State of the University 2010 Address

State of the University Address
President Kay Schallenkamp - August 24, 2010

At the moment I can’t imagine a better place to be than BHSU! As I talk with alums, community members, donors, students, legislators, regents, and faculty/staff, there is unbridled excitement about BHSU and our future. I could take an hour or more just to recap the accomplishments that were forwarded as part of the annual report of the strategic plan. The following highlights give a flavor of accomplishments and future directions.


Many comments and questions have been forwarded regarding our construction projects.

The science building continues to be on target for a spring semester opening. This building is being built through an appropriation from the legislature in FY 2008 for bonding and through student fees.

The University Center-Rapid City will be completed next spring. This facility will be paid by self-support tuition and fees providing a convenient, accessible location for our students in Rapid City as well as state of the art classrooms to facilitate teaching/learning.

The Pedestrian Way between Meier Hall and Wenona Cook Hall provides a safe and aesthetically appealing connection for students and faculty/staff moving to and from the Young Center. This project is primarily funded through a grant from the Department of Transportation.

The final phase of Woodburn Hall re-modeling will begin this fall. The lower level will be configured to house student services offices, providing a one-stop assistance center for students. Central air conditioning will be installed and a new heating system will be added eliminating the need for the old steam radiators. It is funded through the Higher Education Facilities Fund.

All of these projects have been funded through one time money that was designated specifically for them.

Academic programs:

This fall we will begin the first cohort of the MBA program in Rapid City. During the past year, BHSU was approved to offer programs in Corporate Communications and in General Studies. The General Studies degree is specifically designed to address the needs of our returning adult students who may have a number of credit hours already completed but need some flexibility in completing a degree. We have also been authorized to offer a certificate in Energy Management Technology.

During the past year, the system conducted a review of low enrolled degree programs. As a result, a number of our B.S. and B.A. programs have been consolidated. This year, the number of credits required for a degree including prerequisites will be examined. While these reviews take time to complete, it is appropriate for us to periodically check the entire curriculum for consistency and relevance.

Also, the Board of Regents specifically noted following my annual evaluation that BHSU should increase the number of graduate programs that we offer. Dr. Haney is working with the Colleges to determine which degrees we will submit for consideration.

Student Accomplishments:

As we know, a business is judged by the quality of its product. The same is true for BHSU. Our students and alums are incredible representatives of BHSU and represent the high quality of education they receive here. A few highlights of our students’ accomplishments during the past year include:

  • The Jacket Journal, Black Hills State University’s student newspaper, earned a first place overall award in the American Scholastic Press Association’s annual newspaper competition. This is the second consecutive year the newspaper has won this award.
  • Brie Covert, recent history and American Indian studies graduate from Pablo, Mont., was accepted into the Professional Masters Program of Ecohydrology at the University of Idaho. Brie will receive a $25,000 fellowship from the National Science Foundation to complete her degree.
  • Black Hills State University freshman science education major Nicole DeJong from Avon, was one of 10 South Dakota students who received the Davis-Bahcall Scholarship for Underground Science. As part of her summer study program, she visited the Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy, Princeton University, and Sanford Laboratory.
  • Nine students received the prestigious Gates Millennium Scholarship, established by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This scholarship fully funds their education up to ten years or through their doctoral program. The students are from Porcupine, Martin, Mission, Kyle, Isabel, and Pine Ridge.
  • Mary Jo May, junior social science major from Kyle, was selected for the Washington Internships for Native Students (WINS) at American University in Washington, D.C. She spent the summer working in the Department of Veterans Affairs in historic preservation and taking 2 courses at American University.
  • Mauli Delaney, senior speech communication major from Mitchell, spent her summer as an apprentice at the Sante Fe Opera.
  • Andrea Haugen, junior English education major from Spearfish, completed an internship at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis this summer.
  • Katrina Salitros, sophomore mass communication major from Vermillion, completed an internship at the Home Shopping Network (HSN) in St. Petersburg, Fla. Only 21 interns are selected for the program. Salitros had the opportunity to learn all of the aspects of live TV, from pre-production and production to post-production editing.
  • Photographs from twelve Black Hills State University photography students were chosen as finalists for the 30th Annual College Photographers Competition by Photographers Forum Magazine and Nikon camera.
  • Jay Jacobs, who is pursuing a master’s degree in integrative genomics, was highlighted at a National Institutes of Health meeting in Washington, D.C. He conducted research focused on extracting and purifying antimicrobial compounds from medicinal plants that are native to western South Dakota. His work also was showcased at a general medical science session at the National IDeA Symposium of Biomedical Research Excellence (NISBRE) meeting this summer.
  • Twenty-two Black Hills State University students presented research at the 24th Annual National Conference for Undergraduate Research (NCUR) at the University of Montana in Missoula. BHSU students attending the conference presented research on the subjects of physics, English, psychology, political science, history, and biology.
  • Ben Reiter, a senior political science major from Riverton, Wyo., and a member of the Honors Program at BHSU, had an article published in the 2009 National Conference of Undergraduate Research Proceedings. Ben has been accepted into a master’s program in humanities at the University of Chicago.
  • Niles Armstrong, a junior mathematics major from Gordon, Neb., was selected to receive a $5,000 NASA Space Grant Student Stipend for research.
  • Our theater students received a number of awards this past year at the 42nd Region V Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) held in Overland Park, Kan. Jesse Hamer, an education major from Rapid City, and Tessa Braddy, a speech communication major from Spearfish, advanced to the semifinal round of auditions. Only the top 20 percent of the 300 nominees are chosen to advance to this round. Phil Braun, a speech communication major from Gregory, was selected to audition and interview with the KCACTF Actor’s Theatre of Louisville acting apprentice program. Jessica Juhrend, a speech communication major from Spearfish, received a playwriting KCACTF Merit Award for the production Blood while Debra Iverson, a speech communication major from Bowman, N.D., received a Merit Award in Costume Design for the same production. The entire cast of Rabbit Hole received a Merit Award for ensemble acting.
  • In 2009, 13 graduates of BHSU were accepted to medical programs at the University of North Dakota, University of South Dakota, Northwestern College of Chiropractic Medicine, University of Minnesota, Creighton University, and Ohio State University.
  • Katrina Young, mass communication major from Lead, has progressed to the semifinal competition for America’s Got Talent.

