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3 South Dakota colleges collaborate to ease transferring

December 7, 2018

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Black Hills State University and Western Dakota Tech are teaming up to help make it easier for students to transfer between the three schools.

The institutions are coming together over shared concerns as western South Dakota faces stagnant post-secondary enrollment and limited resources allocated by the state, the Rapid City Journal reported. Both BHSU in Spearfish and Mines in Rapid City lost about 5 percent of their full-time students over the past year, while enrollment at Western Dakota in Rapid City is flat.

“It’s somewhat rare to have three sitting presidents come together,” said BHSU President Thomas Jackson. “But we’re working collaboratively on getting students to the same goal from three different starting points.”

The schools share the same target demographic and already have many articulation agreements that allow course credits to transfer among the campuses. But the college presidents envision more opportunities to share resources and programming.

They’re looking into dual admission to Western Dakota and BHSU, coordinated service trips, joint fundraisers and developing a major together.

An arrangement between Western Dakota and Mines to develop a major for mechanics could make students more marketable to employers. The mining industry wants employees to have a theoretical foundation in mining sciences and technical skills to operate and repair equipment, according to Ann Bolman, Western Dakota’s president.

Mines’ president Jim Rankin said a similar partnership could be made for engineering students to obtain business acumen at BHSU.

“They have that expertise,” Rankin said. “And we have ours.”

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Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com

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