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SDSU opens School of Psychology, Sociology and Rural Studies

With the launch of the School of Psychology, Sociology and Rural Studies July 1, South Dakota State University opens its sixth school in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. The South Dakota Board of Regents approved the school earlier this year.

The School of Psychology, Sociology and Rural Studies will be housed in Agricultural Engineering, which is next to the Briggs Library. Paul Markel has been named the school’s founding director. Markel joins SDSU from Minot State University, where he served as the chair of addiction studies, psychology and school psychology.

Paul Markel
Paul Markel

“As the founding director, I am excited and confident about what we can achieve working together in our new school, creating a dynamic environment for teaching, research, service and outreach,” said Markel, a Bismarck, North Dakota, native. “The new School of Psychology, Sociology and Rural Studies represents our opportunity to realize our greatest potential in serving our students, the people of South Dakota and society in general. Together, we can realize our transformative potential to make significant contributions in knowledge creation, application and sharing at the regional, national and international levels.”

The new school offers undergraduate degrees in criminology, psychology and sociology, undergraduate minors in criminal justice, mental health services, psychology, sociology, social and human services, and youth and community work, and a master’s degree in community development.

The bachelor’s degree in criminology, which begins classes this fall, offers students the opportunity to develop proficiency in a high-demand field. The degree is intentionally designed to help graduates pursue careers related to crime and punishment, the control of crime, rehabilitation and recidivism, victim services and other positions that enhance the safety and quality of life in local communities, the state of South Dakota and beyond.

“The creation of the new school further helps students understand the potential areas of study and professional career directions they can pursue, all within our college and university,” said Lynn Sargeant, the college’s dean. “For nearly a decade, what is now SDSU’s College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences has pursued a process of fundamental restructuring. After multiple mergers, renamings and restructurings, the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences’ structure is intentionally focused through interdisciplinary schools and a clearer sense of identity and purpose.”

The School of Psychology, Sociology and Rural Studies is now South Dakota State’s sixth school. The School of Design started in 2015, the School of Performing Arts in 2017, the School of Communication and Journalism in 2018 and both the Ness School of Management and Economics and the School of American and Global Studies in 2019.