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This Week’s Hotline! includes the following articles:

• Common Reading Program at VCSU
• President Shirley to present ‘State of the University’ address today
• Student Richard Langdeaux to present tribal stories and music Nov. 26
• Oxfam America Hunger Banquet to be held Dec. 7
• Music group to attend NAMM conference in January
• Viking Visit Day help Nov. 23
• Hagen attends national conferences
• Humanities, music and theatre trip to the Twin Cities
• Meyers attends annual conference
• Viking Sports: Week in Review
• What’s happening at VCSU and around Valley City...
• November Birthdays

The VCSU Hotline! online newsletter is published each Monday during the academic year. Deadline to submit articles (photos encouraged) is 4:00 p.m. the preceding Friday.

Common Reading Program at VCSU

Common Reading Program at VCSU
by Dr. Steve Shirley, Valley City State University President

The following article will appear in the Valley City Times-Record the week of November 25, 2013.

Valley City State University began a new initiative this academic year involving the entire freshmen class. This initiative, the Common Reading Program, this year focused on the book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot. Common reading programs have become popular on college campuses, especially with new students and incoming freshmen. These programs are often linked to first-year experience initiatives with goals including introducing new students to the scholarly process in a university setting, and engaging students, faculty, and staff in learning together with a common text. VCSU’s stated mission for this common reading program is “to promote lifelong learning by engaging students, faculty, staff, and community members in an interdisciplinary scholarly discourse centered upon themes from a selected literary work.”

All VCSU freshmen who are part of this year’s incoming class were given the Henrietta Lacks book last spring and summer when they were on campus for the freshmen orientation and advising sessions. This book has been used on college campuses across the nation and has proven to be a popular selection at VCSU. It is a fascinating book raising some important questions about an intriguing subject in American history.

A campus committee selected the book last spring from among a number of other options. It is based on the life of Henrietta Lacks and the impact of cells that were taken from her body, known as HeLa cells (an abbreviation of her first and last name). These “immortal” cells were taken from Henrietta, without her knowledge, in 1951, and the cell line continues being used to this day. Over the course of time, these cells have been critically important in scientific and medical developments, including the polio vaccine. The book explores some important subjects including biomedical ethics, race, informed consent, mental health, discrimination, and the proper use of medical research and data. The book also has a direct connection to a number of general education courses including biology, sociology, history, and economics.

The purpose of this common reading activity has been to engage the entire freshman class in one topic that can be explored in a cross-disciplinary matter through a multitude of classes and various academic disciplines. VCSU faculty across campus have worked this fall to incorporate the book and its various subject matters into their curriculum, activities, papers, and class projects. In addition to the in-class exercises that have been developed for our students, there have also been several other events on campus associated with the book including trivia games, arts-based competitions, essay contests, a campus debate, a film showing, scholarship awards, and social media activities.

Plans are already underway for the Fall 2014 Common Reading Program at VCSU, and we are currently deliberating among options to choose next year’s book. I would encourage you to learn more about Henrietta Lacks, HeLa cells, and strongly suggest reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

President Shirley to present ‘State of the University’ address today

VCSU President Steve Shirley will present the “State of the University” address today—Monday, Nov. 25—at 3:30 p.m. in Vangstad Auditorium.

The annual address will highlight 2012–13 accomplishments, as well as information on campus initiatives for 2013–14.

Join President Shirley at a post-address reception to be held at the President’s House Guest Inn from 4:15–5:45 p.m. Plans for the President’s House renovation will be available for viewing.

Recorded video of the State of the University address will be available at by Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 26.

Langdeaux to present tribal stories and music Nov. 26

Langdeaux to present tribal stories and music Nov. 26
VCSU student Richard Langdeaux will present tribal stories and a music performance Tuesday, Nov. 26, at 6:30 p.m. in the VCSU Student Center upper lounge. All are invited to attend.

Free tanka bars will be distributed. The tanka bars are based on the traditional recipe for Wasna, the food for hunters and warriors.

