Founded in 1890, Valley City State University was a normal school in its original incarnation – a 19th century teacher’s education school, before teacher’s colleges became standard. At that time, North Dakota had made the transition from territory to state less than a year before, and the normal schools were a necessary part of growing a young state into a fully functional part of the union. While Valley City State is still a significant producer of teachers for North Dakota’s school system, today the university is a small but comprehensive public educator, with bachelor’s and master’s degree programs and recognition from U.S. News & World Report as the #1 regional college in the Midwest for nearly two decades running.
Academic ProgramsValley City State’s small size is one of its greatest advantages; just like small companies brag about being “nimble,” VCSU’s 1500 student body and 11:1 student/faculty ratio means that the university can offer students the kinds of resources and attention that larger public universities cannot. For example, Valley City State was an early adopter of mobile technology, building a “laptop campus” program in 1996 to provide every students with the most current tools of the time. Today, VCSU not only provides technology, but up-to-date instructional platforms and online courses, including a fully online Master’s in Education degree that builds on more than a century of expertise in teacher education.
The School of Education and Graduate Studies, of course, is still one of the university’s leading programs, but VCSU has expanded over the course of its life to provide the most in-demand and needed majors for North Dakota’s students and working adults. That means strong computer science, programming, and technology programs, as well as business and communication. As a regional institution, VCSU’s mission is to get the best possible education to the most possible people, and their growing distance education and continuing education programs are a further step in expanding that mission in ever-greater circles.
Student LifeThough Valley City State is a small university in a small town, student life is anything but small. VCSU is proudly and deeply situated in the life of Valley City, and VCSU students are very much part of the community, taking part in community service, outreach to the local and rural areas, and cultural events and entertainment. Named the most beautiful campus in North Dakota by Buzzfeed, VCSU is also located in Expedia’s most beautiful city in North Dakota, where students have access to all the outdoor recreation and activities the rugged North Dakota landscape can offer.
Student also take part in more than 30 student-led organizations and clubs, and can start their own at any time, including honor societies and professional networking groups. Intramural sports are popular, including favorites of all ages like flag football, dodgeball, and kickballs, and a dozen varsity teams keep the Viking name known throughout the NAIA. Students can also visit the beautiful, powerful Medicine Wheel Park any time; a recreation of Native American medicine wheels and burial grounds, Medicine Wheel keeps history and culture preserved and vibrant.