DWU president receives Creighton’s Seagren-Joekel-Ihrig Award

Friday, April 24, 2015

Creighton University’s Doctoral Program in Interdisciplinary Leadership honored DWU President Amy Novak with its inaugural Seagren-Joekel-Ihrig Award for Best Interdisciplinary Leadership Dissertation.


The award, which was presented to Novak this week, recognizes the dissertation that best addresses pressing educational leadership problems and presents a realistic interdisciplinary solution that is in keeping with Jesuit values, adheres to high standards of ethical research and is an exemplary written work.


Novak wrote a dissertation titled “Calling, Confidence, Competence, and Connections: A Grounded Theory for Optimizing Wellbeing of Female University Presidents.” Novak earned her doctorate at Creighton in 2014.


Nathan Klein, of Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, also received the award for his dissertation, “The Relationship Between Servant Leadership and Employee Engagement: The Mediating Roles of Trust and Fit.”


“It is not every day that we have two winners for Best Dissertation,” said Isabelle Cherney, Ph.D., director of Creighton’s doctoral program in interdisciplinary leadership. “Both dissertations are very different and excellent examples of our interdisciplinary leadership program.”


The awards were presented at a ceremony on April 22 in the Harper Center on the Creighton campus.

Honorary doctorate, speaker announced for DWU’s 2015 Commencement

Friday, April 24, 2015

Dakota Wesleyan University will celebrate commencement Sunday, May 3, with a baccalaureate service and graduation, and an honorary degree will be given to a well-known community member.


Baccalaureate will begin at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, May 3, at the Sherman Center on campus, and Commencement is set for 1 p.m. at the Corn Palace with 237 graduates. The Nurses’ Pinning Ceremony is set for 4 p.m., Saturday, May 2, in the Sherman Center.


Dr. John Cawley will be the special speaker for Commencement and the Rev. Eric Van Meter, campus pastor, will offer the Baccalaureate message. An Honorary Doctor of Business Administration will be awarded to Ronald Gates, Sr., of Mitchell.


Cawley is a native of Inkster, N.D., and is a 2004 Dakota Wesleyan University graduate. While at DWU, he studied biology and following graduation he obtained his Medical Doctorate from the University of North Dakota where he chose to specialize in comprehensive family medicine with obstetrics.


He currently resides with his wife, Sara, an elementary school teacher, and their two children in Fort Collins, Colo., where he is the owner and partner at Associates in Family Medicine P.C. Cawley’s medical interests include health care reform, medical education, whole-body care, and medical practice transformation.  He is involved in many organizations, including as the educational committee co-chair for the Colorado Academy of Family Medicine board of directors, the immediate past-president for the Northern Colorado Medical Society, and his local church session.  He has numerous publications on patient-centered medical home and clinical practice transformation.


Cawley won the Zachary Flake M.D. – Resident Physician Writer Award in 2011, and the Henry Hobart Ruger Trust Award and Tiongson Humanism in Meidcine Graduate Award while in medical school. While at Dakota Wesleyan, Cawley was a Randall Scholar, the 2003 homecoming king, and 2004 Scotchman, among many other designations.


Van Meter will speak during the DWU baccalaureate on “The Art of Failure.” He said his address will focus on “Not playing the game better; but play a better game.” This is Van Meter’s first year at Dakota Wesleyan as campus pastor. He came from Arkansas State University, Paragould, Ark., where he served as campus pastor since 2007.











Gates has spent his life in service to others and for the betterment of his community.


A native of Sioux City, Iowa, he graduated from East High School in 1949 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1951 for four years. He attended one year of electronics school and spent two tours in the Korean Theatre.


In 1965, he moved to Mitchell and made the community his home. He began by working for Rew’s TV, and in 1968 he married Arlene Jones, Parker, S.D. Together, they bought Mitchell Retirement Home in 1969, Hilltop Nursing Home in Parker in 1978, and assumed ownership of Firesteel Healthcare Center in 1984, which they sold in 2010. Ron lost Arlene to cancer in 2011, but her memory and dedication to the healthcare profession lives on through the Ron and Arlene Gates Nursing Scholarship, established in 1988, and the Arlene Gates Department of Nursing at Dakota Wesleyan, a tribute made in 2013 by Ron, his family and his wife, Sheilah.


