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Local Forty and Eight awards scholarship to DWU nursing student

Friday, March 28, 2014

The local chapter of the Forty and Eight awarded the Nursing Training Scholarship to DWU nursing student Briana Jung Wednesday evening at the Mitchell American Legion.

Hugh Holmes, Chef de Gare (local commander) of Voiture 481 (local chapter), awarded the $500 scholarship to Jung, a junior nursing student at DWU from Warner, accepted the scholarship.

The Forty and Eight, also known as La Societe des Quarante Hommes at Huit Chevaux, is an independent, by invitation, honor organization of U.S. veterans, first established in 1920 by 16 members of the American Legion Post 297 in Philadelphia. The Forty and Eight first began giving nursing scholarships in 1941 and established the national Nurses Training Program in 1955. Since the program’s inception, there have been nearly 50,000 nursing students assisted and more than $30 million given. Each locale – or chapter – establishes the amount and guidelines for recipients.


DWU announces plans to break ground on new health, wellness center in fall

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Dakota Wesleyan University president Amy Novak announced today that the university has raised $10 million toward a new health and wellness center and renovation of an existing athletic facility.  The university will break ground this fall.

Novak, accompanied by board of trustees members, made the announcement to campus today within the recently renamed Christen Family Athletic Center. The total $15 million project will include a new health and wellness center, renovations to the Christen Family Athletic Center and an operating endowment.

The new health and wellness center will be located on the south side of Norway Avenue, just across from the current practice fields. The first step toward this project will be a 90,000-square-foot facility on two levels, including: a 200-meter running and walking indoor track, three indoor multipurpose sport courts, locker rooms, 7,000 square feet of wellness space dedicated to cardiovascular equipment, weights and fitness training, a wrestling room, classroom space for seminars and leadership training, and strength and conditioning training space.

The second phase will include renovations to the existing Christen Family Athletic Center to upgrade heating and cooling units, expand the athletic weight room, expand the athletic training space, office space for coaches and athletic trainers, and a remodel of the large locker room spaces. Final plans for both facilities are expected within the next few months.

“Our students need and deserve a facility in which they can pursue their athletic aspirations as well as personal wellness,” said Novak.  “Our student athletes are severely limited in their practice space. Further, our general campus population rarely has an opportunity to exercise or work out as the university’s growth has nearly doubled the number of athletes on campus over the past two decades, rendering our current athletic center largely unavailable.  Our students need this facility, our university community needs this facility, and this long, cold winter has verified that our Mitchell community also needs this facility. We will be excited to offer the use of this facility to members of the Mitchell community.  We also see this facility as a place where we can hold youth camps and tournaments that support the economic vitality of this community, especially during the winter months ”

It was the completion of the university’s new $11.5 million Glenda K. Corrigan Health Sciences Center this fall that triggered the momentum needed for the university board of trustees and DWU leadership team to embark on its most ambitious campaign to date. “A Greater Wesleyan” will see the campus transformed – not just structurally, but through new, innovative programs that will keep the university at the forefront of education and producing future employees for the region.

DWU produces nearly 70 percent of the nursing graduates employed in the local healthcare industry, nearly 40 percent of the area teachers, and also countless business, criminal justice, human service professionals, ministers, musicians, and writers, “who as graduates of the DWU community now call the Mitchell region home,” Novak said.

“The interest and support for this project has been tremendous, but I must give credit where credit is due,” Novak said. “At the board of trustees meeting last fall, our board endorsed this project with their votes and shortly thereafter, with their financial commitments. With this strong start, many generous donors became enthused about this project and by February, we knew this facility was going become a reality sooner rather than later. We are truly humbled and blessed by significant gifts that were pledged to this project.”


DWU’s Enactus Chapter heads to 2014 Enactus United States National Exposition

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Students from the Dakota Wesleyan University Enactus team are preparing for the Enactus United States National Exposition in Cincinnati, Ohio, in April.

Enactus is an international nonprofit that engages more than 66,000 students to empower people through entrepreneurial action. Each year, these students compete to represent their country in a global competition called the Enactus World Cup.

