Dr. Rodney Custer has been selected to fill the provost position at Black Hills State University. Custer is currently associate vice president for research, graduate studies, and international education at Illinois State University (ISU) in Normal, Ill.

As associate vice president at ISU, Custer is known for his commitment to teamwork and collaboration and his energetic, positive approach.

“I am pleased to announce that Dr. Rodney Custer has accepted the provost position at Black Hills State University,” BHSU President Kay Schallenkamp says. “His professional leadership and service combined with his diverse educational background and exceptional achievements in higher education and the community will certainly benefit Black Hills State University.”

Custer says he is looking forward to his role as provost and vice president of Academic Affairs at BHSU. A first-generation college graduate who grew up on a farm in rural northwest Kansas, Custer’s background, experiences, and philosophies will be valuable for BHSU. His educational background, which includes degrees in education, the humanities and social sciences as well as a Ph.D. in education, combined with his successful higher education experience and achievements will create a synergistic foundation for academic leadership at Black Hills State University.

“My philosophy, values, and vision for higher education align with the mission and goals of BHSU,” Custer says. “The University’s emphasis on innovation, student-centeredness, educational excellence, integrity, inclusiveness and scholarship is congruent with my experience and personal values. It is clear that Black Hills State University is positioned to build on its strong reputation for high-quality education and involvement within the wider region. I am delighted to have this opportunity to join the administration at BHSU.”

Custer has a broad range of higher education leadership experience, including working with students, faculty, deans, and chairs, and upper administration as well as working with community leaders and governmental officials. Over the past 20 years, he has been involved at the national and international levels on a variety of projects focused on STEM education. This work has included standards and policy development for technology and science education, accreditation guideline development and implementation, and professional development for secondary level STEM education. He has received federal funding for a number of curriculum and professional development projects, primarily through the National Science Foundation, and has authored a number of articles, books and book chapters.

In his current role as associate vice president, he facilitated the development of a number of innovative campus- and community-wide initiatives including the development of a business incubator, a Center for Renewable Energy, an integrated-systems robotics laboratory, a community-wide wellness coalition. He also supervised the Center for Mathematics, Science and Technology. He enjoys teaching and has remained active in the classroom throughout his entire administrative career.

In addition to his five years as associate vice president, Custer served nine years as a chairperson at ISU. Prior to that he was a professor and program leader in the technology and educational department of the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Custer and his wife plan to move to Spearfish this summer.