Thursday, January 16, 2014
By Cat Caracci ’14
Hannah Storm Journalism Intern
Notre Dame alumni association e-newsletter
A trip to India sparked a career for Amy Novak ’93.
Through a Saint Mary’s College program there while a Notre Dame undergraduate, Novak had the opportunity to study the role of women in the developing world and how to empower them to be successful.
“I came back from India compelled to find a career in which I could be part of a larger change and instrumental in helping people improve their livelihoods,” Novak said.
Since graduation, Novak has worked with mentally ill women, immigrants, and in corporate America. Now, as president of Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, South Dakota, Novak still sees her job as one that improves the lives and futures of others.
“One of the joys of working at Dakota Wesleyan is that we serve a lot of first-generation, low-income students. Every day, I encounter students who didn’t think higher education was possible and are now going on to graduate, get jobs, and increase the overall economic mobility of themselves and of their families,” Novak said. “It’s a real privilege to be part of that process.”
I had the chance to talk recently with Novak about her new job—she was officially sworn in on Sept. 27—and her hopes for the future.
What does a typical day look like for you?
It’s different every day, and I appreciate the diversity. My responsibilities are split across four major areas.
I’m involved in the strategic direction of the university, so I spend time exploring our vision and how we’re executing on that vision. I’m also involved in community relations—looking at the role of the small private university in rural America and asking, “How can Dakota Wesleyan better support the economic development of our region?”
Fundraising for the university is another area. I spend quite a bit of time meeting with alumni and donors and friends of the university, getting to know them and learn how Dakota Wesleyan changed their lives.
The fourth area is my commitment to staying connected with our students, whether it’s meeting them for lunch, sitting in on Student Senate meetings, or gathering a small group of scholars to talk about how we might improve the university. For me, that is a pivotal part of my job—it is something I’m committed to and I’m able to be committed to at a small private institution.
How did Notre Dame prepare you for this position?
Notre Dame helped me develop strong communication skills and provided me with the ability to solve problems, innovate, research, and analyze. I’m a passionate advocate of the liberal arts, and those were skills I honed in philosophy, theology, and history classes. They were at the heart of my education and I certainly see their value in what I do today.
What are some of your goals for Dakota Wesleyan University?
We are working toward growing our enrollment. We are also striving to identify how we live out our faith commitment. We’re an institution of the United Methodist Church, but open to people of all denominations, so we want to develop our curriculum in a way that helps students appreciate their faith. We hope that Dakota Wesleyan students leave with a better sense of their spiritual selves and how that calls them to look at ways to live more justly and act with greater levels of compassion and mercy in the world. Finally, we have some projects related to capital infrastructure on our campus and we are seeking ways to strengthen our overall endowment so we can continue to support our mission of educating low-income, first-generation students.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I happen to be the mom of eight children. There’s a lot of discussion in our world today about balancing career and life, particularly for women, and I just think that there are new models of doing that. One of my greatest experiences, as I look back at Notre Dame, was that I learned to value family, and I learned how to balance my time.
Friday, January 10, 2014
Two Dakota Wesleyan professors have collaborated on the “Bill of Rights” for a reference book which is now available.
“The Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice,” published by Wiley-Blackwell, is now available through Wiley and Wal-Mart online.
Dr. Jesse Weins, assistant professor of criminal justice and dean of the College of Leadership and Public Service, and Dr. Sean Flynn, history professor, co-authored a 5,000-word entry for the reference work on the Bill of Rights, its origins and the legal descriptions of each of the first 10 amendments of the Constitution of the United States.
“The Bill of Rights remains an intricate part of American democracy, both as historical foundation and as contemporary legal instrument,” Weins said. “It was a treat to work with an established historian like Dr. Flynn.”
The encyclopedia, edited by Jay S. Albanese, is available online here and here.
Friday, January 10, 2014
Amanda Hart wraps up her fourth and final season with the Dakota Wesleyan University women’s basketball team this spring, and she and her teammates have their sights set on a trip to the NAIA National Tournament in Sioux City, Iowa.
While basketball is wrapping up, the future is wide open career-wise for Hart, and she’s using her last few months of college to gain some real-world experience.
Hart, a DWU senior, is double-majoring in sports management and English, with a journalism emphasis. She started an internship with the Great Plains Athletic Conference and commissioner Corey Westra Monday, Jan. 6, and will continue to work with the league throughout the spring semester.
