Institutional Information

Table of Contents


General Faculty 

General Faculty Recommendations 

Faculty Senate 

Student Senate 

Career Service Advisory Council 

Council of Higher Education (COHE) 

Core Values & Beliefs 

University Strategic Goals 

Campus Committees

HISTORY Black Hills State University is a state institution established under a provision of the territorial legislature in 1883. It is supported by the state of South Dakota and by tuition and fees from the student body. Legislative appropriations are made annually. Student tuition and fees are determined by the South Dakota Board of Regents who normally meet once every other month.

Black Hills State University is maintained by the state of South Dakota for the primary purpose of preparing qualified teachers for the public schools. It is the only comprehensive four year institution in Western South Dakota authorized to grant a liberal arts degree, and also offers business, pre-professional and vocational curricula. Black Hills State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. It is also accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teachers. The University is also an institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music. Dakota Territorial Normal School was founded in 1883. Approximately $800 was raised for the purchase of 40 acres of land. The Dakota Territorial Normal School at Spearfish became a reality in 1883, and by 1885 was known as Spearfish Normal. By 1922, State Normal began to offer four-year degrees. In 1941, the college was renamed Black Hills Teachers College, to Black Hills State College in 1964, and to Black Hills State University in 1989.

EXTERNAL GOVERNANCE Black Hills State University is one of six higher education institutions in the South Dakota Higher Education System including also the University of South Dakota at Vermillion, South Dakota State University at Brookings, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology at Rapid City, Northern State University at Aberdeen, and Dakota State University at Madison. This system is under the direction of the Board of Regents, which also controls the South Dakota School for the Visually Impaired in Aberdeen and the South Dakota School for the Deaf in Sioux Falls.

Members of the Board of Regents are appointed by the Governor. The Board generally meets six to eight times per year to conduct the affairs of the system. The Executive Director of the Board of Regents serves as the executive officer of that Board. The Executive Director's office and staff in Pierre provide system-wide service to the institutions in the state. The members of the current Board are listed on the BOR website.

A copy of the complete Board of Regents' Policy Manual is available on the Board website. You are encouraged to refer to this Manual for further information on policies and procedures that may exist concerning any of the items included in this Handbook. 


INTERNAL GOVERNANCE President The chief executive officer of the University is the President. The President is responsible for the administration of the University and its respective component entities. The Board of Regents have granted all powers necessary to effectuate the attainment of the educational goals of the institution. (BOR Policy Manual 1:6) The Vice President for Academic Affairs assists the President in the discharge of these responsibilities.


General Faculty The Board of Regents' Policy Manual (4:12) addresses the Role and Responsibilities of Faculty: Composition of General Faculty: The Board may appoint persons holding the academic or technical rank of professor, associate professor, assistant professor, or instructor; clinical professor, clinical associate professor, clinical assistant professor or clinical instructor; lecturers; or other employees to the faculty. The term “other employees” in this context includes teaching assistants, teaching associates, research professionals, librarians, visiting faculty, exchange faculty, adjunct faculty and coaches. The term “general faculty” may also include other persons holding faculty rank.


General Faculty Recommendations: Subject to the policies and rules of the Board of Regents, the faculty of institutions may make recommendations to the institutional administration, (in accordance with institutional protocol and organizational structure) on the following matters: 

1. Courses of study; 2. Entrance requirements; 3. The requirements for advance standing of transfer students to enroll; 4. The standards of performance for continuance in good standing; 5. The reinstatement of students dropped for scholastic reasons and the conditions for reinstatement; 6. Standards and requirements for granting degrees, diplomas, or certificates to graduating students; 7. Rules and regulations for the granting of academic honors and the recipient(s) thereof; 8. Promotion in ranks; 9. Granting and retention of tenure; and 10. Resolution of grievances.

More information on faculty responsibilities is contained in the COHE Agreement, Section IX, available on the BOR website.


Faculty Senate The Black Hills State University Faculty Senate is an elected body through which the faculty expresses its concern for the welfare of the university and university improvement, stimulates communication, contributes to the formation of general university policy, and performs those duties and functions especially allocated to or assumed by the faculty, subject to the limitations imposed by the laws of the state of South Dakota, the president of the university, and the Council of Higher Education (COHE)-Board of Regent (BOR) contract.

The Faculty Senate operates under a constitution which has been ratified by the faculty as a whole. A copy of the Faculty Senate Constitution is available on the university website. 


Student Senate The Student Senate assists in promoting the general welfare of the University and serves as an organized medium for expressing the opinion of students on matters of general concern.


