Black Hills State University is a public university located in Spearfish, South Dakota. The university offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees and is the state’s 3rd largest public institution. The communities need for a university was evident before statehood was even established; the university was originally founded in 1883 as Dakota Territorial Normal School. A mere $800 was raised for the 40 acre campus operating on a $2000 budget for the first few years. In 1941 it was renamed Black Hills Teachers College and throughout the years would eventually become Black Hills State College. It was in the 1990s when it gained university status and became known as Black Hills State University.
Today the campus has grown to 123 acres with 26 buildings on campus. There are 116 full-time faculty members and three total colleges; the colleges of Arts & Sciences, Business & Technology, and Education. The university offers 63 different programs through these 3 colleges; 4 at the associate level, 3 at the master’s level, and 56 baccalaureate degree programs. The online courses and distance learning programs continue to grow and develop as the years progress.
Three online programs that Black Hills State University offers through its distance learning curriculum are a Master of Science in Strategic Leadership, Master of Science in Curriculum & Instruction and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Both of the masters programs may be completed online from their home location; the clinical experiences for the Master of Science in Curriculum & Instruction can be arranged to be done at the student’s home. The Bachelor of Science in Business Administration consists of courses in accounting, marketing, finance, economics, business law, and information systems. The online programs offered at Black Hills State University are of the same accreditation and quality of the courses offered on campus. The credits are generally transferable to any school under their own discretion.
The programs are meant to offer flexibility to students from a remote distance allowing them to continue to pursue their occupational aspirations. Black Hills State University provides substantial support to students in the distance learning curriculum to foster a strong education experience. The Educational Outreach department is specifically meant for this purpose; they have library services, course management system, computer support, training, and a bookstore for distance learners online. Advising students is done by faculty through email, telephone or live chat. Black Hills State University has online orientation available to distance learning students as well as extensive online and off campus library services available as well.
The Educational Outreach department also offers non-credit classes online to those that may be interested. Black Hills State University also offers video conferencing as a part of its distance learning curriculum as well. Students are able to meet with teachers through the Dakota Digital Network at various sites throughout the state. Students may interact with instructors and ask questions as if they were in the classroom. The university also offers a certificate in professional writing taught by the Departments of English and Speech Communications in the College of Arts and Science online. Needless to say there are many online and on campus opportunities available for students at Black Hills State University.