Hart, an Alexandria native, will work remotely from Mitchell to help Westra with the day-to-day operations of the conference. She will help write press releases for the league’s players of the week; update the GPAC website; load and update video from games in HUDL, the league’s basketball sharing system and assist with social media, including Twitter and Facebook. She will also assist with special projects and potentially help with new programming for special events and conference handbooks.
Westra said he is looking forward to working with Hart, who has already served as a virtual intern for the NAIA, and attended the NAIA National Convention in 2012.
Hart plans to graduate in May after four years at Dakota Wesleyan She has played on the basketball team all four seasons, and currently ranks eighth in the NAIA in total 3-pointers made (51). She also leads team in scoring at 11.9 points per game.
Friday, January 10, 2014
I am happy to introduce Dakota Wesleyan University’s new blog: “Online Degrees @ DWU.”
Here we will:
- Share news and information about our new online programs;
- Introduce you to our online faculty;
- Share our student stories and their online learning experiences;
- Answer your questions about our online programs; and
- Address your concerns and help ease any anxiety you might have about online learning—or returning to school.
At DWU, we are excited about this online endeavor, which grew out of the accreditation process. When DWU was challenged to choose one new venture to deliver education in a different way, we knew offering online degrees was the route we wanted to go. We listened to the needs of our community and alumni in choosing to offer two fully online degree programs: The Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) and the RN-Bachelor of Science nursing degree (RN-B.S.)
Through these programs, busy adults can earn their degrees while juggling families and careers so that they can take on leadership roles with their current employer—or move on to new career opportunities. They will build on their previous education—and will even earn credit for their work experience.
It has taken a tremendous team effort at DWU to bring these online degree offerings to fruition. In true DWU fashion, the team demonstrated how truly dedicated it is to enriching the student experience and making this transition as smooth as possible for students.
We are excited—about these new online degrees and about this blog. Through “Online Degrees @ DWU,” we want to engage in a conversation with you. If you have any questions or comments or just want to know what is going on at DWU in general, we invite you to share a comment.
If you are interested in our M.B.A. in Strategic Leadership, I invite you to register for one of our 30-minute M.B.A. Info Webinars. If you are interested in our RN-B.S., please contact us to request more information.
By Dr. Derek Driedger
Associate Dean of Digital Learning
at Dakota Wesleyan University
Categories: Blog: Online Degrees @ DWU,
Thursday, January 9, 2014
By David Rookhuyzen
It’s one strand in web of possible discoveries.
While discovering a new species of spider in Pierre’s backyard is exciting in its own right, what that discovery means about potentially unknown animals is even more so.
Theridion pierre is the official name of a diminutive spider discovered by Brian Patrick, an arachnologist from Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell. He found it on the Fort Pierre National Grassland.
The millimeter-long arachnid was found by Patrick and several interns during two summers of research in 2011 and 2012. They used a variety of traps set out in different parts of the grassland.
Once he suspected that he was dealing with a new species, Patrick sent his findings to Harvard University arachnologist Herbert Levi for verification. Levi, a world expert on the Theridion family of spiders, confirmed the find and named the species for the grassland.
Their findings, along with another new species discovered in Utah, were published by Levi and Patrick in the Journal of Arachnology last fall.
While interesting, Patrick said finding a new species isn’t as uncommon as people think. New mammal and bird species are rare because their size makes it difficult to remain hidden. But spiders such as T. pierre are so small that, despite their abundance, they are easily overlooked. And scientists such as Patrick are discovering them left and right.
According to the World Spider Catalogue, maintained by Norman Platnick of the American Museum of Natural History, there are 44,540 species of spider in the world as of last week. There were only 36,000 species announced when Patrick started his work in the mid-2000s.
Patrick, who receives semiannual updates about that count, said Platnick noted this is the first time that more than 500 species have been announced in a six-month span.
The discovery of new beetle species might take place even faster, Patrick said.
That sounds like a lot, but experts believe only 10 percent of spider species, and indeed all animals on Earth in general, have been documented by humans so far, he said.
In short, that means there is more work to be done in South Dakota. Patrick is still sorting through all his finds from the grasslands, and said there is the possibility for up to five more new species that could be identified once all the research is done.
But that’s not all he found out there. Also caught in his traps were species whose find in South Dakota is the farthest west, east or north they’ve ever been documented.
