Black Hills State University President Laurie S. Nichols presented the annual State of the University Address to faculty and staff Tuesday in Meier Hall. Melissa Hart, director of human resources, began the address with the presentation of awards for the revamped employee awards recognition program.

This year’s award winners were:

Presidential Rising Star Faculty

Dr. Matthew Pawlus, Assistant Professor of Biology from the School of Natural Sciences

Dr. Pawlus began his role in August of 2020 and has shown a commitment to teaching using modern approaches in his courses with an exemplary dedication to student learning. In his first year he wrote a proposal for the NIH-funded SD BRIN Faculty Fellowship Program which passed all levels of review, was selected for 2022-23, and will bring in nearly $100,000. 

Presidential Rising Star Non-Faculty

Maegan Detlefs, Communications Coordinator from Marketing and Communications

Detlefs came to BHSU in January 2022 and immediately made an impact on the department and university. She consistently performs job responsibilities at a level above and beyond normal expectations, contributes to all areas of the department, and demonstrates an innovative approach to everything she does. 

Presidential Outstanding Employee

Cassie Maser, HR Coordinator from Human Resources

Maser has worked at BHSU for six years and is known as an extremely hard worker and consistently goes above and beyond in her job. Last year, she kept the HR office and all its functions running for three months by herself, putting in countless hours.

Presidential Outstanding Student Employee

Lexie Bendigo, Career Development Assistant from Career Development Center

Bendigo is a first year and first-generation college student majoring in psychology and human services with a 4.00 GPA. She demonstrates high dependability, goes outside the regular student duties, and provides an astounding quality of work and initiative. 

(From Left) Dr. Matthew Pawlus, Maegan Detlefs, Cassie Maser

Twenty-four BHSU employees were recognized for their longevity, with service ranging from 10 to 30 years, and new staff and faculty were introduced by each respective member of the Leadership Team.

President Nichols then began the address with highlights from several key summer activities: summer school, Special Olympics, Dakota Dreams Camp, Crazy Horse Summer Program, Joy of Learning series, and the Scholarship Gala.

Information relating to the fall semester included a fall enrollment update, enrollment highlights, Freedom Scholarship, HLC accreditation self-study and visit, K-12 virtual tutoring program, and Sodexo food service.

The name of the 2023-2027 Black Hills State University Strategic Plan was unveiled as “Climbing New Peaks”. The planning process and timeline was shared as well as drafts of the four university objectives. The complete strategic plan will be finalized in December and will go live in January 2023.

Budget and facility project updates concluded the address.