Enactus teams from more than 200 colleges and universities across the United States will present their community outreach projects April 1-3 to a judging panel of esteemed business leaders, demonstrating how they are transforming lives and enabling progress in their communities. This year, the Dakota Wesleyan University Enactus team developed projects that impacted thousands of members of the Mitchell and Dakota Wesleyan Community, including creating a sustainable recycling image on campus and expanding the Mitchell Weekend Snack Pack program.

“Our primary focus this year was to expand our current Go Green recycling project and further develop the Weekend Snack Pack program, which has grown tremendously since its move to our campus,” said Micaela Erickson, DWU Enactus team president. “We have had a great response from the community and the school in regards to these projects and the work our team has done, so we are excited to present at the national competition.”

Click here to learn more about Enactus at DWU.


Dakota Wesleyan University partners with PAST Foundation to offer STEM instruction

Friday, March 21, 2014

For the first time, teachers can acquire an applied Master of Arts in Education degree in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) instruction – and the first cohort of students begin this June at Dakota Wesleyan University.

STEM instruction is a 39-credit program which focuses on the practice of using Transdisciplinary Problem-Based Learning (TPBL) as an instructional strategy coupled with community-relevant strategies. The STEM instruction program is designed for educators who already hold state teaching certification and can be useful to educators outside of the sciences, as well as within.

“The South Dakota Department of Education and the state legislature strongly encouraged the integration of STEM into all facets of the K-12 educational experience,” said Derek Driedger, the associate dean of digital learning at DWU.

A partnership with the PAST Foundation of Ohio to deliver an online M.A. with STEM instruction positions the university as the primary provider of this training in the state and region.

This program at DWU was developed as an educational partnership between the PAST Foundation and Dakota Wesleyan University.  The PAST Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to making education better by promoting transdisciplinary, problem-based science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning.

“Several years ago, Dakota Wesleyan University committed itself to being the leader in science education in the region; when we were able to secure the funding to build the $11.5 million Corrigan Health Sciences Center, we took our first step toward that goal,” said Dr. Rocky VonEye, DWU provost and former dean of the Donna Starr Christen College of Healthcare, Fitness and Sciences. “Partnering with the PAST Foundation to create STEM instruction at DWU is another step in that commitment and confirms that the university isn’t afraid to take innovative measures to be a leader in education.”

Through this partnership, K-12 teachers will explore contemporary instructional practice as related to STEM disciplines. The lead faculty members for this online program are from the PAST Foundation, who are also members of The Ohio State University Department of Anthropology.

“DWU Online programs provide relevant, applied, anytime learning to support the personal and professional goals of the adult learner,” Driedger added. “The STEM instruction program will equip existing teachers with the mindset and tangible skills necessary to apply new methods of instruction and excite students with hands-on learning; it’s designed to help educators become leaders in their schools and in their school districts.

Combined with existing DWU courses, graduate students will emerge from this master’s program with strong practical experience and a well-grounded understanding of how to successfully implement TPBL, how to clearly demonstrate the practice, and what to share as evidence of effectiveness.

All courses have a strong online component, but can be connected to and/or affiliated with school professional development for both in-service and pre-service teachers. STEM instruction will open for the inaugural cohort this June. 


DWU welcomes Bob Goff for Mitchell Area Youth Night

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Bob Goff is a New York Times best-selling author, human rights activist and inspirational speaker – and he will be on the Dakota Wesleyan University campus this spring.

Goff, the author of “Love Does,” will be the featured speaker for the Mitchell Area Youth Night, as well as the Conference for Leadership, Innovation and Social Change.

The Mitchell Area Youth night will be held at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 9, in the Sherman Center. The conference will begin at 8:30 a.m., Thursday, in the Sherman Center. Both events are free and open to the public; however, the youth night is targeted toward youth and student ministries grades sixth through 12th-grade and their leaders from the surrounding areas, as well as college students.

Campus pastor Brandon Vetter anticipates Goff’s presentation will not disappoint audiences.

“He is a man passionate about life and God. He is an infectious presenter who will challenge everyone present to live full lives in God no matter where they are,” said Vetter, who has heard Goff speak before.

“Youth night is an awesome time for folks to get together across various denominational lines and simply worship in song and hear a great presenter or band,” Vetter said. DWU is in a unique place to offer neutral ground as a university to bring churches together that might not have any other reason to do so otherwise. DWU has played an awesome role over the last few years bringing quality Christian speakers challenging everyone to a deeper faith.”