Of course, that’s mainly because there has been little work done on the sparsely populated northern Great Plains, Patrick said. There is the real possibility that he is the only arachnologist working in the state, and for good reason.
“It’s not very sexy to work in South Dakota,” he said.
The big grants are usually given to study new species in places such as the rainforests of Borneo, where people expect to find hordes of new species. Patrick meanwhile is operating with several small grants – one from the state Department of Game, Fish and Parks is actually called the “Small Grant” – that covered his equipment expenses and payed an undergraduate researcher.
“I’m poor; I have to work in my backyard. Turns out my backyard is pretty fertile,” he said.
Another common misconception about the prairie is that it’s a two-dimensional environment, unlike rivers or forests where completely different creatures can live at different depths and heights. Patrick said in talking with colleagues he’s always found the prairie is comparatively rich in species.
“I always have more diversity in my grasslands than they do in their forests,” he said.
Patrick plans to finish recording his work from the grassland and turn his attention to other areas of the state. He’s interested in heading to the northeast part of South Dakota with its diverse ecosystem of wetlands, prairie and tree belts to see what spiders can be found there.
Thursday, January 9, 2014
The Weekend Snack Pack Program, in conjunction with Dakota Wesleyan University, is asking sports fans to Snack Pack the Palace at next Wednesday’s Tiger basketball game.
DWU’s Enactus club is organizing an awareness event for the Weekend Snack Pack Program during the DWU vs. Mount Marty game Jan. 15 at the Corn Palace. A portion of the gate admission, as well as the proceeds of a 50/50 raffle, will go toward the Weekend Snack Pack program, and monetary and food donations are welcome at the donation booth in the Palace. The women’s game begins at 6 p.m. and the men’s at 8 p.m.
This is also a White-Out event – the crowd is encouraged to don white and/or DWU gear – and the men’s game will be a “Silent Night” game. A “Silent Night” is when the crowd is asked to be completely silent until DWU scores its 10th point, then the crowd goes wild.
“This will be a fun night for Tigers fans and also a great way to raise support for the Snack Pack program,” said Brent Matter, DWU junior who is in charge of the event. “The Weekend Snack Pack program is a local nonprofit doing great things in Mitchell.”
Matter helped organize free space for the program in Hughes Hall on DWU’s campus. Also, this summer, a benefactor who wishes to remain anonymous, donated an SUV to the program, which will be on display outside of the Corn Palace on Wednesday night.
The Weekend Snack Pack Program provides one bag of easy-to-prepare meals for local elementary students. Foods given include things like ravioli or macaroni and cheese, with a snack and either a fruit or a vegetable. The program was created to help children who primarily stay home alone on the weekends, have something nutritious and easy to make.
The Weekend Snack Pack Program was begun by Cindy Novachich in 2010 and currently delivers about 350 weekly packs to four local elementary schools: L.B. Williams, Longfellow, Gertie Belle Rogers and John Paul II.
If interested in donating toward the Weekend Snack Pack Program or volunteering to pack meals, please contact Novachich at email@example.com or call 605-770-5832. Individuals may stop by during packing times to lend a hand, or service organizations can sign up as a group. Also, there are bins located outside of Hughes Hall for food donations to be dropped off.
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Dakota Wesleyan University has recently been selected as a featured university on Values.com – a website and nationwide campaign to promote values that make a difference.
Values.com is produced by the Foundation for a Better Life and the messages appear on television, movie theatres, billboards, radio and the Internet. Dakota Wesleyan has three students featured online alongside students from Marquette University, Colorado State University, the University of Nebraska, University of Texas, University of Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Emporia State, Pepperdine University and Emporia State.
“You may be familiar with the billboards and ads that have the red rectangular logo for the Foundation for a Better Life and topics like inspiration, respect, optimism – this site is a new initiative for that organization,” said Lori Essig, vice president for university relations at DWU. “Values.com recently reached out to us because they were establishing a page devoted to values on college campuses and had heard about some of the things we have been doing.”
The three students’ profiles featured include: Andrew DeVaney, junior, of Sioux Falls, and the nonprofit organization Win/Give that he created with a friend, which includes donating school supplies to needy children in other countries; also Ana Morel, junior, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, who has taken part in, as well as organized and acted as translator for several mission trips for the university; and Brent Matter, junior, Cavour, who mediated a partnership between the university and a local nonprofit, the Weekend Snack Pack Program, to help secure office space on campus as well as working with campus organizations to secure the nonprofit other amenities like donation boxes, volunteers, marketing and a vehicle.