An industry leader long associated with community volunteering, Ron has been active as a member, past president or committee chairman for multiple organizations. He is past vice president of the board of directors of the South Dakota Healthcare Association, past president and board member of Mitchell United Way and served as the general chairman of its fund drive, and he is a past president of Mitchell Rotary Club, for which he has also served on multiple committees, hosted three Rotary exchange students and was named a Paul Harris Fellow. He is a past member of the DWU Board of Trustees, the South Dakota State Board of Examiners for Nursing Home Administrators, Adjustment Training Center board, Mitchell American Cancer Society board, and past president of the Mitchell Parks and Recreation Department Board. He has also served on the South Dakota Healthcare Association Political Action Committee. Ron was also named the Outstanding Committee Chairman of the year for the South Dakota Jaycees. He is presently on the board of the Mitchell Area Charitable Foundation.


He is a member of the First United Methodist Church, where he has served on the Staff Parish Committee and has chaired the administrative board, served as lay leader, as the finance committee chairman, as an usher and greeter, and on several other committees. 


In addition to community service, Ron has worked to enhance the cultural and educational experiences for those living in Mitchell. In 2012, Ron married Sheilah Smith Puetz, and together they generously supported the expansion of the music programs at Dakota Wesleyan through the Ron and Sheilah Gates Department of Music in 2014 and have also sponsored musical productions on campus. They also support the Mitchell Area Community Theatre, and its auditorium bears their name. They enjoy and support Corn Palace activities, Pheasants Forever, the Mitchell High School band and show choir, as well as dancing and traveling.


In addition to serving on the board of trustees at Dakota Wesleyan, Ron and Arlene Gates received the DWU Outstanding Citizens Award in 1990, and also hosted Koka Institute exchange students. Ron and Sheilah were named the DWU Homecoming Parade Marshals in 2012.

Scotchman and Miss Wesleyan winners announced at DWU

Friday, April 24, 2015


Katie Johnson and Andrew DeVaney, seniors at Dakota Wesleyan University, were named Miss Wesleyan and Scotchman, the university’s highest honors, at a special banquet Friday night at the university.


Katherine Johnson, Mead, Neb., is double-majoring in accounting and mathematics. She is the student representative for the Board of Trustees, was the freshman class president and is currently the Student Senate Treasurer. She is a member of Math Club, CEO (business club) as secretary and treasurer, women’s basketball team, women’s track and field team, the honors program, Sigma Zeta, Pi Gamma Mu, Phi Kappa Phi, and has been on the dean’s list since 2011. She is also the winner of the Nogle Award for Women, the NAIA Daktronics Scholar Athlete Award 2012-2015, was named a Kelley Center Leader and is a Randall Scholarship Recipient. Katie has volunteered for new student orientation and as a student ambassador, as well as DWU Service Day, Heart and Sole Cancer Walk, Corn Palace Festival, the freshman food drive, refereeing youth basketball, Mitchell Weekend Snack Pack Program, Food Bank for the Heartland, and the Big Garden. She is a member of New Hope Church, Wahoo, Neb. Katie is the daughter of Tim and Annette Johnson, Mead. She has already been hired as an auditor at Deloitte in Omaha, Neb.


Andrew DeVaney, Sioux Falls, is a religious studies major with a minor in individualized education. He is the Student Ministry Council president and a resident assistant. He has spent nearly 13 weeks in East Africa over the last four years, including a DWU service-learning trip last summer when he conducted teacher workshops. Andrew will lead a second trip this summer with three other DWU students to Uganda and Rwanda – a trip organized and fundraised on their own. The money they raised has gone toward clean-water wells, school supplies, orange groves and sponsoring children in both countries. He is the son of Andrea Kuehn, Sioux Falls. Following graduation and his trip to Africa, he will attend seminary school at Denver Theological Seminary.


Other candidates for Miss Wesleyan include: Hannah Ford, Vermillion; Abigail Fossum, Canton; Cassie Landgaard, Worthington, Minn.; MacKenzie Stevens, Polk, Neb.; Lexy Timm, Yale. Other candidates for the Scotchman include: Christian Doyle, Jackson, Wyo.; Kyle Gerlach, Mount Vernon; Dustin Paulsen, Pierre; Jared Stearns, Canton.


The titles of Scotchman and Miss Wesleyan are given to honor a senior male and female student based on campus leadership and service, community leadership and service, academics and character. The honor of Miss Wesleyan began in 1929 and the honor of Scotchman in 1938. The title for the Scotchman was borrowed from the university’s song, “The Scotchman.”


