Dickinson State University

Dickinson State University
Motto Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve
Type Public
Established 1918[1][2]
Endowment $8.9 million[3]
President Thomas M. Mitzel, Ph.D.[4]
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 1,300[5]
Location Dickinson, ND, USA
Campus Urban (110 acres)
Nickname Blue Hawks
Mascot Buster Blue Hawk
Affiliations NAIA
North Star Athletic Association
Website www.dickinsonstate.edu

Dickinson State University (DSU) is a four-year public university located in Dickinson, North Dakota, United States, and is a part of the North Dakota University System. It was founded in 1918 as Dickinson State College,[6] and granted full university status in 1987.


Dickinson was established as a normal school to fill a need for qualified teachers in rural western North Dakota, where fewer than one-quarter of the people working as teachers in the early 1900s were certified as teachers. The university considers June 24, 1918, to be its founding date; this was the first day of classes for the Dickinson Normal School. When first established, the school was tuition-free and operated in the facilities of Dickinson High School. The first campus building, May Hall, was built in 1924.[7]

During World War II, Dickinson State Teachers College was one of 131 colleges and universities nationally that took part in the V-12 Navy College Training Program which offered students a path to a Navy commission.[8]


Dickinson State offers four-year degrees in more than 75 fields of study through 10 academic departments. The school also offers pre-professional and two-year coursework.[9] However it specializes in business management, teacher education, and nursing. Most students attending DSU are business management majors although education (both elementary and secondary), nursing, natural science, and agriculture majors constitute significant areas of study. Dickinson has recently started a Graduate Course program in the field of teacher education. This gives participants a head start in graduate school courses but is not an actual graduate program.

The University long ago outgrew its original teachers’ college status and has since adopted a broader mission. The present programs include not only teacher education and the liberal arts, but also specialized programs in business, nursing, agriculture, and computer science. There is also opportunity for pre-professional study and vocational training in selected areas.

Student programs are based on a core of General Education courses, including fine arts, humanities, natural sciences, mathematics, and the social and behavioral sciences. Dickinson State University students are encouraged to complete their general education requirements by the end of the sophomore year. Students are then free as juniors and seniors to explore a major field of study.


Dickinson State teams, nicknamed athletically as the Blue Hawks, are part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the North Star Athletic Association. Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, track & field and wrestling; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, rodeo, softball, track & field and volleyball. Hank Biesiot is the former football coach and was one of the few active coaches at the college level with 200 or more wins and 30 or more seasons. The Dickinson State track and field team won NAIA national championships three consecutive years from 2004-2006 under coach Pete Stanton. They were national runner up five other times in the eight-year period from 2003 to 2010.

Buster Blue Hawk

Student communications

The student newsblog is The Hawk. Dickinson State also has local Public-access television channel Dickinson State University channel 20 on the Consolidated Telecommunications cable system. DSU News covers current happenings among DSU related students and staff.


Dickinson State University is accredited by regional accreditation agency The Higher Learning Commission. Although the university was placed "on notice" in July 2012[10] it was removed from that status in October 2013 and is fully accredited.[11]

Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library

On April 30, 2013, both chambers of the North Dakota Legislative Assembly passed a bill appropriating $12 million to Dickinson State University to award a grant to the Theodore Roosevelt Center for construction of a building to be named the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library. To access these funds, the Theodore Roosevelt Center must first raise $3 million from non-state sources.[12] Dickinson State University is also home to the Theodore Roosevelt Digital Library which has formed partnerships with the Library of Congress and Harvard University, among other institutions. They currently have over 25,000 items online.

