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Goal 3: IMPACT 2018

Extend the reach and depth of the university by developing strategic programs and collaborations.
LATI/SDSU Opening Doors Event
Faculty and staff from SDSU attend an "Opening Doors" event annually at Lake Area Technical Institute

South Dakota State University meets the land-grant mission by providing access to higher education and reaching the citizens throughout our state by providing resources and new knowledge to positively impact its citizens.

Educational Impact

An important component of IMPACT 2018 was the university’s ability to connect with other institutions of higher education and create partnerships and agreements that benefit students, not only at SDSU, but also those attending other universities, community colleges and technical institutes.

IMPACT 2018 set a goal of 150 active articulation agreements, or 100 new agreements in five years. The end result was 130 agreements, and although 20 short of 150, the achievement has produced numerous positive results.

Opening Doors Event at LATI
LATI and SDSU participate in an "Opening Doors" event annually on the LATI campus.

Most notably, SDSU and Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown, S.D., created the Opening Doors initiative that encourages higher education, industry and governmental entities to work together to open doors for all South Dakotans. The entities are building student bridges and confidence through language support, proactive enrollment, public awareness of the value of college, the return on investment and by making higher education relevant.

The institutions offer dual-enrolled programs of study that give 100 percent credit to students who have selected a program taken at both places. The initiative helps merge South Dakotans’ occupational and educational careers by graduating lifelong learners, recognizing the educational merit of on-the-job experiences and training, while developing apprenticeship opportunities.

SDSU leadership was also active in signing numerous agreements with tribal colleges in the state. For example, SDSU and Oglala Lakota College worked to provide a pathway for students who earn an associate degree in nursing at Oglala Lakota College. The pathway allows for the transfer of those credits toward a bachelor’s degree in nursing from SDSU, thus helping to solve the shortage of qualified nurses in rural communities and on the reservations.

Similar types of agreements exist with Sisseton Wahpeton College in the areas of behavioral science toward bachelor’s degrees in psychology and sociology.

In all, nearly 30 different schools and institutions have articulation agreements with SDSU.

Mom with child taking online classes from SDSU
SDSU added 11 online degrees during IMPACT 2018, increasing its total from 22 to 33.

Educational Outreach

Another important metric in Goal 3 included the number of online degrees South Dakota State University offers. Online degrees are fully accredited master’s, bachelor’s and associate degrees available to all learners, regardless of location. Online learning not only expands educational access to students who cannot travel to campus, but also gives on-campus students greater scheduling flexibility, allowing for an enriching and enjoyable campus experience.

SDSU added 11 online degrees during IMPACT 2018, increasing its total from 22 to 33. The goal was 40. The degrees are fully accredited, and the courses are taught by the same instructors who teach on campus but are specifically adapted for online.

Online degrees are determined by a number of factors, including workforce and student demand and the percentage of courses already offered online toward a particular degree. Programs added online during IMPACT 2018 included bachelor’s degrees in:

  • Early childhood education;
  • Geography;
  • Psychology;
  • Construction technology;
  • Data science; and
  • Sociology.

Graduate degrees were added in agricultural education and public health. Certificate programs expanded to include workplace intercultural competence, animal science and data science.

The challenges associated with adding online degrees center around the ability to operationalize the process and create incentives and opportunities that allow faculty and others to incorporate the classes into already busy teaching and research workloads.

The Office of Continuing and Distance Education was redefined in 2013 to increase student services to online students and allow colleges increased freedom to pursue online program opportunities. In the five years of IMPACT 2018, the university learned that certain areas of campus and certain colleges are better positioned for online delivery than others. The university will continue to review how best to create incentives and opportunities for all areas to expand online delivery.

iGrow Logo

Community Outreach

Two areas that exceeded expectations in Goal 3 involved the number of people who attend on-campus and off-campus sponsored events and the digital footprint created by SDSU attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Just this past year more than 440,000 attended on-campus and off-campus events, exceeding the plan’s baseline number in 2013 by more than 100,000 people.

The SDSU Extension portal iGrow experienced tremendous success during IMPACT 2018. Launched in 2011, iGrow is the teaching platform used to ensure digital delivery of information important to the citizens of South Dakota.

Cows at SDSU Cow-Calf Education and Research Center
Each week, extension staff and partners publish on iGrow the latest information regarding 4-H, livestock, agronomy, healthy fam

Each week, extension staff and partners publish the latest information regarding 4-H, livestock, agronomy, healthy families, community development and gardens. The web presence makes SDSU Extension experts available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and researched-based information is provided to farmers, ranchers, agri-business, communities, families and youth.

During the 2017-18 academic year, iGrow received 572,836 visitors, surpassing the goal of 500,000. The baseline number of visitors set in 2013 was 91,200.

The portal initially launched during the reorganization of SDSU Extension in 2011-12 to support the numerous resources provided through eight regional extension centers located in Aberdeen, Lemmon, Mitchell, Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Watertown and Winner. Under the new structure, programs like 4-H and Master Gardeners continue to support thousands of South Dakotans.

Taryn Christion running
Taryn Christion


Intercollegiate athletics serves as a window to the university. It brings thousands of people to campus, creates a sense of institutional pride and expands the university’s brand to new areas of the country.

Private money from various sources is critical to our success. It provides student-athletes with educational support, giving them the opportunity to be successful in the classroom and in competition. Jackrabbit Club membership is renewed annually and all funds support student-athlete scholarships.

IMPACT 2018 identified a goal of nearly doubling the number of Jackrabbit Club members from 1,600 to 3,000. The plan fell short of the goal, but still increased the number of members to 2,200.

Jackrabbit Club memberships can be philanthropic or part of a season-ticket holder’s seat guarantee. Contributions can begin at $100.

During IMPACT 2018, the need arose to consider Jackrabbit Club membership beyond an expectation of being a season-ticket holder and driving more donors to consider philanthropic opportunities. The SDSU Foundation increased its support of athletic fundraising in 2018 to increase athletic development staff from two to four employees. The move puts the development staff in the foundation, providing greater access to resources needed for development and fundraising.