Prairie Winds magazine holds writing contest, announces winners

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Prairie WindsPrairie Winds, a literary magazine at Dakota Wesleyan University, has recently released the winners of its youth writing contest.


The magazine editors and adviser began accepted submissions from area youth for the first time this year and have chosen four winners, whose work will be published in the magazine this spring.


High School Poetry

    ”Spaghetti and Tears,” by Jocelyn McCormick, student at Mitchell High School; Carli Ellwein, teacher 


High School Prose

    ”Hot Dog Cathedral,” by Ryan Solberg, student at MHS, Leslie Warnke, teacher


Middle School Poetry

    ”Memories,” by Cailey Scott, student at Mitchell Middle School; Karen Harrington, teacher


Middle School Prose

    ”One Moment,” by Bridget Thill, student at Mitchell Middle School; Karen Harrington, teacher


Online DWU Students Share Success Tips

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

When I talk to prospective students who want to pursue a fully online degree at Dakota Wesleyan University, they often ask, “How will I find time for my studies?”

It’s a great question.

Five current online DWU students share these secrets to their success:

1.    Color-code your calendar. Rebecca Jones puts her family’s events in red on her calendar so they stand out. Work-related events are in blue. Then she pens in time for her studies around her family and work schedules. For example, she may set aside time each day to read, or block out time for assignments on the weekend. On weeks with few family and work commitments, she takes advantage of the extra time to complete her readings and assignments so she can reward herself with a weekend off.

2.    Use your smartphone. Kathy Brand says organization is key to her success at DWU. To keep organized she enters her assignments into her iPhone calendar. She does most of her reading assignments during the week—after working 10- to 12-hour days. She uses Saturdays for her coursework, and then enjoys Sundays with her family.

3.    Set reasonable goals. Chelsey Loney, a full-time middle school teacher, prioritizes her tasks and sets reasonable goals every day. “When it gets to be too much, I tell myself the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time and just do the best I can,” she says.

4.    Exercise. To stay energized and focused, Chelsey also recommends exercising. She works out three or four times a week. She also takes breaks for supper, and she goes to bed at roughly the same time every night.

5.    Pace yourself. That’s the word from Amanda Hart. She suggests regularly checking the Virtual Campus throughout the week and tackling each assignment little by little. “It keeps you from being overwhelmed at the end of the week trying to do it all at once,” she says.

6.    Carve out time each day. James Hardwick is a husband, father of three, elected local official and CEO of a health delivery system. Each day he finds time in his schedule for his MBA studies. That might be before work, over the noon hour or in the evening—“essentially any time that works for me.”

I hope these tips help you to see that earning your degree is possible through DWU’s fully online degree programs. If you have questions, or would like more information, please email me.

Amber Turner

Online Admissions Counselor

CategoriesBlog: Online Degrees @ DWU, News,

A Winter Choral Showcase is set for this weekend

Monday, February 23, 2015

Dakota Wesleyan University will celebrate the season with A Winter Choral Showcase this weekend.


The Ron and Sheilah Gates Department of Music offers the free concert at 4 p.m., Sunday, March 1, at the Mitchell First United Methodist Church, featuring the Women’s Chamber Ensemble, Wesleyan Bells, Highlanders, The Singing Scotchmen, and the Dakota Wesleyan Choir. They will perform selections ranging from “The Longest Time,” to “Stairway to Heaven,” “We Will Rock You,” and the more traditional, “How Great Thou Art.”


The Dakota Wesleyan Choir will also perform at 4 p.m., April 19, at the Mitchell First United Methodist Church; the Spring Ring Concert is set for 7 p.m., April 26, at the church; and the Children’s Choir Concert will be at 7 p.m., May 2, at the church.


Highlanders, Wesleyan Bells to go on four-state tour

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Dakota Wesleyan University’s Highlanders and Wesleyan Bells will be on the move next month, celebrating music and dance during their annual tour.


The two groups will travel to Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin March 6-11.