Criticism and controversy

In 2011 and 2012, Dickinson State attracted negative attention for some of its academic and business practices. In 2011, the university was discovered to have overstated its enrollments by practices such as counting people as students who had merely attended a conference on the campus.[13] This situation resulted in the dismissal of the university president, Richard J. McCallum.[14][15][16]

A North Dakota University System audit report released in February 2012 found that the school had relaxed standards and waived some requirements to increase enrollment of foreign students and had, over a period of several years, awarded degrees to 584 foreign students who had not completed the required coursework. The report was a followup of an earlier meeting between Dickinson officials ant the Higher Learning Commission at which the DSU officials "realized they may have an issue with one or more of the HLC’s requirements surrounding academic agreements".[17] Most of the university's foreign students came from China, where the university employed recruiting agents who falsely claimed to be university employees and sometimes misrepresented the university's programs. News media accounts described the audit report as depicting Dickinson State as a degree mill.[18][19][20][21] The audit had been requested by the university's president, Douglas Coston, who took office in January 2012, after some university international agreements were found not to conform with requirements of the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education and the Higher Learning Commission.[17] On the day of the audit release, the Dean of education committed suicide.[22] Six months later, in July, Dickinson's regional accreditor placed the university "on notice," requiring the university provide detailed responses to concerns found in the accreditor's recent site visit.[10]

As of August 2015, the Higher Learning Commission has renewed DSU's accreditation for ten years, with an Assurance Review and Comprehensive Evaluation in year four.[23]

Notable alumni

See also


  1. http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/dickinson-state-university-2989
  2. http://www.dsu.nodak.edu/AboutDSU.aspx
  3. As of June 30, 2009. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2008 to FY 2009" (PDF). 2009 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved February 2, 2010.
  4. Board selects new DSU president (blog), Dickinson State University, September 30, 2015
  5. htatettp://www.suniversity.com/universities/ND/Dickinson_State_University.html
  6. "History Of Dickinson State University". Dickinson State University. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
  7. History Of Dickinson State University, Dickinson State University, retrieved February 11, 2012
  8. "Navy yearbook, Dickinson State Teachers College". Dickinson, North Dakota: Dickinson State Teachers College. 1943. Retrieved September 29, 2011.
  9. http://www.dickinsonstate.edu/degrees
  10. 1 2 "HLC affirms Dickinson State's accreditation". Dickinson State University. July 13, 2012. Retrieved July 14, 2012.
  11. Bryan Horwath (November 1, 2013). "Relief at DSU: Higher Learning Commission decides school keeps full accreditation". The Dickinson Press. Retrieved November 4, 2013.
  12. http://bismarcktribune.com/news/state-and-regional/money-approved-for-possible-teddy-roosevelt-library/article_5d7afaa8-b3f6-11e2-a584-0019bb2963f4.html. Retrieved January 5, 2014. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. Berrett, Dan (August 7, 2011), "Battle Shapes Up as Dickinson State U. President Refuses to Resign", Chronicle of Higher Education, retrieved February 10, 2012
  14. Berrett, Dan (August 8, 2011). "Dickinson State U. President Is Fired in Wake of Enrollment Errors". Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved December 11, 2011.
  15. "Judge Upholds Firing of University President Accused of Inflating Enrollment". Chronicle of Higher Education. December 9, 2011. Retrieved December 11, 2011.
  16. State of North Dakota Board Board of Higher Education v Richard McCallum
  17. 1 2 Internal Review Report: International Transfer Agreement review, Dickinson State University (PDF) (NDUS-IA-01-12), North Dakota University System, February 10, 2012, p. 7
  18. Audit Depicts N. Dakota University As Degree Mill - NPR, February 10, 2012
  19. "Chinese at North Dakota School Got Unearned Degrees, State Says", Bloomberg Business Week, February 11, 2012
  20. Dickinson State - alleged diploma mill for Chinese - Associated Press/San Francisco Chronicle, Feb 10, 2012
  21. Degrees (Without the Work) for Foreign Students at a North Dakota University - New York Times, 10 Feb 2012
  22. Dickinson State University dean found dead Bismarck Tribune, February 10, 2012
  23. "Letter from Higher Learning Commission" (PDF). www.dickinsonstate.edu. Retrieved 2016-01-22.

External links

Coordinates: 46°52′58″N 102°48′01″W / 46.88278°N 102.80028°W / 46.88278; -102.80028

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