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SD colleges to offer American civics certificates

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Black Hills State University's main campus in Spearfish.

SIOUX FALLS | A new undergraduate certificate in “American Civic Traditions” will be offered next fall at all six of South Dakota’s public universities.

The new certificate program is aligned with the interests of the state and the strategic plan for the Board of Regents, according to the certificate request approved by the BOR on June 23.

Approval of the new certificate follows goals set by the state in the 2021 legislative session, when Gov. Kristi Noem called on the BOR to cultivate “a profound love of our country and a realistic picture of its virtues and challenges” across all six universities, and when the South Dakota Department of Education was granted $900,000 from the Legislature for a new civics initiative.

Only four of the universities — Black Hills State University, Northern State University, South Dakota State University and the University of South Dakota — offer majors in fields related to the proposed certificate. Both Dakota State University and South Dakota Mines do not offer majors in a field related to the certificate, but students there can complete the certificates online.

While history, government and political science aren’t programs aligned with missions at DSU or Mines, the certificate aligns with state interests and BOR interests, according to the certificate request.

The certificate will be offered both on campus and online, doesn’t require new state resources and doesn’t require new courses to be added.

The four courses needed to complete the certificate include U.S. History I and II, American Government and State & Local Government. Mines doesn’t offer the latter course, but students seeking the certificate can take the course online at four other state universities.

The Board of Regents also approved an agreement between SDSU and the Institute of Technology Carlow and Carlow College, St. Patrick’s, both in Ireland. This new agreement will allow for joint research, faculty collaboration and student exchange between the institutions.

The board also approved another agreement between SDSU and Chandigarh University in India that will allow students who complete their first two years of undergraduate studies at the Indian university to complete their baccalaureate degree in computer science or data science at SDSU.

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