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This Week's Hotline! includes the following articles:

• Vertical alignment in math and English
• Common reading book discussion scheduled
• Join VCSU at F-M RedHawks Game!
• VCSU coaches hired
• STEM Center receives grant
• VCSU group participates in Minnesota eLearning Summit
• Ross appointed to NCTE national committee
• VCSU mini-grant program funds travel and research for CASS instructor
• Second Summer Institute for library educators held on VCSU campus
• Former VCSU instructor published
• VCSU parking permits available online
• What's happening at VCSU and in Valley City...
• August Birthdays

The VCSU Hotline! online newsletter will be published every other week during the summer months beginning May 13. Deadline to submit articles (photos encouraged) is 4:00 p.m. the preceding Friday.

Vertical alignment in math and English

Vertical alignment in math and English
by Dr. Steve Shirley, Valley City State University President

The following article will appear in the Valley City Times-Record the week of August 5, 2013.

Throughout the summer months, several Valley City State University faculty members have been actively participating in efforts to strengthen the “vertical alignment” between North Dakota’s K-12 and higher education in the disciplines of mathematics and English. Superintendent Kirsten Baesler and the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction launched this initiative earlier this year. VCSU was asked to lead the English portion of this initiative while Bismarck State College (BSC) is leading the math portion.

Vertical alignment is focused on ensuring student-learning builds seamlessly from year-to-year in a specific academic discipline so that, upon high school graduation, students are prepared to effectively begin their post-secondary education with the appropriate skills. In particular, these discussions have concentrated on the relationship among junior/senior level high school courses coupled with freshman expectations in the college setting. The vertical alignment meetings have focused on aligning curriculum and competency expectations between the high schools and colleges/universities so students are best prepared for their entry-level collegiate English and math courses. The conversations have also explored ways to establish measurement tools in order to effectively assess the success of the program in the future. Ensuring everyone is on the same page in aligning the standards will ultimately serve the best interests of the student and strengthen the potential to succeed as a post-secondary student.

Another goal of vertical alignment is to ultimately reduce the need for future remedial college courses. The impact of reducing remedial coursework at the university level has a number of positive outcomes: reduced time to graduation, improved student retention rates, and a more cost-effective college education for the student. Therefore, it is imperative that teachers at both the secondary and post-secondary levels are working closely in defining the expectations of student preparation.

In addition to VCSU and BSC, the high schools involved have been several of those comprising both the South East Educational Cooperative (Fargo) and Missouri River Educational Cooperative (Bismarck). At VCSU, English professors Julee Russell, Greg Brister, and Lee Kruger, along with math instructor Jamie Wirth, have all participated in the vertical alignment meetings. Additionally, faculty representatives from the other North Dakota University System colleges and universities have been participating in these discussions.

Valley City State is proud to be taking a leadership role in the vertical alignment efforts this summer. We look forward to continuing to work with high schools, other colleges and universities, and the Department of Public Instruction in these important efforts. A collaborative initiative such as vertical alignment in math and English will be a win-win for the high schools and universities, as well as for North Dakota, and, most importantly, for our current and future students and their families.

Common reading book discussion scheduled

Common reading book discussion scheduled
On Wednesday, August 7, at 4:30 p.m., members of the campus/community organization “What in the World is Going On?,” along with individuals from the greater Valley City community, will discuss some of the major themes in Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, the official 2013 VCSU Common Reading Book.

The discussion will be broadcast live as a Google Hangout On Air. A link to the live video will be placed on the Common Reading Facebook page ( and Twitter page ( at the beginning of the event, and the recording will be available for viewing later on Allen Memorial Library’s YouTube channel (

For more information, visit the Facebook pages of the VCSU Common Reading Program ( and “What in the World is Going On?” ( To learn more about Google Hangouts On Air, visit

Join VCSU at F-M RedHawks Game!

Join VCSU at F-M RedHawks Game!
The VCSU Alumni Association invites you to join alumni and friends at Newman Outdoor Field for an F-M RedHawks game on Monday, August 12.

