This week’s Hotline! includes the following articles:

• President’s Column
• Change to summer schedule for Hotline
• Commencement to be held Saturday
• Tangen receives space grant consortium fellowship
• VanHorn presents at communication conference
• VCAB hosts self-defense class for students
• Counseling hosts Maple Valley and Barnes County North seniors
• Viking sports update
• What’s happening at VCSU and around Valley City…
• May birthdays

The VCSU Hotline! online newsletter is published on Mondays during the academic year. Deadline to submit articles (photos encouraged) is 4 p.m. the preceding Friday before publication.

President’s Column

President’s Column
Most people will agree that when it comes to an Oreo, the middle filling is what makes the cookie special. When it comes to college, however, the two ends of the experience—our rituals of welcome and the year-end celebrations—are the best part for me. I find them delectable!

This past week we held one of the year-end celebrations at VCSU, the Student Opportunities for Academic Research (SOAR) Celebration Banquet. SOAR is a research program designed to encourage faculty-mentored research, artistry, and creativity projects for undergraduates. The accomplishments of our student-faculty teams through this program are strong evidence of the way we live out our mission—preparing students “to succeed as educators, leaders, and engaged citizens in an increasingly complex and diverse society.”

SOAR is clearly an excellent example of what the Association of American Colleges and Universities refers to as high-impact educational experiences. Identified in the work of student-engagement scholar George Kuh, high-impact educational practices are simply well-documented college experiences which facilitate student success. From research we know that the two most powerful influences on college student success are students’ relationships with their faculty and with their peers. SOAR maximizes this variable in significant ways.

Examples of how faculty members impact student learning through SOAR include the following:
  • From their time with faculty mentors, student mentees come to understand on a very personal level that they matter to someone important, someone who believes in their ability to engage in significant work. This will not only keep them in college, it may inspire them to reach even further to pursue a terminal degree. Research also indicates that faculty investment in them may persuade these students to pursue research-related careers.
  • A student mentee spends a fair amount of time with their professor and as a result is able to observe firsthand how that person thinks and how he/she deals with the inevitable challenges that crop up in the course of exploration. This sense of adaptability, creativity, and problem-solving facilitates students’ personal growth and competence as they thrive in college and beyond.
  • Student mentees receive more immediate and frequent feedback than their peers. Faculty mentors have helped them to better understand themselves in relation to others and the world, as well as to acquire the intellectual tools and ethical grounding to act with confidence for the betterment of the human condition.
VCSU students have many choices and opportunities. Deciding to participate in the competitive SOAR program will produce payoffs the students cannot yet imagine. From the student vantage point, there are several examples of how the SOAR program has influenced them:
  • Student participation in SOAR has demonstrated that each student scholar has devoted considerable time and effort to a very purposeful task. It has required daily decisions that have deepened their investment in the research and/or creative process and strengthened their connection to their faculty mentor, as well as their commitment to their academic program.
  • Participating in SOAR has placed these students in the company of faculty mentors and peers who share intellectual interests and who are committed to ensuring their personal and professional growth and success. Although many benefits can be reaped from other student activities, the one distinguishing aspect of the SOAR program is that it’s a fast-paced accelerator to success.
  • Students who competed for a place in the SOAR program have been provided with an opportunity to connect learning to the world beyond campus. In the future, many of them may look back and see growth in their self-confidence, self-direction, and self-knowledge, and recognize the program’s contributions to their effective interaction with supervisors, critical and creative thinking, written and oral communication, information literacy, problem-solving, and ethical judgment.
  • This one decision—and the work that went with it—that these VCSU students made will be a distinguishing feature of their student experience and provide them with substantial benefits (economic, civic, and personal) in their future. I suspect several of them may even look back and call this one decision life-changing.
VCSU SOAR Projects
  • Monika Brown (Dina Zavala-Petherbridge, M.A.), “Entransed: The Making of a Transnational Woman”
  • Tarah Cleveland (Razib Iqbal, Ph.D.), “Investigating a New Approach to Web Visitor Engagement Measurement”
  • Niklas Ernst (Luis da Vinha, Ph.D.), “The Unfinished Presidencies: Why Incumbent Presidents Lose Their Reelection Campaigns”
  • Cassy Gilbertson and Kaylee Johnson (Karri Dieken, M.F.A.),“3D Printing K-12 Project Curriculum”
  • Maxwell Kollar (Hilde van Gjissel, Ph.D.), “Creating a Bacterial Mercury Sensor Using Synthetic Biology”
  • Logen Olesen (Susan Kilgore, Ph.D.), “The Use of Sand Fraction Lithology Analysis to Differentiate Sediment Layers at an Archaeological Site in Grand Portage, Minnesota”
  • Eric Schauer (Gary Ketterling, Ph.D.), “Engineering an Autonomous Ecosystem for Use in Science Classrooms”
  • Justin Tangen (Andre DeLorme, Ph.D.), “Using Side-Scanning Sonar to Detect Mussel Beds in North Dakota Rivers”
Special thanks to Margaret Dahlberg, Ph.D, vice president for academic affairs; David DeMuth, Ph.D., director of undergraduate research and artistry; Steven King, D.A., dean of curriculum and assessment; the SOAR advisory board; and especially to the faculty and student research teams for making this program a successful aspect of the VCSU experience. This program is yet another example of why it is a great day to be a Viking!

