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D.C. Coston: Quality education has always prevailed at DSU

In a recent op-ed piece published in a number of North Dakota newspapers, I detailed the many positive changes at Dickinson State University in the last several years. I indicated this university is highly focused on our covenant to serve the stu...

In a recent op-ed piece published in a number of North Dakota newspapers, I detailed the many positive changes at Dickinson State University in the last several years. I indicated this university is highly focused on our covenant to serve the students, region and state, and to be accountable to the citizens of North Dakota.
The purpose of this message is to let you know that high quality education has continued at DSU. I am sharing results of surveys of our 2011-13 graduates and their employers conducted recently by our Office of Institutional Research. Here are the findings from DSU graduates:

  • 74 percent are working in North Dakota with many others serving in the military or continuing their educations (more on that below);
  • 94 percent of those working in North Dakota are in oil-impacted counties;
  • 23 percent of those working in North Dakota are employed directly in the energy industry.

We also asked employers how well DSU are doing. The findings show graduates are:

  • Highly knowledgeable and skilled in their areas of expertise;
  • Particularly adept at collaborating with others including those from many cultural backgrounds. Individuals and families from throughout the U.S. and world are rapidly moving to our growing area, and the ability to work effectively with diverse people is a highly-sought skill;
  • Proficient at readily identifying, analyzing, and solving problems effectively and efficiently without always seeking management solutions;
  • Actively engaging in volunteer and community service. This attribute is highly valued by the employers because it positively impacts the quality of life in the areas in which their organizations and companies are operating.

In addition, many of our graduates have pursued further education. During the last three years, DSU graduates have continued graduate or professional (law, medicine, etc.) successfully at the University of North Dakota and North Dakota State University. Our graduates have also enrolled at Johns Hopkins, George Washington, Baylor, Rice, University of Illinois-Chicago, University of Minnesota, Arizona College of Optometry, University of Idaho, William Mitchell College of Law, and the University of Wyoming. DSU hosted a video conference in February 2014 with six of the alumni who are continuing their educations.
They responded to questions from current students who are considering going to graduate or professional schools. When asked how well their DSU degree prepared them for their graduate or professional educations, each responded, “I am as well, or better, prepared as any of the students with whom I am in school.”
DSU’s mission is: “to provide high-quality, accessible programs; to promote excellence in teaching and learning; to support scholarly and creative activities; and to provide service relevant to the economy, health and quality of life of the citizens of the state of North Dakota.”
The surveys of our recent grads, their employers and comments of those who have gone onto further study demonstrate DSU is achieving this mission. We have an accomplished team of faculty and staff who continually challenge our students academically, culturally and socially.
We are proud of the successes of our students and the roles DSU has played in their lives. Yet, we are not complacent. As we have done for nearly 100 years, the university continues to innovate while meeting the needs of our students, our alumni and friends, the communities we serve, and the citizens of North Dakota.

Coston is the president of Dickinson State University.

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