From the Hawks’ Nest: An Exciting Time of the Year

“From the Hawks’ Nest” is a monthly column by Dickinson State University President Steve Easton

Steve Easton.jpg
Dickinson State University President Steve Easton, author of the monthly column “From the Hawks’ Nest”

In education, there is no time more exciting than the start of the school year. In the past week, we have welcomed back hundreds of returning DSU students and greeted hundreds more new Blue Hawks. The start of the school year brings both familiar comforts and exciting new opportunities.

In the main, things are as they have been for over a century: The vast majority of our students take classes “face to face.” Unlike many other universities, DSU has been able to continue in-person classes during most of the covid pandemic. DSU values in-person instruction. Whenever possible, we want our students to have the benefit of coming to our College on the Hill to meet with their professors and staff.

But things have also changed, a bit. In recognition of the reality that not all learners can get to campus, we now also offer most of our classes via DSUlive™. DSUlive™ allows a few students to access the class via the internet, while most of the students are in the classroom. For example, a class might have twenty in-person students and two who are accessing the class via DSUlive™.

To continue with the “mostly the same, but some new” theme, we continue to be blessed with a strong faculty, many of whom have served DSU students for several years. Additionally, we are also welcoming some exciting newcomers to our team.

Dr. Jason Abate has joined the School of Business and Entrepreneurship. He has extensive high-level administrative experience in the banking industry. He has also served as the president of an award-winning school.


Dr. Stacy Cordery joins DSU as the Dennis & Vaune Johnson TRHLP chair, heading our Theodore Roosevelt Honors Leadership Program. She is a New York Times best-selling author, with four books (and a fifth coming soon), including “Theodore Roosevelt: In the Vanguard of the Modern” and “Alice: Alice Roosevelt Longworth, from White House Princess to Washington Power Broker.”

Assistant Professor Sean Corrigan, who is pursuing his PhD at the University of Wisconsin, joined the School of Education earlier this year. He has visited over one hundred countries and has taught in Nevada, Vanuatu (a Pacific island), and California.

Dr. Marcus Fries serves as the chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. He previously was head of Computational Sciences at Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, Massachusetts, but his roots are in North Dakota. After high school in Mott, he completed his bachelor’s degree at NDSU.

Assistant Professor Amy Grinsteinner, too, has strong roots in western North Dakota, though her undergraduate degree is from Notre Dame. Her work with Trinity High School has prepared her well to teach in DSU’s School of Education.

Assistant Professor Niles Haich, of the Arts and Letters faculty, has not just North Dakota roots, but Blue Hawk roots. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from DSU before obtaining his master’s degree in English at NDSU. He has taught writing at several colleges.

Coach Shari Hewson is leading our volleyball team. Before joining DSU, she coached at Bismarck High School and taught at Dickinson’s Jefferson Elementary School.

Assistant Professor Luc Van Hoek has come the farthest distance to join DSU. In addition to teaching in Wimbledon, Los Angeles, and most recently in Amsterdam, he has worked in human relations and marketing in the Netherlands and Belgium. He has joined the School of Business and Entrepreneurship to teach human relations and other courses.

Dr. Brian Holder joined Arts and Letters as a full-time instrumental music instructor, after serving as an adjunct at DSU while also directing the band at Trinity High School. He has directed percussion sections or bands at several schools, including in Bison, South Dakota.


Assistant Professor Lynette Silbernagel has joined the Department of Nursing as a full-time instructor, after teaching as an adjunct professor. She has previously served CHI St. Alexius Health, ABLE, Inc. and St. Luke’s Home in Dickinson and the South Heart School District, where she taught science.

We are fortunate to have such wonderful instructors joining our dedicated DSU faculty.

Related Topics: DICKINSON
What To Read Next
Bidding Minnesota farewell over an extreme law
"When you're 5 years old, you believe in Santa because you think he's real. When you're 10 years old, you believe because you want to," Cramer said on this episode of Plain Talk.
"If we are unwilling to admit that the racism exists in our power structures, people of color will continue to pay a deadly price."
We could all use a good laugh to start out the new year.