Thursday, January 15, 2015
By CANDY DENOUDEN
The Daily Republic
It’s not just business as usual for Dakota Wesleyan University.
As DWU staff and faculty prepare to resume classes next week, a growing contingent of students won’t roll suitcases into dorm rooms or trudge across a snow-covered campus with books. Instead, they’ll log on to DWU’s online offerings.
Last year, DWU launched its online master’s in business administration program, the first graduate program in business for the college, and will kick off a new online degree completion program this spring. It enables the university to reach a niche audience, and serve a growing need for working professionals, university officials said.
“We recognize that college no longer ends at 22 for people,” Dakota Wesleyan President Amy Novak said. “Education, ongoing learning, is absolutely vital and necessary to being competitive.”
Novak said the decision to start an online MBA program at Dakota Wesleyan was generated by interest from business leaders in the region who were interested in graduate-level education geared toward small- to mid-sized businesses. Novak said many MBA programs cater to corporate America, or larger business models when most of the business owners and managers in Mitchell and the area serve small, often family owned, shops.
“We recognize that the heart of South Dakota, and frankly, the heart of our region, are small and medium enterprises,” she said.
The professors come from a range of different backgrounds and industries, Novak said, but they all bring a practical, real-world relevance that helps set DWU’s program apart, she added. Finding a balance of people who are qualified to teach, but who also have real-world experience was a major goal for the program, Novak said.
“Our courses are taught by people who have been in the workplace,” she said. “We want people who have been really good in business, but educated as well.”
‘Not everybody’s going to get a corporate job’
Monty Bohrer, an associate professor of business administration and economics at Dakota Wesleyan and the director of the business graduate program, said while the traditional MBA model is valuable, DWU’s program seeks to fill a unique, niche role for people in smaller business and leadership roles.
“We feel there’s a need to fulfill that aspect,” he said. “Not everybody’s going to get a corporate job.”
In a corporate job, Bohrer said people’s jobs are likely more distinct. For instance, he said someone developing a marketing strategy at a large corporation would be surrounded by specialists, and would likely have a large pool of resources. In a small- to mid-sized business, one person might be in charge of executing an entire marketing strategy.
“What we’re trying to develop is a well-rounded expert in the area of marketing. You’re able to handle the branding side, the strategy side, distribution side,” he said. “You’re going to get a little bit broader perspective.”
Another difference, he said, is the focus on the practical. While some MBA programs may focus on the theory behind concepts, Bohrer and the other professors with DWU try to focus on how to apply those concepts in day-to-day job scenarios.
“Instead of talking about all the strategies there are involved, we’re going to take it down one more level and say, ‘OK, how do you apply those in a small- or mid-sized business?’ ” he said.
Bohrer’s work experience includes time with businesses like General Motors Acceptance Corporation, Godfather’s Pizza, Oracle Software, Holiday Inn and Gateway Computers, among others. He said those jobs have given him a wide range of experiences, and help him understand how the different components of business work together – which he can communicate to his students.
“I understand how marketing and accounting and finance and economics and management all integrate, and how one can effect the other,” he said.
Novak said in addition to the online MBA program, DWU offers four master’s in education degrees online, a bachelor’s degree completion program for associate’s degrees in nursing. This spring, she said the college will also kick off an online bachelor’s degree completion program for students with two-year technical degrees, or who had to quit halfway through college before obtaining their degree.
She referenced it being a good option for students from Mitchell Technical Institute, who might have a two-year degree, who later decide they’d like to get a four-year degree. With the online program, Novak said those students can complete the remaining two years at Dakota Wesleyan to receive a bachelor’s degree in a flexible, online format that allows them to continue working.
“We’re excited about that,” Novak said. “This recognizes that what they earned in that technical degree is very strong, we just want to build on that and give them some additional leadership and business skills so they can advance professionally within their organization.”
Novak said the online programs have been growing. Bohrer said seven people have graduated from the MBA program, and Novak estimated about 120 students are enrolled in online programs, out of Dakota Wesleyan’s 875-student enrollment.
