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 Dr. Rod Custer, Black Hills State University provost and vice president of Academic Affairs
Dr. Rod Custer, Black Hills State University provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, was recently awarded the University of Missouri-Columbia (Mizzou) College of Education’s Citation of Merit for Outstanding Achievement and Meritorious Service award.

The honor is awarded to graduates, faculty or staff members of the MU College of Education who have demonstrated outstanding achievement and meritorious service to professions served by education.

Custer earned his doctorate in industrial education from the Mizzou Department of Practical Arts and Vocational-Technical Education in 1991 and then served as an assistant professor at the university until 1997 when he accepted a position as department chair and associate vice president for research, graduate studies and international education at Illinois State University.

“It was a real honor to be recognized by Mizzou,” Custer said. “The faculty was so supportive of junior faculty during those years and opened so many doors. A number of those colleagues were there for the ceremony. It was very meaningful.”

Custer has developed a strong record of teaching innovation in curriculum and pedagogy. He has written numerous publications, including three major committee reports issued by the National Academies. In addition to his academic and administrative career, Custer served on a study committee at the National Academy of Sciences to add an engineering and design dimension to the national framework for science education. He also has a long history of partnering with the National Science Foundation including a $3 million, five-year project that is addressing some of the challenges the nation is facing in science education.

At BHSU, Custer is providing leadership to a major science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) initiative focused on transforming the preparation of science and math students for careers in teaching and related fields. This initiative includes the renovation of Jonas Science, a collaboration of BHSU and the Sanford Underground Research Facility.

The new facility will be a part of the Sanford Science Education Center, which will also have facilities at the Sanford Lab in Lead. BHSU students pursuing teaching degrees will have the opportunity to work with scientists at the lab and collaborate on educational initiatives at the Science Education Center.

Custer holds degrees in education, the humanities and social sciences, as well as his PhD in 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. Custer joined the staff BHSU in2011.