For Immediate Release 05 May 2000
State University Collaboration Increases Opportunities for Students
VERMILLIONWhen the faculties of the six state universities cooperate in sharing resources, South Dakota students benefit, the South Dakota Board of Regents were told today. The Regents received reports from seven faculty councils over two days as it met for its regular business meeting on the campus of the University of South Dakota (USD) in Vermillion.
"Students at any of the Regental universities are free to take advantage of agreements between any South Dakota university and its foreign university partners. They can travel and study abroad at a whole range of universities. That is just one example of increased opportunities available to our students through these collaborative efforts," said Regents President Harvey C. Jewett, IV, Aberdeen. "When the Regents created these faculty councils a few years ago, we were asking for more efficiency from the universities and the faculty. Now we are also seeing greater accountability in performance, uniformity in course content and delivery, and increased opportunities for students."
Faculty discipline councils were created in 1997 in education, foreign language and science. A business council was added in 1998. The Regents created councils in mathematics, information technology, and English in 1999. As one of its first tasks, each council inventories the courses offered by the Regental universities in that discipline. It then assesses faculty expertise and develops collaborative approaches to meet institutional and system needs within the discipline.
"The Education Discipline Council has done a lot of work in identifying state needs for teacher certification," said Regents Executive Director Robert T. Tad Perry. "A subcommittee proposed an alternative teacher certification plan to address the teacher shortage. Recent federal legislation requires an annual report card on the performance of teacher education programs, so the discipline council has recommended a teacher certification exam as part of the accountability requirement."
"It is obvious that the Education Discipline Council tackled several difficult issues," said Dr. Dean Myers of Black Hills State University, the chair of the council for the academic year. "Communication has been enhanced. Trust and respect are shared by each university."
Other accomplishments reported to the Regents include the following.
"The faculties of South Dakotas public universities are much more involved outside of the confines of their campuses than most people realize," said Perry. "Business faculty provided workshops and small business consulting. Foreign language professors have worked with elementary and secondary schools. For example, two BHSU professors have set up a Spanish immersion camp in Custer State Park for high school students."
Devising a common course numbering system in each discipline has been one of the first assignments for each council and one of the most difficult, added Jewett. "Essentially we are asking them to standardize the course content in many classes. That is hard for independent professionals to do. The Regents appreciate the efforts that have gone into these discussions. In the end the students benefit since courses will be available through the Internet and will easily transfer among the institutions," said Jewett.
For more information, contact: Dr. Robert T. Tad Perry, Executive Director, or Dr. Lesta Turchen, Senior Administrator, South Dakota Board of Regents, (605) 773-3455.
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