May 29th, 2012 @ 2:35 pm | Author: Dr. Steve Shirley
As outlined in the previous column, this is Volume Four of the annual year-end VCSU Top Ten List. Similar to the past three years, there was only room for five items in the last column, so here is Part II of the list (again, these are in no particular order). Here is the second part of a 'VCSU Top 10 List of Accomplishments' for 2011-12:

6) The academic year kicked-off in August 2011 with VCSU being named the Top Public Regional College in the Midwest in the 2012 edition of America's Best Colleges by USNews and World Report. VCSU has been ranked in the survey for 14 straight years, but 2012 is the first time the campus has been ranked as the Number One University in our category. This is yet another wonderful external validation and recognition of the overall teaching and learning environment at VCSU.

7) During Summer 2011, a $1 million artificial turf was installed at VCSU's Shelly Ellig Field at Lokken Stadium. This beautiful new surface will be a long-term asset for VCSU as it will benefit not just the Viking Football program, but other athletic programs, intramural activities, and campus events. This turf will also be a long-term asset for Valley City and the surrounding region for other groups who take advantage of using the field. A big word of thanks to all the businesses, entities, and individuals who contributed to this beautiful new enhancement for our region! Additional stadium renovations were also completed including a new scoreboard (and video board that will be added in Summer 2012).

8) During the past year, VCSU received authorization from the ND State Board of Higher Education to add three new academic majors: Business Process Integration Management (BPIM), Athletic Training, and Medical Laboratory Science (MLS). BPIM integrates coursework from three areas: Computer Information Systems, Professional Communication, and Business Administration. The Athletic Training major will graduate students who are qualified to sit for the Board of Certification national exam for athletic trainers. MLS is designed for students interested in careers in clinical laboratory science and is offered in collaboration with the University of North Dakota. These three programs are offered beginning in Fall 2012 and add new opportunities for VCSU students.

9) Two VCSU athletic teams advanced to the NAIA national playoffs this past year. The Viking Football team completed a 9-1 regular season, won the final DAC championship, and advanced to the first round of the NAIA playoffs where they were defeated by perennial national power Carroll College. The Viking Women's Basketball team finished the season at 19-15 and lost by just six points in the first-round of the playoffs to the team who ultimately advanced to the national championship and finished second in the NAIA. This is the first time that two Viking teams have been in the national playoffs in the same year. Additionally, VCSU junior Darien Moore was crowned the National Champion in the Hammer Throw last week at the NAIA National Track & Field Championships in Marion, Indiana.

10) In April, VCSU hosted its first-ever Earth Week celebration. The Week featured a variety of educational events on campus along with several outreach activities in the community. The highlight of the week was the Earth Day Festival at Medicine Wheel Park. It was a great turnout of folks from the campus and the community and featured a performance by the Native American musical group, Lakota Thunder. A commitment to sustainable and environmentally friendly initiatives is part of the VCSU 2015 strategic plan, and the Earth Week celebration certainly fit with those goals. We look forward to making this an annual event at VCSU.

As the ten items outlined in the past two columns indicate, 2011-12 was yet another busy and successful year for Valley City State University. It is rewarding to work with such a talented group of students, faculty, and staff who are so dedicated to the overall academic mission and purpose of the university. We look forward to having another fulfilling year in 2012-13!