Category: News

Two performances of the ‘Messiah’ set for next weekend

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

It is one of the most popular pieces by George Frideric Handel and often performed only in sections, but Dakota Wesleyan’s music department will tackle most of the three-part “Messiah” in a free concert next weekend.


It is a very dramatic work and if you can capture the emotion of the piece, it can be very inspirational,” said Dr. Clinton Desmond, DWU choral director.


The Ron and Sheilah Gates Department of Music at Dakota Wesleyan University will present Handel’s “Messiah,” at 7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 15, and 4 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 16, at the First United Methodist Church in Mitchell. This event is free and open to the public and will include the Wesleyan Choir and LyricWood Orchestra, as well as the new community chamber choir, Prairie Fire Voices.



“Choirs usually only perform the Christmas section and the ‘Hallelujah Chorus,’ which is part one and the last movement of part two,” Desmond said. “Parts two and three deal with the Passion of Christ and his death, resurrection and glorification in Heaven. It is in those sections, where the truly beautiful and dramatic music is located.” 



Desmond has performed Handel’s “Messiah” many times throughout his career and is excited to bring it back to Dakota Wesleyan and perform it inside the church.


“The First United Methodist’s sanctuary has such wonderful acoustics and will be a lovely fit for this piece,” he said. “Given the scope of this material, our choirs have been working nonstop since August to produce an amazing show. Mitchell isn’t going to want to miss this.”


The Four Exceptional Tracks of DWU’s Master’s in Education

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

No matter what your goals are as an educator, the Master of Arts in Education from Dakota Wesleyan University will help you take your career to the next level. In a recent Online Degrees @ DWU blog, I shared 6 Reasons to Choose DWU’s Online M.A. in Education. I would like to elaborate on the program’s four specialized tracks:

·       Educational Policy and Administration

·       Principal Certification

·       Secondary Certification

·       STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) Instruction

Let’s start with the Educational Policy and Administration track. This specialization is geared to those who want to work in higher education. It prepares you to teach, coach and be an administrator at the college/university level.

The Principal Certification program is for teachers who want to move into administrative roles. If you earn this degree and have three years of teaching experience, you will be ready to be a pre-K through 12 principal.

The Secondary Certification program is for students who want to teach, but who lack a teaching degree. After completing this program, and passing the Praxis II content and PLT tests, you will be certified to teach in grades 7-12.

If you are an elementary through high school teacher who wants to explore contemporary instructional practices related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, the STEM Instruction program is ideal for you. In this program, DWU goes beyond these four curriculum areas to take a broader, problem-based approach to education. Through this distinctive program, you will gain higher level thinking skills that will benefit not only you but also the institutions—and students—you serve.

If you are interested in pursuing the M.A. in Education with our four distinctive tracks, please request more information. We look forward to hearing from you!

Dr. Joe Gertsema

Director, Graduate Studies/Education


CategoriesBlog: Online Degrees @ DWU, News,

‘Scrooge, the Musical’ to be preceded by Dickens-inspired Christmas sessions at DWU

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Dakota Wesleyan faculty are planning three nights of Dickens-inspired sessions in November, all culminating in the DWU-Mitchell ACT production of “Scrooge, the Musical.”


Dark and desperate were the times during Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” the basis of the musical adaptation and also the inspiration for DWU’s “Setting the Stage: Sessions on ‘Scrooge, the Musical,’” which will be on campus at 7 p.m., Wednesdays, Nov. 5, 12 and 19, in Java City in the McGovern Library. All sessions are free and open to the public. Each session will contain three presentations about 15 minutes long.


The first session will be about social concerns in Dickens’ day, “Let them die and decrease the surplus population,” as written in his book. Pam Boline, associate professor of human services, will describe the societal attitudes toward the poor in the mid-1800s, which led to the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 and the development of workhouses. Gretchen Rich, assistant professor of English, will discuss concepts on supernatural and burial customs of the Victorian Age in her presentation, “Ghosts, Spirits, and Victorian Burial Practices.” Lastly, Dr. Joel Allen, assistant professor of religion, will discuss “Dickens’ Religious Views and Their Impact on his Writing.”