Change to summer schedule for Hotline

Hotline will switch to its every-two-weeks summer schedule after this issue. Because of the Memorial Day holiday, our next issue will be published on Tuesday, May 26.

Commencement to be held Saturday

VCSU will hold its 123rd commencement exercises at 10 a.m., Saturday, May 16, in W.E. Osmon Fieldhouse.

President Tisa Mason will give remarks, as will two student speakers—graduate student Duane Arnold and undergraduate student Jacob Olson. Eric Murphy, faculty adviser to the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education, will also speak.

The public is invited to attend the ceremony and a reception immediately following in the VCSU Student Center. The commencement ceremony will be live streamed online at

Tangen receives Space Grant Consortium fellowship

VCSU student Justin Tangen has been selected as a recipient of the North Dakota Space Grant Consortium summer student fellowship. The competitive fellowships, which carry a stipend, are awarded on the basis of academic excellence and relevance of the student’s discipline and interests to STEM fields.

Tangen will do summer research under the mentorship of Andre DeLorme, professor of science and director of the Prairie Waters Education and Research Center.

VanHorn presents at communication conference

Shannon VanHorn, Ph.D., associate professor and director of distance learning, attended and presented at “Converge,” the Central States Communication Association Conference, in Madison, Wis., April 16–18.

VanHorn participated in four panels: the State of North Dakota Showcase panel “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Technology in the Classroom (But Were Afraid to Ask),” “Flipping and Flopping—Teaching Naked Part II: The Convergence of Traditional and Nontraditional Teaching Methods to Engage Student Learning,” “Administrators Converge to Discuss Solutions: A Case Study Approach to Common University Challenges,” and “True Convergence: Successes and Struggles with Teaching Intercultural Communication to the First/Second Year College Student.”

More than 1,000 people from 20 states attended this year’s conference.

VCAB hosts self-defense class for students

VCAB hosts self-defense class for students
The Viking Campus Activity Board (VCAB) hosted a self-defense class for VCSU students April 28 in Graichen gym.

Twenty students participated in the class, taught by the Valley City All American Taekwondo Team, led by Stacy Wendel-Monilaws with assistance from Allison Johnson, Mickaella Langer and Devin Nelson.

Counseling hosts Maple Valley and Barnes County North seniors

Counseling hosts Maple Valley and Barnes County North seniors
Counseling Services Office hosted its third annual high school senior day on campus April 29 for Maple Valley and Barnes County North high school seniors.

This event was the result of a request by Dolores Manson, school counselor, to help the students experience a day on a college campus. Manson indicated that the students “love hearing from the student panel as the college students do a wonderful job of telling them how it will be for the high school students in a few short months.”

Charlene Stenson, director of enrollment services, presented on Campus Connection as well as how to access their accounts and navigate their way around it. A representative from Job Service North Dakota also presented on topics including First Impressions;, Professionalism, Team Building, Qualities of Good Employees, and Interviewing Skills.

Erin Klingenberg, Ph.D., director of counseling services, spoke briefly about transitions out of high school, including the family transition as well as friendship transitions. Klingenberg even talked about the transition with the family pet that students may experience!

A student panel of VCSU students included Courtney Dixon, Richard Langdeaux, Jacob Olson, Jessica Sanden and Megan Trautman. The panel presented to the high school students about their own transition from high school to college, including what they wish they would have known; advice about their last few weeks in high school; balancing work, academics, athletics and social life; and staying safe in new environments. The student panel also answered several questions from the high school students.

The high school student group ended their day on campus with a meal in the cafeteria—truly experiencing the life of a college student.

Vikings sports update

Track & Field
The Valley City State track and field teams wrapped up the season Friday at the NSAA Outdoor Championships in Dickinson. VCSU had two individual conference champions with both Monica Madavi and Richard Langdeaux placing first in the 10,000 meter runs. Madavi set a new school record in the event as well.

The Vikings also had four athletes place second: Jessica Meland (hammer throw), Jenna Coghlan (javelin), Daniel Machado (1500 meter run) and Alex Askerooth (3,000 steeplechase).

The Viking women placed third out of four teams, and the men placed fourth. Complete results from the meet can be found at

What’s happening at VCSU and around Valley City…

Monday, May 11

Final Exam Week
4 p.m. Garage bands performance, Froemke Auditorium, Foss Hall

Tuesday, May 12

Wednesday, May 13

Thursday, May 14

5:30 VCSU Employee Recognition Dinner, VCSU Cafeteria

Friday, May 15

Pay day
noon, Senior Awards Luncheon

Saturday, May 16

10 a.m. Commencement ceremony, W.E. Osmon Fieldhouse

Sunday, May 17

Monday, May 18

VCSU summer office hours begin (7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

Tuesday, May 19

Wednesday, May 20

Thursday, May 21

Friday, May 22

Saturday, May 23

Sunday, May 24

Monday, May 25

Memorial Day—VCSU offices closed

May birthdays

11 Curt Hill
15 Jessica O’Day
17 Cindy Zahn
19 Nicholaus Meyers
20 Amy Anderson
24 Amber Aberle
25 Michelle Hoyt
27 Teather Sundstrom