Tracy Mosness, operations manager for Husky Oil, who works in Shekou, China, is one of nine Black Hills State University students who will graduate with the first Master’s Degrees in Strategic Leadership (MSSL) from BHSU. The MSSL program, which was launched in 2008 and is taught entirely online, is beneficial for those who are preparing for executive leadership positions.

Nine students from around the world are among the first graduates of Black Hills State University’s Master’s of Science Degree in Strategic Leadership (MSSL).

The program, which was launched in 2008 and is taught entirely online, has transformed the lives of participants according to Mitch Hopewell, coordinator for the MSSL program.

The first cohort in the MSSL program will graduate this summer and Hopewell says the graduates are reporting that the coursework has been beneficial in their careers as they prepare for higher leadership roles. The MSSL program is designed to prepare students for executive-level leadership positions and foster career advancement in government, industry, non-profit organizations, and the military. Expert faculty in key leadership areas, such as visioning, motivation, creative problem solving, strategic planning, forecasting, innovation, change management, ethics, and effective communication teach the core course work.

The MSSL program includes students employed in a wide variety of occupations including military, government entities, non-profit managers, media, information technology, international oil industry, health care administration, real estate, entrepreneurs and others. Students in the program noted that the online delivery and innovative curriculum provides an exceptional educational experience and is making a profound difference in their careers.

"The BHSU Masters in Strategic Leadership program has been a perfect fit for me as a National Guard Captain on Active Duty,” said CPT Lee Breard, an MSSL graduate. “The classes stayed relevant with my daily work and sparked my interest in studying our nation's historic leaders. The MSSL program at BHSU is a must for any military and non-profit leader looking to take the next step in their professional development.”

“The MSSL program has been truly an inspiration to me and my career,” said Bradd Schafer, BHSU head men’s basketball coach and MSSL graduate. “It has opened my eyes to leadership and new ways to become a mentor for others. This is a great program for anyone entering a leadership role to become more knowledgeable.”

One participant who works internationally for the oil industry says he chose the BHSU program after applying and being accepted into three different programs including master’s degree programs in Singapore and New York.

“I elected to try the MSSL program at BHSU as leadership has always been central to my personal inclination. The program has been extremely challenging. It will fulfill a 30-yr promise that I made to myself to get an advanced degree,” Tracy Mosness, operations manager for Husky Oil, who works in Shekou, China, says. “The value versus cost is high. I was recently promoted at work, and I am certain that having this leadership degree was helpful, towards that end.”

He also noted that although he has not met any of the students or professors, they are a connected group due to the successful online course interaction.

The MSSL program is now accepting applications for the fall 2010 cohort. To learn more visit www.BHSU.edu/MSSL or contact Hopewell, graduate distance education coordinator, at 605-642-1241 or Thomas.Hopewell@bhsu.edu.