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This Week's Hotline! includes the following articles:

High National Ranking for VCSU's M.Ed. Program
Ell receives "The Difference is Me" Award
Hager and Rhyan to present Senior Recital
Fornes attends ITEEA 2013 conference
Redfearn attends national conference
VCSU music faculty attend state conference
Adams presents at national conference
VCSU students provide community service
What's happening at VCSU and in Valley City...
April Birthdays

The VCSU Hotline! online newsletter is published weekly during the academic year. Deadline to submit articles (photos encouraged) is 4:30 p.m. the preceding Friday.

High National Ranking for VCSU's M.Ed. Program

High National Ranking for VCSU\'s M.Ed. Program
by Dr. Steve Shirley, Valley City State University President

The following article will appear in the Valley City Times-Record the week of April 1, 2013.

Earlier this year, US News and World Report recognized the Master of Education program at Valley City State University for the second consecutive year. US News established this new recognition in 2012 to honor online graduate programs, and VCSU is proud to be ranked during each of the first two years. This recognition for the graduate program is in addition to VCSU being named for the second consecutive year as the highest-rated public regional college in the Midwest in 2013's US News' Best Colleges rankings.

This new ranking system for online graduate programs also includes other academic disciplines in addition to Education (such as Business, Engineering, Information Technology, and Nursing); VCSU is the only college or university in North Dakota that has been included in back-to-back years in the Online Graduate Education category. These rankings take into account such important criteria as admissions selectivity, student engagement, faculty credentials and training, and student services and technology.

VCSU lands in the #22 position among 143 colleges and universities for 2013 in the Online Graduate Education category. Within these rankings, VCSU ranked ahead of such national leaders as Michigan State University, Florida State University, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Southern California. The caliber of colleges and universities included in this category is truly impressive, and VCSU's inclusion and high ranking certainly demonstrates the overall quality of our M.Ed. programs. Further information and the complete US News rankings are available at

VCSU began offering graduate degrees in 2005, and currently offers the following M.Ed. concentrations: Teaching and Technology (with options in English Education, Elementary Education, Teaching & Learning, and Music Technology); Teaching English Language Learners; Library and Information Technologies; and Technology Education (with options in Secondary STEM Education, Elementary STEM Education, and Career & Technical Education). Plans are in the works to potentially expand VCSU's graduate program with additional academic offerings. There are approximately 150 students currently enrolled in VCSU's graduate online program.

VCSU's graduate program has undoubtedly been a huge success since its inception less than a decade ago, and these academic offerings fulfill an important graduate alternative for North Dakota citizens. The faculty and staff at VCSU involved with the graduate program have worked hard to ensure a high-quality graduate education program is available to our students, and it is rewarding to see these efforts recognized with such esteemed national recognition! More information about VCSU's nationally-recognized online graduate program is available at

Ell receives

Ell receives
Jacob Ell received the "Difference is Me" award Thursday, March 21. Ell is the grounds keeper for VCSU.

In the nomination, Vitaliano Figueroa wrote that "Jacob has done an outstanding job with the 'presentation' of the campus. His efforts at VCSU help provide a terrific first impression for our prospective students, alumni, students, faculty and staff."

If you would like to nominate a staff member for "The Difference is Me" award, the nomination forms can be found at the Recognition at VCSU page.

Hager and Rhyan to present Senior Recital

Valley City State University music majors Lyle Hager, tuba, and Sarah Rhyan, piano, will perform in recital on Saturday, April 6 at 7:30 p.m. in Froemke Auditorium. Admission is free to the public, and a reception will follow.

Sarah Rhyan, a senior, is the daughter of Craig and Melita Rhyan of Oakes, N.D. In addition to her solo performances, Rhyan is a member of a number of music ensembles including VCSU's Concert Choir, Jazz Ensemble and Concert Band, which she serves as vice president, and the Valley City Civic Orchestra. Rhyan is an invited member of the Music Student Advisory Council. She held the position of secretary in the VCSU chapter of the National Association for Music Education for two years and currently serves as secretary for Alpha Lambda Delta. She is employed as a dormitory resident assistant and teaches piano privately and for VCSU's Community School of the Arts. Rhyan studies piano with Jaime Namminga and is a recipient of VCSU's Outstanding Pianist and Outstanding Music Major awards.