DWU names Exemplary Teacher honoree for 2015

Friday, April 24, 2015

Dakota Wesleyan University recognized one of its professors with the Exemplary Teacher Award Friday during the university’s Honors Banquet.


Ashley Digmann, a mathematics instructor at DWU, was the recipient of this year’s Exemplary Teacher Award.


The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church, through the Division of Higher Education in partnership with United Methodist-related institutions, expresses support and appreciation for outstanding teaching. The recipient exemplifies excellence in teaching, civility and concern for students and colleagues. This person also maintains a commitment to value-centered education, and service to students, the institution and the community.


“This award is to recognize a professor who shows dedication and excitement about being in the classroom,” said Provost Rocky VonEye. “All year we listen carefully when students describe their professors and when other professors comment about their colleagues. This year’s awardee is someone who is consistently described as a teacher who loves teaching; a professor who is caring, innovative, creative, and excited about their subject matter.


“Students described this professor as a person who is willing to stay late and come early to offer help and is one of the best online teachers ever.  A professor who expects excellence from the students, is tough but always fair. I’m also told that this professor comes from a department that has super powers or was it that they raise students to a higher power?  Either way I am very proud to award Ashley Digmann the Exemplary Teacher Award.”


Digmann, of Parkston, is a 2006 DWU graduate and has been teaching at the college since 2011. She will also take on the responsibilities as Department of Education chairwoman this summer.


She graduated from DWU with a Bachelor of Arts degree in secondary math education in 2006 and received her Master of Arts degree in mathematics education from Chadron State College, Chadron, Neb., in 2011. She is currently completing her Doctor of Education degree in leadership from Creighton University, Omaha.


Digmann is active in numerous volunteering projects at DWU, in her community of Parkston and through her church. She also is a member of the South Dakota Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the National Council of Teachers in Mathematics, Sigma Zeta honor society, and is the local Phi Kappa Phi honor society president. She is also the system coordinator for HLC and the assessment coordinator.


Digmann and her husband, Jared, have two children, Jayden and Hadley.

Digmann to step into role of education department chairman at DWU

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Dakota Wesleyan University Department of Education welcomes Ashley Digmann as its new department chairwoman.


Digmann, of Parkston, is a DWU alumna and an instructor of mathematics at the university. She will take on the role of education department chairwoman this summer.


“Ashley’s experience as a high school teacher both in South Dakota and Alaska brings wonderful insight and perspective to new students,” said President Amy Novak. “Further, Ashley’s background in assessment will be helpful as she facilitates changes in the curriculum in preparation for new South Dakota and national standards for teacher education.”


Digmann will continue to teach mathematics part time at the college, a position she has held full time since 2013 and part time since 2011.


“I am excited to transition to my new role in the Dakota Wesleyan education department,” Digmann said. “I have a passion for education and am grateful for the opportunity to apply my secondary education experience to the classroom and to the Dakota Wesleyan education students.”


She graduated from DWU with a Bachelor of Arts degree in secondary math education in 2006 and received her Master of Arts degree in mathematics education from Chadron State College, Chadron, Neb., in 2011, She is currently completing her Doctor of Education degree in leadership from Creighton University, Omaha.


Digmann is active in numerous volunteering projects at DWU, in her community of Parkston and through her church. She also is a member of the South Dakota Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the National Council of Teachers in Mathematics, Sigma Zeta honor society, and is the local Phi Kappa Phi honor society president. She is also the system coordinator for HLC and the assessment coordinator.


Digmann and her husband, Jared, have two children, Jayden and Hadley.


Catalano named dean of College of Healthcare, Fitness and Science at DWU

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Dakota Wesleyan University announces a new interim dean for the Donna Starr Christen College of Healthcare, Fitness and Sciences.


Dr. Mike Catalano, professor of mathematics and math department chair, will serve as interim dean through the accreditation process for the university.


“Mike has demonstrated a sincere engagement of the evolving strategic planning process and is deeply invested in preparing the university for its accreditation in the fall of 2016,” said President Amy Novak. “We are sincerely pleased by his willingness to step into this role and support the faculty and students in the college.”


Catalano has been teaching at DWU since 1992 and served as vice president for academic affairs and as dean from 1998 to 2000.