Oxfam America Hunger Banquet to be held Dec. 7

Oxfam America Hunger Banquet to be held Dec. 7
Erin Edinger, Student Affairs intern, will be hosting an Oxfam America Hunger Banquet on Saturday, Dec. 7, at 5:00 p.m. in the VCSU cafeteria. At an Oxfam America Hunger Banquet, the place where you sit and the meal that you eat are determined by the luck of the draw—just as in real life some of us are born into relative prosperity and others into poverty.

For example, those attendees assigned to the lower-class receive a very minimal meal and are seated on the floor, those assigned to the middle-class get a little more substantial meal and are seated at cafeteria tables, and those assigned to the upper-class are served a restaurant style meal.

Our master of ceremonies will guide all participants through this interactive event. Finally, all guests are invited to share their thoughts after the meal and to take action to right the wrong of poverty.

All faculty, staff and students are invited to attend this event along with their family and friends. Admission cost is a small donation of nonperishable items to the Valley City Food Pantry. To learn more about Oxfam America, please visit their website at For more information or to RSVP for the event, please contact Edinger by email at or call Nadja Johnson, VCSU retention/diversity and inclusion coordinator, at 845-7306.

Music group to attend NAMM conference in January

Two VCSU music students, Amelia “Mimi” Brown and Ben Clifton, were awarded the Presidential Innovation Scholarship Award to attend the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) conference in Anaheim, Calif., in January.

Brown and Clifton were selected to participate in STE[A]M, VCSU’s STEM undergraduate research project, and will be recognized at NAMM as Presidential Scholars for their work with the project. Sara Hagen, VCSU professor of music and the students’ advisor, was selected as a presenter at the conference, with her paper “Turning STEM into STE[A]M with Undergraduate Research Fellows.” Christopher Redfearn, VCSU director of choral activities, will also attend the conference.

The students were selected for a project proposed by David DeMuth, executive director of the Great Plains STEM Education Center at VCSU. (STEM—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—augmented by the arts, is where “STE[A]M“ comes from.) Plans are underway to create an interactive installation using the sounds of VCSU along with electronically triggered MIDI sounds through body percussion.

Brown and Clifton were also awarded Artist in Residence status as a team through a North Dakota Council on the Arts (NDCA) grant, which will support their work in the spring semester with the Oak Grove High School madrigal group to prepare an interactive composition, to be recorded at the Makoche Recording Studio in Bismarck.

Viking Visit Day held Nov. 23

Valley City State University hosted the second Viking Visit Day of the year this past Saturday, Nov. 23, and it was a success! We had more than 100% attendance of those registered as a result of two walk-ins, with the students attending all from North Dakota and Minnesota. Twelve faculty representing academic areas all over campus visited with prospective students and their parents. A handful of athletes got a tour of the Bubble, and one music audition was held. Two applications came in over the weekend from students who visited on Saturday, which is very exciting to see.

New this year, we have speakers featuring different pieces of campus life during the Welcome Session. This weekend, the Alumni Board, organized by Kim Hesch, attended Viking Visit Day and shared their experiences. Burke Tagney spoke about the theatre program and VCSU’s theatre minor, and Sam Stover talked about the new exciting things going on at the library and the Common Read. All were well-received by our guests.

Thank you to all who participated in Viking Visit Day! The time taken out of your Saturday is much appreciated and well worth it to give our prospective students and their families a great experience at VCSU! And for everyone behind the scenes who help us promote and prepare for Viking Visit Day, we couldn’t do it without you. The last two Viking Visit Days are Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014, and Saturday, March 29, 2014.

Hagen attends national conferences

Hagen attends national conferences
Sara Hagen, professor of music, attended the 2013 NAfME National In-Service Conference held in Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 27–30 and the 2013 ATMI National Conference held in conjunction with the College Music Society (CMS) National Conference in Cambridge, Mass., Oct. 31–Nov. 2. (NAfME is the National Association for Music Education; ATMI is the Association for Technology in Music Instruction.)

In Cambridge, Hagen presented “Using Blackboard's Self and Peer Assessment Tools for Creative ‘Juicing’ ” in regard to the use of self- and peer-assessments in the Blackboard learning management system while teaching online to encourage students to experiment with ideas, to critique those ideas in a variety of settings and to learn from one another in an asynchronous environment.

