Black Hills State University was named recipient of the 2022 Lee Noel-Randi Levitz Retention Excellence Award by higher education enrollment firm Ruffalo Noel Levitz (RNL) at their national conference on Friday.  

In 2020, BHSU had a retention rate of 65 percent and is on track to lift retention to 75 percent in the fall of 2022. This was accomplished by creating a strategic enrollment plan that established many effect student success initiatives. 

“Since the completion and implementation of our Strategic Enrollment Plan just one year ago, staff and faculty members have worked extremely hard to implement the 13 action plans we identified to bring about student success,” said John Allred, vice president of enrollment management at BHSU. “The results of this campus wide focus are evidenced in our cohort retention, increased focus on advisement, early alert participation, proactive campus communication, and collaboration on student activities and events.” 

“I am extremely proud of our staff and faculty who have worked tirelessly to implement an ambitious strategic enrollment plan for BHSU,” added BHSU President Laurie S. Nichols.  “Through the expertise of an RNL consultant, our university studied itself to understand where and how we may be losing students before they graduate.  In the plan, we have strengthened student support programs, identified new programs where voids existed, and developed a more competitive scholarship program.  Opening the BHSU Opportunity Center in our newly renovated library will be the culmination of already commendable work.  I thank those who have been front and center in this important priority, and I thank RNL for this important recognition.” 

RNL is the leading provider of higher education enrollment, student success, and fundraising solutions. The firm serves more than 1,900 colleges and universities through data-driven solutions focused on the entire lifecycle of enrollment and fundraising. At the conference, RNL honored BHSU as well as three other institutions who were recognized for their achievements in college student recruitment and marketing, student success and completion, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Winners were chosen by a panel of RNL enrollment and student success experts. 

“More than ever, institutions need innovation, data-informed strategies, and determination to succeed,” said Andrea Gilbert, senior vice president for client engagement at RNL who has consulted with hundreds of colleges and universities. “We honor not only their hard work and creativity, but their dedication to the mission of their institutions and improving the student experience.”