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From the Hawks’ Nest: The Hawks are Flying — A Review of 2022

“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”
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2022 was another good year for Dickinson State. Space limitations prevent us from covering all the good news, but here are a few highlights.

Enrollment Growth The number of learners who select DSU as the place to pursue their college education continues to grow. Our headcount enrollment, up 4% this fall, contributed to an overall increase of over 9% during the Covid pandemic (i.e., since fall of 2019). In contrast, undergraduate enrollment is down over 9% nationally during the same period.

Dual Mission Expansion In partnership with the Southwest Area CTE Academy, including our colleagues at Dickinson Public Schools, we are introducing new programs and working on others. Our welding certification program took flight this fall, with a full cohort of ten students. In the fall, we will be offering Meat Processing and Fire Science. We continue to develop programs in Diesel Technology and Law Enforcement.

Our graduate programs also continue to grow. We added the Master of Sport Administration, launched by the recently renamed School of Kinesiology.

Other academic programs also thrived. World class book author Michael Patrick Cullinane joined us as our inaugural Rob & Melani Walton Endowed Chair in Theodore Roosevelt Studies. His efforts are bolstered by another premier historian, Dennis and Vaune Johnson Chair Jeff Wells. They and many others, including new TR Center Director Chris O’Brien, contributed to another successful Theodore Roosevelt Symposium in September, featuring discussion of TR’s influence on sports, especially in education.

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Building the Nest Two major renovation projects were completed this year. In September, we opened Lowman Walton Hall, formerly known as Pulver Hall. But the Pulver name still is prominent, as the top two floors are the Pulver Suites, our premier student housing. The first floor houses an important and educational exhibit outlining the work of photographer (and Theodore Roosevelt friend) Edward S. Curtis documenting tribal customs and tradition.

The second floor is home for our Theodore Roosevelt Center, which continues its groundbreaking digitization of TR’s papers. The third and fourth floors have office space for both the Theodore Roosevelt Honors Leadership program students and the School of Business and Entrepreneurship faculty, a podcasting and a/v studio, small classrooms, conference rooms, and even temporary living quarters for prominent guests of DSU.

We also completed the renovation of our meat processing lab this fall. That important space in our Agriculture and Technical Education building will house our Meat Processing program when it opens in the fall of 2023.

Two other projects are not quite finished, but significant progress was made on them in 2022. Our students will soon be able to study in the Glenice and Dale Hanson Nursing Center, with state-of-the-art equipment like mother and baby robots our faculty can put into distress, which will help future nurses overcome real world problems in their careers.

The Sanford Sports Complex, including an amazing championship softball field, will be finished by the spring, in time to host the North Star Conference tournament. Perhaps thinking of the Hawks play on that wonderful all-turf field will help you make it through this tough North Dakota winter we are experiencing.

Student Success Our students continue to flourish. Two of them presented at a regional history conference where the other presenters were history faculty members and graduate students. Our Esports Valorant team shocked the powerhouse favorite in a three-game sweep to win the Collegiate Champions League. Both our men’s and women’s rodeo teams were the Great Plains’ region’s reserve champions last spring. In the current break between the fall and spring seasons, the men are again in second place in the region, while the women are in first.

The Blue Hawk women’s track and field team won both the indoor and outdoor North Star Conference championships. The football team won its eighth straight (!) conference championship. Even more importantly, each DSU team finished the spring semester with a cumulative GPA over 3.0.

We just added a sport, women’s wrestling, to the options for our students. We plan to be competing in the fall of 2023. And our golf team has a new indoor practice facility to hone its game, even when it is -20.

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Thank You 2022 was a great time to be a Blue Hawk! That kind of energetic growth cannot happen without the support of our community, in Dickinson and beyond. For example, DSU had a record smashing Give Day in 2022, raising over $75,000 in a single day from all fifty states. Thank you for all you do for our students!

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