Fredel Thomas, director of the Kelley Center for Entrepreneurship at Dakota Wesleyan, was part of the first class for the new MBA program, and finished in August.
Thomas, 36, said she worked for CHR Solutions for 12 and a half years before DWU, and said she enjoyed the knowledge and real-world experience she gained during that time. But once she started working at Dakota Wesleyan, where some of her duties include teaching undergraduate entrepreneurship classes and working with small businesses and organizations to encourage entrepreneurship in the area, Thomas wondered if it might be time to further her education.
“One of my jobs is that I help small business – well, what a better way than to be educated with my MBA?” she said.
Thomas said students have the option to finish the program in one year or two. She hesitated to tackle the one-year program, fearing how she would balance a full-time job, family – she is married, and has four children under the age of 7 – and a full course load.
After learning she could switch to the two-year program if she decided the one-year was too intensive, Thomas said she decided to give it a whirl. Now that it’s over, she’s glad she went for it.
“I gave it a try, and I was really glad I did it in one year,” she said.
Thomas said it’s a lot to do in one year, and it did necessitate a few sacrifices on her part. She got a little less sleep, and had to say no to a few other things for a while. Evenings worked best for Thomas to work on assignments, and the time commitment varied with the assignment and the course.
“Sometimes it was 45 minutes, other times it was two hours a night,” she said.
She had a corner set aside in her house, with her computer and books. When Thomas was there, her family knew she was working on school. When she put her computer away for the last time after completing the program, she said her daughter exclaimed, “You’re really done.”
“She was so excited,” Thomas said.
During her courses, Thomas said she was able to learn about different tools businesses can use, and things that are relevant to her own work at Dakota Wesleyan.
“I was able to use those to really research and dig in my MBA program, so I was getting work done and school done all at the same time,” she said.
More than just reading, writing
The online program includes the traditional reading and writing aspects of education, Thomas said, but doesn’t end there. Students had hands-on projects and simulations, like a realistic analysis of financial statements or a simulation where students ran their own airline. Having professors who come from a business or entrepreneurial background meant students didn’t just learn concepts and theories – they learned application.
“It was never just theory. It was very practical,” she said.
Thomas also appreciated the program’s incorporation of Christian values and ethics into the curriculum, which she said made the education feel more “wholistic.” She said in one course, the students read several books pertaining to different views on leadership, and then had to choose their own personal leadership style. Thomas was able to build a model of her own that was Christ-centered, and reflected her own values.
“We didn’t shy away from talking about that, and what that means from an ethical standpoint,” Thomas said. “I was able to tie my faith into my education, in that scenario.”
Novak said that has always been a priority for the program – to make the curriculum not just practical, but in line with Dakota Wesleyan’s faith-based values, as well.
“It’s of course grounded in our mission to develop strong, ethically minded leaders,” Novak said.
Thomas also praised the professors in the program, noting they lend real-world, practical experience to the coursework, and were accessible to students who needed extra help. She also admits that even though she wasn’t sure what to think of the online format at first, she now believes it was the best option for her.
“It will really work with your home life, because it’s so flexible,” she said of the MBA program as a whole. “It has a good structure.”
Now that she has her MBA, Thomas said it has expanded her opportunities at DWU. She could possibly teach for the MBA program, and is on a strategic team for the college.
“It gives me tools I need to serve Dakota Wesleyan better,” she said. “My job doesn’t change, but some of my duties have been enhanced.”
Thursday, January 8, 2015
Dakota Wesleyan University’s Department of Theatre has set auditions for the March production of “Boeing, Boeing,” a comedy by Marc Camoletti.
DWU will hold auditions at 7 p.m., Monday and Tuesday, Jan. 12-13, in the Patten-Wing Theatre in Hughes Hall on campus. Auditions will consist of cold readings from the script, some movement and some accent work. If interested in auditioning but cannot make the set times, contact Dan Miller, theatre director, at 605-290-0641. Scripts may be checked out by contacting Miller at email@example.com.
Auditions are open to all. Rehearsal times are tentatively set for 3 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursdays leading up to the production. The production requires two men and four women. The female roles may require a foreign accent.