“I am pleased to serve DWU in this role, especially at a time when so much progress is being made,” Catalano said. “There are a lot of creative ideas coming out of our strategic planning process, and I look forward to the discussions within our college and the larger university as we look at implementing this plan.


“I have always valued Wesleyan’s mission and its tradition as a liberal arts college, and am excited about our future and blessed to have the opportunity to further that mission in this new role.”


Catalano received his Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Olaf College and his master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. He has authored a number of grants, including a National Science Foundation grant which supported the development of a new college algebra text and the acquisition of a mobile laptop computer lab used for the course. He is a member of the Mathematical Association of American, South Dakota Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Sigma Zeta and Project Kaleidoscope’s Faculty for the 21st Century. He also serves on the worship team at Life Church in Mitchell.


Catalano is a former board member of the National Numeracy Network, has authored two articles and four book reviews for the journal, Numeracy, and is currently its book review editor.


He and his wife, Pamela, live in Mitchell with their son, Ben. They also have three grown daughters, Jenna, Chelsea and Anna.

Dakota Wesleyan’s Service Day set for Tuesday

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Rain or shine, Dakota Wesleyan University’s Service Day will once again take place on Tuesday, April 28, across the city of Mitchell.


This is the sixth year that Dakota Wesleyan has organized Service Day – a morning when the entire campus comes together to perform community service projects on campus and around the entire community, including the Huron campus. At least 565 participants are signed up for the day, with another 14 volunteering on the Huron campus on Tuesday.


The Tuesday before graduation was traditionally known as “Reading Day” before 2010, when Dakota Wesleyan established “Service Day” as a kickoff to DWU’s 125th anniversary and a thank you to the community that has supported the school over the years. Dakota Wesleyan’s articles of incorporation were signed on April 27, 1885, marking Monday the university’s 130th anniversary.


DWU student body president Christian Doyle, of Jackson Hole, Wyo., has participated in Service Day for three years as a member of the men’s baseball team. He says that a day of community service to Mitchell is a way to thank the community for its support of the college.


“I think Service Day is a great way for everyone to get involved both on campus and in the community,” Doyle said. “It gives students a way to put their best foot forward. It also gives students an opportunity to see everything out there and shows that there are people that do need help. It gave me the idea to work with the Snack Pack Program.”


Lily Miiller, a sophomore non-profit administration major has been a part of Service Day for the past two years.


“It brings our whole campus together to help people in our community,” Miiller said. “It gives students an opportunity to get out in the community and help the environment.”


About 1,400 man hours are projected to be spent in town on Tuesday, with project sites at: First United Methodist Church, the Abbott House, Dakota Discovery Museum, Hitchcock Park Tennis Courts, Cadwell Park, Life Quest, Lakeview Golf Course, Wild Oak Golf Course, Mitchell Weekend Snack Pack program, the Pepsi-Cola Soccer Complex, YWCA, Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village, Snack Pack Program, Mitchell Area Community Theatre, Mitchell Area Safehouse, and trash pick-along Dry Run Creek, near on Spruce Street and Cabela Road, all around Lake Mitchell and the bike trail.


Students in the Arlene Gates Department of Nursing will split up into teams and work at Wesley Acres and Assisted Living Home and Rehab in Mitchell, as well as taking some residents from assisted living to the circus. The education department will send groups to each of the elementary schools and middle school.


Following the volunteer projects, everyone will reconvene in the cafeteria for an indoor picnic.


‘Finance Wrangler’ and English Major Ready to Earn M.B.A. at DWU

Monday, April 20, 2015

Heidi Ray Molitor wears many hats—from advanced medical support assistant at the VA to serving as “finance wrangler” for her husband’s fifth-generation family ranch to coaching cross country and track teams at Hot Springs High School. She’s also a photographer in her “spare time.”

This summer, she’ll put on another hat: student in the fully online Master of Business Administration degree program at Dakota Wesleyan University.

“I feel like I need a little push, a little more panache behind my degree,” says Heidi, 28, of Smithwick, S.D. “An M.B.A., with my current English degree from DWU could potentially be a great addition to any employer, as well as aiding in leadership abilities applicable to nearly any field of service.”

Heidi chose to return to her alma mater for her M.B.A. because “DWU is highly valued by local employees for its education and its reputation in equipping ethical leaders,” she says.

