The school opened in 1881 as a teacher’s college. A century later, the university was struggling to stand out among other state colleges, enrollment was dropping, and the Legislature had attempted to close the college.
Then-Gov. Bill Janklow recognized DSU’s struggles and worked with the Board of Regents to change the mission of DSU. In 1984, DSU’s new mission was specializing in computer-related programs [Megan Raposa, “Sanford, Beacom Donate $30 Million to Dakota State University,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2017.08.20].
DSC certainly wasn’t the biggest campus, but in the 1980–1981 school year, three years before the Legislature approved Governor Bill Janklow’s conversion of the liberal-arts campus into a prep school for the new Citibank cube farm, DSC posted the biggest enrollment gain by percentage in the state.
Now, can any of you readers track down the Regental enrollment data for the subsequent school years?
Update 19:43 CDT: Charlie Johnson’s historical point withstands broader scrutiny. The Board of Regents Higher Education Enrollment Information for Fall 1990 (a copy of which rests here in the Beulah Williams Library of Northern State University) includes this bar chart of public FTE enrollments in fall semesters from 1973 to 1990:
DSC’s enrollment is the second block from the bottom in each bar. DSC’s fall enrollment looked pretty peaked in the 1970s, then bulked up in the early 1980s until Janklow’s computer mission change drove enrollment back down from 1984 through 1987.
Dr. Ernest Teagarden, General Beadle/DSC/DSU professor emeritus of business, provides numbers in his 2006 essay in DSU’s quasquicentennial promotional publication:
Enrollment increased during the [DSC President Dr. Carl] Opgaard years from 895 students in 1979 to 1,246 students in 1983. Both figures are, of course, headcounts and probably have to be adjusted if full-time equivalencies are desired. The enrollment increase indicated that parents and their teenage offspring had decided that DSC was not to be closed.
Despite its enrollment increases the collegiate position of DSC was not permanently settled. In the late winter of 1983 Governor William Janklow appeared on the academic scene in Madison. He addressed a selected group of Lake County citizens and proposed the conversion of DSC to a “computer school” (or words to this effect)….
…It was unfortunate that the “new mission” could not have been developed more openly and over a longer period of time. A look at fall student headcount (the number of students taking at least one credit during the semester) in 1983 and the following three years is in order: 1983—1,246 headcount; 1984—999 headcount; 1985—867 headcount; 1986—940 headcount [Dr. Ernest Teagarden, Chapter 4, “Mission Change and Recent History,” Keeping the Edge…, DSU/Leader Printing: Madison, SD, 2006, pp. 35 & 38].
There were questions about the ongoing viability of Dakota State College as a liberal arts/teacher-preparation college well before the 1980s. But to say that decreasing enrollment was a pressing problem at the time of the Janklow computer mission change in 1984 is historically inaccurate.
Usury brings more good things to life in South Dakota. Premier Bankcard boss Miles Beacom has thrown in with Premier owner T. Denny Sanford to give Beacom’s alma mater, Dakota State University, $30 million to build the Madison Cyber Labs, offer scholarships, hire more faculty and staff, and get the College of Computing renamed the Beacom College of Computer and Cyber Sciences. Governor Dennis Daugaard will throw in $10 million from the Future Fund (which he can just up and do, since he, not the Legislature, controls that fund). DSU will put another $20 million into the project, which will allow DSU students and faculty to do secret stuff for corporations and the military.
If you’re with me in thinking that “Computer and Cyber Sciences” is redundant, there is a distinction. According to this 2015 Association for Computing Machinery presentation, the “consideration of an adversary, either human or artificial,” is essential to the new discipline Beacom’s money will institutionalize at DSU:
Cyber Sciences [is a] computing-based discipline involving technology, people, and processes aligned in a way to enable “assured operations” in the presence of risks and adversaries.
It involves the creation, operation, analysis, and testing of secure computer systems (including network and communication systems) as well as the study of how to employ operations, reasonable risk taking, and risk mitigations.