Goff also founded Restore International, a nonprofit human rights organization in Uganda and India which works to pursue justice for the needy, including a case in Uganda where Restore International brought to trial more than 200 cases, some involving children who were jailed without trial, according to his website.

For more information about the event and presenter, contact Vetter at brvetter@dwu.edu. For more information about the Conference for Leadership, Innovation and Social Change, click here.


DWU to host South Central South Dakota Regional Science and Engineering Fair

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Dakota Wesleyan University will host the 22nd annual South Central South Dakota Regional Science and Engineering Fair on Tuesday, March 25, in the Christen Family Athletic Center.

The competition includes students in grades six through 12, from 30 schools in 18 South Dakota counties.  Projects will be on display for viewing by the public from 2 to 5 p.m.

Students participating in this regional event will bring projects that have already won in science fairs at local schools.  This year’s fair includes 180 projects produced by 299 students from the following areas: Andes Central, Armour, Avon, Corsica, Dakota Christian, Lakeview (Neb.), Littleburg, Marty Indian School, Mitchell, Mount Vernon, Plankinton, Spring Creek, Stickney, Wagner, Wessington Springs and White Lake.

At last year’s International Science and Engineering fair held in Phoenix, Ariz., Justin Krell, from Plankinton, presented his “Motor Vehicle Concussion Force Impact Detection System.”  Chesney Nagel and Ariana Oorlog, both from Avon, showed a way to extract maximal liquid from a variety of hand-pumped bottles.  A group project from Brant Blaha and Jacob Reeves, also from Avon, came with a geothermal unit that could be used in conjunction with a common clothes dryer.

“While these efforts were ingenious, we believe that the projects at this year’s fair will be even more so,” said Dr. Michael Farney, math professor at DWU and the regional science fair director. “Look for a new type of automobile fuel called hydroxyl, a floating magnet at -320 degrees Fahrenheit, a project that sends high voltages through clouds, growing antlers, a promising start in cloning cancer cells, and a method to keep track of cattle by telemetry. While we are currently encouraging interesting projects, we also want projects that collect lots and lots of data so that there can be little doubt as to the worth of the findings. If our fair runs true to form, you’ll see well-written science fair boards that are well-organized and have enthusiastic researchers standing before them. Come and see the best science that our young South Dakotans have to offer.”

More than 77 judges will select the winners, including three projects that will advance to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair May 11-16 in Los Angeles. One project will advance to I-SWEEP April 30-May 5 in Houston, Texas, and another project will compete June 15-20 in Oswego, N.Y., at the GENIUS Olympiad.

Awards to be given to participating students include cash, certificates, plaques, medals, trophies, major industry recognition, and recognition by a variety of military branches. There will also be DWU scholarships awarded, including $10,000 to the senior grand award winners.

In addition to DWU, sponsors include The Daily Republic, Your Touchtone Energy Cooperatives, Sixth District Medical Society, Twin City Fan Companies, LTD., Corey and Lisa Thelen, Davison County Implement, and Logan Luxury Theatres.


Developing DWU’s Distinctive M.B.A. Program

Monday, March 17, 2014

Dakota Wesleyan University's Dr. Marty BohrerWhen Dakota Wesleyan University set out to establish an M.B.A. degree program, we wanted to create a distinctive program driven by the wants and needs of students. We wanted to adapt to them, not the other way around.

In creating our M.B.A. in Strategic Leadership, we did just that—and the program development continues. Since launching our M.B.A. program six months ago, we have continued to listen to our students and to make changes to our program accordingly.

We continually ask our students for input—and then we listen. After each eight-week session, faculty survey students. They then tweak class formats, coursework and curriculum based on that feedback. We also alert upcoming instructors of a particular cohort’s needs or patterns.

