Category: Blog: Online Degrees @ DWU

‘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,

Change in Career Goals Brings Leah Back to DWU

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Throughout her undergraduate studies in biology at Dakota Wesleyan University, Leah Wienbar had one career goal: to become a surgeon. But after graduating in 2014, she began substitute teaching in the Iroquois (S.D.) School District. Now her career goals have changed.

“I discovered my love for teaching,” says Leah, 23, who also works as a librarian.

Instead of medical school, Leah will pursue a fully online Master of Arts in Education at her alma mater.

“I love DWU,” she says. “My experiences there have been nothing but good. I decided to get my master’s degree online here because I knew that I’d be receiving a quality education and plenty of help if I need it.”

Leah will start orientation class on April 13.

She likes the idea of pursuing her master’s online because it allows her the flexibility to fit her studies into her life. In addition to working as a librarian and substitute teacher, Leah enjoys spending time with her niece and many nephews, her other family members and her friends. She also likes to read.

Because she works during the day, Leah plans to clear out evenings for her studies. She also will take time off work as needed to study for tests or to work on class assignments.

Her only concern about earning her degree online is if she has computer or Internet issues, but she knows, based on her undergraduate experience, that her professors at DWU will be understanding and helpful if that should occur.

Even though she no longer plans to be a surgeon, Leah will put her DWU undergraduate degree in biology to work: She intends to become a high school science teacher.

Have your career plans changed? Wondering how DWU’s online degree programs might help you reach your career goals? Email Amber Turner, online admissions counselor at DWU.

CategoriesBlog: Online Degrees @ DWU, News,

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,

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,

DWU’s Online M.B.A. a Great Fit for Busy Adults Like Kimberly

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Kimberly Lofgren knew she wanted a flexible online M.B.A. degree program to fit into her active life as a mother of two young children and the director of finance and administration at Mitchell Area Chamber of Commerce/Mitchell Area Development Corp. 

She also wanted a program that would develop skills and knowledge she could use in her career—even before she completed her M.B.A.

Kimberly found that in the Master of Business Administration—Strategic Leadership degree program at Dakota Wesleyan University.

“The courses in the online M.B.A. program have enabled me to broaden my thinking and understanding of the business environment, allowing me to understand the issues small businesses face and how best to solve their problems,” she says.

Kimberly earned an associate’s degree in accounting in 2001 at Mitchell Technical Institute and a bachelor’s in accounting at DWU in 2005. As a DWU alumna, Kimberly knew the type of education she could expect from DWU. The online format of DWU’s M.B.A. also fit perfectly into her busy life.

“Between work and busing kids to activities, I have found that I can log in and complete my homework in the evening while they are sleeping,” she says.

If you’re trying to decide if the time is right to pursue your M.B.A. at DWU, Kimberly advises: “Go for it.”

DWU’s online M.B.A. is specifically designed to prepare graduates to be successful in small and medium-sized businesses. It can be completed in as little as 12 months.

Request more information now.

If you started your degree path at a technical institute like Kimberly did, and still need to complete your bachelor’s degree before you can pursue an M.B.A., consider DWU’s online Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership.

CategoriesBlog: Online Degrees @ DWU, News,

New Year’s Resolution #1: Earn Your Online Degree at DWU

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:

  1. Relevant coursework: At DWU, we don’t believe in busywork. We believe in providing you with information, knowledge, and skills you can apply—immediately.
  2. 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.
  3. Preparation for leadership: All of our programs are designed to prepare you for leadership roles.
  4. 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


CategoriesBlog: Online Degrees @ DWU, News,

Spotlight: DWU's Dr. Joe Gertsema

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.

CategoriesBlog: Online Degrees @ DWU, News,

Stuck in a Job? Move Up with DWU's Online Degrees

Monday, December 8, 2014

CategoriesBlog: Online Degrees @ DWU, News,

President Novak: DWU’s Online Degrees Prepare Leaders in the Workplace

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Online learning at Dakota Wesleyan University started with an important question: How can we better prepare leaders for an ever-evolving workplace?

From there we sought input from top leaders across the Great Plains region in a variety of industries—from health care and business to the financial sector and technology. We then created workplace-relevant programs that are also flexible so busy adults can learn any time, day or night—from any location.

Since starting online learning in August 2013, we now prepare leaders in four programs:

The primary distinction about online learning at DWU is that coursework is relevant. That means students can apply what they are learning well before they earn their degrees.

In our programs, we are very intentional about fulfilling our mission to prepare leaders. And it has paid off. Our graduates (and our students) tell us their understanding of leadership and how they apply it increased substantially because of their online education at DWU.

We have long been an institution recognized for personalized attention to the learner. That does not change in the online learning environment. Our faculty members are very accessible and ready to support our students through whatever personal, educational, or professional challenges they may encounter. Our faculty mentor online students and help prepare them for that next promotion or their next opportunity.

We will continue the conversation with industry leaders so we can grow and adapt our courses and our programs to meet emerging needs of our current and future students, such as:

  • Rising business leaders
  • Registered nurses who are seeking leadership roles
  • Teachers who want to learn more

We also look forward to visiting with you. If you would like to know more about DWU’s online degrees, please request more information. It would be our pleasure to support you as an online learner.

Amy Novak


Dakota Wesleyan University

CategoriesBlog: Online Degrees @ DWU, News,

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,
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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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