“This is our most ambitious performance tour to date,” said Dr. Clinton Desmond, choral director. “With the Highlanders and Wesleyan Bells performing at such a high level, we are excited to spread the name of DWU Music to the Chicagoland area and beyond.”


The Highlanders’ concert, “In Praise of Music and Dance,” features 15 pieces meant to make audiences rejoice in song and dance, including an Irish folk song, Hungarian dancing song and two selections from “Shakespeare Songs Book III.”


The Wesleyan Bells’ concert, “Three Rings to Rule Them All,” features nine songs in three categories: A Joyful Ring, A Sacred Ring, and A Just Plain Fun Ring, which includes “Stairway to Heaven,” “An Irish Blessing,” and “Old MacDonald.”


The concert dates are as follows:


March 6 – First United Methodist Church, Sioux City, Iowa, 7:30 p.m.

March 7 – Grace United Methodist Church, Lake Bluff, Ill., 7 p.m.

March 8 – Grace United Methodist Church, Lake Bluff, Ill., 10 a.m.

March 8 – Dyer United Methodist Church, Dyer, Ind., 6 p.m.

March 9 – Lake Central High School, Saint John, Ind., time to be announced

March 10 – Portage High School, Portage, Ind., 8:30 a.m.

March 10 – Trinity Lutheran Church, Valparaiso, Ind., 7 p.m.

March 11 – First Congregational Church, Fort Atkinson, Wis., 7 p.m.


DWU’s Turner: ‘Yes, You Can Fit an Online Degree Into Your Life’

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

In my role as online admissions counselor at Dakota Wesleyan University, prospective students often ask me if they really can complete an online degree program while working and raising families.

Without hesitation, I tell them “yes.”

Our fully online degrees at DWU were designed specifically with working adults in mind. The online format, with courses available 24/7, allows students the flexibility to fit their studies into their life. They were created so adult learners could succeed.

Students can choose to be full-time students and complete their studies in 14 months or go part-time and finish in 26 months (though programs like our Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership will take longer). Some students start out full time and then scale back to part time—or start part time and switch to full time. Students appreciate having that option.

Prospective students also ask me how much time they should devote each week for their studies. This question has no correct answer. I tell students it depends on their motivation, their reading habits, research, and their desire to do well. With that said, on average, part-time students spend 10-12 hours per week while full-time students spend 20-22 hours.

I let them know that our students succeed because they’re willing to put in the time—whenever and wherever they can carve out that time. For some that’s over their lunch breaks at work, after dinner, while they wait for their child to finish dance class or Little League practice, or after their family has gone to bed.

Often, adults are at a point in their career where they need to finish their degree to move up. They may feel anxious or fearful or a lot of other emotions. I remind prospective student that they are not alone. Most of their classmates will be in similar situations. Even though these are online programs, community does happen. Our students navigate the online environment together. They share study tips, post encouraging words to each other, and support one another as they balance their studies with their personal and professional commitments. Professors also do all they can to help students succeed.

Tune in for our next blog, in which actual DWU students share how they find time to study.

In the meantime, I invite you to email me if you have other questions or would like more information about online degrees at DWU.

Amber Turner

Online Admissions Counselor

Dakota Wesleyan University

CategoriesBlog: Online Degrees @ DWU, News,

LyricWood and vocal concert set for Saturday

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Ron and Sheilah Gates Department of Music at Dakota Wesleyan University announces the first concert of the year.

Vocalists and the LyricWood, a special strings ensemble on campus, will perform a free concert at 7 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 21, in the Sherman Center.

DWU senior and student conductor, Lacey Reimnitz, of Corsica, will lead the voices and orchestra in Henry Purcell’s “Rejoice in the Lord, Alway,” and Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s “Magnificat H. 73.” Dr. Clint Desmond, DWU’s choral director, Erin Desmond, voice and piano instructor, and James Van Oort, of Mitchell, along with singers from The Highlanders will provide vocals.

The first half of the program will close with a string quintet by the Italian composer Domenico Dragonetti.  

