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Monday Message, March 11

SDSU Community –

A quiet week on campus with spring break is also an exciting one as our men’s and women’s basketball teams continue their quest for a spot in the NCAA tournament today as they both will play in the semifinals of the Summit League Tournament.

A couple of important items to note — the National Survey of Student Engagement and the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement will be available soon. The surveys assess student engagement in academic and co-curricular activities from the perspective of first-year and senior students (NSSE) and faculty who teach undergraduate courses (FSSE).

The NSSE invites for students will be delivered by email March 18, while the faculty FSSE invites will be sent March 21. Please be aware of these dates and encourage students to participate in their survey as well. It is important information for the university to build upon and to be aware of for continuous improvement.

Questions about the surveys may be directed to Robyn Marschke or the Office of Institutional Research. Prior results of the surveys are available on InsideState.

Once we return from spring break, it will only be seven weeks until commencement ceremonies and the end of another academic year. Information about regalia rentals and how faculty can RSVP is below. The ceremonies will be held May 4 at the Dacotah Bank Center for one more year while the construction to First Bank & Trust Arena is completed.

I hope to see many of your there and take part in this wonderful tradition. It is hard to believe that some of this year’s graduates came to SDSU four years ago and began their college journey during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finally, the women's basketball team will play the University of South Dakota this afternoon, while the men's basketball team will face St. Thomas at 6 p.m. The winners of today’s semifinals will play in the championship games tomorrow with the women’s game at 3:30 p.m. and the men’s game at 8:30 p.m. Both championships will be broadcast on the CBS Sports Network. Best of luck to both our teams.

Congratulations to our Jackrabbits wrestling team for its third-place finish at the Big XII championships. Seven SDSU wrestlers earned automatic berths to the NCAA championships, with Cade DeVos and Tanner Sloan leading the way with individual conference championships. The two became the first to win individual championships at the conference meet since 2018. The NCAA championships will be held March 21-23 in Kansas City.

I hope everyone has a wonderful spring break and enjoys a little time away from campus. I am sure I will see many of you in Sioux Falls!

Go Jacks!


Barry H. Dunn, President

Graduation planning is underway for the Class of 2024 ceremonies that will be held May 4 at the Dacotah Bank Center, formerly the Swiftel Center. Faculty, please note the following deadlines:

Regalia Rentals: All rental orders need to be placed by March 22. Please place rental orders through online.

RSVP: Faculty planning to participate in the processional must RSVP by April 26 online. Seating is limited, and an RSVP must be completed for attendance.

Faculty wishing to attend graduation ceremonies but not participate in the processional will need a ticket for entrance. Further information regarding this process will be available later in the spring semester.

For further information regarding graduation, please visit Information for faculty will be updated under this heading.

South Dakota State University’s marketing firm of record, Click Rain Inc., hosted a webinar — “Marketing Today’s Prospective Students” — on Feb. 21. The recording is available online.

Click Rain shared insights on marketing fundamentals, the recruitment marketing funnel and partnership and looked at how digital marketing can align with the specific marketing needs of colleges and departments.

The Graduate School will host its second annual Graduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Day, April 23.

The day will begin at 2 p.m. with a featured graduate student speaker, Manisha Guha, followed by the graduate student poster show at 3 p.m. and culminating with the Graduate School Recognition Event at 5 p.m. All events will take place in the Volstorff Ballroom at the University Student Union. Additional information is available on

Author Achut Deng shares her story of survival, resiliency and hope based on her personal journey as a refugee born in South Sudan and coming to America at age 16. Her recently published memoir, "Don't Look Back," has captured her experience, and now she will share herself with us.

Deng’s talk will take place April 2 from 6-7:30 p.m. in the Pheasant/Crest Room (253) in the University Student Union. Additional information is available on

The Office of Multicultural Affairs and Accessibility is hosting its next CommUNITY Meeting March 20 that will include interventional training to empower attendees to advocate for others by being equipped with skills to safely and realistically disrupt situations involving discrimination.

The meeting will be held in the University Student Union, room 262 from 3-4:30 p.m. or 6-7:30 p.m.

The Eastern South Dakota Science and Engineering Fair is currently looking for judges to assist with the competition March 26. Judging primarily takes place between 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. in Club 71 at the Dana J. Dykhouse Football Stadium. Judges in all areas and levels of experience are needed.

Students from sixth grade through high school will come to campus and are excited to show off the research projects they have been working on both inside and outside of the classroom.

Anyone interested in volunteering my sign up on

SDSU employees will have free access to the Miller Wellness Center recreation and fitness areas through Saturday.

The SDSU Alumni Association, along with the Jackrabbit Central, will host a Jacks Gear Drive to benefit Jack’s Cupboard. Any donated, gently used Jacks gear can be dropped off March 1 through April 11 at either the SDSU Alumni Center or Jackrabbit Central during normal business hours. Jackrabbit Central will give anyone who donates an item to the drive a 15% off coupon to use during the week of #JacksGiveBack, April 21-27.

