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Birgen named coordinator for student success and opportunity at SDSU

Tina Birgen

Tina Birgen, a long-time educator in South Dakota, has been named the first coordinator for student success and opportunity at the Wintrode Student Success and Opportunity Center at South Dakota State University. Birgen has more than 20 years’ experience teaching and coaching at the college, high school, middle school and elementary levels.

The coordinator for student success and opportunity position will serve as a main point of contact to help students maximize services provided through the opportunity center’s NETwork offices and student success platform, ConnectState.

“We are very excited to have Tina in this new role and working so closely with our students and faculty,” said Jody Owen, senior director of student success and opportunity center. “The Wintrode Student Success and Opportunity Center continues to innovate and work with our university community on ways to support our students and give them the best opportunities to engage with all areas of campus. Tina’s new role will have a positive impact on that vision.”

NETwork partners in the opportunity center include the American Indian Student Center, Continuing and Distance Education, Disability Services, the Graduate School, the Van D. and Barbara B. Fishback Honors College, International Affairs, Multicultural Affairs, New Student Orientation, Residential Life and the Office of Veterans Affairs.

The various offices work with campus partners to support students’ holistic needs and enhance opportunities for student success. Connect State is a comprehensive student success platform that uses technology, predictive analytics and best practices in advising to support academic success and retention.

Birgen most recently served as a wellness teacher and head volleyball coach at Brookings High School, positions she held since 2019. She previously was an elementary education teacher and ninth-grade volleyball coach in Brookings from 2015-19, in addition to supervising SDSU physical education student teachers during that time. Birgen also was a physical education graduate assistant supervisor and professional semester II coordinator during the 2015 spring semester.

Birgen has 15 years of coaching experience, six as a head coach, while working at Warner, Aberdeen Central and Brookings High Schools. She has also been a physical education teacher since 1999 and served as a wellness coach and personal trainer from 2008-12.

Birgen graduated from Northern State University in May 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education. She earned a master’s degree in educational leadership from Northern Arizona in 2006.