“This work has only recently been published, so has not been played widely in the U.S.,” said Elizabeth Soloday, LyricWood director. “It features LyricWood cellist John Casey on his principal instrument, the stringed bass.”

The second half of the concert begins with a Baroque concerto that will feature LyricWood players Soladay, Jeremiah Helmuth, Erin Mairose, Beth Neitzert and Ben Ward.  The concert will close with a concerto for orchestra by Guiseppe Sammartini.  


DWU theatre changes up spring show, names cast

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Dakota Wesleyan University Department of Theatre was set to show a high-flying comedy, “Boeing, Boeing,” but after auditions and careful consideration has decided to change this spring’s production to “Bedroom Farce.”


The British comedy is set for March in the Patten-Wing Theatre on campus.


With all DWU theatre shows, we as a department vote on what shows we would like to do from season to season,” said Dan Miller, theatre director. “Students will choose shows based on research, interests, popularity and classroom exposure. When auditions occurred for’ Boeing, Boeing’ one thing became very clear: students who were designing the show, drafting the show and acting in the show did not feel it was a show that would challenge them. At this stage in their studies, the majority of theatre majors felt we would be better off finding a show that truly excited them – intellectually, creatively.”


In answer to this, Miller presented the students the option of producing “Bedroom Farce,” a British comedy by Alan Ayckbourn, a playwright whom Miller studied with in Scarborough, England.


“The show is a beautiful production about relationships,” Miller said. “The relationship between married couples, boyfriends, girlfriends and parents. Along with that, this comedy takes place in three different bedrooms of three different homes with four different couples. It’s unique, it’s intriguing, it’s funny. …”


Production dates are: 7:30 p.m., March 20-21, 27-28, and 2 p.m., March 22, March 29, in Patten-Wing Theatre, Hughes Hall, on campus. Tickets are $7 for general public, $2 for DWU staff, faculty and students with a DWU I.D.


The cast for the production, directed by Dan Miller, is as follows:


Ernest – Ian Hyde

Delia – Alaina Bertsch

Nick – Chris Gollnick

Jan – Brittney Kaufmann

Malcolm – Jeffrey Holstein

Kate – Ann Thury

Trevor – Michael Hardwick

Susannah – Madi Miller


Scenic design: Ann Thury

Technical direction: Jake Habermann

Stage management: Lily Jones

DWU Department of Theatre returns from regional festival

Wednesday, January 28, 2015



Dakota Wesleyan University theatre students recently returned from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF), bringing with them a distinction in stage management and possible job opportunities.


DWU junior Morgan Schoenfelder, Blue Earth, Minn., was awarded a Certificate of Merit for her professional approach and execution of stage management in last year’s DWU production of “Les Miserables.”  


DWU, belonging to Region 5 of the KCACTF, attends the regional festival in each January along with North Dakota, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska and Minnesota. The region showcases its best productions, as well as offers activities, workshops, symposiums and the regional-level award program. This year’s festival was hosted by Normandale Community College, Bloomington with activities occurring there, the Ames Center in Burnsville and the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis.


There are also auditions for national scholarships and auditions for summer stock theatre and professional theatre jobs nationwide, said Dan Miller, DWU’s theatre director. Junior Madi Miller and freshman Alaina Bertsch, both of Mitchell, and junior Ian Hyde, Irvine, Calif., auditioned for professional theatres and Miller received five callbacks. She should hear back about the possibility for a summer theatre job in a month.


“This year, all Bachelor of Fine Arts theatre majors attended with about a thousand other students from our region,” Dan Miller said. “I was incredibly proud of our students.”


Madi Miller and Kurt Schwarzenbart, sophomore from Salem, were also entered in the Irene Ryan acting completion in which they and their partners had to prepare a three-minute acting scene, a two-minute acting scene and then each had to perform a one-minute monologue. They didn’t move on, but Dan Miller was happy with their performances.