“I am particularly excited that this program is geared for small- and medium-sized businesses, preparing me to be successful in the rural area in which I live,” Heidi adds. “I am specifically interested in this program because of its emphasis in entrepreneurial and strategic leadership in business.”

On the family ranch, she is responsible for the operational funds and bookwork involved with tax preparation. “I feel that an M.B.A. will greatly assist me in this area of my personal life as a rancher’s wife as I have much to gain in business knowledge.”

She also has another long-term goal in mind: Starting a photography business, along with a coffeehouse and bakery.

“I believe that an M.B.A., specifically with the strategic leadership and entrepreneurial slant, will lend a wealth of flexible and applicable knowledge that will make me stand out, especially backed with my bachelor’s degree in English. It is precisely this flexibility that will make me more marketable.”

Ready to strengthen your undergraduate degree—or earn your bachelor’s degree? In addition to our M.B.A., DWU also offers the following online degree programs:

Questions? Need more information? Please email me.

Amber Turner

Online Admissions Counselor

CategoriesBlog: Online Degrees @ DWU, News,

DWU’s Megan Johnson to display research at Posters on the Hill

Friday, April 17, 2015

Megan Johnson, of Dakota Wesleyan University, has been selected to present her research on Capitol Hill on April 22-23.


A Rapid City native, Johnson is double-majoring in biochemistry and psychology at DWU. She and 59 other undergraduate students were chosen from 500 applicants to travel to Washington and meet with their Congressional representatives, as well as present their research at a formal poster session. Other activities include a reception and awards ceremony.


All of Johnson’s research, which is BRIN-funded, has been conducted at DWU in the new Glenda K. Corrigan Health Sciences Center, under the mentorship of Dr. Paula Mazzer, assistant professor of biochemistry. Johnson is Dakota Wesleyan’s second science student to be chosen for Posters on the Hill – the first being Leah Miiller, of Corsica, in 2012.


“Megan is incredible,” Mazzer said. “She has been working in my lab as an undergraduate researcher since 2013, and is now basically running my lab. She takes care of ordering chemicals, training new undergraduates, and keeps our cell cultures growing.  Basically, even though she is only a senior, she is functioning like a graduate student.”


Johnson’s topic covers the adverse effects of air pollution on brain cells. She recently presented her poster, “The effects of airborne particulate matter on rat neuronal cells,” at the 100th meeting of the South Dakota Science Academy, April 10-11, and took first place in undergraduate work in the female division.


The ultimate goal of CUR is to raise awareness of the importance of undergraduate research, Mazzer said. CUR also promotes undergraduate research to Congress, since it is responsible for funding most of the research. Posters on the Hill consists of two days of meetings with congressional officers, and is scheduled for this spring.


“After I found out my research was accepted to present at this conference, it gave me a positive reinforcement to continue my research to the next step,” Johnson said. “I am furthering my research by looking at how amyloid beta, a protein in the brain, is associated with neurodegeneration, as well.”

Vermillion man wins first ever McGovern South Dakota Hunger Ambassador Award

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

John Lushbough, of Vermillion, was named this year’s McGovern South Dakota Hunger Ambassador Award-winner.


This is the first year that the Dakota Wesleyan University McGovern Center has awarded the honor and was bestowed based on nominations.


Lushbough is the founder and coordinator of Vermillion Welcome Table, a free weekly meal for underprivileged, and the head of the Vermillion Weekend Backpack Program, a program that provides easy-to-prepare meals for area youth. He has been serving his community for 25 years.


His nomination reads, “He has engaged literally hundreds of people in this service program (Welcome Table). Treating everyone who comes in the door with dignity is at the center of the program. John does all of this work with a smile.”


The McGovern South Dakota Hunger Ambassador Award was created this year to be given to a South Dakotan who goes above and beyond to provide food security to the people of South Dakota.


“We were looking for those unsung heroes in local communities – the people who provide comfort and service without any hope or desire of recognition,” said Dr. Alisha Vincent, director of the McGovern Center. “The people most deserving of these awards are generally the shyest about accepting them, but we hope this gives their passions the attention they deserve, as well. Lushbough is a shining example of what the every-day person can accomplish in his or her community. What he has done in Vermillion is inspiring and the McGovern Center thanks him.”


Next Page
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.
Dakota Wesleyan University
1200 W. University Ave
Mitchell, SD 57301
© 2015 Dakota Wesleyan University

South Dakota Website Design and Development