State of the University 2009 Address

State of the University Address
President Kay Schallenkamp - August 25, 2009

As we begin a new academic year, we have an opportunity to reflect on the many activities that occurred during the summer and prepare for the upcoming months. The summer of 2009 was extremely busy and productive. A few highlights include:


  • Hosted over 4,500 attendees at camps and conferences
  • Completed the first phase of the Student Union addition
  • Re-designed the new Science Building
  • Completed the Courtyard between the Library and Woodburn
  • Completed the entry to Woodburn and the elevator
  • Conducted significant plantings, weedings, and mowing of the grounds
  • Converted the email system to increase capacity and functionality
  • Upgraded the residence halls, lobbies, and study areas
  • Designed the University Center-Black Hills which will be located in Rapid City
  • Plans continue to be developed for the walkway from Meier Hall to the Young Center, a wood fired boiler system, and renovation of Pangburn Dining for Student Life offices

We have also had academic changes that build on our high quality program and are responsive to the needs of the region:

  • The Board of Regents approved:
    • MBA to be delivered in Rapid City
    • A.S. Advanced Manufacturing
    • A.S. Human Services
    • Intent to plan (approved) Corporate Communication
  • Academic Affairs has submitted Intent to Plan materials for
    • MS Sustainability Management
    • MS Physics
    • BS Interdisciplinary Studies
    • Professional Science Masters in Science Entrepreneurship


As we transition from summer activities to the fall semester, please recall we have a strategic plan which was finalized last year. The strategic plan flows from our Vision and Positioning Statements and drives our decisions as well as budgeting. During the spring and summer, a number of individuals provided feedback regarding activities and progress during the past year in addressing the goals of the plan. Nearly 50 pages detailing activities directed toward meeting the strategic plan were provided.

VISION STATEMENT: BHSU will be recognized as a high quality, innovative university in the state, Greater Black Hills region, nation, and world

POSITIONING STATEMENT: BHSU transforms lives through high quality, innovative programs and a dynamic learning community.

Four goals have been identified for the strategic plan:

Goal 1: Black Hills State University will provide a learning environment that inspires and facilitates personal transformation and instills life-long learning to meet the changing needs of society.

This goal represents the essence of our mission as an institution of higher education. Consequently, ten targets were developed to ensure we address the specific foci of this broad goal.

The targets include developing a robust Assessment Plan for outcomes of student learning. We must identify what we expect students to learn in their general education program as well as their major. We must also determine whether the students have achieved these expectations, if not, why not, and subsequently make appropriate changes. It is critical for learning outcomes to be tied to the curriculum and that they be assessed. As we begin preparation for our HLC visit in 2012, our assessment program must be continually reviewed and upgraded to meet accreditation standards. Many of you have worked on assessment of student outcomes in your respective departments as well as the general education committee and I thank you for your attention to this important initiative. This is one part of the strategic plan that never will be finished as the loop is continually evaluated and updated.

Additional elements of this Goal 1 include:

  • Continuing Education opportunities including online, noncredit, and outreach programs that address the lifelong learning needs of this region as well as personal and professional needs of business and industry and PK-12,
  • Program Review processes that ensure our academic programs are innovative and high quality,
  • Research Initiatives that support the expertise of our faculty and address the needs of the profession as well as the state,
  • Experiential Opportunities which recognize that it takes a job to get experience and experience to get a job. To support this target, Career Services has developed a co-curricular transcript for students to record their experiences as they progress through their academic program. Such experiences include undergraduate research, leadership opportunities, internships or practica, international experiences, and service.

A final thrust of this goal is to continually evaluate the Support Systems available for faculty and staff as we strive to provide a learning environment that transforms the lives of our students and prepares them to be successful in a very dynamic world.

GOAL 2: Black Hills State University will engage in strategic partnerships.

This goal acknowledges the important role the University plays in enhancing the intellectual, cultural, athletic, and economic development environment of the region, state, and nation. Increasingly, the partnerships we establish with PK-12, business and industry, governmental agencies and others pay significant dividends in terms of opportunities for our students, grants and contracts, and goodwill (of which we can never have too much).

BHSU faculty and staff are active in area service clubs, chambers of commerce, performing arts, athletics, lectures, economic development and many other functions throughout the region. In addition, faculty and staff participate in or assume leadership for state and national activities related to professional associations as well as governmental functions. Our partnership with the city of Spearfish is noteworthy as demonstrated by the estimated $100M annual economic impact on the community by the campus and the $3M annual economic impact of the Young Center. Each of the past 3 years, BHSU has been recognized for our service efforts at the national level. Thousands of hours in service are provided by faculty, staff, and students each year.