She also served on a panel for “Tech Divas and Girl Geeks: Supporting the Rising Generation of Women in Music and Technology,” where women involved in music and technology discussed how they became involved with technology, what can be done to encourage women in music technology and how others may reach out to and mentor the next generation of women in music technology.

Hagen serves on the NET Committee of CMS and the IN-ovations Council of NAfME.

Humanities, music and theatre trip to the Twin Cities

Humanities, music and theatre trip to the Twin Cities
VCSU faculty members Robin Allebach, Jenni Lou Russi, Jennifer Jenness, and Geraldine Ong led students on a Fine Arts trip to the Twin Cities Nov. 8–10. Activities included attending David Lindsay-Abaire’s Wonder of the World at Chameleon Theatre; a tour of the Minnesota Opera’s administrative offices, scene, prop, and costume shops; opening night of Arabella at the Minnesota Opera; and a tour of the Wabasha Street Caves in St. Paul.

Meyers attends annual conference

Meyers attends annual conference
Nicholaus Meyers, adjunct faculty in percussion, attended the annual PASIC (Percussive Arts Society International Conference) in Indianapolis, Ind., Nov. 13–16. He attended several master classes, recitals and instrument demonstrations, and also examined the newest music and method books that have been published in the past year.

Viking Sports: Week in Review

Viking Sports: Week in Review
Men's Cross Country
VCSU runners took 32nd place at the NAIA National Championships on Nov. 23. This was VCSU’s first appearance at Nationals since 1986. The Vikings ran their fastest team average time of the year that this event.

313 total runners
233: Richard Langdeaux
257: Richard Wright
258: Austin Albrecht
276: Wayne Engelhard
284: Malik Jackson
294: Misael Herrera
295: Alex Askerooth

“The team should be very proud of their performance at nationals in running their best team race of the year,” said Head Coach Ken Frenette. “While they were a little disappointed and surprised with their team finish overall, they now have gained some valuable experience for the future to build upon.”

Men’s Basketball
Nov. 19: Dickinson State 60, VCSU 57
Nov. 24: Minot State 65, VCSU 44 (exhibition)
The Viking men are now 1-5 overall this season. They will play Friday and Saturday at the Milanovich Classic in Dickinson.

Women’s Basketball
Nov. 19: Dickinson State 73, VCSU 58
Nov. 22: VCSU 83, Viterbo 50
Vikings are now 3-4 this season. Senior Brittany Lehner scored 32 points in the win over Viterbo. VCSU plays an exhibition game at MSU-Moorhead at 7 p.m. tonight.

Upcoming events:
Monday, Nov. 25: WBB @ MSU–Moorhead, 7 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 29: MBB @ Dickinson State, 8 p.m. CST/7 MST
Saturday, Nov. 30: MBB vs. Rocky Mountain College (at Dickinson), 4 p.m. CST/3 MST

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

What\'s happening at VCSU and around Valley City ...
Monday, November 25

Fall semester student art exhibition opens (November 25–December 13)
3:30 pm State of the University Address
4:15-5:30 pm Open House, President’s House Guest Inn
7:00 pm Viking women’s basketball @ Minnesota State University–Moorhead

Tuesday, November 26

6:30 pm Native American Heritage Month cultural presentation by Richard Langdeaux, Student Center Upper Lounge

Wednesday, November 27

Thursday, November 28

Thanksgiving Day
No classes – Offices closed

Friday, November 29

No classes
3:00 pm MST Viking men’s basketball vs Rocky Mountain College @ Dickinson State Classic

Saturday, November 30

7:00 pm MST Viking men’s basketball at Dickinson State Classic

Sunday, December 1

Monday, December 2

7:00 pm Viking men’s basketball at North Dakota State University

Tuesday, December 3

5:30 & 7:30 pm Viking women & men’s basketball vs Trinity Bible College, W.E. Osmon Fieldhouse

Wednesday, December 4

Thursday, December 5

Job search for non-teaching graduates, Student Center Skoal Room
East region instrumental contest at VCSU campus
7:30 pm Christmas at St. Catherine’s Church, Valley City

Friday, December 6

6:00 pm Viking men’s basketball at Oglala Lakota College, Kyle, S.D.

Saturday, December 7

Sunday, December 8