Lyle Hager, also a senior, grew up in Christine, N.D. and graduated from Richland High School. He is the son of Doug Hager and Deb Hager. As a tuba specialist, Hager is coached by VCSU's James Adams. Hager currently performs on tuba with the VCSU Concert Band, Quantum Brass Quintet and Athletic Band, and on bass guitar in the Garage Band program. Hager is president of the VCSU chapter of the National Association for Music Education and an invited member of the Music Student Advisory Council at VCSU. Hager currently serves as assistant director for Concert Band and Jazz Ensemble. In 2012, he was named VCSU's Outstanding Brass Performer and Outstanding Music Major.

The recital will include solo works by Beethoven and Brahms, as well as collaborative works by Arnold, Barber, Brahms, Castered, and Vaughn Williams. Also appearing on the recital will be VCSU senior Thomas Zinke, baritone; and the members of the VCSU Quantum Brass Quintet: Kirci Wagner and James Adams, trumpets; David Burgess, trombone; and Lyle Hager, tuba.

Please join us for an evening of wonderful music.

Fornes attends ITEEA 2013 conference

Fornes attends ITEEA 2013 conference
Lana Fornes attended the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA) annual conference at Columbus, Ohio March 6-8. Fornes participated in an all-day workshop which provided training for implementation of the newly developed Engineering by Design (EbD) TEEMS curriculum for grades K-2. Through this curriculum, students at the kindergarten level explore animal homes and habitat – leading them to design and craft homes for animals to meet basic needs during seasonal changes or in different habitats. At the first-grade level students are challenged to design a garden after exploring food and fiber production systems in agriculture which result in products, processes and by-products. At the second-grade level students learn about fossil fuels and problems associated with using and burning them, challenging students to come up with alternatives to fossil fuels. This curriculum, which uses design challenges within an environmental context to integrate STEM subject areas in an engaging and investigative strategy, will become a featured component in one of the STEMED courses for elementary teachers at VCSU.

Fornes also attended the Program Excellence Awards presentation where featured keynote speaker, Stephen Hicks (formerly of Proctor and Gamble), discussed and described the need for programs inspiring student interest in a broad array of STEM fields and careers. In addition, Fornes attended a task-force session on "Facilitating National Advocacy for Technology and Engineering" breakout sessions on basic paper engineering, "Pop-Ups" for elementary students and "Teaching STEM Using Underwater LEGO Robots;" breakout sessions regarding wind power, NASA Engineering Challenges, STEM and Boomerangs, and the study of space exploration through design challenges, as well as the ITEEA's 75th Anniversary Celebration Reception. Many contacts were made and information received for possible future curriculum development ideas in the exhibitor's hall.

Fornes and VCSU instructor Pete Gjovik co-chaired the Teacher Excellence Awards at the conference.

Redfearn attends national conference

Redfearn attends national conference
Christopher Redfearn, assistant professor of music, attended the national conference of the American Choral Directors Association in Dallas, Texas, March 13-17.

During the conference Redfearn attended interest sessions on vocal chamber ensemble technique in the British choral tradition, performance practice in Spiritual and Gospel genres, and the use of market research in determining appropriate recruitment techniques. He also participated in several reading sessions, in which he had the opportunity to read new music by emerging and established composers. In addition, Redfearn had occasion to network with former classmates and colleagues who are in choral conducting and teaching positions across the country.

Over the course of the conference, Redfearn attended several concerts featuring both domestic and international ensembles in a wide range of voicing and ages. Often these concerts are a source of information concerning current trends in composition and performance practice.

During this conference Redfearn was introduced to the music of Eriks Esenwalds, a Latvian composer whose pieces were featured by at least three different ensembles at the concerts. Many of his choral pieces include nonconventional accompaniments, including Long Road, which features bells and ocarinas.

The keynote concert was a performance of the War Requiem of Benjamin Britten. This piece is not performed frequently, as the performing forces include a mixed choir, a children's choir, two orchestras and three vocal soloists.

VCSU music faculty attend state conference

Professor Sara Hagen and Assistant Professor Christopher Redfearn gave presentations at the North Dakota Music Educators Association (NDMEA) conference in Bismarck March 21-23. NDMEA was held in conjunction with the North Dakota All State Ensemble.