Two additional partnerships stand out. The first is the campus wide response to the opportunities at SUSEL/DUSEL. BHSU science faculty members are standing shoulder to shoulder with researchers from around the world. A freshman student from Martin, Keeley Krolikowski, was selected as a Davis Bachall scholar. I can hardly imagine the transformation she has experienced during her time at Princeton and the Gran Sasso Lab in Italy this summer. We have students from a variety of disciplines serving as interns or student workers at the Lab. No other university in the nation has this treasure less than 20 miles from their front door. As Dr. Keeter frequently states, “BHSU is the most exciting place to be in the world right now.” When we consider the work we are already doing at the Lab and then consider the possibilities that lie ahead, Dr. Keeter’s statement is right on target.

Another partnership involves our work with international universities. We currently have MOU’s with universities in Lithuania, South Korea, and China. This past year, students or faculty have travelled to South Korea, Australia, China, Portugal, Mexico, New Zealand, Costa Rica, and Italy. This fall we will have 40 international students on campus. Such activities are critical to understanding and appreciating the different cultures of the global society in which we live and work.

GOAL 3: Black Hills State University will be an inclusive and socially responsible learning community.

The most visible activity in this goal relates to our efforts in sustainability. The Student Union will be a showcase for recycling and energy efficiencies. In addition, we now have 7 bicycles painted green and gold for use by faculty, staff, and students. As part of the budget reductions and to encourage efficiency and sustainable practices, a baseline for electricity usage in each building has been established. A friendly competition will ensue during the next 9 months as we turn off lights and computers and encourage greater use of technology rather than printing documents. I am pleased to report that we have reduced the number of copies made on our office copy machines by 17% in the past year. Yet, much remains to be done. Network and Computer Services personnel will offer workshops in use of One Note, Invite Attendees, Electronic Comment, and other applications that will reduce paper usage and increase efficient use of time. Additionally, they will assist faculty in converting various media to digital formats as we phase out overhead projectors and other out of date technology. BHSU was the first University in South Dakota to sign the President’s Climate Commitment for Sustainability. Today, 650 universities have signed the commitment representing 10% of all colleges and universities in the U.S. Our commitment to sustainability must continue to be a high priority for the campus and each of us can do our part both large and small.

As an inclusive learning community, we will welcome a more diverse student body this fall. Over 30% of our students (including Rapid City) are considered adult learners. BHSU has the largest percentage of Native American students in the system with more than 4%. Nearly 25% of our students are first generation college students. We also enroll students from 64 of the 66 counties in the state, 43 states, and 16 countries. As we increase the number of international students, it is imperative that we provide appropriate support services. An area in the lower level of the Student Union will be designated for our international student program. In 2007 when Dr. Fleming arrived, he met with the international students in his office (all of 5 of them). Soon we will have appropriate space for the students to interact with one another as well as with our United States students. Veterans are returning to campus in numbers not seen since the Viet Nam era. It is imperative that we provide appropriate services for these men and women who have sacrificed much for our freedoms. This program will be enhanced during the upcoming year under the leadership of Mike McNeil.

Our student body has changed in other ways as well. Over the past 5 years, the average ACT scores for entering freshmen has increased by nearly 1 point. Using the ACT Benchmark data as a predictor of success, the percentage of our entering students who should be successful in their first year has increased substantially since the fall of 2005. Even more noteworthy is the data showing that BHSU is enrolling the most academically able population of students at a faster rate than the nation in all 4 benchmarks (reading, science, math, and English) and at a faster rate than the state in three of the four benchmarks. Finally, we have increased the percent of students with ACT scores > than 24 by 5% over the last five years.

Surveys often tell us that our beautiful location in the Black Hills is a strong factor in our students’ decision to enroll at BHSU. However, there is more to this story. At graduation this spring, a student from the eastern part of the state told me he chose BHSU because of its location….he stayed because of the faculty. A father recently told Steve Meeker that his son was transferring to BHSU this fall because of the great reputation our business program has developed. Another student from Minnesota indicated she decided to come to BHSU because she heard about our science program. When one student who planned to major in education was asked why he chose BHSU, he merely smiled and responded that there is only one university to attend in South Dakota if you want to be a teacher. Students come to BHSU for a variety of reasons. But these statements indicate that we are increasingly being RECOGNIZED as a high quality, innovative University. For 60% of the entering freshmen, we were their first school of choice. Our goal is to increase that percentage substantially.

