See the transit of Venus at Medicine Wheel Park in Valley City

Want to see the transit of Venus on Tuesday, June 5?  This will be the last chance in your life to see such an event, because the next transit of Venus is in 2117.   In a transit, the Earth, Venus, and the Sun are arranged in a straight line.  Venus will pass between us and the Sun.  With the aid of a telescope, you will see a small black circle (Venus) slowly cross the Sun’s brilliant surface.  The total transit lasts six hours.  Sunspots should be visible, too.

The perfect place to view this once in a lifetime event is at Valley City State University’s Medicine Wheel Park in Valley City, ND. VCSU’s Dr. Preston Bush will have a telescope set up at the west end of the parking lot at Medicine Wheel Park from 6:30 to 8:00 pm and will answer all questions.  The telescope will be fitted with a solar filter to protect your vision (never look directly at the Sun).  You will also want to visit the park’s beautiful 4,000 square foot perennial flower garden.

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Articulation helps Dakota College grads earn CIS bachelor’s from VCSU

Valley City State University and Dakota College at Bottineau (DCB) recently completed an articulation agreement that allows students who have completed an Associate in Applied Science degree in Information Technology from DCB to earn a Bachelor’s degree with a major in Computer Information Systems (CIS) from VCSU.

Dr. Steve Shirley, president of VCSU, said, “DCB students have a solid foundation in general education and introductory CIS courses. This agreement provides these students with a direct path to a Bachelor’s degree in CIS from VCSU.”

DCB awards Associate in Science degrees in Computer Information Systems which involve several introductory courses in CIS as well as several general education courses. The agreement identifies a set of DCB’s general education and CIS courses that will directly transfer to VCSU and apply towards a bachelor’s degree in CIS from VCSU. This allows DCB students to plan their A.S. degree program with confidence that their coursework will apply towards a bachelor’s degree and allow them to transfer to VCSU with Junior year standing.

The agreement also identifies the VCSU courses that these students need to complete in their Junior and Senior years in order to earn their bachelor’s degree in CIS from VCSU. Students may elect to complete their Junior year without leaving Bottineau but are required to attend courses on the VCSU campus for the final two semesters of study.

VCSU’s CIS majors graduate with a combination of business and information technology skills specifically designed to meet the needs of today’s information-driven businesses. The curriculum meets standards defined by IS 2010 and emphasizes hands-on experience with technologies from leading vendors including SAP, Oracle, Adobe and Microsoft.

The CIS articulation joins other collaborative arrangements between the two campuses including opportunities for students to earn DCB Associate degrees or nursing titles (Practical Nurse or Associate Degree in Nursing) by taking classes at the VCSU campus.

Valley City State University (VCSU) prepares people for life through visionary leadership and exemplary practices in teaching, learning and service. VCSU is nationally acclaimed for attracting and retaining talented individuals who advance quality learning opportunities and economic growth through technology and innovation.


For additional information, contact:

Doug Anderson
Director, Marketing & Communications
Valley City State University

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AASL recognizes VCSU’s graduate LIT concentration

The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) division of the American Library Association (ALA) has recognized the Library and Information Technologies Concentration of VCSU’s online Master of Education program as a quality school librarianship program. VCSU is the only university in a four-state region (MN, ND, SD and Montana) with a nationally recognized program of this type.

“School library preparation programs that attain national recognition status from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) have undergone a rigorous peer review process that examines a diverse array of data and key components tied to national standards recognized by the profession,” said Carl Harvey, AASL President. “Nationally recognized school library preparation programs have demonstrated a strong commitment to excellence on behalf of their candidates and the P-12 students and communities they serve. By virtue of their recent national recognition, VCSU’s faculty and staff have positioned themselves as strategic leaders in 21st Century School Librarianship.”

Donna James, grant project director and Graduate Library Education Director at VCSU, said, “One of our goals for the original IMLS grant was to develop a high quality program that would qualify for ALA/AASL recognition. It is certainly rewarding to receive this notification.” James is an advocate for library education in North Dakota and former North Dakota Library Association (NDLA) president.