Career Service Advisory Council The Career Service Act Advisory Council is an organization of Career Service employees at Black Hills State University who have been elected to represent their peers. The Council serves as the link between CSA employees and the University administration.


Council of Higher Education (COHE) COHE is the exclusive representative of the collective bargaining unit, as determined by the Division of Labor and Management Document No. 12E 1976/77, dated the 11th day of August, 1978, or as may be modified by the agreement, for the purpose of collective bargaining in respect to rates of pay, wages, hours of employment, grievance procedures and other conditions of employment. The bargaining unit is composed of all full-time and regular part-time [a regular part-time employee is one employed in the current academic year who is employed fifty percent (50%) but less than one hundred percent (100%) of the normal full-time load in each semester]. The latest COHE Agreement is available on the Board of Regents web site.

INSTITUTIONAL MISSION Following is the mission statement of Black Hills State University as stated in SD Codified Law 13-59-1:  

"The primary purpose of Northern State University, at Aberdeen in Brown County, and Black Hills State University, at Spearfish in Lawrence County, is the preparation of elementary and secondary teachers, and a secondary purpose is to offer pre-professional, one-year and two-year terminal and junior college programs. Four-year degrees other than in education and graduate work may be authorized by the Board of Regents.”

The mission of Black Hills State University as it appears in the Board of Regents Policy Manual (1:10:4, adopted 08/06) states:

The legislature established Black Hills State University as a liberal arts university to meet the needs of the State and region by providing undergraduate and graduate programs.

The Board implemented SDCL 13-59-1 by authorizing undergraduate and graduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences and in professional education, to promote excellence in teaching and learning, to support research, scholarly and creative activities, and to provide service to the State of South Dakota and the region. Black Hills State University is the only multipurpose university in Western South Dakota.


Vision Statement Black Hills State University will be recognized as an innovative, high quality university in the Black Hills region, the state, the nation, and the world.

Core Values & Beliefs

Black Hills State University is committed to…

Scholarship We engage in the scholarship of research and creative activity to contribute knowledge and art to the community, the state, the region, the nation, and the world; we engage in the scholarship of teaching by using relevant and cutting edge practices to prepare students for the future; and, we engage in the scholarship of service by accepting leadership roles in society and making meaningful contributions to the profession and to the general public.

Student-Centeredness We accept the responsibility of transforming student lives and make every effort to treat each one with dignity and respect.

Educational Excellence and Life Long Learning We engage in doing quality work by reflecting on our performance to assess our creativity and ingenuity in continuously challenging ourselves to improve.

Integrity We adhere to ethical standards of excellence and accept accountability for personal decisions and actions which impact our reputation as a dynamic and resourceful institution of higher learning that places students front and center.

Diversity We embrace the multi-dimensions of human differences by practicing inclusive education and unconditional positive regard, supporting multicultural learning experiences for all, and encouraging international exchange.

Innovation and Change We anticipate future needs and use our imaginations to be responsive to unique opportunities for growth by inviting respectful dialogue that encourages an open-minded exchange of ideas whereby active listening and critical thinking sustain a vibrant learning community for students, staff, faculty, administration, alumni, and the public.


University Strategic Goals Black Hills State University will:

  1. Provide a learning environment that inspires and facilitates personal transformation and life-long learning;
  2. Research, develop, and embrace strategic partnerships that serve the interests of the University and the community at large;
  3. Promote a diverse, tolerant, and inclusive learning community;
  4. Strengthen its responsiveness to the changing needs of our students and society; and
  5. Allocate fiscal resources and seek external funding to implement its strategic goals.

Additional information about the university may be found on the Black Hills State University website or South Dakota Board of Regents website

CURRICULUM Degrees are authorized at the associate, baccalaureate, and masters levels. The following curriculum is approved for the university:

  1. Undergraduate Programs Associate degree programs in general studies and K-12 paraprofessional education, and Baccalaureate degree programs in business, education, human services, industrial technology, liberal arts and sciences, and wellness.
  2.  Graduate Programs Masters degrees in Education, Business, and Science.

Accreditation and Program Review Accreditation is a status granted to an educational institution or a program that has been found to meet or exceed stated criteria of educational quality. In the United States, accreditation is voluntarily sought by institutions and programs, and is conferred by non-governmental bodies. Accreditation has two fundamental purposes: to assure the quality of the institution or program, and to assist in the improvement of the institution or program. Accreditation, which applies to institution or programs, is to be distinguished from certification and licensure, which apply to individuals.

