Monty Robinson, industrial technology assistant professor, visits with BHSU industrial technology students Cole Richter, from Buffalo, and Michael Hunter, from Moorcroft, Wyo., about the program’s move to Rapid City. BHSU, which offers the only industrial technology program in the state, is moving the program to Rapid City this fall and has plans to expand into the Sioux Falls region in the future.

Black Hills State University, which offers the only industrial technology program in the state and region, is moving the program to Rapid City this fall and has plans to expand into the Sioux Falls region in the future.

The 2007-08 academic year will be a transition year according to Jean Johnson, chair of the technology department. Courses will be offered on campus to allow current students to complete their program in Spearfish while courses for freshmen and sophomores will be offered in Rapid City at the Rushmore Building, 1600 Sedivy Lane. During this transition year, faculty will be teaching on campus and in Rapid City. After the transition year, all courses for the program will be offered in Rapid City and one course per semester will be offered on campus.

The modified industrial technology program is a collaborative effort by Black Hills State University, the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, and Western Dakota Technical Institute. Future plans call for expanding the program to the Sioux Falls region and developing cooperative arrangements with Southeast Technical Institute, the University of South Dakota, and South Dakota State University.

There are several options for industrial technology degrees at BHSU. The composite major includes a core set of courses taught by BHSU faculty and requires students to complete one of six specializations. The six specializations are:

  • construction technology with cooperative courses from Western Dakota Technical Institute,
  • communications technology-multimedia,
  • technology management,
  • electronics technology with cooperative courses from Western Dakota Tech,
  • computer aided drafting technology with cooperative courses from Western Dakota Tech, and
  • geographic information systems technology with cooperative courses from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

Students also have the option of pursuing an industrial technology education degree which prepares them to teach at the secondary level. Monty Robinson, assistant professor of industrial technology at BHSU, notes that some students are choosing this option even though they are not planning to actually teach in a classroom setting. These graduates have found that employers are often seeking trainers and the education background gives them the opportunity to teach others in industry.

A bachelor of applied technical science degree is available for students who transfer from a technical institute. This degree is offered with options in general supervision and general technology. BHSU also offers an associate degree in industrial technology.

The BHSU industrial technology program has a mission to educate citizens of the 21st century to their fullest potential in order to live, work, and function successfully in an industrial, technological, and informational based global society.

“We graduate students with a solid liberal arts education, while providing the knowledge, skills, and values needed to work and compete in a modern and technologically advanced environment,” says Robinson.

According to Robinson, BHSU decided to move the industrial technology program to Rapid City to prepare technically literate professionals for employment in business, industry, education, and government, and to enhance the economic potential for growth and development in the region by providing a highly qualified workforce. Robinson says businesses and students will both benefit from the program being offered in Rapid City.

“Businesses benefit because they can support current employees who wish to further their education while still working,” Robinson said. “Students also benefit due to possible employment during their progress in the program and after they graduate. There’s much potential for internships, and cooperative experiences could arise.”

Robinson says industrial technology graduates are employed by architectural and engineering firms, as well as local schools and city and state agencies including the S.D. Department of Transportation, S.D. Department of Game, Fish and Parks, and the Black Hills National Forest. He says both public and private employers have and continue to seek out these graduates. Other students have chosen to use their degree as a start on their own business.

“Traditionally and simply by the nature of the discipline, graduates find entrepreneurship endeavors both fulfilling and successful, and continue to start their own businesses throughout the area,” Robinson says.