The AASL reviews school librarianship programs affiliated with NCATE-accredited units. VCSU has been accredited by NCATE since 1954, and the University’s online Master of Education has been accredited since 2005. The recognition is listed on the AASL web site and is available on the NCATE web site, and is effective until 2015 when NCATE will conduct an institution-wide review.

The LIT concentration is designed for practicing librarians who wish to further their careers with graduate-level credentials, or teachers outside the library wishing to add new credentials to their backgrounds. Previous recognition the program has received includes a $573,909 IMLS grant in 2007 and an ALA/AASL statement of commendation in 2008.

The curriculum and assessment tools were developed by a team that included Konnie Wightman, Library Media Coordinator (retired) for Bismarck Public Schools, and Gay Galles, Program Manager for Library Media Services for the Moorhead Area Public Schools (both also evaluate student data and are adjunct instructors in the program). The curriculum was designed to meet the AASL standards for initial preparation of school librarians which focuses on preparing school librarians who teach 21st century information literacy skills, collaborate with colleagues, advocate for the school’s library program, and lead the school community in the effective and ethical use of information.

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VCSU Reports All-Time Record Enrollment

Valley City State University set an all-time record for final Fall semester enrollment by achieving a headcount of 1,384 students, surpassing last year’s final headcount of 1,285 by 7.7%  and the previous record of 1,369 set over 40 years ago. With this accomplishment, enrollment at VCSU has grown by 40.1% over the past four years.

“VCSU faculty, staff, students, alumni and supporters should all take great pride in this tremendous accomplishment,” said VCSU president Dr. Steve Shirley. “This kind of growth can only be achieved with a concerted effort from all corners of the University.”

According to Dr. Shirley, VCSU has implemented several key, strategic initiatives that have contributed to this growth. “New and innovative initiatives in the VCSU 2015 Strategic Plan are making significant contributions to the enrollment growth. For example, our online Master of Education, which is only in its seventh year, now serves 157 students, an increase of 6.8% over last year. Emerging undergraduate programs in the Sciences, as well as growing programs in Teacher Education and Fine Arts along with new intercollegiate athletics offerings are all contributing to campus growth. This year, we are continuing to introduce new programs such as a major in Medical Laboratory Science and a concentration in Criminal Justice.”

Scholarships also played a pivotal role in achieving this record enrollment. Last year, the level of scholarship commitments reached a new all-time high of over $757,000, largely made possible by outstanding support of alumni and the VCSU community.

The enrollment increase has produced a corresponding increase in population on campus. For example, 347 students are living in residence halls this year, up from the final figure of 326 last year and the most on-campus students at VCSU in over 10 years.

In other signs of increasing momentum, last week VCSU was named the #1 public regional college in the 12-state Midwest region by U.S.News. This is the 14th year in a row VCSU has been recognized by U.S.News, and the first year that VCSU has been recognized with a #1 ranking in its category. Additionally, the campus is preparing to begin construction on the $10.3 million expansion and renovation of the Rhoades Science Center.

Valley City State University (VCSU) prepares people for life through visionary leadership and exemplary practices in teaching, learning and service. VCSU is nationally acclaimed for attracting and retaining talented individuals who advance quality learning opportunities and economic growth through technology and innovation.

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Vikings Honored for Scholastic Achievement, Character

Known for competitiveness on the playing field, a flurry of recent announcements recognized several Viking athletes and coaches for other wide-ranging accomplishments and honors. Viking football captain Trent Kosel, head coach of the women’s basketball team Jill DeVries, DAC faculty representative Dave Bass, and the entire Viking program all received recognition.

Trent Kosel was nominated by the DAC to be the 2011 recipient of The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Dr. LeRoy Walker Champions of Character Award. One of the most prestigious awards in the NAIA, the award recognizes outstanding athletic and academic achievement, campus and community leadership, future ambition, and embrace of the five core character values of the NAIA Champions of Character initiative: integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship, and servant leadership.

