South Dakota Public Colleges Reveal Plans for Opportunity Centers

The South Dakota Board of Regents adopted three policies related to “opportunity for all” at its meeting on Thursday and heard plans from each of the six public university leaders on their plans to implement centers of education. opportunities on campus.

The centers are supposed to be a “one-stop-shop” for student needs, BOR officials said. The structures of the centers are expected to be in place by January 1, 2022. Governor Kristi Noem said she believes the centers should replace diversity centers on college campuses.

Policy updates implemented Thursday included revisions to the policy on academic freedom and accountability, the guest speaker policy, and a policy on the recognition and funding of student organizations. The changes were adopted unanimously.

BOR Advocate General Nathan Lukkes said the changes aim to encourage solid thinking and debate and to clarify a gap between institutions and student organizations.

Following:University of South Dakota students and faculty worried as board mandates opportunity centers statewide

Regent Joan Wink said she praised Lukkes for synthesizing divergent views on the topic, but she believes in diversity, equity and inclusion and she cannot support the centers of opportunity. Wink, however, voted to approve the aforementioned three policy changes.

Wink, however, sees the new centers as an unnecessary reaction, she said.

Unintended consequences of the action are likely and will lead to crippling effects on free thought; low morale among students, faculty and staff; hinder the recruitment of faculty; have a negative impact on accreditation; stifle research and grant writing; hurt student enrollment and more, Wink said.

Lukkes said the look and shape of the Opportunity Centers on each campus will be different, as there are six “very different” institutions.

“There seems to be a lot of confusion – it’s really about creating opportunities for every student that comes into our campus,” Lukkes said. “When you start talking about student retention and graduation, there’s a whole host of challenges our students face. “

Following:Board of Regents lawyer says opportunity centers will have greater physical presence at USD, SDSU

Campuses report plans for centers of opportunity

In individual campus reports on the new centers, University of South Dakota President Sheila Gestring said the “opportunities for all” approach will allow the institution to expand and strengthen its services. to students. In this context, the aim is to provide each student with the support they need to have the best chance of success.

Although the USD center is still in development, she said, she plans to expand virtual student information.

USD now has ‘Coyote One Stop’, which is supposed to be a one-stop-shop for students and could be used as a virtual opportunity center, which would also have a physical version with new leadership training services and more. . The Opportunity Center will also be a resource for the rest of the campus.

The university will also work to expand the alumni network, Gestring said.

Dakota State University principal Richard Hanson said the conceptual basis for the new opportunity center will work on student success; instituting “Trojan Connect” to improve planning, counseling and interaction with students; and a set of shared core values.

Structurally, DSU is planning the “Trojan Zone Welcome Center”, which does not currently exist on campus and will serve as a reception center for families, parents and children. Another element will be the student-centered needs-driven “opportunity zone”. The third is the “Learning Engagement Center” where the school support services will reside.

The DSU is also setting up a virtual student union to help connect more than 1,000 distance-learning students, Hanson said.

Following:SDSU Regents and President ask questions about Diversity Centers as they attempt to restructure resources

South Dakota State University President Barry Dunn said the main entry point for students will be the “Student Opportunity and Success Center” where they can be guided to the counselors. and the resources that best meet their needs.

SDSU is also planning a public service and civic engagement academy to begin next fall. A new website also explains “freedom of speech, freedom of learning and the principles of the First Amendment,” Dunn said.

There will be both a physical center and strong virtual aspects, with the latter likely being the strongest part where students can enter virtually, Dunn said.

Northern State University president Neal Schnoor said the university would create a virtual page so that everyone has access to the center. The university has also launched a Center for Public History and Civic Engagement, which will invite guest speakers to discuss history, civic education and government.

South Dakota Mines President Jim Rankin said all components of “Opportunity for All” on campus will be reported to Provost Lance Roberts.

Roberts said the university plans to realign student services better and will create a “one-stop-shop” that will become the hub of opportunities in two physical locations, one within the student union and one in the library, as well as a virtual presence.

Black Hills State University President Laurie Nichols said the Opportunity Centers on each campus should honor their cultures and be unique.

Following:Regents send report detailing overhaul of university system to Governor Kristi Noem, Legislative Assembly

BHSU Acting Marshal Pam Carriveau said the Deputy Marshal will be the coordinator of the new center and he will be temporarily assigned to academic affairs. Students will know where to go if they have questions or need services, and the center director will tell them where to go.

The plan is to move the center to the first floor of the library when it is completed in a year, Carriveau said.

Some programs that will go to the center include the Chiesman Committee for Civic Engagement, Disability Services and Testing, International Relations and Global Engagement, Student Support Services, Trio, Veterans Affairs , honors, student success, tutoring and career counseling, Carriveau said.

“We will end our diversity committee and create a steering committee to coordinate these services,” she added.

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