These profiles are featured on the website, www.values.com/values-on-campus.
Friday, December 20, 2013
Dakota Wesleyan’s Carena Jarding, assistant professor of nursing, received the South Dakota District 7 Nurse of the Year Award at the South Dakota Nurse Association State Convention in Aberdeen.
She has demonstrated a sincere desire to create a learning environment and served in a mentor role for nurses, especially those new to the profession,” stated her nomination.
Jarding serves as a faculty member in the RN program at DWU. She is also an active member in District 7 as an event planner and served as the site coordinator for the first ever Certified Nursing Assistant Institute held at Dakota Wesleyan University in July of this year. She also served as an instructor and a course coordinator for the 10-day event. Ten high school women attended the training days, and all successfully completed the course.
Jarding serves as a mentor to nursing students through the work of their Student Nurse Association. She encourages the students’ participation in charitable events such as a food drive, assistance with the Mitchell Snack Pack Program and volunteering at the annual Community Health Fair held in Mitchell. At the health fair, the students are actively involved in screenings and assisting medical professionals throughout the full day event.
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Dakota Wesleyan University offices will be closed Monday, Dec. 23, and will reopen at 8 a.m., Monday, Dec. 30, for Christmas break. Classes will end Wednesday, Dec.18, and resume at 8 a.m., Monday, Jan. 6.
DWU will also be closed on New Year’s Day, Jan. 1, 2014.
Java City, within the McGovern Library, will be closed Dec. 19 through Jan. 6.
The McGovern Library will be closed Dec. 21 through Dec. 29, reopen on Dec. 30-31, close on New Year’s Day, Jan. 1, and reopen Jan. 2 at regular hours. To check library hours at any time, please visit www.dwu.edu/library/.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
MITCHELL, S.D. – Earlier this fall, Dakota Wesleyan University football coach Ross Cimpl was honored by the Great Plains Athletic Conference as the league’s coach of the year after guiding the Tigers to one of the top three seasons in school history.
Cimpl earned the second coaching honor of his career Tuesday when it was announced that the second-year head coach was named the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) NAIA Region 4 Coach-of-the-Year. Cimpl, a Wagner, S.D., native, is one of five head coaches from around the NAIA to earn the honor. He is joined by Lindsey Wilson’s Chris Oliver, Grand View’s Mike Woodley, Benedictine’s Larry Wilcox and Carroll’s Mike Van Diest.
Other coaches honored include the University of Minnesota’s Jerry Kill in the Football Bowl Subdivision category, as well as North Dakota State University’s Craig Bohl in the Football Championship Subdivision category.
Cimpl’s honor marks the first time in DWU football history a Tiger coach has been recognized by the AFCA. The honor comes on the heels of one of the best seasons in Tiger football history. Cimpl, who is 14-7 in his first two seasons at the helm at Dakota Wesleyan, guided the 2013 squad to an 8-3 overall record. This marked just the third time in school history the football team has won eight or more games in a season. The last time was in 1992 when the team went 10-1, and the only other time was in 1976.
Cimpl, who served as DWU’s defensive coordinator before taking over as head coach in January 2012, coached five GPAC players-of-the-week in 2013. He helped the team set school records for points (329) and total offense (4,547) in a season, and he also watched as one individual game, season and career record fell this season. Francois Barnaud set the school record for rushing in a season (1,893) and Anthony Muilenburg set the record for receiving yards in a game (251) and receptions in a career (225).
The Tigers won seven of their last eight games, with their only loss coming to top-ranked Morningside, and finished the year ranked 20th in the NAIA. Fourteen DWU athletes earned All-GPAC honors at 15 different positions, and sophomore linebacker Brady Bonte was one of eight underclassmen nominated for a national defensive player-of-the-year award. DWU’s signature win this season was an upset of 20th-ranked Doane College in Crete, Neb.
Cimpl and the other regional winners will be recognized at the AFCA Coach of the Year Dinner at the 2014 AFCA Convention Tuesday, Jan. 14, in Indianapolis, Ind. He, along with the other four NAIA regional winners, are now up for the AFCA Coach of the Year honor, which will be announced that night.
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