Cost is $15 per person and includes reserved seating, Hi-Ho Burger, chips and pop at a pre-game picnic from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. Game time is 7:05 p.m.

Reserve your tickets by August 5 by calling 701-845-7203.

Come out and join your fellow VCSU supporters to cheer on the F-M RedHawks!

VCSU coaches hired

VCSU coaches hired
Valley City State University is pleased to welcome two new head coaches in women's athletics.

Elle Fracker has been promoted to head softball coach, and Cathy Hanek has been hired as the new head women's basketball coach.

Fracker spent the last two seasons as the assistant softball coach to Chad Slyter, who resigned in July. As an assistant, she worked primarily as the hitting coach while also working with outfield defense and the catchers.

Fracker is a 2008 graduate of Indiana State University, where she lettered four years in softball as a catcher. Prior to joining the VCSU staff in February 2012, she worked assistant coach jobs at Drexel University and Oberlin College.

Hanek comes to VCSU from Miles Community College in Miles City, Mont. She officially takes over the Viking women's basketball program on Aug. 19. She replaces Jill DeVries, who resigned earlier this summer.

Hanek spent one year as head women's coach and assistant men's coach at Miles Community College. Prior to that she worked from 2007 to 2011 as the assistant women's basketball coach for Lakeland College in Sheboygan, Wis. Hanek is a native of Youngstown, Ohio, and played college basketball for Youngstown State from 2000 to 2005.

STEM Center receives grant

STEM Center receives grant
The Great Plains STEM Education Center at Valley City State University has received a $35,000 grant from the North Dakota Corn Council to support software development for the Ag Cab Lab, a tractor simulation used in education and outreach.

The Ag Cab Lab uses a Case IH tractor cab, equipped with a large video screen that displays a plowing simulation activated by commands from the driver, typically a youngster who climbs in the cab, turns the key, advances the throttle, lowers the disc and steers the tractor.

“The aim of the Ag Cab Lab is to put young people and their parents in touch with agricultural technology, said David DeMuth, Jr., executive director of the Great Plains STEM Center. “We want to give them a better idea of where their food comes from and how it is produced.”

The simulation also gives youngsters an introduction to the STEM disciplines—science, technology, engineering and mathematics—and demonstrates how those disciplines now appear in all businesses and industries, including modern farming.

Software development is underway to include night plowing and seeding in the simulation, along with the addition of walking livestock, flying birds and wetland areas to provide a more realistic simulation experience.

The Ag Cab Lab can be located at county and state fairs, agricultural trade shows, museums and other educational venues in both mobile and permanent displays.

The Great Plains STEM Education Center at VCSU provides professional development opportunities and connections in science, technology, engineering and mathematics for K–12 teachers and other public and private partners.

The North Dakota Corn Council administers grants for corn-related research and education programs. The council supports the North Dakota Corn Growers Association and its efforts in growing a healthy, profitable business climate for northern corn.

VCSU group participates in Minnesota eLearning Summit

VCSU group participates in Minnesota eLearning Summit
A group of VCSU faculty and staff—Greg Carlson, Daisy Figueroa, Kerry Gregoryk and Lee Kruger—attended the 2013 Minnesota eLearning Summit on the campus of University of Northwestern in St. Paul July 29–30.

Gregoryk presented a session titled “Innovative Model for Faculty-Led Instructional Design Team in a Robust Technology Environment,” in which she shared the structure and successes of the Instructional Design Team’s work at VCSU.

The wide range of conference topics included various sessions involving myeFolio, the newly adopted electronic portfolio tool at VCSU, and Quality Matters, a program VCSU will be using to improve the quality of online courses, along with many other techniques and tools for electronic learning resources.

Ross appointed to NCTE national committee

Ross appointed to NCTE national committee
Rick Ross, assistant professor in the VCSU business department and coordinator of career and technical education (CTE) on campus, has been appointed to serve as a member of the Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE) national nominating committee for a two-year term.

Ross will represent ACTE’s Region V—which encompasses the western U.S. states—on the committee, which is charged with identifying and nominating candidates for ACTE’s elected positions.

