A student sitting in a hammock on the edge of a cliff in the woods.








The South Dakota Board of Regents invites nominations and applications for the President of Black Hills State University. Nestled in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota, BHSU seeks a transformational leader who is passionate about the mission of a public regional comprehensive university. Subject to the oversight and governance of the Executive Director and Board, the president is responsible for all university operations and for upholding and advancing the mission of Black Hills State University.

Black Hills State University is part of the South Dakota unified public higher education system.
The Board of Regents serves as the governing board and oversees the operations of all six of the state’s public institutions of higher education. Black Hills State University is the third largest higher education institution in the system and is the largest university in the “west river” region. The main campus is located in Spearfish, with an additional site in nearby Rapid City. The University serves students throughout South Dakota, forty-four other states, and 32 countries.


The president is the university’s Chief Executive Officer and reports to the South Dakota Board
of Regents through the Executive Director. The president of BHSU is responsible for leading the institution forward in a successful and strategic management operation. Currently, the president has six administrators who work closely to implement the institution’s goals. These leaders include the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs, Vice President for Finance & Administration, Vice President for Enrollment Management, Vice President of University Advancement, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications, and Director of Athletics.



After extensive planning, Black Hills State University adopted a new strategic plan, “Climbing New Peaks,” in . The University values identified throughout the planning included: collaboration, integrity, excellence, adaptability, and student-centered. The plan outlines four goals: Nurturing Student Experience, Evaluating and Developing Academic Programs, Building on a Supportive Work Environment, and Evaluating and Developing a Revised Brand Identity. “Climbing New Peaks” will guide the University through the year 2027.


Enrollment and retention remain critical areas of focus for the next president; BHSU recently developed a strategic enrollment plan that ties into the overall university strategic plan. The university bolsters academic programming to meet regional and state workforce needs and maintain student enrollment. The next president will need a strong focus on enrollment management, student retention, and a vision to strengthen the university’s overall curriculum offerings at the main campus and BHSU-Rapid City.


The next president will be a champion for the university. They will be able to build upon strong relationships that already exist between BHSU and the Spearfish and regional communities, legislators, industry partners, technical colleges, universities, and the Board of Regents. A vital role of the president is to actively engage in the local community and region, soliciting input and developing relationships and collaborative partnerships with the university. As a member of the state higher education system, BHSU works with the other five institutions and the Board of Regents to advocate for the state’s support for higher education.


A primary role of the president is to develop a continued case for charitable giving for the university to promote scholarships and improvements to the campus infrastructure. The University just completed the first year of a five-year $58 million capital campaign raising over $22 million, exceeding the prior record of $19.8 million. The next president will be challenged to continue these successful fundraising efforts in partnership with the foundation.


The successful candidate will possess the following qualities, experiences, and characteristics:

  • A strategic and forward-thinking visionary who can bring people together, see things through, and serve as a champion to continue driving the university forward.

  • Ability to effectively foster and build relationships with students, faculty, staff, community leaders, industry partners, and policymakers.

  • An outstanding communicator and listener willing to embrace the values and culture of the university, Spearfish community, and the state of South Dakota.e

  • A team builder who will empower and inspire others and optimize the effectiveness of a talented and committed leadership team, faculty, and staff.

  • A student-centered leader who will enrich the student experience and advance a culture of innovation and academic excellence.

  • An approachable and visible leader, both on campus and in the Spearfish community, with an energetic presence and entrepreneurial spirit.

  • A gifted fundraiser with experience cultivating critical relationships and building a positive culture of philanthropy and engagement.

  • A high level of understanding of the fiscal issues affecting higher education institutions, particularly a sense of public university finances and state-level budgeting and appropriations.

  • Ability to identify new academic innovations and establish partnerships with private sector and governmental agencies.

  • Knowledge of key issues affecting public higher education and a demonstrated willingness to take strategic risks to effect meaningful and transformational change.

  • An earned doctorate, or advanced terminal degree, and significant executive leadership experience that would garner the respect of the campus community is required. A graduate degree combined with extensive relevant experience may be accepted.

  • Candidates should demonstrate significant, successful leadership experience in a complex organizational setting.


Nominations and applications will be accepted until an appointment is made, within the practical limits of the process, as finalists are identified. For full consideration, applicants should submit materials by .

All application materials should be submitted electronically to and must include the following:

A letter of interest;
• A current résumé or curriculum vitae; and,
The names of five or more professional references with each person’s position, office or home address, e-mail address, and telephone numbers.

If interested parties have questions, contact Kayla Bastian, Chief Human Resource Officer of the South Dakota Board of Regents, at (605)773-3455.

Applications will remain confidential except for those invited for campus interviews.

The South Dakota Board of Regents is an Equal Opportunity Employer. The Board of Regents ensures that all employment practices are free of discrimination. Arrangements for accommodation required by disabilities can be made by contacting Kayla Bastian at (605)773-3455 or