S.D. universities will cooperate, not close

Toby Uecker

Toby Uecker

While recent plans for program collaborations at state universities have some South Dakotans asking if the system is too large, the South Dakota Board of Regents says it has no plans to close any schools.

“Institutions have specific missions and service missions, including geographical responsibilities,” said Board of Regents Executive Director Robert “Tad” Perry. “If you were to eliminate an institution today, you would reduce service to some group of persons.”

Instead, Regents are looking at ways for universities in the state to collaborate and develop a more integrated system, he said.

Current efforts include the initiation of a unified student information system for the six universities. The transition from a system of six separate databases to one statewide program is expected to be complete this month.

Another initiative, one focused more on course offerings, is a proposed expansion of the collaboration between the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and Black Hills State University, which are located within 50 miles of each other at the western edge of the state.

While the collaboration is still in the early planning stages, possible arrangements could include offering business school classes from BHSU to Tech students in exchange for some of Tech’s physics and hard science classes being taught in Spearfish.

South Dakota can expect more such projects in the future.

“On the instruction side, we have a history of sharing courses among institutions.