Play synopsis: “It’s the 1960s, and swinging bachelor Bernard couldn’t be happier: a flat in Paris and three gorgeous stewardesses all engaged to him without knowing about each other. But Bernard’s perfect life gets bumpy when his friend Robert comes to stay and a new and speedier Boeing jet throws off all of his careful planning. Soon all three stewardesses are in town simultaneously, timid Robert is forgetting which lies to tell to whom, and catastrophe looms.”
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
A new year is a perfect time to contemplate our lives. We make many resolutions, often aimed at our physical well-being. We resolve to lose weight, stop smoking, and to actually use those gym memberships we buy. But by mid-February, we have abandoned our resolutions—until next year.
What if in 2015 we resolved to truly change our lives in lasting ways? What if learning became a central part of this new year?
One way to positively impact your life is to earn an online degree through Dakota Wesleyan University. At DWU you can earn an online degree in:
Why DWU for online learning? While I could give you many reasons, here are four:
- Relevant coursework: At DWU, we don’t believe in busywork. We believe in providing you with information, knowledge, and skills you can apply—immediately.
- Personalized attention: Even in the online environment our professors will be accessible to you and supportive of you. They will mentor and guide you so you can achieve your goals.
- Preparation for leadership: All of our programs are designed to prepare you for leadership roles.
- Speed to completion: You can complete our MBA in one year (full-time) and our other programs in 18-24 months.
Ready to make that life-changing resolution to earn your online degree? Then please request more information.
Happy New Year!
Dr. Derek Driedger
Associate Dean of Digital Learning
Dakota Wesleyan University
Categories: Blog: Online Degrees @ DWU, News,
Monday, December 22, 2014
Dr. Joe Gertsema, director of graduate studies/education, exemplifies what we look for in our leaders at Dakota Wesleyan University. He has a deep passion for lifelong learning. He’s committed to student success. He enjoys mentoring students. He also brings a wealth of experience to DWU.
Dr. Gertsema was a school superintendent for 26 years—23 in Yankton, S.D., and three in Canton. He has been an elementary and middle school principal. He also has been active in professional organizations and state educational committees. Dr. Gertsema has traveled to places like China and Israel to broaden his horizons on education, too.
He began at DWU as an adjunct professor. Last August, he was named director of graduate studies/education and he is also the chair of the education department.
Dr. Gertsema decided to continue his education career at DWU because of the innovative nature of the university and its programs, such as the Master of Arts in Education. He enjoys helping students learn theories and practices that will help them advance their careers in education.
Dr. Gertsema regularly teaches courses in the Master of Arts in Education. In addition to students from South Dakota, his most recent course attracted online learners from Iowa, Oklahoma, Southern California, and even Brazil.
He likes getting to know his students in the online community.
“All of those students have different backgrounds,” he says. “That really broadens the learning for everyone.”
Outside of DWU, Dr. Gertsema enjoys spending time with family. He and his wife have three adult daughters and seven grandchildren, all of whom live close by. He also likes to spend time outdoors hiking and biking.
If you would like to learn from people like Dr. Gertsema, please request more information. We look forward to helping you become our next online learner at DWU.
Categories: Blog: Online Degrees @ DWU, News,
Friday, December 19, 2014
By Candy DenOuden
The Daily Republic
When Alisha Vincent sat down in the United Nations building in New York City, she wondered who had been in that chair before.
“There's probably been a significant number people from around the world that have occupied that seat at one time or another,” she said. “It was inspiring to be there.”
Vincent, director of the McGovern Center, joined Dakota Wesleyan University President Amy Novak and DWU student Ariana Arampatzis on Dec. 9 at the U.N., as Novak became one of the university presidents to sign the Presidents' Commitment to Food and Nutrition Security. Novak was one of six of those presidents selected to be on a steering committee for Presidents United to Solve Hunger – PUSH.
“It was exciting,” Novak said.