“This presentation will explore Dickens as both a despiser of false and overly restrictive religion who simultaneously advocated for a simple faith which moves humanity to acts of kindness and charity,” Allen said. “Toward the end of his life, he wrote a secret work which went unpublished until 1934 at his request. It was called ‘The Life of Our Lord,’ and was written to instruct his children in a respect for Christ that would motivate charity toward all.”


The second week, 7 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 12, featuring the Victorian Christmas, will dive into traditions of the era: “He knew how to keep Christmas well.” This session will cover “The Victorians and Their Age,” by Lori Holmberg, of Mitchell; and “A Victorian Christmas,” presented by Dr. Vince Redder, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. Also, Dr. Derek Driedger, associate dean of digital learning, plans to outline why people continue to read Dickens, how readers and literary scholars apply Dickens’ ideas today, and what role technology played in maintaining Dickens’ popularity in his session, “Dickens in the 21st Century: Lengthy Books, Lasting Influence.”


At the end of the Nov. 12 session, Charles Dickens will make an appearance, reading an excerpt from “A Christmas Carol.” Dr. Mike Catalano, a math professor on campus who has appeared in several DWU theatre and music productions, will be playing the part.


The third and final week, 7 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 19, will center on “Scrooge, the Musical”: “They were a musical family, and knew what they were about.” Dr. Barbara Duffey, assistant professor of English, will talk about “Literary Scrooges,” and DWU’s theatre director, Dan Miller, and choral director, Dr. Clinton Desmond, will share their experiences of what it was like to bring the musical to fruition, from acting to music. There are also Victorian Christmas carols planned to end the evening.


“Scrooge, the Musical,” production times are 7:30 p.m., Dec. 4-6, and Dec. 11-13, and 2 p.m., Dec. 7 and Dec. 14, at the Pepsi-Cola Theatre for the Performing Arts, Main Street, Mitchell. Tickets are $12 and $14 for general admission and will go on sale Nov. 20. Tickets are $10 for DWU students, staff and faculty with a DWU I.D., one per I.D.


Succeed at the Next Level with DWU Organizational Leadership Degree

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

We hear it from business leaders all of the time. They want employees who can:

·      Think critically

·      Take initiative

·      Problem-solve

·      Communicate effectively

·      Organize efficiently

If you want to meet employers’ rising expectations—and get to the career you want—consider pursuing the fully online Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership degree from Dakota Wesleyan University.

As the director of the business graduate programs and department chair, I’m excited to announce this new program, which will begi

n in January 2015.

DWU’s online bachelor’s degree isn’t just for people with a business experience. It is geared toward all disciplines, fields, and careers—and will prepare you to lead at the next level, no matter your field.

We specifically developed this unique program to help students meet the needs of the marketplace and gain the skills they

need to be effective leaders and managers.

DWU worked with the Project Management Institute (PMI) to develop solid project management skillsets throughout the program. By learning these critical skills, you can assist entrepreneurs and executives by completing tasks and projects—on time, within budget, and with minimal disruption to the organization.

These skills also will assist you in becoming better organized, more capable of quickly solving complex issues and

problems, and in becoming a more effective communicator.

Again, these are all of the skills employers are looking for—and they will also provide a solid foundation for you if you open your own business.

Our organizational leadership program is not bogged down in theory and concepts found only in textbooks.

We give you practical, hands-on opportunities to learn outside of the classroom from professional project managers who use these skills daily.

If you would like to learn more about DWU’s Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership, please request more information.


Dr. Monty Bohrer

Director, Business Graduate Programs

Department Chair

CategoriesBlog: Online Degrees @ DWU, News,

Fall Concert set on campus this weekend

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Dakota Wesleyan University will put on a Fall Concert this Sunday on campus, introducing the university’s new jazz band.

