JUNE 4, 2018 - VOL. 54 No. 8

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The changing landscape of higher education
in Sioux Falls

Higher education plays a vital role in workforce development efforts. The landscape of higher education across the nation has been rapidly changing in recent years, responding to the disruptive forces of online coursework, a changing economy and a public that is increasingly skeptical about the value of a traditional degree. In Sioux Falls, these same trends have put pressure on our local institutions to evaluate the way they serve the needs of students and the broader business community.

There are multiple options for post-secondary education and training in our region, but the number has decreased in the past few years. Three schools officially closed their doors in Sioux Falls in 2016. Other institutions are adapting their business models to the changing landscape, adding new delivery options, new programming and targeting new audiences. Many are looking for ways to better serve adult and non-traditional learners, in addition to the traditional student market.

The Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, together with our Forward Sioux Falls joint venture partner the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, has identified economic expansion and workforce development as a key priority. The goal is to provide leadership in promoting business and economic expansion in the Sioux Falls region and in recruiting and developing human capital.

Each of the four largest institutions in Sioux Falls is embracing the challenge of the shifting higher education landscape and each of them has appointed a new person to their top leadership position within the past three years. We asked the leaders of Augustana University, Southeast Technical Institute, University Center and the University of Sioux Falls to share their perspective on the relationship between their school and the Sioux Falls community, and the ways that businesses and organizations can partner with our academic institutions to create programs that benefit our workforce and community as a whole.

Augustana University
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, J.D. will become President of Augustana University on August 1, 2017.

Tell us about the history/mission of Augustana University.

Augustana's history is 157 years strong and is rich in tradition and meaning-a true testament to the power of determination, the belief in education, and the importance of serving others. Augustana was founded in 1860 in the basement of a Norwegian church in Chicago. The school moved a few times over a period of years before settling in Dakota Territory, in the city of Canton, in 1884. Augustana moved. . .

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Southeast Technical Insitute
Robert J. Griggs, J.D. became President of Southeast Technical Institute on September 1, 2016.

Tell us a little about the history and mission of Southeast Tech.

Since 1968, Southeast Tech has been instrumental in the development of South Dakota's workforce for the southeast region of the state. Southeast started with just five programs and slightly over 100 students and today we are approaching our 50th anniversary in 2018 with over fifty different programs of study and approximately 2,800 students. The campus moved to its current location in 1989 and has been growing in the number of students, programs, faculty, and facilities ever since. . .

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University of Sioux Falls
Brett Bradfield, Ed.D. assumed role of President in February 2017, has been serving the institution for 17 years

Tell us a little about the history and mission of the University of Sioux Falls.

Founded in 1883, the University of Sioux Falls, located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is a Christian, Liberal Arts University and is an independent, not-for-profit institution. The traditional motto of the University is Culture for Service. That is, the University seeks to foster academic excellence and the development of mature Christian persons for service to God and humankind in the world. . .

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University Center
Craig Johnson, Ed.D. became the Executive Director of University Center in April of 2014.

Tell us a little about the history and mission of University Center.

The original center started up in 1992 at a downtown location in Sioux Falls and UC moved to its current site near I-29 and 60th Street North in 2009. The primary mission since its inception has been to deliver courses and programs from the state's public universities to allow place-bound residents to complete a baccalaureate or graduate degree. UC enrollment increased significantly through 2010 but it has dropped considerably since that point, largely due to growth in online offerings and the low unemployment rate and strong job market in Sioux Falls. While UC continues to pursue its original mission, we are also developing an array of two-year degrees and certificates designed to meet local workforce needs. . .

Read More.

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