According to information from PUSH, in February, the Hunger Solutions Institute, in partnership with the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization held a forum. A consensus outcome from that gathering, which drew 70 leaders from 30 universities in Canada, the U.S. and Latin America, was the Presidents' Commitment to Food and Nutrition Security.
Novak and Vincent signed the commitment this summer. The other members of the steering committee, along with Novak, include the chair for the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development Brady Deaton, presidents from universities in the Netherlands and Honduras as well as two other universities in the U.S.
Novak said she sees Dakota Wesleyan's role as being an inspiration to and model for other small, faith-based institutions to make similar efforts to fight hunger in their communities.
“Small institutions can be very powerful instruments of change,” Novak said.
Novak said Dakota Wesleyan joined the effort, in part, because it so closely aligns with efforts its faculty and students already are passionate about, and which mirror one of the great passions of the late George McGovern. McGovern, for whom the McGovern Center on DWU's campus is named, dedicated much of his life to providing food for people in need. He wrote a book on the topic, “The Third Freedom: Ending Hunger in Our Time,” and served as the first director of Food for Peace, a food aid program.
“We became really excited about the idea,” Novak said.
Early in her time at the McGovern Center, Vincent said she brought people together to get feedback on what direction the center should take. It became apparent that, to honor the memory of the late Democratic senator, there were two things George McGovern was passionate about, politics, and solving hunger. He and his wife, Eleanor, are both alumni of Dakota Wesleyan.
“We are very fortunate to have the legacy already established by George and Eleanor McGovern,” Vincent said.
That connection has opened doors that otherwise might remain shut to a small liberal arts university in South Dakota.
“I've been able to meet some really incredible people who are engaged at the highest level in the battle against hunger,” Vincent said.
It's a legacy that Dakota Wesleyan students have already bought into, she said. The DWU chapter of Universities Fighting World Hunger – renamed The Third Freedom, after McGovern's book – has bloomed from five students a year ago to 25 active members, and even more are showing interest. Arampatzis, a sophomore, is the president of the student organization, and said the issue of feeding hungry people has become a passion of hers.
“We have enough food on Earth to feed everyone,” she said, noting there just aren't the right resources and methods to distribute that food to everyone who needs it. “That just blows my mind.”
Visiting the U.N. was not only inspirational, but she hopes that Dakota Wesleyan will be able to “ignite a fire” among other students to get involved in combating world hunger.
“Hopefully the next step will be getting students connected,” she said.
“Our students are really committed to making the world a better place and their enthusiasm for defeating hunger in our local and global communities is contagious,” Vincent said. “I'm thankful for the chance to work with such an inspiring group of students and community members.”
In fact, Novak and Vincent both noted that many of the steps PUSH wants schools to implement are things DWU is already doing. University efforts to combat hunger include UFWH students helping with the Love Feast, canned food drives, Mitchell Food Pantry and the Snack Pack Program. Vincent said this spring, students will work on food policy initiatives with Bread for the World hopes to develop opportunities with Feeding South Dakota.
“Our students, really, are the ones who are pushing this forward and saying 'we want to be part of this,' “ Novak said. “Really all I'm doing is facilitating their skills and talents.”
In addition, the McGovern Center supports a Livestock for Life project that works with local leaders to identify families that qualify for a goat or cow. They raise the animal until it produces then given the first born back to the community for redistribution. The program helps with food and can generate small incomes for families.
Globally, students continue to participate in the McGovern Center's Livestock for Life project. Vincent said she is taking some UFWH students to Uganda in July to do an agriculture workshop for smallholder farmers, and the program has a plot of land in rural Uganda that helps support a school lunch program there.
“Our students are no longer the students that are OK with sitting in lecture halls,” Vincent, who is also a faculty member at DWU, said. “We really do have a changing demographic of students who really want to get their hands dirty, so to speak.”
Having Novak on the steering committee for the group helps DWU occupy the niche for small, liberal arts universities to join the cause, Novak and Vincent agreed.
“I'm very proud to work with President Novak. Dakota Wesleyan has the ability to be the beacon,” Vincent said. “We have the opportunity to really take a leadership role in solving hunger, especially among small, faith-based universities.”