The Ron and Sheilah Gates Department of Music at DWU will perform the Fall Concert at 4 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 26, at the Sherman Center on campus. The concert is free and open to the community.

The DWU Jazz Band, directed by Ryan Stahle, will perform three pieces, “Q.C. Shuffle,” “Funky Wheels,” and “Crunchy Frog.” The Highlanders, the campus’s premier choir, will sing “Is Any Afflicted?” “I Am in Need of Music,” “With a Voice of Singing,” and “Tanzen und Springen.”

The Wesleyan Bells, will eight pieces, including “With a Joyful Heart,” “Hedwig’s Theme” (from the movie, “Harry Potter”), “Eye of the Tiger,” and  “Old MacDonald.”


Mixed Blood Theatre’s ‘According to Coyote’ comes to Mitchell

Monday, October 20, 2014

A collection of American Indian legends and stories will be performed in November at Dakota Wesleyan University.


The Mixed Blood Theatre presents “According To Coyote” from 7 to 8 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 6, in the East Main Dining Room, Rollins Campus Center, at DWU.  The performance is sponsored by the DWU Student Diversity Council, is free and open to the public, and is suitable for all ages.


 “A full-throttled anthology of tales featuring the legendary hero of American Indian lore, ‘According To Coyote’ (by John Kauffman) is also an unforgettable encounter with the richness, vitality and sensibilities of Native culture,” states a press release.


“According to Coyote” stars George Keller and is directed by Victor Toman, and is told in narration following Coyote the Creator, “the namer of animals and bringer of fire”; Coyote the Trickster, whose scheming usually backfires; and Coyote the Teacher, who departs his wisdom and teaches humility, according to its press release.


“According To Coyote” is one of five culturally-specific productions toured annually by Mixed Blood Theatre, a Minneapolis-based multicultural theatre company founded in 1976.


This is the first presentation through the Student Diversity Council of the year. The group focuses on educating students and the surrounding community about different cultures.


“I think it is important to provide cultural experiences like ‘According to Coyote’ because it opens people’s eyes to realities versus the common stereotype we tend to fall into when we think about other cultures,” said Katherine Varnado, a DWU junior. “It also broadens horizons because some students haven’t been anywhere outside of South Dakota and this is a chance to give people a taste of the different cultures and diversity that is beyond our (home states) and even our country.”


10th annual Mitchell Area Youth Night set for next week with Shane Claiborne

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Dakota Wesleyan University and campus ministry celebrates a decade of bringing youth together for one night of worship and contemplation this year with its 10th annual Mitchell Area Youth Night.


The 10th annual Mitchell Area Youth Night, with writer and activist Shane Claiborne, will be from 6:30 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 22, in the Sherman Center. This program, “Scandal of Grace,” is free and open to the public, with doors opening at 6 p.m. and seating first-come, first-serve. Claiborne will also speak during regular campus worship at 11 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 23, which is also open to the public.


“With new eyes can we look at people we don’t even like and see the One we love? Let’s imagine a revolution that is gentle and magnetic, a revolution big enough to set both the oppressed and the oppressors free,” states his speaker’s release. “With hard stories from the streets of Philly and the warzone of Iraq, Shane will invite us to reflect on the scandal of God’s inclusive love – in a world that is starved for grace.”


Claiborne is the founder and a board member for The Simple Way, a faith community in inner-city Philadelphia. He also writes and travels the world, speaking about peacemaking, social justice and Jesus Christ. He has worked alongside Mother Teresa in Calcutta, as well as for the mega-church Willow Creek in Chicago. He has traveled to Rwanda, the West Bank, Afghanistan and Iraq.


