SDSU extends beyond Brookings

Tanya Marsh

Tanya Marsh

SDSU extends beyond the boundaries of Brookings. This is the first in a series about SDSU’s outreach campuses.

Brookings isn’t the only place to take classes from SDSU. Far from it.

This week will offer a look into the outreach program SDSU and other universities have in Sioux Falls.

For students living in Sioux Falls, the options for further education are many.

Aside from the University of Sioux Falls and Augustana College, there is also USDSU: a program involving the University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University and Dakota State University.

Gail Tidemann, the dean of the College of General Studies and Outreach Programs explained USDSU.

“There are a good number of general education courses available in Sioux Falls, so a student could get all of their gen-eds done,” she said.

However, general courses are not the only classes available in Sioux Falls.

“The liberal studies is a four-year degree program in Sioux Falls,” Tidemann said. “[There is also] a health promotions major in Sioux Falls. Several courses in engineering are offered in Sioux Falls. We offered program courses in Family and Consumer Sciences as well,” she said.

The reason fewer degrees are offered in Sioux Falls has to do with authorization, Tidemann said. “We have to be authorized to offer degrees at outreach sites, so not all [of SDSU’s] degrees are authorized at outreach sites.”

Most of the classes offered in Sioux Falls are taught by flesh-and-blood professors.

“Classes can be taught through Dakota Digital Network to Sioux Falls, but the majority of classes are face to face,” Tidemann said.

Some of the professors commute from the Brookings branch of SDSU to teach classes in Sioux Falls, but others work solely at USDSU, she said.

Evidence of the growth of the Sioux Falls program is seen in the hiring of professors.

“Starting this spring we’re hiring people to teach in the [various] fields,” Tidemann said. “The demand is growing down there. We’re in the process of hiring a speech teacher, a chemistry teacher, a physics teacher, a biology teacher, and sociology teacher” she said.

The numbers are now out that show the heightened enrollment. There are 1,689 students enrolled for SDSU, DSU, and USD in the outreach program. The total credit hours for USDSU are 3,695 this semester.

Many of the students one would see in Sioux Falls are atypical college students.

“The thing we’ve noticed is the students in Sioux Falls are different?many of them are students that are primarily employed and taking classes,” Tidemann said. “A lot of the students that attend in Sioux Falls are part-time students. A lot of SDSU students have a part-time job, but would still call themselves students first, whereas in Sioux Falls they may be more likely to be employed first.”

The benefits to offering classes in Sioux Falls are many, Tidemann said. In some ways, SDSU earns bonuses from USDSU.

“As a state-supported organization it helps to have a large number of students. The larger number of students helps with our funding,” she said.

Sioux Falls area residents are another group to benefit.

A large population of Sioux Falls hasn’t been able to complete their education. In fact, a survey found that 23,000 people had begun further education but not finished. Because of this a large number of the students have had some college, Tidemann said.

Finishing college means economic benefits for Sioux Falls.

“For [these students], the move toward the positive economic situation has been apparent for a number of years,” she said. “Of course they find it beneficial to be able to take classes while maintaining their employment.”

The way USDSU classes are offered makes education more readily available to these non-traditional students.

“The classes are mainly offered in the evening, although we are starting to offer quite a few day classes in Sioux Falls,” Tidemann said.

In addition, the Sioux Falls branch of SDSU is helpful to students who plan to commute to Brookings later.

“We already know we’ve had some students come to campus who were able to start and get some classes out of the way in Sioux Falls,” she said. “Somebody might not be able to commute up here for four years, but they might be able to commute up here for the year or two years it takes for them to finish their degree.”