Official SDSU opportunity center plan announced


Jordan Rusche, Editor-in-Chief (She/Her)

South Dakota State University unveiled its plan for the Wintrode Student Success and Opportunity Center to students Friday via email.

This comes after a Board of Regents meeting held Dec. 8-9 at SDSU, where each regental university presented their current plans for the opportunity centers.

“The center is an inclusive community where all are welcome, accepted and provided access to the services needed to be successful based upon their unique needs,” SDSU’s Opportunity Center Plan read.

The centers are part of the board’s Opportunity for All statement issued in August, which strove to promote “increased opportunity for all students to succeed,” along with upholding American history and the “rich tradition of American universities.”

This was in response to Gov. Kristi Noem’s letter to the board in May, calling for investigations into the role of diversity offices on campus and the potential presence of “action civics” like Critical Race Theory on campus.

SDSU’s plan will be implemented at the start of the spring semester, Jan. 10, 2022, and will be housed in the current Wintrode Student Success Center, which will also be renamed.

“This structure will make the Opportunity Center prominent in our organizational structure and strengthen our student success efforts for all students at SDSU, aligned with the direction provided by the SDBOR in the Opportunity for All statement,” the plan read.

Jody Owen, the current director of the Wintrode Student Success Center, will become senior director of the opportunity center and report to Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dennis Hedge, according to the email sent to students.

SDSU will begin searching for a coordinator for the center and announce members of the implementation team, who will work throughout the spring semester to launch the center and integrate it into existing operations at the university, in January.

The university has developed a Student Success NETWork, made up of student success professionals from various offices on campus. These professionals will include first year advisers, American Indian student services, multicultural student advisers, athletic student services, disability services and more.

“This NETWork will meet regularly, engage in training focused on student success advising and share information regarding services offered to enhance referrals and resources available to promote student success,” the plan read.

Other student success entities outside the NETWork include Briggs Library, tutoring services, the Title IX office, financial aid, health and counseling services and more.

According to the email, the university is still in the process of updating signage to reflect changes to the Wintrode Center, finalizing the physical office space of the center, updating the virtual aspect of the center and developing communication and promotion plans with services in the center, which will begin in early January.

“We appreciate everyone’s engagement with us as we developed this new center to serve all SDSU students,” the email read.