It is an interdisciplinary course of study, and includes aspects of law, policy, human factors, ethics, risk management, and other topics directly related to the success of the activities and operations dependent on such systems, often in the context of an adversary [Elizabeth K. Hawthorne, Sue Fitzgerald, and Andy Phillips, “Update: Cyber Education,” ACM Education Council Meeting, Denver, Colorado, 2015.08.24].
In other words, computer science is about doing stuff with computers. Cyber science is about keeping others from messing up the stuff we’re doing with our computers.
Digital Humanities is an interdisciplinary academic field that brings digital technology to bear on the study of anthropology, classics, history, geography, language and literature, law and politics, the performing arts, philosophy, religion, and the visual arts. Dakota State University’s Certificate in DH aims to support the university mission, within the larger BOR system, to stay at the forefront of digital and technological humanities teaching and research, and to increase connections with the community, business, and government agencies. The digital humanities certificate will challenge students to learn new skills and engage in professionalizing activities, concentrate digital expertise in the English for New Media degree program and connect humanities studies and teaching across Arts and Sciences programs in the South Dakota BOR system [Dakota State University, request for new graduate certificate program, Board of Regents Agenda Item 7-A(1), June 2017].
Digital Humanities—I’m trying to figure out of that’s an oxymoron, a lost Isaac Asimov novel, or maybe just a fancy term for blogging.
But the Board of Regents will have to spend $40,000 to acquire that parking lot. Included in the four-part package of legislation the Regents will review today for proposal to the 2016 Legislature is a bill to appropriate $40,000 to buy the Heston Hall parking lot (formally, “Lot 6 and lot 7 in Block 1 and the vacated portion of 7th street lying parallel and adjacent there to of Willard’s Addition”) from the DSU Foundation.
I suppose we could grumble that putting the new IT building on alternative proposed sites like the newly vacated hospital block or on top of Lowry Hall wouldn’t have cost this extra chunk. But this land acquisition increases the $11,400,000 price tag ($366 per square foot) of the new IT building by only 0.35%. But look on the bright side: pass this legislation, and the DSU Foundation can give out another $40,000 in scholarships! It’s just too bad they can’t give that new money to students majoring in horticulture or urban design.
In a small victory for public input, historic character, and grass, Dakota State University President José-Marie Griffiths announced yesterday that it will build the Beacom IT building on the parking lot south of Heston Hall, on the east side of Washington Avenue. This decision reverses the unpopular plan set in June by then-interim DSU prez Marysz Rames to satisfy Big Usury donor and alum Miles Beacom’s edifice complex with a big glass box on the green blocking the view of historic East Hall on the west side of the street.
Tear up concrete instead of trees and grass—heck of an idea!
The decision pleases Madison residents like Charlie Johnson, who was among the leaders of popular opposition to the tree-wrecking, East-Hall-blocking location. The decision should please the State Historical Preservation Office, which advised in August that building Beacom on the green would “damage the Madison Historic District.” DSU should be pleased, since moving east across the street means they don’t have to monkey with the SHPO rules on damaging historic districts. Plus, DSU still gets to promote the notion of Washington Avenue as the grand entrance to campus, framed with, in Dr. Griffith’s words, “DSU’s legacy on the left (East Hall) and its future on the right (the Beacom building).”
East Hall denizens, you may decide whether to take umbrage at being relegated to non-future status. Maybe you can open a PET museum. And now, you can be sure you’ll get to hold your opening reception in a lovely green space right outside.
Dakota State University announced plans last June to plunk the new Miles Beacom IT building on the southeast corner of campus. That chunk of campus is currently part of DSU’s verdant oasis in the Madison Historic District. But that shady green space and the lovely view of historic East Hall apparently isn’t impressive enough for recent administrations who view Washington Avenue as the main entrance to campus and think that “gateway” would be grander with a modern edifice showing off a big donor’s name:
After reviewing the pros/cons regarding the location of the Beacom IT building, as well as consulting multiple constituents, including our primary donor, Miles Beacom, we have decided that the best location of the new Beacom IT Building is the southeast side of campus adjacent to East Hall. Key factors that solidified this decision include:
Washington Ave is the main corridor to campus, and with the Trojan Center renovation and acquisition of the hospital property, this corridor will become a focal point for the campus.
