2014-2015 Undergraduate Catalog 
    Sep 18, 2020  
2014-2015 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Purposes & Objectives

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History and Mission: The Land-Grant Heritage


Establishment. An act of the Territorial Legislature, approved February 21, 1881, provided that “an Agriculture College for the Territory of Dakota be established in Brookings.” The Legislature of 1883 provided for the first building.

The Enabling Act Admitting the State of South Dakota, approved February 22, 1889, provided that 120,000 acres of land be granted for the use and support of the Agricultural College. By the Enabling Act of 1889 congress granted South Dakota 40,000 additional acres for the Agriculture College in lieu of a grant that had been made to new states in 1841.

State Agriculture Experiment Stations were formed in 1887 under the Hatch Act of Congress, which provided for establishment of agricultural experiment stations in connection with Land-Grant universities and colleges. The stations were established to conduct research to address relevant agricultural and rural issues for their home states and regions.

The Cooperative Extension Service was established in 1914 to provide useful, current, research based agricultural, home, family, and youth related information to the people of the State. Federal funds are appropriated through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which cooperates with state colleges of agriculture and counties in conducting planned programs of extension work.

Historically, the Land-Grant institutions have had the responsibility of training individuals to be U.S. Military officers in the event of war or military emergency, thus, alleviating the need to have a large standing army. During WWII, SDSU as a Land-Grant University served a central role in preparation of students and graduates for military service through ROTC. SDSU continues to have an exemplary ROTC program. Following the war, SDSU and other Land-Grant institutions accepted an international responsibility contributing to economic and agricultural revitalization in war devastated countries. International responsibility has continued to evolve as a part of the Land-Grant mission.

Developments. In 1923 SDSU’s instructional program was organized under five divisions: Agriculture, Engineering, General Science, Home Economics and Pharmacy. In 1956, the sixth undergraduate division, Nursing, was created and in 1957 all graduate work was organized into a Graduate Division. The University organization was formally recognized when the Legislature changed the name to South Dakota State University on July 1, 1964. At that time the following colleges were created: Agriculture and Biological Sciences, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Home Economics, Nursing, and Pharmacy as well as the Graduate School. Today SDSU has seven colleges: Agriculture and Biological Sciences, Arts and Science, Education and Human Sciences, Engineering, Honors, Nursing, Pharmacy, and University College, as well as the Graduate School.

In 1974 the College of General Registration (renamed College of General Studies and Outreach Programs in 2001) was established to provide assistance to students who were undecided as to major, were preprofessional, or who wanted a one, two, or four year general studies program. On July 1, 2006, the Office of Continuing and Extended Education was created, thus separating Outreach and Distance Education from the College of General Studies due to the growing college enrollment and an expected increase in the presence of outreach and distance education programs. In 2011, the College of General Studies became University College and the Office of Outreach and Distance Education became the Office of International Affairs and Academic Outreach.

In 1975, the Division of Education was created to provide greater recognition of the part the University plays in preparation of teachers, counselors, and administrators for primary and secondary school systems and higher education. In 1989 this unit officially became the College of Education and Counseling. In 1996, the College of Home Economics became the College of Family and Consumer Sciences to align with the national professional organization (AAFCS) and to reflect a newer, more up-to-date image. The proposal to transform the Honors Program into a new and more vital Honors College was approved in May, 1999 and the Honors College was formally inaugurated in the fall of 1999. In 2009, the College of Education and Human Sciences was established. This new college resulted from the combination of the former College of Family and Consumer Sciences and the former College of Education and Counseling. The Health, Physical Education and Recreation department also joined the new college.

In 1994, Land-Grant status was expanded to include tribal colleges and universities. SDSU has developed working relationships with tribal colleges within and beyond the state. Additionaly, South Dakota State University is a member of the Sun Grant Initiative that was authorized in the 2002 farm bill. Today SDSU is a national leader in Sun Grant research.

Mission. The legislature established South Dakota State University as the Comprehensive Land-Grant University to meet the needs of the State and region by providing undergraduate and graduate programs of instruction in the liberal arts and sciences and professional education in agriculture, aviation, education, engineering, human sciences, nursing, pharmacy, and other courses or programs as the Board of Regents may determine. (SDCL 13-58-1)

The Board implemented SDCL 13-58-1 by authorizing South Dakota State University to serve students and clients through teaching, research, and extension activities. The University’s primary goal is to provide undergraduate and graduate programs at the freshman through the doctoral levels. The University complements this goal by conducting nationally competitive strategic research and scholarly and creative activities. Furthermore, South Dakota State University facilitates the transference of knowledge through the Cooperative Extension Service with a presence in every county and through other entities, especially to serve the citizens of South Dakota.

South Dakota State University is unique within the South Dakota System of Higher Education because of its comprehensive land grant mission. The mission is implemented through integrated programs of instruction, the Cooperative Extension Service, the Agricultural Experiment Station, and numerous auxiliary and laboratory services.

Degrees are authorized at the Associate, Baccalaureate, Master, Professional Doctorate, and Doctoral levels.

The following curriculum is approved for South Dakota State University:

  1. Undergraduate Programs
    • Associate degree programs in General Studies and Agricultural Science.
    • Baccalaureate programs in the agricultural sciences, aviation, education, engineering and technology, human sciences, humanities and liberal arts, nursing, performing and visual arts, pharmaceutical sciences, physical and biological sciences, and social sciences.
  2. Graduate Programs
    • Masters degrees in arts and sciences, agricultural and biological sciences, human sciences, education and counseling, engineering and technology, and nursing.
    • Doctorate of Philosophy degrees in agriculture and engineering, and the physical, biological, and social sciences.
    • Professional programs - the Master of Mass Communication (M.M.C.), the Master of Architecture (M.Arch.), Masters of Public Health (M.P.H.), Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm. D.), Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.).

