Category: Blog: Online Degrees @ DWU

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,

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,

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,

5 Ways to Embrace Change and Pursue Your Online Degree at DWU

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


For some of us, the very idea of change is terrifying. But is fear of change keeping you stuck? Specifically, is the unknown keeping you from pursuing the degree you need to get the career you want?

Fredel Thomas has embraced change—professionally and personally. The executive director of the Dakota Wesleyan University’s Kelley Center for Entrepreneurship—and the mother of three young girls—is also an August 2014 graduate of DWU, receiving one of the university’s first M.B.A. in Strategic Leadership degrees.Fredel Thomas Family

Recently, Thomas led a webinar entitled, “Models of Change: Change Isn’t Easy, but It Doesn’t Have to Be Hard.” While the presentation was geared toward business and organization leaders, these five tips from Thomas’ webinar can help you negotiate your resistance to change and successfully move you forward with online learning at DWU:

1.    Education and Communication: The fear and anxiety you have about returning to school may simply come from not having enough information. Whether you plan to pursue an RN-Bachelor of Science in Nursing, M.B.A. in Strategic Leadership, or a Master of Arts in Education, educate yourself about your future program. Spend time on our website. Request more information. Or email Amber Turner, our online admissions counselor, directly. By communicating with DWU, and getting answers to your questions, you will feel empowered to pursue new opportunities in online education.  

2.    Participation: Returning to school impacts your life for sure. But it also impacts the lives of those around you—especially your family and your employer. Tell family, friends and employers you are considering a return to the classroom. Listen to their questions, comments and concerns so that you are not making this decision alone.

3.    Building support and commitment: To build on Tip #2, having the support of those closest to you will make all the difference in your success at DWU. Let them know you are serious about pursuing your degree, and ask for their support once you commit to your goal.

4.    Developing positive online relationships: Online learning is not about interacting only with your computer. You will be joining a community of learners, led by engaging faculty members who want to see all of you succeed. Do your part to build positive relationships with the other students and with your instructors.

5.    Implementing changes fairly. Keep an eye on your key stakeholders—chiefly your family members. Yes, it will be a balancing act to find time for your family while you find time for your studies, but it is possible. For example, when Thomas was working on her studies, she did not shut out her family during study time. Her children joined her at the kitchen table; coloring while she did her coursework during the year it took to complete her M.B.A. Remember your change is a change for your team, too. By including your team in your learning adventure, your success becomes an inspiration to them, too.  

Visit with DWU about strategies for change that can help you earn an online degree.

If you would like to further explore online learning at DWU, please request more information.

CategoriesBlog: Online Degrees @ DWU, News,

20 Success Tips for Online Degrees @ DWU

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Whether you plan to pursue Dakota Wesleyan University’s fully online RN-Bachelor of Science in Nursing,  M.B.A. in Strategic Leadership, or our brand-new Master of Arts in Education, we know you want to be successful. We want that for you, too. That is why we have reached out to students, faculty and staff alike to round up a list of tips to help you succeed—even before you start your classes. Here are 20 tips—in their own words:

1. Remember the program is like a marathon. Take it steady, slow and don’t burn all your energy on one part of the race.

2. Order your books in advance and look through them—even just briefly. We often make things harder in our minds than what they need to be and just becoming familiar with the book helps a lot! 

3. Don't procrastinate! Try to get a schedule down that you can follow, but always allow extra time in case of emergencies. 

4. Communicate with your instructors and your classmates. It is reassuring to know others are experiencing the same things as you. Don't be afraid to open up. It is possible to feel close to your class, even virtually!

5. I begin the course by getting organized and looking at due dates and how much is expected each week.  I also look at the midterm and final weeks to be sure I’m covering everything I need to be successful at the end of the course.

6. Stay ahead—but don’t get too far ahead!

7. Don’t hesitate to ask questions.  It is likely a question that more than one person has, so ask it!

8. Check into the online platform daily. Even if just for five minutes on a day you have everything done.

9. Make sure you enter your instructor’s name and contact information into your phone on the first day of the course. This way you know whom to notify in case of an emergency, power outage or illness.

10. Communicate with your instructor. ALWAYS be proactive if possible.  Contact your instructor BEFORE a due date, not after. Instructors understand that life events do occur, but they stress the importance of contacting them as soon as possible.

11. Understand the purpose of instructor feedback. Feedback and grading are part of the learning process and are how instructors teach in online courses. Do not take feedback personally. Instructor feedback is given to guide your learning through positive comments and suggestions or pointers to help you improve your work.  Please review and apply the instructor feedback to your next assignment.  Feedback is not given to make you feel bad, it is to help you grow in your professional role.

12. Read assignment instructions carefully. If unsure of what is expected, contact the instructor for clarification.

13. Remember that you are never alone in an online course. Reach out to the faculty or to others in the course if you are having problems or not understanding an assignment. 

14. Designate time for your readings and assignments and then allow yourself to not worry about class while you’re with your family, for example. 

15. Be realistic about your life, the demands and the things you can’t control. Schedule around your non-school responsibilities, and then be disciplined to stay as close to that schedule as possible. That allows you to say,  “I’m going to work on that paper on Tuesday from 7-9 and Wednesday from 5-8 because it’s due on Friday and I have other commitments on Monday and Thursday” and then on Monday night, you don’t feel guilty for not working on it, and on Thursday you’re not panicked while you’re at your other commitment.  This method allows you to go to kids’ activities, watch a sitcom, or go for a walk without feeling like you ‘should’ be working on coursework. 

16. Planning ahead also relieves you from the last-minute crises that can plague every human being – illness (you or your family), technology issues or a really good social event.

17. Before the class starts: Review the syllabus, print the course calendar and mark deadlines on it, and read everything on the course website so you find all the resources that were put there for you.

18. Understand your learning style. If you prefer to highlight/annotate on real paper, print everything at the beginning of the week/module/unit and carry at least a few pieces with you wherever you go. If you prefer to read online, make sure you have copies on multiple devices—phone, Kindle, laptop, iPad—so that you’re not dependent on an Internet connection if you want to catch up on your reading while you’re waiting somewhere (dr. appt., halftime, checkout line).

19. Read all the assignment requirements before you read the assigned reading (for the week/chapter/unit/module – the entire body of assignments related to that reading).  Know what answers you’re looking for before you start so that as you read, you save time by seeking those key concepts rather than trying to retain absolutely everything. You will save having to go back and needing to reread for certain questions. 

20. Make yourself stick to the schedule you’ve created. Be disciplined even if you’ve never been disciplined before. Your stress level and your GPA will thank you.

CategoriesBlog: Online Degrees @ DWU,

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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