Trent graduated from VCSU this spring with an outstanding record both on and off the field. As a Viking, Trent played quarterback, was a team captain his senior season, was named the DAC Offensive Player of the Week twice, and was nominated for the prestigious A.O. Duer Award in 2009. In the classroom, Trent was named to the President’s Roll of Honor every semester of his VCSU career and graduated Summa Cum Laude with majors in Chemistry Education and Math Education. He was a three-time NAIA Scholar-Athlete and a four-time DAC Scholar Athlete, and was named the VCSU Outstanding Chemistry Student. His many activities on campus included serving as a Viking Ambassador (including serving as president), a Math and Chemistry tutor, and as a member of the Student North Dakota Education Association.

Jill DeVries, head coach of the Viking women’s basketball team, was nominated for the NAIA Coach of Character Award. The Coach of Character Award is given annually to a coach who demonstrates methods of teaching character through sport and instills a tradition of athletic and community excellence. In the 2010-11 season, DeVries led the Vikings to a series of tremendous accomplishments including a record 23 wins, second place in the regular season, and first place in the DAC tournament. She was also recognized as the DAC Coach of the Year.

In addition, Dave Bass, assistant professor in the School of Education and Graduate Studies, was named faculty athletic representative of the year by the Dakota Athletic Conference. Bass, who has been a long-time member of the Viking coaching staff in several capacities, also serves the DAC as the Conference Eligibility Chairman.

Beyond these individual honors and accomplishments, the DAC honored VCSU with the 2010-11 Dakota Athletic Conference Scholars Award. The award is presented annually to the school with the highest percentage of athletes honored as DAC Scholar-Athletes. Forty-three percent of Viking athletes were honored for their academic achievements. In order to be recognized as a DAC Scholar-Athlete, a student-athlete must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.25 or better and have earned twelve or more credit hours for a semester in which he/she participates in a conference sponsored sport.

Valley City State University (VCSU) prepares people for life through visionary leadership and exemplary practices in teaching, learning and service. VCSU is nationally acclaimed for attracting and retaining talented individuals who advance quality learning opportunities and economic growth through technology and innovation.


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EPSCoR selects two VCSU students for GSRA Awards

Two students from Valley City State University (VCSU) have been selected to receive Graduate Student Research Assistantship (GSRA) awards through the North Dakota Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (ND EPSCoR) program. The awards recognize the academic achievement of these students and provide significant financial support as they pursue M.S. and/or Ph.D. degrees in science, engineering, and mathematics at the University of North Dakota (UND) and North Dakota State University (NDSU).

David Givers, ND EPSCoR co-project director, said, “The goal of ND EPSCoR is to enhance the research capability of scientists in North Dakota, so we look for students who have an excellent track record in their undergraduate program and are well prepared for continued study at the graduate level. Valley City State University can be very proud that its students rank high in the competition for this award.”

EPSCoR was established by the National Science Foundation and is now a family of competitive merit-based programs spanning seven federal research and development agencies: the National Science Foundation; the National Institutes of Health; the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Agriculture; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; and the Environmental Protection Agency.

ND EPSCoR implemented the GSRA program to increase opportunities for graduating seniors from the North Dakota University System baccalaureate universities, or who have been participants in ND EPSCoR’s Nurturing American Tribal undergraduate Research and Education (NATURE) program, to obtain M.S. and/or Ph.D. degrees at NDSU and UND. Each student’s award provides an $18,000 per year stipend for up to 24 months. Students who complete the program can be eligible for a ND EPSCoR Doctoral Dissertation Award that provides support to complete their doctoral research upon completion of their course work and written examinations.

The VCSU students receiving the awards are:

Fakira (Soumaila) Borkovec (Rome, Italy): Fakira has majors in Health Science and Biology. She will be working in the North Dakota State University Department of Cereal and Food Science program, Pulse Crop Quality and Nutrition, using crop breeding techniques to improve their nutritional value and reduce malnutrition in the world. She will have the opportunity to travel to Sri Lanka to work in a children’s hospital analyzing the effect of various lentils child blood chemistry.

Jesse Martin (Valley City, ND): Jesse has a major in Chemistry and Health Science and has consistently been one of the top students in the Department. He will attend the graduate chemistry program at North Dakota State University and conduct research with Dr. Mukund Sibi beginning Fall semester 2011.

