The University Center in Sioux Falls has evolved into a three-partner institution, sporting a new name and additional programs.
The USD Community College for Sioux Falls, formerly the University Center, was established in April 2019. The institution, in partnership with South Dakota Board Of Regents (SDBOR), USD, South Dakota State University and Dakota State University, provides secondary education to a diverse student body.
Not every student enrolled is a full-time student, said Adam Strenge, Academic Advisor at the Community College for Sioux Falls.
“It is a pretty diverse demographic. There are some adult learners that are coming back to school to gain certificates,” Strenge said.
Students must choose a home institution, but the partnership between USD, DSU and SDSU allows for an expansive variety of available courses.
USD, DSU and SDSU combined offer 11 Associate, 22 Bachelor, eight Graduate and 15 Certificate programs.
Carmen Simon, Vice President and Dean for Community College Sioux Falls, said partnering with other colleges and universities throughout the state gives its students advantages over other institutions.
“We are unique as a community college to offer three different offerings onsite,” Simon said. “The most important component is to help our students on the path of success and to build and grow confidence for them.”
Summer courses are offered on a 6 or 12-week basis and, Strenge said, the flexible schedule helps students achieve their educational goals quicker.
The Community College for Sioux Falls doesn’t charge a general activity fee, lowering the price per credit hour by $27 from USD’s main campus. Even with the small reduction, Simon said the college is still looking for ways to make the cost of attendance more reasonable for students.
“We are still fairly expensive. It costs $284.50 (per credit hour) for our students,” Simon said.
Simon said the Community College is striving to create new partnerships with local organizations and student chapters to replicate the same engagement USD’s main campus offers. One of those options is Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest academic honor society in the U.S. and one of the earliest collegiate fraternal societies to be formed.
“We are exploring Phi Beta Kappa. This would be the first PBK for us and would be a way to really engage students,” Simon said.
Sustaining a trajectory of growth is one of the Community College’s main goals, Simon said. Its target is 700 new students a year.
“The most important component is to help our students on the path of success and to build and grow confidence for them,” Simon said.
With a unique culture and strong degree offerings, Strenge said he hopes more students will “have an opportunity to get a quality education closer to home.”
“We would love to see more students on campus next spring and early fall to showcase what we are really about,” Strenge said.