By working together, DWU faculty, administrators and students have created a nimble and relevant M.B.A. The program especially focuses on:

  • Future preparation—We develop strategic thinkers and problem solvers who can lead, whether they are running their own business or are at the helm of a small- to mid-sized company right here in the Midwest or across the country
  • The real world—Our professors do not just preach business theory—they have lived it and bring that experience to the classroom
  • Connections—Our faculty are well connected and they use those connections—here in South Dakota and beyond—to help our students gain real-world experiences that can lead to rewarding careers
  • Entrepreneurship—We give our students the tools, skills and knowledge they need to be entrepreneurial thinkers who are capable, confident and creative enough to develop, launch and grow their own businesses
  • Faith—We bring the Bible into discussions about today’s business world, especially when it comes to talking about ethical decision-making

If you are looking for a distinctive M.B.A. program to prepare you for your business future, I invite you to directly email Dr. Monty Bohrer, the director of our business graduate program. Or fill out a short form to request more information.

Dr. Derek Driedger
Associate Dean of Digital Learning 
at Dakota Wesleyan University

CategoriesBlog: Online Degrees @ DWU,

DWU students lead Care Drive for Mitchell Area Safehouse

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Students in the Leadership and Public Service course at Dakota Wesleyan University are leading a Care Drive for the Mitchell Area Safehouse.

Personal care items are being collected March 1-31 and will be donated to the safehouse. Items in need include: toilet paper, toothbrushes, combs, shampoo, soup, etc. Drop-off boxes are located at Walgreens, K-mart and in the McGovern Library on DWU’s campus.

The students are also leading a 50/50 raffle for the safehouse. Tickets are $1 per ticket, or six for $5 and a winner will be drawn on March 31. Tickets may be purchased through the Mitchell Area Safehouse or through student Lori Goldammer, Mitchell, 605-630-8931 or  lori.goldammer.11@dwu.edu.

The following students are also members of the Mitchell Area Safehouse Care Drive: Paige TeGantvoort, Brandt; Cheyenne Durant, Platte; and Jess Muller, Platte.


Presidential Scholarship Day award recipients announced

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Dakota Wesleyan University invited high school seniors to campus Feb. 21 for its annual Presidential Scholarship Day.


Twenty-two students with outstanding academic records, leadership potential and a commitment to service were invited to campus Feb. 21 to meet with faculty, staff and students, learn about the Learn Strong initiative and further investigate the opportunities DWU has to offer them academically and cocurricularly. The students were all recognized as Presidential Scholars during a luncheon in their honor.


To apply, students must have a minimum of a 3.0 GPA, 21 ACT or 980 SAT. Scholarships ranged in the amount of $10,750 to $13,000 per year.


The following students received scholarships beginning in fall 2014:



Little Rock – Madeline DeBeer, Presidential Scholarship



Glencoe – Cole Petersen, Presidential Academic/Athletic Scholarship



Crofton – Hali Strom, Bishop Leadership Award

Juniata – Jeremiah Panec, Presidential Academic/Athletic Scholarship


South Dakota

Aberdeen – Cameron Huff, Tiger Academic/Athletic Award

Beresford – Devin Erlandson, Presidential Scholarship

Burke – Shailhyn Schweigert, Presidential Scholarship

Carthage – Marlee Hattervig, Presidential Scholarship

Ethan – Anna Mueller, Presidential Academic/Athletic Scholarship

Faith – Shanna Selby, Presidential Academic/Athletic Scholarship

Geddes – Rachael Kriz, Presidential Scholarship

Huron – Kelsey Henson, Presidential Award; Nancy Lund-Harmdierks, Presidential Scholarship

Lake Andes – DiMera Dvorak, Presidential Scholarship

Mitchell – Tyson Allen, Presidential Academic/Athletic Scholarship; Ryker Kreutzfeldt, Presidential Academic/Athletic Scholarship; Timothy Parks, Presidential Scholarship

Rapid City – Paige Hendricks, Presidential Scholarship

Sioux Falls – John Dosch, Presidential Academic/Athletic Scholarship

Tyndall – Scott Van Winkle, Presidential Academic/Athletic Scholarship

Wessington Springs – Samantha Moody, Presidential Award



Cedar Park – Nick Stevenson, Presidential Academic/Athletic Scholarship


Challenges of Online Learning: A Student’s Perspective

Monday, March 3, 2014

They say life is what happens when you are busy making plans.

In Fredel Thomas’ case, life is precisely what happened because she was happy with her current plan.

