For Release June 25

Universities Report to Regents on Sharing System Resources Education, Foreign Language and Science Faculty Cooperate to Deliver Instruction

MADISON—At its regular business meeting, held on the campus of Dakota State University, the South Dakota Board of Regents heard reports from system-wide councils established to coordinate the delivery of instruction in certain academic disciplines among the six Regental universities. In 1997 the Regents created the councils in Education, Foreign Language, and Science.

"At the time we directed the universities to develop the discipline councils, our objective was to enhance opportunities for the faculty to collaborate in the delivery of instruction," said Regents President James O. Hansen. "We also wanted to optimize the use of system resources within the academic areas. Many faculty members have been working together and sharing information and resources informally for years. But through these councils we have recognized their efforts and have given structure to what they were doing," he added.

Regents Executive Director Robert T. Tad Perry said, "Each council was asked to inventory courses and faculty expertise. They were asked to revise course content and standardize numbering, so that students would have an easier time transferring courses among the Regental institutions. The councils were then directed to collaborate on the delivery of certain courses. This has worked well in foreign language and science, where the French, German and physics courses were offered through technology on three of our campuses. Not one campus had enough students to support a major in that field, but by sharing they can offer our students the opportunity to major in a subject that would have been unavailable otherwise."

Paul Deputy, Dean of the School of Education at NSU, reported that the Education Discipline Council focused its efforts on the new teacher certification standards that the Department of Education and Cultural Affairs has proposed. The education council was also instrumental in preparing South Dakota’s application to the U. S. Department of Education for a $10 million grant. If awarded, the grant will provide funds for technology training and integration into instruction and curriculum for K-12 and higher education.

Among the information inventoried by the Foreign Language Discipline Council were the contacts in foreign countries that the six universities have made. Ten different countries, where exchange or study opportunities exist for South Dakota faculty and students, were reported to the Regents. The foreign language council plans to work on outreach to the public elementary and secondary schools in its second year.

Dr. Casey Black, professor of French at NSU, presented the report to the Regents. Black said he has changed the way he views teaching as a result of collaborating on the multi-institutional French major. "My department, as I think of it, are the people who I work with in the collaborative program at SDSU and USD," he added.

The emphasis of the Science Discipline Council will be on publicizing information on resource availability and faculty specialization. The council hopes to increase the possibilities for students enrolled in any of the Regental universities to work with faculty at any of the other institutions who have similar interests.

The Science Discipline Council plans a convocation in April 1999 on "Teaching of Undergraduate Science" to be held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the South Dakota Academy of Science, reported Dr. Royce Engstrom, USD Director of Research.

"Initially, many people were skeptical that the discipline councils could work," said Regent Pat Lebrun, Chair of the Subcommittee on Academic and Student Affairs. She added that the discipline councils show that faculty can be very successful at working together and increasing opportunities for students.

The university presidents have recommended that the Regents create a Business Discipline Council. "The education, foreign language, and science discipline councils have been successful at creating a climate for sharing our state’s limited higher education resources. The open lines of communication ensure that our students are given opportunities to study. It only makes sense to add the business faculty to this collaborative effort. No doubt outreach to the state’s business community will be one of the goals of this council," said Perry.

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