Custer will retire as provost at BHSU

Author: BHSU Communications/Thursday, December 17, 2015/Categories: 2015

Dr. Rod Custer, Black Hills State University provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, announced his impending retirement.

Dr. Rod Custer, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs at Black Hills State University, has announced his impending retirement as provost at the end of this fiscal year.

"I want to express my sincere thanks and admiration to Dr. Custer for his professionalism, leadership, and dedication to the faculty and to the entire campus. In the 18 months that I've had the opportunity to work closely with him, I have been impressed with his pragmatic approach, his scholarly outlook, and his commitment to higher education," Dr. Tom Jackson, Jr., BHSU President, said. "Dr. Custer has clearly had a positive impact on the campus and the community and we will all miss his leadership."

Jackson noted that a national search will be conducted to select a new provost.

Custer, who joined the BHSU administration said that making the decision to step away from the position of provost has been a difficult process for himself and his family but noted that he is turning 66 this summer and is at a point in his life and career where there are some other things that he needs and wants to do.

He expressed his praise and appreciation for faculty and staff at BHSU and the entire community. "It has been a privilege and honor to work with my BHSU colleagues over the past five years," Custer said. "BHSU has a very special group of people. We love the Spearfish community and plan to continue to live here and look forward to opportunities to contribute in the years ahead."

In his role as provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, Custer provides oversight to the three Colleges, sponsored programs, institutional research, assessment and accreditation, international programs and the research office. As a member of the BHSU Administrative Team, Custer is known for his collaborative approach, visionary strategic planning, and is recognized for establishing an effective balance between creative leadership and effective management.

Custer has been instrumental in a number of successful initiatives at BHSU. Key highlights among his many accomplishments include:
  • Implemented a new university-wide, faculty awards program recognizing outstanding service, scholarship and teaching.
  • Supported faculty and undergraduate research opportunities.
  • Secured $3M in funding from the National Science Foundation to develop a professional development structure for science teachers.
  • Developed and administered a travel grant program for faculty.
  • Formalized and expanded faculty emeriti benefits to include opportunities for ongoing involvement with BHSU.
  • Implemented professional development opportunities for new faculty including funding for travel to professional meetings and for research.
  • Oversaw planning and facilitated the documentation of the HLC Quality Assurance accreditation process. Coordinated the successful visit of the HLC accreditation team.
  • Supported the University's strong legacy of providing educational opportunities for American Indians.
  • Helped to facilitate the establishment of the BHSU Underground Campus at Sanford Lab in Lead, one of the only underground campuses in the world, providing unique learning opportunities for faculty and students.
  • Worked with the faculty on a number of degree program and curriculum initiatives.
  • Worked closely with Western Dakota Technical Institute on several articulation agreements including health services, business, and engineering technology.
  • Helped to create additional educational opportunities in the state's second largest city, by working with others to successfully establish the BHSU-Rapid City location.
  • Provided support to the expansion of international service learning opportunities and study abroad options for students.
In his 33 years in higher education, Custer served as associate vice-president for Research, Graduate Studies, and International Education at Illinois State University. In 1995, he was selected to serve as a program officer for the National Science Foundation in Washington, DC. Prior to that he served as a professor and administrator at the University of Missouri-Columbia and McPherson College.

Custer has a Ph.D. in technology education from the University of Missouri-Columbia a master's and a bachelor's degree in industrial education from Fort Hays State University a master's in divinity from Bethany Theological Seminary and a bachelor's degree in psychology from McPherson College, McPherson, Kansas.
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