Faculty/Staff Accomplishments:

Another factor in determining the quality of the University is the accomplishments of the people who work here. During 2009, BHSU faculty published 6 books and more than 50 peer reviewed articles and presented over 200 professional papers. You were active in over 65 professional organizations at the state, regional, and national level. It is appropriate to recognize the extraordinary commitment you have demonstrated to your profession during the past two years when we have had no salary increases to recognize this effort. I believe it is important to note that the highest priority of the Regents as we enter the next legislative session is salary increases. Furthermore, they have asked the Academic Affairs Council and Business Affairs Council to work with faculty to determine how the accomplishments of the past couple years can be considered in salary increases when salary increases are appropriated.

Last year we had over 50 faculty, staff, and students involved in the Sanford Lab/DUSEL project. On September 24, the National Science Board will hold an open meeting on campus. This is an incredible opportunity for BHSU to showcase our involvement in the Lab and research initiatives as officials from across the nation and the state gather for this meeting.

The College of Education and the Center for the Advancement of Math and Science Education were recognized by the US Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, for their innovative program, Project Prime, a collaborative effort with the Rapid City schools. Only 6 universities were acknowledged by the Secretary at a speech delivered at Columbia University: Black Hills State University, Stanford, University of Washington, University of Michigan, Emporia State University, and Alverno College.

The University was accepted as one of 12 institutions by the Higher Learning Commission to serve as a pilot for the Pathways Project, an innovative accreditation process which will guide our efforts to integrate experiential learning into the curriculum.

Black Hills State University was named to the 2011 list of Military Friendly Schools. The list honors the top 15 percent of higher education institutions which are doing the most to embrace America’s veterans as students.
Earlier this month, we experienced an unfortunate technological problem with the network. It is often said that how we deal with adversity defines the character of the individual and the organization. As we struggled to retrieve the information from 26 servers, the entire campus rallied in a collaborative, professional manner. Several of our technology employees spent days in the lower level of the library catching sleep in small segments as they focused on the problem. Offices that lost critical information from their web pages came together to re-build their sites. I wish to express a collective note of appreciation to everyone involved in responding to this crisis.


As you know we can’t give any definitive figures regarding enrollment until census day on September 9. However, we can say that we will be up substantially in all categories—freshmen, graduate, returning, online, and Rapid City. This fall we will have students from all of the state’s 66 counties, 48 states, and 22 countries. I am pleased that preliminary review of new freshmen characteristics indicates that they hold higher high school GPA’s and ACT scores.

In addition, it is noteworthy that the ACT scores of our entering freshmen have increased nearly 6% in the past year and exceed the national average. Furthermore, in the past decade, the number of full time freshmen who met the ACT core curriculum has increased 28% and the number scoring greater than 28 has nearly tripled.


Increasing external support for the University through fundraising continues to be a high priority. In the last 2½ years we have raised over $8.5 million from 7,500 individuals. Our highest priority is to increase scholarship support. In 2009, over $2.5M was raised for scholarships with much of the money endowed, which means the principal is invested and only the proceeds are awarded annually for scholarships. An endowed scholarship keeps the principal amount protected in perpetuity. In the first 7 months of 2010, we have already raised over $1M for scholarships.

Over 50% of faculty and staff contribute to the University which is a tribute to your commitment to BHSU and our students. In addition to the annual campaign, employees can contribute through the license plate drive which not only provides $25 to scholarships but also helps to market BH. Also, employees who participate in the “Showing I Care by What I Wear” program on Fridays are contributing to a scholarship fund to support a dependent of an employee. During the summer, $300 has been donated by employees who chose to wear BHSU shirts and blue jeans on Fridays. The scholarship will be awarded this fall and we will begin collecting for another scholarship to be awarded this spring. In addition, employees who contribute to the program are entered for a $25 gift certificate to the Bookstore.

It is humbling to announce several employees have notified the University Advancement Office that BHSU is included in their estate planning/wills. As we talk with donors, we are often asked about the commitment of employees to fund raising. They are gratified to learn that we are investing in the institution and the students we serve. Thank you!

In addition to increasing external funding through donations, we continue to have record amounts in grant funding. In 2009, we received $6.2M in grants. As we often say, we don’t wait for money to come from the state to accomplish our goals. We identify what needs to be done and aggressively seek grants to make it happen. Thank you to everyone who has been involved in this effort.


The strategic plan continues to guide our decision making. The 4 pillars of the plan include high quality, innovative academic programs, strategic partnerships, inclusiveness and social responsibility, and external funding. The strategic plan is a dynamic document that requires constant review as we respond to an ever changing environment. Several projects which will receive attention this year include program and productivity review, the HLC Pathways project, enrollment management, efficiencies/innovations throughout the campus, and additional graduate programs.

The Board of Regents held its meeting at BHSU on August 10-12. At the open session, Board President, Terry Baloun, noted that it is clear from their 3 days on campus that BHSU is a student centered campus. Considering that the campus was filled with motorcyclists and State Troopers rather than students during their time on campus, this is high praise. Imagine their impression if they saw a typical day a few weeks from now!

In conclusion, I wish to thank you for your efforts to transform lives through high quality, innovative academic programs and a dynamic learning community. Have a wonderful year!