“It was incredible competition with 314 actors and their partners in just the first round,” he said. “It’s great experience for the students, great exposure, and a chance for networking in the business.”


DWU Group Challenges GPAC to End Domestic Violence

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


By Nick McCutcheon
DWU Sports Information Director

Every college student takes on countless assignments while in school, but few have the potential to create a movement for change on a topic that hits home directly or indirectly for many.

Five Dakota Wesleyan University students, four athletes and one athletic training major, took the opportunity presented by an assignment to do something bigger. In the fall of 2014, Dr. Alisha Vincent tasked the students in her social justice class to select a cause that they showed interest in and wanted to advocate for.

Domestic violence has been a hot button issue in professional sports over the last year and this was a topic covered in Vincent’s class that the group of Luke Bamberg, Spencer Bloch, Augustus Haskell, Skylar Forgey and Rachel Reichel gravitated toward.

The five DWU students identified the need to create awareness to help end domestic violence amid the swarm of occurrences coming out of the National Football League and other professional sports in recent months. The members of the class and the male student-athletes at DWU have taken a pledge created by the group from Vincent’s class to help end domestic violence.

“We had reviewed the scandals involving athletes engaged in domestic violence, and so this group seemed to gravitate toward wanting to take that cause on at a collegiate level,” Vincent said. “During the research phase, they recognized how little is done to prevent, stop and educate college athletes about domestic violence.”

Reaching those at DWU was not enough for the architects of the pledge. They want more awareness and additional support from the rest of the Great Plains Athletic Conference and beyond. The GPAC Domestic Violence Pledge Challenge has been issued by DWU to the rest of the conference to say “No More!”

When GPAC Commissioner Corey Westra caught word of the movement coming out of DWU he passed it along to the rest of the conference. Westra went to the administrators, coaches and athletes of the other 10 GPAC members asking them to join the fight and take the pledge.

"To my knowledge this is the first time I can remember a school in the GPAC making a call for action from the other league members and that is pretty special,” Westra said. "This is a great cause to get behind and I think it's very important for our college male student-athletes to be reminded that they can do their part to end domestic violence."

The following is included in the pledge being sent out by Westra to the GPAC schools:

We proudly pledge our support to become a part of the solution to end domestic violence. By signing this declaration, we are taking a public stand against domestic violence.  We commit to creating a community that no longer tolerates domestic violence. In doing so, we pledge to further our knowledge and understanding of the issue and we pledge to use our influence to prevent others from using violence in their relationships.  We pledge to use our position as men and leaders to help boys, young men, family members and friends understand that domestic violence is never acceptable and to teach that manhood and strength are not defined by violence or domination.”

For Reichel, a senior athletic training major from Mitchell, ending domestic violence is a personal cause. Reichel’s best friend had someone close to her that was killed by her boyfriend at the age of 19 after she broke off a relationship.

“She was only 19,” Reichel said. “I didn't know her personally, but her story hits close to home because she was so young. Her parents continue to speak about her situation to high school students.”

Senior men’s basketball player Luke Bamberg, a business administration major from Corsica, S.D., said Reichel’s story motivated the group and made them move forward even stronger with making the pledge as far reaching as it can be.

When the movement started at DWU, the response from students was very positive, according to Bamberg. He also pointed to the faculty and staff at DWU showing their praise for the pledge and adding support for what these five students have been trying to accomplish.

“This effort by our students exemplifies the character, courage and conviction our student athletes feel about domestic violence,” DWU President Amy Novak said. “Particularly impressive is their commitment to taking this pledge beyond the classroom and our campus in an effort to truly create positive change among athletes across our conference and the NAIA. This initiative reminds us that student athletes have the potential to impact more than just the game or the match, but truly the communities in which they live.”

Bamberg added that the group has looked into expanding the pledge by partnering up with the Mitchell Safe House to provide contributions and awareness.

“We had the mindset to take this project as far as it could go,” Bamberg said. “I think for the class advocacy project that we started, it has already been a success for where it was and what it developed into. Our aspirations were for men's football and basketball teams to sign the pledge and take action to stop domestic violence.”

