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Table of Contents


General Faculty 

Faculty Senate 

Staff Senate 

Student Senate 

Core Values & Beliefs  

University Strategic Plan 

Campus Committees


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.   BHSU History

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


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.

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, and the president of the university.

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. 

Staff Senate

The Staff Senate is an organization of staff at Black Hills State University (BHSU) who have been elected to represent their peers on the BHSU campuses. The purpose is to give Staff campus representation, and a means by which they have a collective voice to provide input and make recommendations to the administration on matters concerning staff, provide encouragement and support for staff through personal and professional development opportunities, recognize outstanding staff employees, assist with the onboarding of new employees, provide support by means of the CSA Council, and to serve as the formal and recognized governmental structure for staff at BHSU.

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.

Core Values & Beliefs

Vision Statement

Black Hills State University will lead as a vibrant, innovative University with exemplary academic programs, services, and student experiences.

  • Student Success: Serving and inspiring our students through life-changing learning experiences to become educated leaders and engaged citizens.
  • Innovation: Leading with resourcefulness and creativity to develop programs and activities that meet the needs of the regional, national and global community.
  • Academic Excellence: Providing quality and rigorous programs with challenging exchange of ideas, offering opportunities for research, creative activity, and global engagement
  • Authenticity: Leading with integrity and sustainable best practices; honoring our heritage, celebrating our diversity, serving our community and thriving in the Spirit of the Black Hills.

University Strategic Goals

Black Hills State University will:

  1. INSPIRE and support student success from recruitment to graduation.
  2. Provide INNOVATIVE learning experiences that facilitate academic achievement, research, creative activity and civic engagement.
  3. ENGAGE in partnerships, service and enriched student experiences.
  4. Develop and expand internal and external resources to support all we can IMAGINE.

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
  • Library Committee
  • Subcommittee: Gender Awareness and Equity Subcommittee

Presidential Committees/Councils/Teams

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
  • Naming Advisory Committee
  • President’s Advisory Council
  • Promotion & Tenure Committee
  • Scholarship Committee
  • Strategic Planning Committee
  • Title IX Steering Committee

Vice President for Academic Affairs Committee/Councils/Teams

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.

  • Assessment Committee – University
  • Academic Planning Committee – University
  • Case Library Committee
  • Chiesman Committee
  • Distance Education Council
  • Enrollment Management Team
  • Graduate Council
  • Honors Advisory Committee
  • Institutional Research Board (Animal Care and Human Subjects Committee)
  • International Relations Advisory Committee
  • Multicultural Committee
  • Research Council
  • Research Symposium Committee

Vice President for Finance and Administration Committees

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.

  • Academic Technology Committee
  • Campus Safety and Facilities Committee
  • Emergency Planning Committee
  • Employee Recognition Committee
  • Equal Education/Employment Opportunities Committee
  • Sustainability Committee
  • Tree & Biodiversity Advisory Committee

Vice President for Enrollment Management Committees/Teams

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.

  • Commencement/Awards Committee
  • Enrollment Management Team
  • Financial Aid Appeals Committee
  • Student Conduct Formal Review

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, 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. Go to the BHSU Policies and Procedures page for a full list of the most recently updated policies and procedures. 

BHSU Records Retention

A common records manual can be found on the Financial Reports page of the South Dakota Board of Regents website.