The SE side of campus will serve as the first impression for individuals – including prospective students and their parents – when they visit campus. Locating the building on this site will help the campus gain notoriety in the region.
The SE location allows Lowry to remain and continue to provide needed space on campus. As indicated in the Master Plan, a future facility could be located on this site [Interim President Marysz Rames, VP Academic Judy Dittman, and VP Admin Stacy Krusemark, Dakota State University, e-mail to steering committee, 2015.06.05].
Madison Daily Leader publisher Jon Hunter thinks that location is a bad idea. So does South Dakota’s State Historic Preservation Office. In a letter dated August 25, 2015, SHPO Director Ted Spencer and historic preservation officer Jay Vogt tell DSU VP Admin Stacy Krusemark that building Beacom Hall south of East Hall on Washington Avenue will “encroach upon historic property that is included in the National and State Registers of Historic Places” and that “feasible and prudent alternatives have not been explored”:
During the site visit on August 19, 2015, it was noted that DSU will need to construct two additional buildings to accommodate campus growth and additional programming. However, it is unclear why the site of the existing Lowry Hall or the site of the Madison hospital, which is being acquired by DSU, are not feasible alternative locations for the Beacom IT Building. It does not appear that a building use/feasibility study has been done to show whether the Lowry Hall site or the former Madison hospital could be used to house the programs proposed for the new Beacom IT Building in conjunction with other program space.
It was noted during the sit visit on August 19, 2015, that the DSU Foundation owns the property on the southeast corner of 6th Street NE and Lee Avenue. Although this area is still within the boundary of the Madison Historic District, the properties on the south side of 6th Street NE between Lee and Washington Avenues are considered non-contributing to the Madison Historic District. Therefore, SHPO recommends exploring the feasibility of purchasing these properties with the intent to expand campus to the south [Ted Spencer and Jay Vogt, State Historic Preservation Office, letter to Stacy Krusemark, Dakota State University, 2015.08.25].
My initial inclination would be to go for the Lowry/hospital tandem plan before trying to expand southward. Replacing Lowry, a boxy old 1958 dorm, with a fancy new IT building would make the other entrance to campus, along the beautiful boulevarded Egan Avenue that hosts DSU’s homecoming parade, notably more impressive without taking away from existing aesthetic appeal. Siting Beacom Hall on the newly vacated hospital property would give DSU a real landmark on its north entrance at 9th and Washington. Both the Lowry and hospital locations come with built-in off-street parking, which would be harder to come by on the Lee–Washington half block. The only advantage to the Lee–Washington location is that it’s that much closer to El Vaquero for lunch.
But building Beacom in any of those locations makes more sense than tearing up another patch of that beautiful campus green.
The aesthetics and beauty of a campus is something that is priceless and in most cases is irreplaceable. There are other good and workable solutions to the placement of the new classroom building without destroying the precious “green imprint” of Dakota State University [Charlie Johnson, letter to the editor, Madison Daily Leader, 2015.10.16].
I was a professor at Dakota State University for 36 years, and, for a decade, I had an office in East Hall, and I taught in classrooms there. I fondly remember strolling across the lawn among the towering trees in front of East Hall. I enjoyed looking down the unbroken expanse of green on the south side of campus. It would be a big mistake to construct a new building in that location — that building would be a blot on an attractive campus.
The objection I’m voicing is not to the new building itself. Regardless of how beautiful the building would be, placing it south of East Hall would break up the well-planned alignment of the campus. It would always be a growth in the wrong place [Eric Johnson, letter to the editor, Madison Daily Leader, 2015.10.06].