All three women referenced the importance of alleviating hunger for people locally, regionally and globally. Vincent and Arampatzis spoke of experiences on mission trips, seeing small children dying of starvation. A rural Chamberlain native, Vincent said she has traveled extensively domestically and internationally, and seeing people dying of hunger is not something you soon forget.
“I've seen what it looks like when people are starving,” she said. “I've never experienced that pain, but I've been in a lot of situations and have a lot of close relationships with people who have.”
And while PUSH has a global focus, DWU hopes to continue to focus on the local and regional levels. It's easy to assume it can't happen here, they said – but it does. On Tuesday, Novak said the Snack Pack program gave out 387 food packs – just for Mitchell youth.
“I think that's a pretty significant concern,” Novak said. “When people aren't hungry, they can live more productive lives.”
To continue working toward collective solutions, Dakota Wesleyan will host its first Hunger Summit on April 15 on campus. Vincent said she's been working with South Dakota State University, Feeding South Dakota, the Midwest Dairy Association and others to focus on solutions for South Dakota.
“I'm really excited about that. I'm really hoping we can get people from around the community and state,” Vincent said. “We really believe in collective partnerships.”
Friday, December 19, 2014
Dakota Wesleyan University has named Joel Allen and Jackie Wentworth as the winners of the fall term’s Professional Excellence Awards.
Allen, assistant professor of religion, won the Professional Excellence Award for faculty, and Wentworth, director of alumni relations, won for staff.
“Joel is continually seeking out ways to better contribute to his students and the campus community,” states his nomination letter. “He works to add interesting speakers, service-learning projects, and applied learning in all his classes. He is ever-willing to contribute to the wider campus community as well, whether that’s helping at chapel, developing new internship opportunities, working to bring renowned speakers to campus, or developing new ways to encourage students to join him in Israel. He is also jolly fun to be around and a great listener.”
Allen is also described as adaptable and willing to integrate new teaching methods into his curriculum, as well as branching out and developing the Denver Urban Semester program and DWU travel experience to Israel.
Wentworth, who is a 1983 alumnus and has worked at DWU since 2005, was described by her nomination as “warm, caring, and bleeds DWU blue.”
“There is no person, living or dead, who knows Dakota Wesleyan alumni, living or dead, as well as Jackie Wentworth,” states her letter. “People say that no one is irreplaceable, but Jackie actually is. … Part of what makes her so incredibly good at her job is that she has a true, genuine interest in other people – when she asks questions, it is not to make small talk, but because she honestly wants to know; and then she commits all she learns to her memory vault and can recite it on command 10 years later. No one could do what she does as well as she does it, not to mention with her wonderful attitude.
“Jackie is a person I try to emulate, because I know how much is expected of her and yet she never falters in spirit or attitude.”
Monday, December 15, 2014
Dakota Wesleyan University offices will be closed Monday, Dec. 22, through Friday, Dec. 26, for Christmas break. Offices will reopen at 8 a.m., Monday, Dec. 29. Classes will end Wednesday, Dec. 17, and resume at 8 a.m., Monday, Jan. 5.
DWU will also be closed on New Year’s Day, Jan. 1, 2015.
The McGovern Library will be closed Saturday, Dec. 20, through Dec. 28, reopen on, Dec. 29-31, close on New Year’s Day, Jan. 1, and reopen Jan. 2 at regular hours. Java City, within the library, will close on Friday, Dec. 19, and remain closed until school is back in session Monday, Jan. 5.
Friday, December 12, 2014
Dakota Wesleyan University was named to the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, in the General Community Service category.
The award is a reflection of DWU’s service to its community and the world.
“Dakota Wesleyan’s values are ‘Learning, Leadership, Faith and Service,’ and we try to not just teach this in the classroom but mirror this motto in our lives,” said DWU President Amy Novak. “Part of how we do this is by encouraging volunteerism among our staff and faculty and incorporating it into class projects. The students gain from these service projects just as much as the community. Some of the charitable projects they have designed for classes are truly inspiring – everything from fundraisers to teaching aerobics at the senior center.”