The Higher Learning Commission, earlier known as the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, has accredited Black Hills State University at the associates, the bachelor’s, and master’s degree levels. The last accreditation visit of the HLC was in 2003. At that time, accreditation was renewed until 2013. The reason for this recommendation is the result of Black Hills State University’s historical strengths, its sense of mission and purpose that guides the University, its understanding of its various problems, and adequate resources available to conduct its educational programs.

Specific programs are accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the South Dakota Department of Education and Cultural Affairs (DECA), the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), and the International Association of Colleges of Business Education (IACBE).

Dates of upcoming accreditation visits appear in Appendix A.


Campus Committees University and college committees are advisory in nature and make recommendations for policy and procedure in their designated areas. The faculty senate appoints senate committees. Membership on the remaining committees is typically by administrative appointment. 

Faculty Senate Committees Membership on these committees is by selection by the senate appointments committee. Each is charged by and reports through the faculty senate. 

  • Appointments Committee
  • Curriculum Committee
  • Distinguished Faculty Award Committee
  • General Education Requirements Committee
  • Global Awareness Committee
  • Library/Educational Media Committee
  • Multicultural/Gender Issues Committee
  • Subcommittee: Gender Awareness and Equity Subcommittee

Jointly Appointed Agreement Committees Membership on these committees is determined by the Council on Higher Education (COHE) and the campus president according to the current BOR-COHE agreement.

  • College Promotion and Tenure Committees
  • Institutional Workload Committee
  • Institutional Agreement Management Committee
  • University Promotion and Tenure Committee – Campus-wide

Presidential Committees/Councils Membership on these committees/councils is general by selection of the President. These committees are advisory in nature and receive their specific charge from the President.

  • Administrative Team
  • Business Advisory Board
  • Career Service Advisory Council
  • Case Library Committee
  • Chiesman Committee
  • Commencement/Awards Committee
  • Employee Recognition Committee
  • Entrepreneurial Studies Advisory Board
  • Equal Education/Employment Opportunities Committee
  • Friends of Leland Case
  • Green and Gold Club
  • Health Services Administration Advisory Board
  • Promotion and Tenure Committee-Campus-wide
  • Technology Advisory Board
  • Tourism Advisory Board
  • Young Center Advisory Committee

Vice President for Academic Affairs Committee/Councils Membership on these committees/councils is generally by selection of the Vice President for Academic Affairs. These committees/councils are advisory in nature and receive their specific charge from the academic vice president.

  • Academic Affairs Council
  • Academic Standards Committee
  • Academic Technology Committee
  • Animal Care and Human Subjects Committee
  • Council of Deans
  • Faculty Research Committee
  • Graduate Council
  • Honors Advisory Committee
  • Institutional Biosafety Committee
  • Instructional Improvement Committee
  • Research Symposium Committee
  • University Assessment Committee
  • Strategic Planning Committee

Vice President for Finance and Administration Committee Membership on this committee is generally by selection of the Vice President for Finance and Administration. This committee is advisory in nature and receives its specific charge from the vice president.

  • Campus Safety and Facilities Committee
  • Enrollment Support Committee (Co-chaired with VPSA)

Vice President for Student Affairs Committees/Boards Membership on these committees/boards is generally by selection of the Vice President for Student Life. These committees/boards are advisory in nature and receive their specific charge from the vice president for student life.

  • Alcohol and Substance Abuse Committee
  • Child Care Advisory Committee
  • Enrollment Support Committee (Co-chaired with VPF&A)
  • Freshman Orientation Committee
  • Health Awareness Committee
  • Student Activities Committee
  • Student Conduct Boards
  • Swarm Day Committee

Vice President for Institutional Advancement Committees/Boards Membership on these committees/boards is generally by selection of the Director of Institutional Advancement by and with the consent of the President. These committees/councils are advisory in nature and receive their specific charge from the President and the Director of Institutional Advancement.

  • BHSU Alumni Association
  • BHSU Foundation
  • BHSU Yellow Jacket Foundation
  • Madeline A. Young Speaker Series Committee

BHSU Policies and Procedures Manual BHSU policies are formulated through the participation of faculty, students, Career Service staff, and administrators. All policies must be in compliance with Regental and State rules and regulations and must receive the final approval of the President. The Manual is under construction and will be accessed through the Human Resources website. (The academic policies of BHSU are contained in the University Catalog, and student policies are published in the Student Handbook.)

BHSU Records Retention A system-wide project is underway to establish a common records manual for the Regental system. Updates will be provided to each department once the project has been concluded.