On April 15 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., the SDSU Alumni Association will hold a sale of all the donated items. All proceeds from the sale will go toward Jack’s Cupboard. Jack’s Cupboard combats food insecurity by ensuring students who struggle to purchase food are provided with this free resource supported by students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends. It is available to all students with a student ID and a bag to collect food items.

For questions, please call the Alumni Office at 605-697-5198 or contact the office by email.

LeadState is a semester-long program for sophomore students that will take place during the fall 2024 semester. The program helps students identify and build on their leadership strengths, identify and lead with values, be a catalyst for social change, connect with campus and community leaders, and engage in community service.

Faculty and staff from across campus coordinate the program. Each student who participates will work with a group of peers throughout the semester alongside professionals from the facilitation team, developing their leadership capacity while working on a shared serve project.

Any student who will be a second-year student during the 2024-2025 academic year is eligible for the program. Faculty and staff are encouraged to identify current first-year students (traditional students or nontraditional students) who they think would be benefit from this leadership development program.

If you have students you would like to nominate for LeadState, please send each student’s name, student ID number and email address to Seth Daughters by April 4.

Additional information about LeadState can be found on

LeadState is a semester-long leadership development program designed for college sophomores. Students are nominated to participate by faculty and staff from across campus and can also self-nominate by sending an email to the LeadState account indicating their interest in the program. Around 50 students take part in LeadState each semester, and over 1,200 students have completed the program since its inaugural year in 2009.

The LeadState facilitation team is comprised of professional staff, faculty and administrators from across campus. Members organize leadership events, coordinate service opportunities, present leadership workshops and serve as leadership coaches who meet with students several times throughout the semester.

If you are interested in joining the LeadState team or would like additional information on one of SDSU’s signature leadership development programs, please contact Nathan Bylander. Additional information about LeadState can also be found online.

SDSU faculty and staff have access to Nature Masterclasses On-demand courses. The professional development courses are comprised of a range of topics including writing and publishing research papers, networking and collaboration, peer review, persuasive grant writing and data analysis.

The university has an institutional subscription to the on-demand courses through Jan. 30, 2025. This gives SDSU faculty and staff access to all available content on the platform (use SDSU single sign-on credentials). Visit the Division of Research’s Events and Training page for the list of courses and links to the platform.

The Coughlin Campanile will undergo a restoration process starting this spring. Work will include repair of the limestone, tuckpointing the brick masonry, and painting doors and window frames.

The last time this process occurred was in 2001. The project will go to bid this week, and the area around the Campanile will be roped off to limit pedestrian traffic immediately adjacent to the structure. The goal is to complete the work this fall, but the progress will be monitored, and the campus community will be updated as the schedule evolves.

Instructional Design Services will host its 2024 Summer eLearning Academy aimed to create, connect and support student success through online communities, fostering a positive and student success-centered eLearning environment. 

The central theme of the academy is to emphasize the importance of creating a strong sense of presence and community in the online learning environment. By fostering high engagement with course content, peers, success resources and tutors, we can support and enhance the online learning experience for our learners.

The academy will take place May 9-10 via Zoom and offer two sessions each day from 9 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m. Participants need to register by May 3. Space is limited, and registrations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Additional information about the academy is available on

Faculty and staff are encouraged to complete the Briggs Library survey in an effort to improve library services and resources. The survey is open until March 18 and can be accessed online.

The survey takes no more than 15 minutes. Responses are confidential, and only combined data is reported.

LibQUAL+ is a survey developed by the Association of Research Libraries to measure library service quality and identify best practices. Results from the 2024 survey will be compared with results from previously conducted surveys in 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2020. Library staff will assess where they have made progress or if there are any widening gaps between campus expectations and what services and resources they can provide.

Anyone having difficulty accessing or taking the survey should contact Kip Thorson, head of public services, at 605-688-5572.

Nominations are now open for SDSU’s Professional Advisor Awards. The awards include the Professional Advisor Award for Excellence in Advising or the Emerging Professional in Advising Award.

Any professional academic advisor or student success advisor who meets the criteria is eligible. Details about the award, including the nomination process, selection criteria and a link to the nomination form, can be found on the academic advising page on InsideState.

Nominations are due by 5 p.m. Tuesday. The recipients will be recognized at an awards ceremony in May. Questions may be directed to Jody Owen.

The Division of Research and Economic Development is hosting a training series to highlight some of the key federal funding agencies for research, scholarship and creative activity during the spring semester.

The informational sessions are to help faculty and staff learn more about the agencies and how to prepare for funding. Sessions started in February and run monthly into April. Dates, times and locations are available on

The Monday Message appears weekly during the academic year and less frequently during the summer months and holiday breaks.

Information for the Monday Message, including nominations for Above and Beyond, can be submitted online through the submission form.