Reichel and Bamberg, along with football players Spencer Bloch (Scotland, S.D.) and Augustus Haskell (Dell Rapids, S.D.), and track and field and cross country runner Skylar Forgey (Colome, S.D.) have taken a small class project from the drawing board to a movement that can build awareness. With the support of the GPAC, the pledge has moved to a regional level, but the students want to see the rest of the country get on board.

“It was important to get more colleges involved and understand the seriousness of the issue,” Reichel said. “A lot of times it gets brushed under the rug and no one wants to talk about it. I would love to see it go to every college in the country. I think it is already successful. It is already spreading to more colleges and teams.”


Four-Year Nursing Scholarships Offered to Encourage Huron Careers

Monday, January 26, 2015

A desire to ensure the supply of future nurses in Huron led Paul and Donna, “Muffy.” Christen to create an endowment which will provide nursing scholarships to students willing to commit to working five years in Huron.

“Muffy and I have always been concerned about the availability of quality local healthcare, and in particular having local nursing education to keep the supply of nurses strong,” said Paul Christen. “Nursing education has a long history in Huron and it is imperative we make it convenient and affordable for local students to pursue a rewarding career in healthcare in Huron.”

The Christens created the Christen Dakota Wesleyan Nursing Scholarship Endowment with the South Dakota Community Foundation by investing $1 million dollars in late 2014. The interest from the fund will be used to provide nursing scholarships into perpetuity.

The first scholarship offerings are two, four-year bachelor of science nursing degree scholarships at Dakota Wesleyan University (DWU). The four-year program can be completed at the Mitchell campus and through clinical education sites in Huron. Christen has also enlisted the support of the Huron Regional Medical Center board of directors to offer two additional four-year scholarships. In return, the four recipients of the Build Huron Nursing Scholarships will commit to working as registered nurses at HRMC or a clinic in Huron for five years.

“We are pleased to join the Christens in encouraging local students to obtain nursing degrees and then come back to work at HRMC. We also appreciate everyone who has been instrumental in providing local nursing education since the hospital opened 1947,” said David Dick, HRMC president and CEO. “We know from history that if a nursing student can receive at least part of his or her education in Huron, they are much more likely to stay here for their nursing career.”

DWU is supporting the effort by offering discounted tuition to the scholarship recipients, making it even more affordable for the students to complete their BSN degree and return to Huron to work as a registered nurse. The scholarships will cover all yearly tuition and fees except for $4,000 which is the responsibility of the student.

These nursing education scholarship offerings are a result of ongoing work by the Huron Community Campus Nursing Task Force, which was created to address the nursing education needs in the Huron area.  Huron Community Campus (HCC) announced earlier this month a new partnership with Lake Area Technical Institute (LATI) to offer an 11-month licensed practical nurse (LPN) program. After completing the LPN program, interested students can pursue a two-year associate degree in nursing through LATI’s LPN-Associate Degree Nursing Program which is offered by the University South Dakota. Upon completion of the program, the graduate will be able to test for the registered nurse licensure exam.

“Huron is our home and we are committed to doing what we can to support the delivery of quality healthcare here, while at the same time supporting nursing education opportunities,” said Christen. “We will continue to work with the taskforce to find creative ways to make it easy and affordable for local students to pursue a career in healthcare.”

Applications for the Build Huron Nursing Scholarship Program are available by contacting DWU admissions at 800- 333-8506 or Applications for the Practical Nurse Program are now being accepted at HCC and must be completed by March 6 for the fall 2015 semester. For more information or to talk about a career in nursing through education in Huron, contact HCC Executive Director Doug Pietz at 353-8518 or


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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.
The Chronicle of Higher Education named Dakota Wesleyan University one of the “Great Colleges to Work For®” for 2014-2015. DWU won honors in three categories: facilities, workspace and security, and supervisor/department chair relationship.
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