Accreditation continues to grow at SDSU


Gina Goblirsch, Copy Editor

Accreditation is what keeps a school credible and respectable. South Dakota State University is an accredited institution under the Higher Learning Commission, with 47 accredited or certified programs.

To be accredited, an academic program must meet standards set by accrediting agencies for each discipline, or area of study.

“Once that happens and there’s a very thorough review,” Dennis Hedge, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, said. “Those programs basically earn the right to recognize themselves as a fully-accredited program.”

The appropriate accrediting agency will then come to campus for an inspection to ensure that all criteria are met.

Accreditation and certification provide a level of confidence for the students that the program that they are pursuing meets lofty standards.

“You know that a program that’s accredited at South Dakota State University meets the same excellency standard at any other institution across the United States, whether that be an institution that’s a larger school like the University of Minnesota or perhaps even a school that would be at an Ivy League institution,” Hedge said.

Some programs, like the pharmacy and nursing, have to be accredited in order for graduates to qualify for taking their licensure exams.

Under the previous administration carrying into President Barry Dunn’s administration, South Dakota State has strategically decided that all academic programs with accreditation available to them will be pursued by the university, Hedge added.

Not all academic programs have an accrediting agency over them, so nonaccredited programs can still be high-quality programs.

Though 2019 has not seen any first-time accreditations added to the list, a few programs are in the process of earning this honor.

“Just this week we had a visit from a team that is doing a review of our landscape (architecture) and architecture program, and that would be a first-time accreditation for us,” Hedge said.

Progress is also being made for the business program to earn accreditation through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

The Master of Public Health program is another seeking first-time accreditation.

In addition to adding new programs to the list, some programs in engineering and architecture were reaccredited in the spring of 2019.

“During the first week of November, we will have the institutional accrediting body on our campus as we go through the institutional reaccreditation process,” Hedge said.