Dickinson State University Information

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Dickinson State University
MottoSmall Community. Big Opportunity.
Type Public
Established1918 [1] [2]
Endowment$8.9 million [3]
PresidentThomas M. Mitzel, Ph.D. [4]
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students1,392 [5]
Location, ,
CampusUrban (110 acres)
NicknameBlue Hawks
Affiliations NAIA
North Star Athletic Association
MascotBuster Blue Hawk
Website www.dickinsonstate.edu

Dickinson State University (DSU) is a public university in Dickinson, North Dakota. It is part of the North Dakota University System. It was founded in 1918 as Dickinson State Normal School [6] and granted full university status in 1987.


Dickinson State 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]

Enrollment and graduation controversies

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. [9] This situation resulted in the dismissal of the university president, Richard J. McCallum. [10] [11] [12]

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 and 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". [13] 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. [14] [15] [16] [17] 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. [13] On the day of the audit release, the Dean of education committed suicide. [18] Six months later, in July, Dickinson's regional accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), placed the university "on notice," requiring the university provide detailed responses to concerns found in the accreditor's recent site visit. [19] That status was removed three years later when HLC renewed DSU's accreditation for ten years. [20]


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. [21] 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 State University 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 University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission. Although the university was placed "on notice" in July 2012 [19] it was removed from that status in October 2013 and is fully accredited. [22]


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 basketball, cross country, football, rodeo, golf, track & field and wrestling; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, rodeo, softball, track & field and volleyball. Hank Biesiot is a 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.


The campus news blog is available online. DSU News covers current happenings among DSU related students and staff.

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. [23] 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.

Notable alumni

See also


  1. ^ http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/dickinson-state-university-2989
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-09-04. Retrieved 2011-07-27.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title ( link)
  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. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 14, 2017. Retrieved February 2, 2010.
  4. ^ Board selects new DSU president (blog), Dickinson State University, September 30, 2015, archived from the original on January 30, 2016
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ "History Of Dickinson State University". Dickinson State University. Archived from the original on April 26, 2012. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
  7. ^ History Of Dickinson State University, Dickinson State University, archived from the original on April 26, 2012, retrieved February 11, 2012
  8. ^ "Navy yearbook, Dickinson State Teachers College". Dickinson, North Dakota: Dickinson State Teachers College. 1943. Retrieved September 29, 2011.
  9. ^ Berrett, Dan (August 7, 2011), "Battle Shapes Up as Dickinson State U. President Refuses to Resign", Chronicle of Higher Education, retrieved February 10, 2012
  10. ^ Berrett, Dan (August 8, 2011). "Dickinson State U. President Is Fired in Wake of Enrollment Errors". Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved December 11, 2011.
  11. ^ "Judge Upholds Firing of University President Accused of Inflating Enrollment". Chronicle of Higher Education. December 9, 2011. Retrieved December 11, 2011.
  12. ^ State of North Dakota Board Board of Higher Education v Richard McCallum
  13. ^ a b Internal Review Report: International Transfer Agreement review, Dickinson State University (PDF) (NDUS-IA–01-12), North Dakota University System, February 10, 2012, p. 7[ permanent dead link]
  14. ^ Audit Depicts N. Dakota University As Degree Mill - NPR, February 10, 2012
  15. ^ "Chinese at North Dakota School Got Unearned Degrees, State Says", Bloomberg Business Week, February 11, 2012, archived from the original on July 22, 2012
  16. ^ Dickinson State - alleged diploma mill for Chinese - Associated Press/San Francisco Chronicle, Feb 10, 2012
  17. ^ Degrees (Without the Work) for Foreign Students at a North Dakota University - New York Times, 10 Feb 2012
  18. ^ Dickinson State University dean found dead Bismarck Tribune, February 10, 2012
  19. ^ a b "HLC affirms Dickinson State's accreditation". Dickinson State University. July 13, 2012. Archived from the original on December 11, 2012. Retrieved July 14, 2012.
  20. ^ "Letter from Higher Learning Commission" (PDF). www.dickinsonstate.edu. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-01-29. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
  21. ^ http://www.dickinsonstate.edu/degrees
  22. ^ Bryan Horwath (November 1, 2013). "Relief at DSU: Higher Learning Commission decides school keeps full accreditation". The Dickinson Press. Retrieved November 4, 2013.
  23. ^ 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)[ dead link]

External links


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