Don Mugan, Ed.D., began his career at Valley City State University in 1973 when he became an instructor in the Industrial Education Department. Early on, Don was instrumental in the establishment of the Instructional Materials Center and the development of the Graphic Communications Laboratory in the Industrial Education Department. In 1974, he became Chair of the Industrial Technology Department. For the rest of his career at VCSU, he was involved in departmental and divisional administrative duties, curriculum development, and sharing his knowledge with generations of future technical educators.
Don’s legacy includes several major initiatives that continue to positively impact our institution, state, and nation. Don’s grant writing abilities and forward thinking brought in over $5 million dollars for improvement initiatives to benefit students and faculty. A sample of the VCSU initiatives includes student portfolio development and management, notebook computers provided to each student, gender equity and diversity scholarships, and Bush Foundation support for faculty development. Additional initiatives will continue to benefit our disciplines at the local, regional and national levels for years to come.
During the 1990s, he secured grant funding to develop the first completely online technology education program at the undergraduate and graduate levels in the United States. This past year, the Department of Technology master’s program, with options in Secondary STEM, Elementary STEM, and Career and Technical Education (CTE), became the largest technology and engineering education master’s program in the United States.To our knowledge, the undergraduate program continues to be the only completely online initial licensure option in technology and engineering education. The undergraduate programs in Career and Technical Education and Technology Education are ranked among the largest programs in the United States.
Don conceptualized, secured grant funding for, and served as the first director of the Great Plains STEM Education Center (GPSEC). The GPSEC provides professional development and training opportunities for teachers in integrated STEM methodology. The staff of the GPSEC and the Department of Technology continue to partner in developing and delivering STEM-based professional development and pre-service teacher training. Don was also instrumental in the development of the statewide North Dakota STEM Network. Don received several awards during his tenure at VCSU, including the Distinguished Technology and Engineering Professional designation by the ITEEA and the 2010 Pathfinder Award at the Milestones and Horizons conference co-hosted by U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan and the Red River Valley Research Corridor. At the time of his retirement in 2012, Don was honored with Faculty Emeritus status. Don passed away on April 3, 2014 and his leadership and innovation, although greatly missed, remain to us as a gift as we forge ahead to further his vision.