“People tend to rely on different forms of violence to address conflict — physical or military force, bullying, verbal intimidation, emotional abuse,” said Eric Van Meter, campus pastor. “We’re so used to it that it’s hard even for Christians to see an alternative way to relate to others. Shane is a person who has not only thought through the message of Jesus, but put it to work in areas of conflict across the globe. He has the credibility to show us something different than we’re used to.”


Claiborne co-founded the organization, Red Letter Christians, a movement of Christians who try to live their lives according to the words of Jesus – which in many Bibles, are highlighted in red.


A graduate of Eastern University, the school also bestowed upon him an Honorary Doctorate in 2010. He also did graduate work at Princeton Seminary.


His books, which have been translated into more than a dozen languages, include: “Jesus for President,” “Red Letter Revolution,” “Common Prayer,” “Follow Me to Freedom,” “Jesus, Bombs and Ice Cream,” “Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers,” and “The Irresistible Revolution.” He has also been featured in the films “Another World is Possible,” and “Ordinary Radicals,” and he conducts more than 100 speaking engagements a year.


According to his website, his work has appeared in Esquire, SPIN, Christianity Today, and The Wall Street Journal, and he has appeared on Fox News, Al Jazeera, CNN and NPR. He has also given academic lectures at Harvard, Princeton, Brown, Liberty, Duke, and Notre Dame University.


6 Reasons to Choose DWU’s Online M.A. in Education

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Now more than ever teachers and school administrators must have the skills, knowledge and expertise to deal with rapidly changing expectations for teaching and learning.

Through the Master of Arts in Education from Dakota Wesleyan University, students explore contemporary instructional practices that will help them take their careers to the next level.

So what is distinctive about DWU’s M.A. in Education?

1.    Experienced instructors: Our professors are veteran educators who bring a wealth of experience to you. They also bring fresh perspectives and ideas, a passion for education, and a clear vision for the future of the field. They know and understand the issues facing teachers, administrators, and schools—and they can help you develop the skills and knowledge you need to find solutions.

2.    Relevant coursework: Put your learning to work immediately in your own classroom—well before you complete your degree. You will gain practical knowledge and gain skills that can help your students—today.

3.    Specialized tracks: Choose the program that meets your goals:

a.    STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) Instruction

b.    Secondary Certification

c.     Principal Certification

d.    Educational Policy and Administration

4.    Flexibility: Online courses allow you to fit your studies into your busy schedule.

5.    Community: Online learning is personal at DWU. Our students get to know one another and their instructors very well. They learn and grow together.

6.    Accredited: The DWU M.A. in Education is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Accreditation Association and is affirmed by the South Dakota Department of Education.

If you would like to further explore the M.A. in Education at DWU, please request more information.

Dr. Joe Gertsema

Director, Graduate Studies/Education



CategoriesBlog: Online Degrees @ DWU, News,

DWU announces ‘Scrooge’ cast list, upcoming show dates

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Ebenezer Scrooge, of Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol,” will take the stage this Christmas season through the collaborative efforts of Dakota Wesleyan University Department of Theatre and the Mitchell Area Community Theatre in “Scrooge, the Musical.”


Seventy-four people auditioned for the MACT-DWU production of “Scrooge,” set for this December. Production times are 7:30 p.m., Dec. 4-6, and Dec. 11-13, and 2 p.m., Dec. 7 and Dec. 14, at the Pepsi-Cola Theatre for the Performing Arts, Main Street, Mitchell. Tickets are $12 and $14 for general admission.


To purchase tickets, visit the Pepsi-Cola Theatre, or click here.


Ebenezer Scrooge will be played by James VanOort, of Mitchell, a face known by those who attended last spring’s DWU production of “Les Misérables,” where he played the weaseling pub owner, Thenardier.


“This is an unusual show in the fact that it truly only has one lead character, Scrooge,” Miller said. “Beyond Scrooge, we have a small list of what I would like to call the ‘supporting leads' – characters who have lines and songs, and who the audience will absolutely love and remember the most.”


