News Release
Contacts: Robert T. Tad Perry, Executive Director
Tracy Mercer, Information Research Analyst

T: 605.773.3455
F: 605.773.5320

For Immediate Release 30 June 2000


Board of Regents Approves Two New Degrees


BROOKINGS-Today the South Dakota Board of Regents, at its regular business meeting on the South Dakota State University campus, approved two new degree programs. The Regents gave approval to Dakota State University to offer a major and minor in electronic commerce. Approval was also given to Black Hills State University to offer a minor in writing.

"Both of the degrees that were approved today are in fields in which industry demands skilled graduates. A minor in writing may not seem like an innovative concept, but communication style and delivery have changed dramatically. Electronic commerce was virtually unheard of five years ago, but today it is a field in which business interest and involvement have exploded," said Regents President Harvey C. Jewett, IV.

The major and minor in electronic commerce will be offered at Dakota State University in Fall 2000. Dakota State University also plans to offer the program at the Center for Public Higher Education in Sioux Falls.

Electronic commerce involves an emerging set of technologies and business practices that rely heavily on computing and communications services to transfer digital information between applications and to transfer other information that has traditionally been transferred using paper, voice, or fax.

A bachelor's of science degree in electronic commerce will require 128 credits, 50 of which are general education. The minor in electronic commerce will require completion of 21 credits.

In order to demonstrate that students have attained the expected knowledge, skills, and competencies needed to work in the field of electronic commerce, the university will require that all students submit an electronic portfolio demonstrating knowledge of graphic programming, networking, database theory and operations, and business technology and problem-solving. Faculty and employers will examine portfolios.

The writing minor will be offered at Black Hills State starting this Fall. The minor requires 18 credit hours after the 6 credit hours in composition required as part of general education.

The minor in writing has been designed to improve written communication skills for students in any major with emphasis on advanced, imaginative, and technical modes. The program will help students demonstrate proficiency in the standard forms, arguments, and audience analyses expected of graduates in their major field of study. A student earning a writing minor will be allowed to choose particular emphases - scholarly, creative, or technical as best fits his or her career plans and major. It will encourage the student to explore the uses of technology in writing, word processing, Internet communications and research, desktop publishing, the location and evaluation of information, and the integration of written and graphic communications. A writing internship is also a part of the minor and it will link students to businesses and organizations in the region and local community, and allow students to gain practical experience in writing, while also improving the relationship between the university and wider community.

"In any profession good communication is critical. The trend toward integrating writing courses into upper division course requirements can be expected to continue. The need and demand for college graduates in all disciplines who can communicate effectively have been steadily increasing, propelled by new technologies and increasing market sophistication. Whether a student has majored in business, science, education, or humanities, he or she will face a workplace where writing, speaking, and presentations skills will be integrated into the job," said Jewett.

A pilot program initiated in Spring 1998 assigned technical writing students to Spearfish area businesses, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. The program met with an enthusiastic response from the community. Several employers cited the need for writing skills as critical in their workplace, and hoped the university would continue to educate students in writing in tandem with technical business writing.

"I think the approval of the writing minor that gives students improved writing and communication skills is an excellent example of the Board of Regents’ commitment to producing graduates that possess the knowledge and skills that employers desire," said Regents Executive Director Robert T. Tad Perry.


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