“I was perfectly happy where I was in my career,” says Thomas, executive director of the Kelley Center for Entrepreneurship at Dakota Wesleyan University (DWU).

She did not seek out promotions at CHR Solutions -- the telecommunications company where she worked for a decade first as an intern, then programmer, sales and quality assurance and finally as the director of project management -- but they were presented anyway.

“It was not something I ever looked to leave,” says Thomas, who applied for an adjunct position at DWU, but ended up joining the university’s entrepreneurial center as a resource for the community and full-time faculty member.

As the Executive Director of the Kelley Center for Entrepreneurship at Dakota Wesleyan University (DWU) Fredel Thomas is back in the classroom. She's also a full time student in the university's online M.B.A. program.“I didn’t even know a job like that existed,” she says. “When they started to talk to me about the job, everything kind of changed. I just thought ‘Oh my goodness, I can be passionate about my faith here,’ I get to go into the classroom. I get to tell them what it means to me.”

Just more than a year after joining the faculty at DWU, Fredel is back in the classroom in another way, too. This time it is a virtual one. She is a full-time student in DWU’s online strategic leadership M.B.A. program.

Getting her M.B.A. wasn’t part of the plan either.

Throughout her career she had watched co-workers and friends struggle to pursue their master’s degrees while juggling families and full-time jobs.

“I thought, I am so glad that I’m never going to do that,” she says.

"Two factors changed Thomas’ mind: DWU’s fully online courses and the option to complete the program in one year.

Fredel Thomas was drawn to Dakota Wesleyan University's online M.B.A. program because it incorporated into her already busy professional and family life.Because the courses are 100 percent online, she can complete assignments at night and on the weekends, with her kids coloring next to her at the kitchen table. There is no commute to classes or set time to log on and listen to live lectures.

“It is a huge benefit to be able to sit down and do my studies when it works best for my entire family,” she says.

And because she opted to go back to school full time, taking two classes each session, she’ll be done in one year.

Thomas says she debated going part-time, taking just one class each session. Knowing that she could scale back at any point helped her decide to jump in feet first.

“I was not sure when I started the program. I’m glad I went full time,” she says. “I can do this. The second eight weeks, I thought, ‘Oh dear, can I really do this?’ But I made it through. The one year really does keep me motivated.”

That’s not to say there haven’t been challenges. The first few weeks of each eight-week session have been rough.

“It is a lot of work and it is hard work,” she says. “I know the first two weeks of each course are going to be stressful while I’m trying to figure out the flow of the class and balance the workload. I sleep a little less. I read a lot.”

There have been other challenges, too, like relearning how to write for class assignments.

“I’ve done a lot of writing in my professional career. Academic and professional writing are different styles,” says Thomas.

Being part of a new program has its benefits as professors try new approaches to see what works the best.

Thomas, for example, has a professor this session who provides videos of recorded lectures. That approach has opened more of a dialog with students and allowed them to see their professor’s facial expressions and to hear him crack jokes.

“Dialog is a different thing,” she says. “There’s something that it adds.”

The relationships she’s developed with classmates have enhanced her experience as well. Not only are they learning together, they are learning from each other. With 13 years in business behind her, Thomas has more experience than recent graduates enrolled in the M.B.A., but that’s a good thing, she says.

Hearing from students in different industries and with different experience levels allows for a richer experience. 

“One woman is an entrepreneur three times over; another student sells fruit. Some work for slightly larger businesses,” she says. “It opens your eyes to other issues. I can learn from their industries and experiences.”

Fredel Thomas was drawn to Dakota Wesleyan University's online M.B.A. program because its courses focus on faith.She also appreciates that courses are designed for business professionals in small-to-medium companies with a focus on faith. 

“That was very important to me,” she says. “It would be hard for me to separate that. I have a huge appreciation that they bring that into the classroom.”  

Now, halfway to graduation, she’s glad she made the commitment to herself, her career and future.  

“Everyone is benefiting,” she says. “It comes into play every day of my life. We talk about a topic and all of a sudden in my board meeting, I can speak on that topic with more educated responses than the week before.” 

Sounds like a plan.

Want to learn more about Fredel Thomas' experience? Email her at frthomas@dwu.edu

CategoriesBlog: Online Degrees @ DWU,

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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.
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