Supporting leads include: Bob Cratchit: Kurt Schwarzenbart; Mrs. Ethel Cratchit: Lisa Stanley; Fred Holywell (Scrooge’s nephew): Ian Hyde; Tom Jenkins: Brett Farnham, Mrs. Holywell (Fred’s wife): Madi Miller; Ghost of Jacob Marley: James W. Hamilton; Ghost of Christmas Past: Jennifer Uthe; Ghost of Christmas Present: Nate Collins; Young Adult Scrooge: Kellan Willet; Isabel (Scrooge’s fiancé): Alaina Bertsch; Mr. Fezziwig: Dan Miller; and Mrs. Fezziwig: Melissa Miller.


The original musical production of “Scrooge” is three hours long, but this production is the abridged version which is about an hour and a half.


“There are so many versions of ‘A Christmas Carol’ that the difference between the abridged version and full-length probably won’t be noticed by most viewers,” Miller said. “We wanted to be sensitive to the time length because so many families are expected to be in the audience. It’s difficult for adults to sit for three hours, so we chose a version that would make things a little easier on our younger audience and get them to bed before 10 p.m.”


Full cast list:


Ebenezer Scrooge

James C. VanOort

Fred Holywell, Scrooges nephew

Ian Hyde

Mrs. Holywell, Fred’s wife

Madi Miller

Ghost of Jacob Marley

James W. Hamilton

Ghost of Christmas Past

Jennifer Uthe

Ghost of Christmas Present

Nate Collins

Boarding School Teacher

Kim Bruguier

Boarding School Student 1

Maddie Bruguier

Boarding School Student 2

Mia Bruguier

Boarding School Student 3

Kali Ann Milekovich

Young Scrooge

Thadan Miliken-Auch

Teenage Scrooge

Jonathon Freeman

Teenage Fan

Joanna Schleich

Young Adult Scrooge

Kellan Willet

Isabel,Scrooge’s fiancé

Alaina Bertsch

Bob Cratchit

Kurt Schwarzenbart

Mrs. Ethel Cratchit

Lisa Stanley

Martha Cratchit

Rachelle Steiner

Belinda Cratchit

Kelsey Joramo

Peter Cratchit

Cameron Gauger

Alberta Cratchit

Kiauna Hargens

Kathy Cratchit

Reese Reichert

Tiny Tim Cratchit

Caleb Joramo

Mr. Fezziwig

Dan Miller

Mrs. Fezziwig

Melissa Miller

Henry Dawkins

Chris Gollnick

Simon Smyth

Josh LaBarbera

Patty Pettigrew

Kara Kvanli

Tom Jenkins

Brett Farnham

Dotty Dwerryhouse

Megan Davis

Heddy Huddleston

Ann Thury

Fiona Strudwick

Lily Jones

Father Christmas

Brent Matter

First Gentleman

Mike Catalano

Second Gentleman

Mike Farney

First Urchin

Brittney Kaufmann

Second Urchin

Tessa Yeo

Third Urchin

Madison Miller

Fourth Urchin

Owen Miller

Fifth Urchin

Aidan Miller

Sixth Urchin

Madeline M. DeBeer

Seventh Urchin

Victoria Colwell

Eighth Urchin

Sarah Twibell

First Imp


Second Imp


Chorus / Dance Woman 1

Dyrani Clark

Chorus / Dance Woman 2

Hannah Harbour

Chorus / Dance Woman 3

Abby Carpenter

Chorus / Dance Woman 4

Marian Ragels

Chorus / Dance Woman 5

Ashton Diede

Chorus / Dance Woman 6

Autumn Schmidt

Chorus / Dance Woman 7

Hali Strom

Chorus / Dance Man 1

Isaiah Munsen

Chorus / Dance Man 2

Kellan Willet

Chorus / Dance Man 3

Sam Britt

Chorus / Dance Man 4

Jon Kleinschmit

Chorus / Dance Man 5

Alex Barringer



DWU Board of Trustees gains five new members

Friday, October 3, 2014

Dakota Wesleyan University welcomes five new members to its Board of Trustees, two of whom have previously served.