Currently serving as chair of the Region V nominating committee, Ross will continue in that role for three years. In addition, Ross serves on the North Dakota Career and Technical Education (CTE) Board of Directors, representing CTE administrators in the state, and also is a member of the organizing committee for the ACTE Region V 2014 annual conference in Bismarck, N.D.

VCSU mini-grant program funds travel and research for CASS instructor

VCSU mini-grant program funds travel and research for CASS instructor
Grant funding from the VCSU Research Mini-Grant Program supported travel for Rob Walsh, CASS instructor, to present at the pre-conference of the 2013 Adult Education Research Conference (AERC). The 6th Asian Diaspora Pre-Conference was held in St. Louis, Mo. on May 30, 2013, themed “Bridging East with West: Engaging Dialogue in Adult Education Research and Practice in the Global Context.”

Walsh was the lead author on a peer-reviewed paper titled "Service learning for Higher Education in South Korea," co-authored by Dr. Elizabeth Erichsen, North Dakota State University (School of Education), and Dr. Louise Patterson, Kyung Hee University, Seoul (School of Management). The service learning study is the result of several years of research in both South Korea and the United States. Scholars from Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines and the United States presented peer-reviewed papers at the Asian Diaspora.

The research mini-grant also funded Korean-to-English translation to support an effort by Walsh and co-authors to write up their final results of the intercultural study for a submission to a scholarly journal during spring 2014.

Walsh has advanced-to-candidacy (ABD) for a Ph.D. in occupational & adult education in the School of Education at NDSU and is currently writing a research disquisition.

Second summer institute for library educators held on VCSU campus

The second of two summer institutes involving library education and library educators was held on the Valley City State University campus July 11-14, 2013. The second Summer Institute is funded, in part, by an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) scholarship continuation grant, Nexus Echo. This institute brought together 17 students currently enrolled in the M.Ed./Library and Information Technologies concentration students and seven mentors. Among the former graduates attending and serving as mentors was Kirsten Baesler, the current superintendent of public instruction in the state of North Dakota. There were Skype appearances by children's author Avi and Dr. Nancy Everhart from Florida State University. The theme of the Nexus Echo Summer Institute was "Evaluation of the School Library/School Librarian." Konnie Wightman and Donna James, both adjunct graduate faculty, provided instruction for the institute.

Earlier this summer, June 16-19, another summer institute was held on the VCSU campus for librarians and educators. That institute, Collaborate 21, focused on collaboration projects in K-12 schools and was taught by Dr. Jim Stenehjem of the North Dakota LEAD organization in Bismarck and Konnie Wightman. Seven K-12 school teams attended the institute which was funded, in part, by a second IMLS grant, Collaborate 21.

The Collaborate 21 and Nexus Echo grants are the second and third IMLS grants written by Donna James (library director) and awarded to Valley City State University. The total awarded from the three grants to VCSU from the IMLS in the past seven years has climbed to over $1 million dollars.

Former VCSU instructor published

Former VCSU instructor published
Jorge Variego's research on algorithmic composition will be published in the next edition of Sonic Ideas, a peer-reviewed international publication dedicated to music composition with new technologies. More information can be found here:

This research was possible in part by a mini-grant awarded by VCSU in both the fall and spring semesters of the 2012-13 school year.

VCSU parking permits available online

VCSU campus parking permit sales began August 1, 2013. Permits are purchased online through HRMS. Contact the Facilities Services Office with any questions: 845-7705.

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

Monday, August 5

Tuesday, August 6

Wednesday, August 7

Eid al-fitr begins at sundown
1:30 pm ND State Board of Higher Education Meeting at VCSU

Thursday, August 8

Friday, August 9

Saturday, August 10

Sunday, August 11

Monday, August 12

8:30 am Summer Professional Development Seminar (August 13-14)

Tuesday, August 13

8:30 am Summer Professional Development Seminar

Wednesday, August 14

Thursday, August 15

Pay Day
VCSU at the RedHawks Game

Friday, August 16

Second 3 week summer session courses ends

Saturday, August 17

Sunday, August 18