Finally, as a socially responsible learning community we must promote and support wellness. The Young Center is a remarkable facility. I am pleased Bob DiBonto, Fitness Center Director, is offering a one week introductory pass to faculty and staff. In addition, personal trainers are available through the Exercise Science major and individualized fitness programs are designed to meet our respective needs. Also, Dining Services is anxious to provide us healthy dining options in the new Union. As you know, all dining will be combined which will provide unique opportunities for the campus community to develop relationships in a social setting. Also, as part of our sustainability effort, dining services will be tray-less, which will mean a significant savings in utility costs (water and electricity to clean them) as well as reduction in food wastage.

GOAL 4: Black Hills State University will secure and allocate fiscal resources to be recognized as an innovative, high quality university.

This goal considers all sources of fiscal resources. As you are keenly aware, approximately 15% of our total budget comes from the state’s general fund. Other sources include tuition and fees (23%), grants/contracts (27%), auxiliaries (5%) and thanks to the efforts of several individuals, especially Sharon Hemmingson, Kathy Johnson, and Art Jones, stimulus funds account for 1% of our budget this year.

It is imperative that we effectively and efficiently expend these resources. With the Banner system, we have the ability for oversight at the fund controller level. Fiscal Affairs continues to offer workshops and individual guidance for fund controllers. Our goal is to provide the avenues for you to effectively manage your budgets. Fund controllers, please make sure you are taking advantage of this capability and seek assistance when necessary.

We continue to be remarkably successful in our grant efforts. This past year we again increased the amount of funds generated through grants to $5,853,334. Grants come from a variety of sources, state and national, private and public. Grant writing requires substantial time and effort. Yet, they have provided numerous resources for equipment, scholarships, professional development, and graduate assistants.

As you are aware, we have stepped up our fund raising efforts during the past couple years. This year, we have had an increase of 71% in the amount donated over the previous year. We received a $1M pledge from Harvey and Joy Krautchen and have several others on the table for this amount. We now have 69 donors who are members of the 1883 Club and 48 donors who have contributed in excess of $50,000 during their lifetime. The 1883 Club is designated for those donors who contributed $1,883 or more in a given year. You may have connected the dots, but this amount corresponds to the year of our founding. In the past year, we have had a 16% increase in 1883 Club members and a 45% increase in donors over $50,000. BHSU employees increased their contributions to the University by 52% and we have 189 automobiles with our license plate cruising the state. The University receives a one time gift of $23 for each plate sold. This is an easy way to support the university and show your pride for BHSU on a daily basis. Please contact the Office of University Advancement to reserve your license plate.

Why is fund raising important? The answer is straightforward. No state funds can be used for scholarships. Grants have provided funding for major equipment, travel, and time to conduct research. Through our efforts to increase grants, contracts, and donations, we are able to control our destiny and meet the needs of our students.

The strategic plan is on our web site at: In addition to the goals and targets, you can also view the projected outcomes and individuals who are responsible for each target. The plan was developed through the work of a large, representative group from the campus and will be used to drive our decisions including budget allocations. Also, it has been intentionally designed to be dynamic and responsive to changing times. Thus, we are not making print copies. If you see anything that should be considered, please contact Dr. Myers, chair of the strategic planning committee.

Returning to our vision statement, I submit we are progressing toward being recognized as a high quality, innovative university. Many of you have achievements that would indicate such movement. These include recognition by Phi Kappa Phi as a new chapter to honor high achieving students, accolades by reviewers of the AACSB reports, acceptance of our students into premier graduate programs (since 2001, 33% of our graduates continued their education after receiving their degree), recognition of our teacher preparation program by AACTE, increase in research papers accepted in professional journals and presentations at professional conferences, membership in QuarkNet along with Johns Hopkins, Rice, Rutgers, Notre Dame, Columbia and others. If we attempted to chronicle all of the indicators we would be here much of the day.

I often think of the ancient Chinese proverb, “May you live in interesting times.” These are certainly interesting times; and with your ongoing support of one another and our students, they will also be rewarding times. Do we have challenges? Of course we do. However, I am confident if we focus on the strategic plan, we will address these challenges and turn them into opportunities and perhaps strengths.

Please attend post Board of Regents meetings. These meetings not only provide an update of the activity of the Board but also allow opportunities for questions or other information sharing.

Thank you for everything you do for BHSU and have a wonderful year.