Hagen, past president of NDMEA, presented "Begin with the End in Mind" designed to assist with the planning of curriculum using the teachings of Stephen Covey in his book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. IPads were used to distribute various documents for review by the participants. Redfearn spoke on the topic of "Your Values and Your Ensemble," discussing the alignment of principles and beliefs as the foundation of creating positive, successful musical groups.

The VCSU Music Department had a booth in the exhibit hall and began a new program of offering a $500 scholarship to any all-state musician who would attend VCSU and participate in the ensembles on campus. In addition, one lucky musician will double his/her scholarship to $1,000 by signing up for the drawing. The winner will be announced on the VCSU music webpage April 2. All student musicians who stopped by the booth received a VCSU music T-shirt.

The first annual VCSU Music Alumni Breakfast was held Friday morning before the keynote speech by Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser. A light continental breakfast was shared among several alumni, current and retired music educators, and their students.

Finally, good luck to two alumni running for state representative offices in NDMEA – Kelsey Wilhelm for East Region Band and Sheila Zinke for East Region Choir. The election results will be announced in May.

Adams presents at national conference

James Adams, Assistant Professor of Music, recently attended the National Conference of the College Band Directors National Association in Greensboro, NC.

Adams serves as Small College Chair for the Task Force for Small College/Community College issues. He moderated a session on the needs of smaller music programs, and continues work with the committee on an extensive advocacy handbook for such programs.

Adams was also formally selected as the chair for the 2015 National Small College Intercollegiate Band to be held in Nashville, TN, and begins his duties in that position in March 2013.

VCSU students provide community service

VCSU students Pat Rogers and Ryan LeNoue are working as tax preparers and helping residents at the Barnes County Senior Citizens Center with their returns. In April they will assist the international students at VCSU with their returns. These two young men are volunteers and are providing a wonderful service to the community and university.

Jeff Meek, senior relationship tax consultant, IRS, said:

"You are doing a wonderful job and this is indicated by the high quality of returns that you have prepared. We are still leading the territory with a ZERO reject rate. This reflects your diligence and accuracy. You are doing very commendable work. VCSU rocks!"

What's happening at VCSU and in Valley City ...

Monday, April 1

Easter Break – no VCSU classes
April Fools' Day

Tuesday, April 2

Wednesday, April 3

Thursday, April 4

Region 2 Instrumental Music Contest on VCSU campus

Friday, April 5

6:30 pm Taryn Wallace senior exhibition reception, VCSU Art Gallery (McCarthy Hall 3rd Floor)

Saturday, April 6

Viking track & field meet (time to be determined)
9:00 am Legislative Forum, Wimbledon Café
1:00 & 3:00 pm Viking softball vs Mayville State University, VCSU Softball Complex
1:00 & 3:00 pm Viking baseball vs Mayville State University, Charlie Brown Field
7:30 pm Lyle Hager & Sarah Rhyan performance, Froemke Auditorium

Sunday, April 7

12:00 pm (MST) Viking golf at Dickinson State Invitational, Dickinson, N.D. (April 7-8)
1:00 & 3:00 pm Viking softball at Mayville State University, Portland, N.D.
1:00 & 3:00 pm Viking Baseball at Mayville State University, Mayville, N.D.

Monday, April 8

Penny Lam senior exhibition opens (April 8-19)

Tuesday, April 9

2:00 & 4:00 pm Viking softball vs Jamestown College, VCSU Softball Complex

Wednesday, April 10

3:00 & 5:00 pm Viking baseball at Presentation College, Aberdeen, S.D.

Thursday, April 11

Friday, April 12

Viking track & field at Sioux City Relays, Sioux City, Iowa (April 12-13)
3:00 & 5:00 pm Viking softball at Presentation College, Aberdeen, S.D.

Saturday, April 13

9:00 am Legislative Forum, Tower Café, Tower City
1:00 & 3:00 pm Viking softball vs Presentation College, VCSU Softball Complex
1:00 & 3:00 pm Viking baseball vs University of Winnipeg, Charlie Brown Field
7:30 pm Valley City and Jamestown orchestras, Valley Voices, Valley Children's Choir performance, Vangstad Auditorium

Sunday, April 14

1:00 & 3:00 pm Viking softball vs University Great Falls, VCSU Softball Complex
1:00 & 3:00 pm Viking baseball vs University of Winnipeg, Charlie Brown Field
3:00 pm Cassandra Klos performance, Froemke Auditorium