Jacquelyn Johnson is a Mitchell native and financial adviser and stockholder for Dice Financial Services Group. This is her first term on the DWU Board of Trustees. She is a graduate of Mitchell High School and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Dakota in 2000 and a Master of Science degree from the University of Kansas in 2002.


Johnson has served as a member of or on the boards and committees for: Mitchell Area Chamber of Commerce, Avera Queen of Peace Hospital, Avera Health Board Pooled Investments, Mitchell Technical Institute Foundation, Mitchell Area Development Corporation, LifeQuest Foundation, Junior Achievement, South Dakota Development Corporation, USD Alumni Association, YWCA, Avera Queen of Peace Splash of Spirits fundraiser, National Association of Insurance and Financial Planners, and Dakota Discovery Museum.


Beth Kroger, of Louisville, Colo., was named to the board this fall. Kroger, a Mitchell native as well, graduated from Dakota Wesleyan University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration in 1996 and obtained her Master of Business Administration degree from the University of South Dakota in 2006.


She is currently the chief of operations of the JILA research institute at the University of Colorado-Boulder in partnership with the university and the National Institute of Science and Technology. The institute has generated three Nobel laureates in physics since 2001.


Some of her previous positions include vice president for administration and finance at Wayne State College, Wayne, Neb., vice president of business affairs at Waldorf College, Forest City, Iowa, and vice president of business affairs at Chestnut Hill College, Philadelphia, Pa.


She has also been involved in Rotary International and local organizations such as Attention Homes, Greenhouse Scholars, and Worlds of Wonder Museum.


Ron Martin, Tyler, Texas, is serving his second term with DWU as well. He previously served on the board from 2001-2013 and the board renewed his appointment last spring. Martin, a Wagner native, graduated from Wagner High School followed by a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration from DWU in 1974. Martin is currently principal/loan officer for Avenue Mortgage, LLC in Tyler. Previously he was the vice president and COO for Budford Television, Inc., vice president of operations for Classic Communications, both of Tyler; and a loan officer for Capital Mortgage, Whitehouse, Texas.


Roger Musick, of Mitchell, returned to the Board of Trustees last spring. Musick previously served on the board from 1995 to 2007. He is a graduate of Mitchell High School and South Dakota School of Mines with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering. He was a founder and partner at Martin and Associates from 1971 to 2000, when it was sold. In 1998, he founded and is the CEO of Innovative Systems, a telecommunications software development organization.


Musick has also served on the Chamber of Commerce board, MADC, Vision 2000, the Methodist Hospital Board, Methodist Health Care Association, Avera Queen of Peace board, Mitchell Technical Institute advisory board, South Dakota State University advisory board, DSU CS advisory board, and South Dakota REACH committee.


Leon Washington, of Bethlehem, Pa., joined the board this fall. Washington is the vice provost for admissions and financial aid at Lehigh University, Bethlehem. He was born in Miami and graduated high school in Hampton, S.C. He graduated with his Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from Dakota Wesleyan in 1972, and obtained a Master of Arts degree in anthropology from California State University, Hayward, in 2002.


He previously served as the assistant vice chancellor for enrollment and student academic support at the University of California-Davis, Davis, Calif., as well as two director and one associate vice president positions in enrollment, outreach and recruitment at California State University. He also worked in admissions at Guilford College, Greensboro, N.C., and Hamline University, St. Paul, Minn., as well as several other universities. He is fluent in Portuguese and worked in human resources at Olin International in Lages, Brazil, from 1972-1978, developing a technical training manual for international employees and translating technical documents.


Community service includes Bethlehem Township City Council, Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges, Lehigh Valley Council for Equity and Community, and Church of the Sacred Heart.


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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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