So does the class of 1955:
My family has an unusual history with this campus. My father’s mother and father, my mother and father, and my sister and I all attended DSU. My father actually went from kindergarten through college there. Both my grandfather and father were employed by DSU. So you can see why I feel so strongly about this.
I am all for progress and I think the folks at Dakota State have done a wonderful job in keeping the college progressive and a desirable destination for higher education.
However, to destroy a beautiful section of the campus and take many healthy trees out of the environment for this building is unconscionable when there are other locations available. Those locations, from what I understand, are the Lowry Hall site or the old hospital site.
Architects frequently forget to think about the community or those with vested interests in the project. Their main thoughts go to where they think it would like nice neglecting to examine the big picture.
I ran this past my class of 1955, many of whom either attended or graduated form DSU. They were all in agreement that a more extensive feasibility study and more consideration needs to occur before someone bulldozes history and assaults the environment [Jane Tyrrell Hofkamp, letter to the editor, Madison Daily Leader, 2015.10.01].
So does Madison Historic District resident John Goeman:
It has come to my attention that Dakota State University is proposing to build a new classroom building on the southeast corner of campus, south and west of East Hall. Construction in this location will block the view of East Hall, one of the beautiful campus historic buildings. It will also mean the destruction of many old trees as well as the beautiful lawn in that location.
Many people believe this is a bad decision and would urge the DSU administration to review alternative sites. Many people would suggest the Lowry site as a showpiece location for the new classroom building, right next to the statue of General Beadle and the Mundt Library [John Goeman, letter to the editor, Madison Daily Leader, 2015.09.28].
To help DSU with that thorough analysis, supporters of alternate locations for Beacom Hall are holding a public meeting at the Madison Public Library on Monday, October 26, at 7 p.m. Join the conversation Monday, and see if DSU and its big donor will listen.
A great building shell game moves one step closer to reality this week as the Board of Regents takes up at its Aberdeen meeting today the plan to buy the old Madison hospital for $1.6 million. According to Agenda Item 6-F, the Board will consider authorizing its exec to sign the purchase agreement that will allow the state to acquire the hospital, which sits at the northeast edge of the main campus.
The Madison Community Hospital is moving operations to the south side of town to a new 110,000-square-foot, $36.8-million facility. The Regents will spend $7.5 million renovating the hospital into student housing and a “Learning Engagement Center.” (Funny: when I’m on campus, I feel engaged in learning all over the place, but I guess we need a center for that engagement now.) According to DSU’s 2020 strategic plan, “Learning Engagement Center” means a central location for academic advising and tutoring.
The Regents are acquiring the building for free: the purchase price is covered by a grant from the Great Plains Education Foundation (ah, old student loan interest at work!). The renovation dollars will come from bonds.
Remember, this is the second time DSU has twinned its expansion with the Madison hospital. The Regents did the same thing in the 1960s, when the Madison hospital built the facility the Regents are now buying and moved out of what the Regents then purchased and turned into Heston Hall, which is now the DSU administrative building. Heston Hall and the new DSU housing/tutoring center sit kitty-wampus from each other at Washington Avenue and 8th Street.
Last night I reported that Dakota State University information assurance professor William Carl Figg had been convicted last May of one count of nonconsensual contact with a foreign exchange student in his home.
As of tonight, William Carl Figg is no longer scheduled to teach classes at DSU this fall.
When I search tonight for DSU Fall 2015 courses taught by Figg, WebAdvisor says, “No classes meeting the search criteria have been found.” When I search the five class sections listed last night for Figg, WebAdvisor produces these results:
WebAdvisor now lists Mike Waldner as instructor for the on-campus section of INFS 601, Section D01. The other four sections list “To Be Announced TBA” under Faculty.