The university takes part in multiple service-oriented projects, mission trips, service-learning trips, and volunteer projects each year, organized by the college, students or staff. The largest service project DWU provides for Mitchell is the annual Service Day, when hundreds of students, staff and faculty volunteer in the community doing projects, trash pick-up
, and cleaning. On a global level, the university also organizes a campus ministry mission trip every spring to a developing country, and the McGovern Center led a service-learning trip to Uganda and Rwanda last summer.
Nearly all major areas of study have a service component for graduation, and each student organization and athletic team commits to at least one service project each semester as a way to give back.
DWU is one of 766 higher education institutions named to the 2014 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in the nation, according to a press release.
“Service and higher education go hand in hand,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, in the release. “These schools are inspiring young leaders to roll up their sleeves and work alongside community members to solve problems. By recognizing the institutions who are leading the way to achieve meaningful, measurable results for the communities they serve, we also highlight the vital role all colleges and universities play in addressing community challenges and placing more students on a lifelong path of civic engagement.”
Monday, December 8, 2014
Categories: Blog: Online Degrees @ DWU, News,
Friday, December 5, 2014
By Jill Callison
Barbara Duffey didn’t exactly come home again when she moved from Utah to South Dakota in August 2012.
But her ties to the state were strong, since her mother, Virginia Duffey, was raised in Deadwood and Winner and her father, James Duffey, grew up in Brookings. Going back another generation, her grandfather, George Duffey, taught at South Dakota State University for many years.
That’s why Duffey describes the state as “her ancestors’ homeland for a few generations,” and why she is enthusiastic about a connection to the land that now can influence her poetry.
Duffey, assistant professor of English at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell where she teaches creative writing, composition and literature courses, has written poetry for almost 25 years, since her fifth-grade instructor told the class to write similes.
“He also had us write Mother’s Day poems to our mothers,” Duffey said. “I actually think my mother still has the poem I wrote for her, Mother’s Day 1991. My parents were always supportive of my writing.”
More recently, support came this week when Duffey was announced as the recipient of a $25,000 Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
“It’s very difficult to get an N.E.A.,” said Jacqueline Osherow, Duffey’s dissertation director and a poet. “The odds are way stacked against you.”
The award allows recipients to set aside time for writing, research, travel and general career advancement, according to the announcement.
In a word, it will give Duffey time. And that’s something to be valued.
“For a writer, the gift of time is the greatest gift you can give,” said fellow poet Valerie Wetlaufer of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who met Duffey when they studied at the University of Utah.
“Time is what it takes to write a good poem. It gives you the space to write and to research.”
The fellowship also is a statement of faith in a person’s work, Wetlaufer said.
“Someone else is seeing what you’re trying to do, and you’re reaching people,” she said.
Reaching people is important to Duffey, who knows poetry can intimidate some people.
“Poetry is not something you need a special degree to read,” she said. “If you come to a poem with an open mind in good faith trying to understand the poem, you can.”
Duffey’s poems are unique, Osherow said.
“She’s very, very original,” she said. Duffey created a series of poems in a pinwheel shape. When turned, the poem changes.
Duffey lived in the Los Angeles area until she was 12 before moving to Albuquerque. She is considering using her fellowship money to rent a house somewhere and pay for child care for her son, now 2, and then devote the summer of 2016 to writing.
“I’m thinking Greece, maybe,” she said. “I’d really like to go to Crete in particular. I took an archaeology class and fell in love with the history of Crete.”
Poetry in which the writer takes a risk attracts her, Duffey said, and she tries to be vulnerable in her own work. To do that, she turns to events in her own life.
The poem “That There Would be Better Pornography” deals with a trip to an infertility clinic. It’s real, Duffey says: Her son was born after an intrauterine insemination.
“She writes about regular experiences like parenting, trying to get pregnant and teaching, and she offers intelligent insight into these everyday experiences,” Wetlaufer said.
To read some of Barbara Duffey’s poetry, visit barbaraduffey.com/work-you-can-read-online.
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