year

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Going door to door, students of Dakota Wesleyan University’s annual Freshman Food Drive hope to stock some shelves.

Every fall, freshmen and transfer students are encouraged to take part in orientation weekend, which is filled with activities to help new students acclimate to the campus, the community and meet new friends. One of those activities is the annual DWU Freshman Food Drive for the Salvation Army Food Pantry. Freshmen and new students will canvass the city for donations. This year’s drive will be from noon to 3 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 25, and residents will know the students by their DWU orientation T-shirts.

Last year’s food drive was an all-time record of 4,350 pounds, a steady increase from the previous year’s 3,994 pounds and 2011’s 2,400 pounds.

“The Freshman Food Drive is a tradition at DWU that encourages volunteerism in our students and gives them a realistic look at how a relatively small group of strangers can band together for just a short time and make a profound impact on their community,” said Brandon Vetter, campus pastor. “The food drive is about giving back to Mitchell, as well as introducing new DWU students to the university’s motto of ‘Sacrifice or Service.’ We believe in practicing what we preach.”

Some of the items most needed by the Salvation Army Food Pantry are: beef stew, canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, Hamburger Helper, Tuna Helper, canned tuna, beans of any kind, macaroni and cheese, ravioli, saltine crackers, soup, peanut butter, noodles, boxed potatoes, snack items (cookies, Jell-O, cupcakes, cheese and crackers) and cereal.

According to the Salvation Army’s statistics, 2,622 bags of food were distributed in the months of May through July in 2012 and the need has increased to 4,351 bags during the same summer months this year.

“The food pantry’s needs have never really gone down for quite some time, really since the recession,” said Major Linda Jones, of the Salvation Army. “When I first came here seven years ago, we were only servicing 300 people from the pantry, now we serve 600-900. The main reason, I think, that we’re not seeing a drop is that people don’t have full time jobs; they’re trying to do two jobs to make ends meet. A lot of people who come in for assistance are working but they aren’t working full time.”

The food pantry is about a quarter full and the DWU food drive will fill its shelves for the back-to-school months. The Boy Scouts’ fundraiser in October will also be a great help, Jones said. The food pantry has received donations this summer of fresh vegetables and has distributed them as the donations arrived, and Jones said they are grateful for any fresh vegetables people choose to donate.

The food pantry is open from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday-Friday, for donations and donations may be dropped off from 3 to 6 p.m. at the thrift store.

DWU is a private, liberal arts university associated with the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church.  For more information about Dakota Wesleyan University and other service learning projects, go to


Dakota Wesleyan University’s Weins’s work cited in Wisconsin Supreme Court case

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

After being referenced by the Harvard Law Review last year, Jesse Weins’s article on Supreme Court decision-making was recently cited by the Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  It was also cited in 2010 by a federal court in the National Day of Prayer case.

The Wisconsin case, State v. Deadwiller, reviewed the parameters of submitting report evidence in a rape case, which concerns the constitutional right to cross-examine witnesses being called against the defendant.

“In 2012, in Williams v. Illinois, the U.S. Supreme Court had to decide whether in rape cases the state must produce the actual forensic report writer, or just any forensic expert that could describe the report submitted by the prosecution. It held that any forensic expert will do, and this doesn't violate the defendant's rights even though the defendant cannot cross-examine the person who wrote the report,” he said.

The Harvard Law Review, in its annual review of each year’s Supreme Court cases, cited Weins’s article in a footnote, since the Supreme Court in Williams was not a clear majority and the issue of its precedent came up.

Meanwhile, the state of Wisconsin was holding off in cases on this issue until the Supreme Court’s Williams decision, so that they would know how to rule on the constitutional issue.  State courts apply Supreme Court precedent to their own cases on this issue, since defendants’ rights during trials are often matters of federal constitutional law.

“The Wisconsin Supreme Court, therefore, ruled on that issue in its own state case this July.  It followed the Supreme Court’s rule in Williams, that any forensic expert will suffice,” Weins said. “But because the Williams Supreme Court decision was fraught with different views among the Court, the Wisconsin Supreme Court likewise was trying to determine a precedent from the Williams case to apply in its own.”

The Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court cited Weins’s article for background on that question.

Dakota Wesleyan University was named to the 2013 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. This designation is the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.
Dakota Wesleyan University is proudly affiliated with the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church. Members of any and all faiths are welcome and encouraged to experience an education based on learning, leadership, faith and service.
Dakota Wesleyan University has been honored as a College of Distinction through demonstration of excellence in these areas: engaged students, great teaching, vibrant communities and successful outcomes.
Dakota Wesleyan University
1200 W. University Ave
Mitchell, SD 57301
© 2015 Dakota Wesleyan University

South Dakota Website Design and Development