Fakira and Jesse join four other VCSU graduates from last year that received EPSCOR awards: Jacob Mertes (Omaha, NE), Michael Tomlinson (Rolla), Ryan McCulloch (Valley City), and Steven Fasching (Mandan).

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Innovative partnership provides path from Journeyworker to Associate to Bachelor’s degree

Valley City State University (VCSU) and the North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS) today entered into an articulation agreement that allows for transfer of credits from the Associate in Applied Science degree in Technical Studies – Journeyworker Track at NDSCS to the Bachelor of Science degree in Career and Technical Education from VCSU. The agreement is the first of its kind in North Dakota and is designed to help non-traditional students realize the benefit of three types of credentials: U.S. Department of Labor approved apprenticeship programs, Associate in Applied Science degrees, and Bachelor of Science degrees.

“With this agreement, NDSCS and VCSU are providing an alternative path for individuals to earn Bachelor’s degrees while leveraging their technical education and career experience,” said Dr. John Richman, president of the North Dakota State College of Science. “Individuals can start their career as an apprentice, become a journeyworker, earn an associate degree and culminate with a Bachelor’s degree.”

Dr. Steve Shirley, VCSU president, said, “This collaborative agreement addresses some of the main obstacles adult learners face as they further their education. By earning credit for their work experiences as well as their study at the Associate degree level, adult learners can substantially reduce the time and cost required to earn a Bachelor’s degree. Moreover, individuals who complete this path will possess enhanced career skills that respond to private sector demands and help meet employment needs in North Dakota.”

The articulation agreement allows students to apply technical credits earned under a NDSCS Associate in Applied Science degree in Technical Studies – Journeyworker Track towards VCSU’s B.S. degree in Career and Technical Education. These credits transfer through VCSU’s Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) program, which allows adult learners to earn college credit for work experience. Under the agreement, these credits can be used to meet the technical specialty requirements of VCSU’s Bachelor’s degree. Individuals in apprenticeship programs can have years of experience working in technical fields, and this agreement offers them the first opportunity to apply their experience towards a Bachelor’s degree.

The agreement outlines two options within VCSU’s Bachelor of Science degree in Career and Technical Education. The Education option qualifies graduates to teach in post secondary levels such as career, vocational, and technical schools. A Management/Leadership option allows graduates to combine their technical education and experience with coursework in various fields of business administration such as accounting, project management­­­, and marketing. “This is a unique and powerful option for people who would like to own, manage, or become leaders in technical enterprises,” according to Dr. Shirley.

Another element of the program that makes it attractive for adult learners is that many of VCSU’s courses required to complete the degree are available online. Work and family schedules and location frequently make it difficult for adult learners to add to their education, and online offerings can help adult learners overcome these challenges by allowing them to complete coursework from anywhere an Internet connection is available at times and places convenient to them.

Valley City State University (VCSU) prepares people for life through visionary leadership and exemplary practices in teaching, learning and service. VCSU is nationally acclaimed for attracting and retaining talented individuals who advance quality learning opportunities and economic growth through technology and innovation.




            Doug Anderson                                                Barbara Spaeth-Baum
            Director of Communications                          Director of College Relations
            Valley City State University                          North Dakota State College of Science
            701-845-7227                                                  701-671-2483

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Choirs from VCSU and NDSCS to perform in joint concert

The North Dakota State College of Science Performing Arts Department will host the Valley City State University (VCSU) Concert Choir, the Valkyries, a new all female vocal ensemble at VCSU and the VCSU Singers, a vocal chamber ensemble of select singers from across campus for a combined concert with the NDSCS Concert Choir and Wildcat Singers. The concert will be held on February 17, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. in the Harry Stern and Ella Stern Cultural Center. Each of the ensembles will perform individually and the NDSCS Concert Choir and the VCSU Concert Choir will combine to perform three selections.

Michael Rockne, Director of NDSCS Choral Music said, “This is an opportunity for our schools to come together for an afternoon of singing.  It allows the students to interact and express themselves artistically through choral music.”