Update 2015.08.22 11:23 CDT: Sources tell me DSU VP Academic Judy Dittman sent this e-mail to faculty in the College of Business and Information Systems, as well as other VPs and department chairs, on Thursday, August 20, at 10:05 p.m., announcing Figg’s retirement:
Today I received a letter from Dr. Figg stating he has decided to retire on August 21, 2015. In his letter he said how grateful he was for the opportunity to serve as a tenured Full Professor at DSU for the last 15 years. When you have a chance, please thank him for his years at DSU and wish him well in his retirement. Thank you.
Hmmm… this sounds a lot like President David Borofsky’s immediate “retirement” last year. The emphasis on his status as “tenured Full Professor at DSU for the last 15 years” seems just a touch exaggerated: Figg started at DSU in 2001, so it seems unlikely he would have held tenure at DSU for 15 years. The last time Figg updated his faculty homepage or online CV, he listed himself as “Associate Professor.”
Last May, William Carl Figg was convicted and sentenced for non-consensual sexual contact with an exchange student staying in his home. As of this writing, Dr. Figg remains on the information security faculty and scheduled to teach next week at Dakota State University, teaching two courses (with on-campus and online sections) and advising doctoral dissertations and drawing his annual salary of $114,696.84 (search his name on the OpenSD.gov salary database to see for yourself).
Figg committed the act in question in his home during Thanksgiving last November. Lake County State’s Attorney Chris Giles filed one charge against Figg on April 16, 2015.
Figg and his wife have hosted exchange students in their rural home near Rutland in past years. The exchange-student organization through which Figg obtained his victim checked with past exchange students and uncovered an allegation from another student who had stayed with Figg. The sentencing hearing transcript from May 21, 2015, does not say what that past student alleged.
Figg pled no contest but asked Magistrate Judge Carmen Means to cut him slack and grant suspended imposition of sentence, because he’s a veteran and came to court with a clean record. Judge Means denied that request:
Given the nature of the offense here, I am going to deny the request for a suspended imposition of sentence. My concern is both in lack of taking responsibility, even though there is a conviction here as a result of the plea, the nature of the no contest plea concerns me in terms of taking responsibility for what happened. Additionally, I—I just think that this needs to be on his record for a future reference [Magistrate Judge Carmen Means, sentencing hearing for William Carl Figg, Madison, South Dakota, 2015.05.21].
Judge Means gave Figg a $500 fine and 180 days in jail. She suspended jail time on condition that Figg pay the fine and not break any other laws for one year.
South Dakota law treats Figg’s sexual touching and Wilkinson’s invasion of privacy as equally severe crimes. Wilkinson violated SDCL 22-21-4, which prohibits “Use or dissemination of visual recording or photographic device without consent and with intent to self-gratify, harass, or embarrass.” Figg violated SDCL 22-22-7.4, which prohibits “Sexual contact without consent with person capable of consenting.” Both crimes are Class 1 misdemeanors. Neither crime lands Wilkinson or Figg on South Dakota’s sex offender registry.
“I was initially very attracted to DSU because of the university’s strength in high-tech and informatics programs, combined with depth and breadth in business, education, liberal arts, math and the sciences. DSU is a dynamic and innovative institution, well positioned for leadership in this 21st Century era of remarkable change,” she said.
While the university’s strength was a draw for Griffiths, it was on the community tour that “I fell in love with the place.”
Griffiths and husband Donald King were shown the new hospital and area businesses. They loved the wide streets and the lovely prairie, she said, but having always lived near water, “It was the lakes that did it” [Jane Utecht, “Griffiths Will Be Next DSU President,” Madison Daily Leader, 2015.04.27].
Keep those lakes clean—they are Madison’s strongest recruitment tool.
And in a sign of the coming matriarchy, Jane Utecht writes the local press celebrating Griffiths’s (drat! Another name ending in s, confounding my possessives!) hiring, the first three people quoted—DSU facility worker Roxie Draper, DSU physics prof Barbara Szczerbinska, and local economic development chief Julie Gross—are all women. A couple guys get to talk in the bottom half of the article.