(Mission statement is quoted from Board of Regents Policy 1:10:2, dated May 2011.)



In accepting the provisions of the “Morrill Act” of Congress (1862), the State of South Dakota pledged itself to carry out the purposes of the Land-Grant College Act: to endow, support, and maintain one university where a major emphasis is teaching “agricultural and mechanic arts,” including “scientific and classical studies,” in order to promote a liberal and practical education in the “several pursuits and professions in life.”

Within the spirit of the “Morrill Act” and the early legislative acts of South Dakota, the purposes of SDSU are to develop, maintain, and encourage:

  1. A strong foundation of general education for all graduates in all majors.
  2. Learning in the fields of agriculture; engineering and engineering technology; human sciences; liberal arts; pharmacy; nursing; teacher and counselor education; basic physical, biological, and social sciences; humanities and arts at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
  3. Research and scholarship in agriculture; engineering and engineering technology; human sciences; liberal arts; nursing; pharmacy; teacher and counselor education; basic physical, biological and social sciences; humanities and arts at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
  4. Extension/outreach programs in agriculture; engineering and engineering technology; human sciences; liberal arts; nursing; pharmacy; teacher and counselor education; basic physical, biological and social sciences; humanities and arts for adults and youth in South Dakota.
  5. Citizenship training and general learning essential for understanding and appreciating and contributing to the American way of life and its relationship to the global community as global citizens.
  6. Student self-development in leadership, social, intellectual, recreational, interpersonal, ethical, changeable, socially responsible, and spiritual attributes.
  7. Student self-development in international and intercultural understanding consistent with the continually increasing cultural, economic and political interdependence of the modern world.
  8. Vocational learning and training in selected areas.
  9. Collection, preservation, display and study of artistic, artifactual and documentary materials which are the cultural base for all future programs.
  10. Service and social responsibility for the welfare of South Dakota, the region, the nation, and the world.

Educational Objectives


The educational objective of SDSU is primarily to guide each student in attainment of intellectual and professional competence, growth of personal development, cultivation of a sense of social and civic responsibility, and achievement of satisfactory human relationships. Ideally, upon graduation, SDSU students will have attained intellectual autonomy with capabilities to think, read, speak, and write effectively, both within their practiced disciplines and beyond. As individuals on their jobs and as people collectively charged with the responsibility of nurturing a humane, rational, and free republic, our graduates should demonstrate an abiding belief in the value of learning. Graduates should possess both historic and aesthetic perspectives and act in accordance with high ethical and spiritual codes of behavior, even in the face of adversity. Above all, graduates should seek to foster understanding and harmony among their fellow citizens of this diverse nation and world.

Specific objectives that flow from this broad educational objective are:

Intellectual and professional competence is attained when a graduate:

  1. Has developed knowledge and skills - including those of clear oral and written expression, evaluative listening and information literacy - required for beginning competence in a vocation or profession.
  2. Has acquired those self-reliant character elements that demonstrate a high personal code of ethics and willingness to pursue vocational or professional objectives within a framework of humanitarian and social goals.
  3. Has developed the ability to think clearly and speculate imaginatively about both immediate and long-range problems.
  4. Is competitive in academic preparation nationally and internationally.

Adequate personal development has been achieved when a graduate:

  1. Attempts to reach sound, objective decisions after considering the values and practical and theoretical issues involved, and after exploring reliable sources of information, and then accepts responsibility for these decisions.
  2. Has begun to evolve a meaningful personal philosophy of life based upon a growing knowledge of self, a perceptive awareness of the world, and a critical appraisal of relationship to this code.
  3. Is change-able, that is, able to embrace change in positive and constructive ways.

A satisfactory sense of social and civic responsibilities has been acquired when a graduate:

  1. Has critically examined the ideas of democratic society and their underlying assumptions, which embrace a belief in the worth of the individual, the preservation of free inquiry, free discussion, equality of opportunity, and respect for law.
  2. From this examination has applied conclusions to a citizen’s role for which he/she keeps informed and attempts to play a constructive role in the dynamics of social change, and the evolving of social and civic values in which she/he believes.
  3. Demonstrates social responsibility.

A satisfactory adjustment in human relationships has been achieved when a graduate:

  1. Is globally informed and prepared for a diverse world.
  2. Supports the dignity of human beings in his/her own and other cultures by respecting their social amenities, rights, abilities, and racial, religious and cultural attributes.
  3. Respects the fellowship of many by following the principle of doing to others as he/she would have them do to him/her.

Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities


The University is committed to excellence in research, scholarship and creative activities as a key part of fulfilling the University’s mission. Discovery of new knowledge, ideas, and processes are fundamental to the mission of a Land-Grant University and contribute to the state’s economic development and quality of life. Research and scholarly activities are essential for intellectual growth and interactions among faculty and students.

The University encourages and supports research, scholarship and creative activity in all disciplines. To support these activities, the University and its faculty actively pursue funds through competitive grant proposals and through cooperative agreements with other institutions of higher education as well as state and federal agencies. Student participation in university research is encouraged, especially as a way to begin an exciting career path. Students can often conduct research through mentorship with faculty and publish the results of their work in the SDSU Journal of Undergraduate Research. Additionally, the University conducts an annual event to highlight undergraduate student involvement in research, scholarship, and creative activities.

South Dakota State University is classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a RU/H Research University (high research activity) and as a national university by most rating organizations. These recognitions reflect the abundant research opportunities available to undergraduate students.

For information, contact Kevin D. Kephart, Vice President for Research and Economic Development, South Dakota State University, Box 2201, Brookings, South Dakota 57007-1998, phone: 605-688-5642, e-mail: kevin.kephart@sdstate.edu.