The concert is free and open to the public with a reception to follow in the lobby.

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VCSU Christmas Concert at St. Mary’s Cathedral and St. Catherine’s

VCSU Christmas Concert
The VCSU Concert Choir and the Valkyries are pleased to present “A Classical Christmas” — concerts being held on Sunday, December 5 at 7:00 pm at Saint Mary’s Cathedral in Fargo and on Thursday, December 9 at 7:30 pm at Saint Catherine’s Catholic Church in Valley City. The concerts will be directed by Dr. Leesa Levy (right) with accompaniment by Jaime Namminga (left). Admission is free, and a free-will offering will be collected.

The programs include the VCSU Concert Choir performing Randall Thompson’s The Last Words of David, followed by Laudate Dominum by WA Mozart. A setting of Ave Maria composed by Howard Helvey with Micki Buchholz and Kelsey Wilhelm assisting on alto saxophone will be followed by selections from Handel’s Messiah. I am not Yours, a composition by Z. Randall Stroope on a poem by Sara Teasdale, and a new selection from Ben Allaway based on a melody from Kenya, Alleluyah Sasa!, will feature soloists Tom Baker and Raymond Lee Jackson. The performance at Saint Mary’s will also feature Kirci Phillips as a soprano soloist; the performance at Saint Catherine’s will feature Shannon Leppert and Heidi Kirsch as soprano soloists and Thomas Zinke as a baritone soloist.

The performances will be under the direction of Dr. Leesa Levy, Director of Choral Activities and Assistant Professor of Voice for the Department of Music at VCSU. Before coming to VCSU Dr. Levy completed over ten years of teaching K-12 vocal music in public school stateside and in Europe and taught and conducted at the Franz Grothe School of Music in Weiden, Germany. Dr. Levy has performed as a soprano soloist with the Weiden orchestra and in concert and recital venues throughout Bavaria and beyond. She is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, The National Association for Music Education, and is the ND state president of the American Choral Directors Association. Accompaniment will be provided by Jaime Namminga, instructor of piano at VCSU.

 The VCSU Concert Choir performs two to three concerts per semester and tours on a regular basis. In addition to concerts in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota the ensemble has performed in Oaxaca, Mexico; New York, NY; Amsterdam and the Haag, Netherlands; London, Lakenheath and Canterbury, England.

 The Valley City State University Valkyries is a new ensemble created in August, 2010 by students active in the Department of Music at VCSU. Members of the ensemble come from various academic programs across the campus, with this year’s members representing degrees in art, music, education and the sciences. The group has embraced a wide variety of musical styles and enjoys the challenge and responsibility associated with performing chamber music. The Valkyries have recently been selected to perform at the North Dakota Music Educator’s Association Conference at 7:30 pm on Sunday, March 20 at the Bismarck Civic Center, Bismarck, ND.

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Dr. Stickler Named Environmental Educator of the Year

Dr. Joseph Stickler of Valley City State University accepted the 2010 “ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR” Trees Award at the Trees Bowl and Awards Ceremony held in Fargo on November 13, 2010. Nominations were received from across the state and the award winners were recognized by the North Dakota Forest Service and North Dakota State University.

Since 1992, Professor Joe Stickler, Valley City State University, and his students have been working on the Medicine Wheel Park. Professor Stickler had the inspiration for the park and has been the sparkplug in its development. The project has expanded beyond the classroom to involve the community of Valley City. The park includes two solar calendars, a segment of the North Country National Scenic Trail, nature trails, scenic overlooks and a 3,000 square food perennial flower garden.

Area residents are regularly treated to environmental presentations at the park. The solar system model is an awesome display as well as a healthy hike. This trail winds through the forest along the Sheyenne River and also overlooks Valley City.

The award winners were honored at the Fargodome. During the awards ceremony, NDSU President Dean Bresciani and State Forester Larry Kotchman, presented each winner with a special Trees Awards plaque and limited edition centennial trees print. The award winners were also recognized on the field during the NDSU half-time activities at the Trees Bowl football game in the Fargodome.

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