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Board of Regents approves new degree programs

South Dakota State University will offer new undergraduate management degrees in two fields predicted to have strong job growth in the future. The South Dakota Board of Regents approved bachelor degree programs in leadership and management of nonprofit organizations, as well as in conservation planning and park management.

The nonprofit leadership degree will provide education in marketing, public relations, fundraising, volunteer recruitment, program development, and other skills vital to success in the nonprofit sector. South Dakota’s nonprofit sector has grown by 10 percent in recent years, and more than half of the country’s nonprofit organizations added staff in the last year.

"According to numbers from the U.S. Department of Labor, national employment in the nonprofit sector has grown across the country and new jobs will be created as the economy expands and generates more nonprofit entities," said Jane Hegland, associate dean in the College of Education and Human Sciences. "This is particularly true for those with a college degree in LMNO. As of 2014 data, nonprofits account for 11.4 million jobs, 10.3 percent of all private sector employment.

"The nonprofit sector in the United States is unique in form and function," she continued. "This sector includes institutions and individuals, situated between government, public, business, and commerce sectors. It is this sector, with more than 1.6 million organizations in the U.S., that employs more people that the finance, insurance and real estate industries combined."

Students who complete this degree will be prepared to earn the National Certified Nonprofit Professional designation, which is the only credential in the field recognizing preparation for nonprofit management positions. Between 10 and 20 students are expected to enroll in the SDSU program after approval.

The Bachelor of Science degree in conservation planning and park management, including a specialization in park administration and management, prepares students for careers in park management, landscape conservation planning, natural areas management, land use planning, and as a park ranger or naturalist. There is a 7 percent projected job growth nationally in conservation fields. In South Dakota, the state’s Department of Game, Fish and Parks has averaged eight open positions per year over the past five years.

Letters conveying strong support for the new major in conservation planning and park management were received from Game, Fish and Parks and the South Dakota Parks & Recreation Association. GFP officials said this degree will offer prospective employees critical training for a park career field. They also expressed interest in working with SDSU faculty on new research projects.

SDSU expects to attract 10-12 new students per year in the conservation management program, with an estimated five graduates per year after full implementation.

In addition, State will offer an undergraduate certificate in workplace intercultural competence. Certificate programs usually require fewer credit hours to complete than a minor. They are developed by packaging a small set of courses that allows students to develop expertise within a focused area of study, addressing identified market and workforce development needs.