CAS Newsletter: More News

Online Spanish Approved

The South Dakota Board of Regents has approved a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish in a fully online format through Northern State University. The request for adding the degree was formulated in response to growing demand for online delivery of Spanish courses already offered at the university. Only one other university in the country, the University of Arizona, currently offers a Spanish major online. The new program presents additional market opportunities for NSU. It is anticipated that most of the students in the online Spanish program will be new to the university. The online program will be available in the spring 2018 term.

NSU Rising Scholars Program Accredited

The Northern State University Rising Scholars Program has been awarded accreditation by the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP). The Rising Scholars program, which allows high school students to earn credit toward high school graduation and a college degree at the same time, began at NSU in 2005. The program partners with nine high schools in South Dakota, with one more school joining in fall 2017. As of fall 2016, 460 students were enrolled in the program.

“NACEP accreditation serves as a guarantee to students, administrators and postsecondary institutions that the Rising Scholars Program meets rigorous national standards in the areas of curriculum, faculty, student assessment, student support, and program evaluation,” said NSU Rising Scholars Program Director Terry Piatz.

NSU is the only university in South Dakota accredited by NACEP, the sole national accrediting body for concurrent enrollment partnerships. “I'm very pleased to recognize the Rising Scholars Program at Northern State University as one of a select group of 105 concurrent enrollment partnerships nationwide accredited through NACEP's extensive peer-review process,” said NACEP Accreditation Commission Chair Victoria Zeppelin of the Tompkins Cortland Community College. “Northern State University has demonstrated to its peers that the college courses it offers in high schools are of the same high quality as college courses offered on campus.”

Associate of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice Approved

The South Dakota Board of Regents has approved a new Associate of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from Northern State University, to be delivered online to students anytime, anywhere. NSU also received approval for a new minor in Human Resources Management.

The two-year associate degree provides graduates for entry-level positions in criminal justice professions, as well as giving current employees in the field an opportunity to obtain academic competencies. All students in the program will take courses in introductory criminal justice, criminology, correctional system studies, and law and society. Graduates of the associate-degree program may continue their education at the bachelor’s level, including NSU’s B.A. degree in Sociology, with a criminal justice specialization.

Northern State officials say they expect, after full implementation of the program, to graduate ten students a year with the associate degree.

The new minor in human resources management allows business majors at Northern to expand their knowledge base in personnel management, including recruitment, hiring, training and development, retention, and compensation. University officials say the minor should also appeal to students in other majors who want to understand the human side of business and management. The minor consists of eighteen credit hours of study. NSU expects ten graduates per year after full implementation.

Pollinator Garden

Northern State University biology faculty and students hosted a public open house at one of two new Monarch Waystations in Aberdeen. The “Pollinator Garden Community Meet and Greet” was held on September 14 at Kuhnert Arboretum, located south of Melgaard Road. Dr. Alyssa Anderson, Assistant Professor of Biology, and Dr. Jodie Ramsay, Professor of Biology, were joined by NSU biology student interns Tessa Durnin, Sean Kramer and Matt Wiebers.

The pollinator garden was created with funding from a $5,000 grant from the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Wildlife Diversity Small Grants Program. The grant paid for plants and materials for two gardens, as well as the work of the three student interns, who helped to plant and maintain the gardens. The second garden is located on the NSU campus, south of the Gerber Building across from the NSU greenhouse.

Because of the gardens’ combination of plants, they have been designated as Monarch Waystations, or a collection of plants that attract pollinators such as monarch butterflies. The gardens were planted this summer, and the three student interns monitored pollinators at both locations. The gardens will also be used for some NSU courses.

At the September 14 event, the NSU team answered questions, talked about the plants, and handed out packets of wildflower seeds as well as seeds of milkweed, the only plant that monarch caterpillars eat. The team also did monarch-tagging demonstrations, and students displayed insect collections. The team plans to hold a similar event next spring.

According to Anderson, monarch populations have declined in recent years in part due to habitat loss. “Creation of Monarch Waystations, which provide milkweed for developing larvae and nectar for adult monarchs, is one way to help sustain monarch populations,” she said.

Ramsay pointed out that the gardens are a precursor to what the university plans to do on a bigger scale at the new Regional Science Education Center, set to open in 2019, where all landscaping will consist of native plants. “We’re trying to raise awareness about needing more habitat for pollinators,” Ramsay said.