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Sky view of Old Main's top in the clouds.

As South Dakota’s flagship and only public liberal arts university, USD is developing future leaders and promoting discovery and creativity through our research.

The University of South Dakota is launching a new vision for the university's future through a strategic planning process. Through a five-phase process, the Strategic Planning Task Force will think and plan collaboratively with input from on- and off-campus stakeholders. This strategic plan will be a systematic, continuous improvement plan that is true to the mission of the university and in which all university decisions are rooted.

Guiding Principles

The strategic planning process depends on five guiding principles:

  1. Meaningful engagement of institutional stakeholders through face-to-face interaction and discussion;
  2. Transparency through the sharing of information;
  3. The role of the facilitator is to help tap into and build the capacity of the internal stakeholders and guide the planning process, not direct it;
  4. The process pays attention to the external issues an trends in higher education so that institutional stakeholders don't become too inwardly focused;
  5. At several points, the planning process engages external stakeholders, such as alumni, community leaders and business people.


The collaborative strategic planning process is broken into five phases and is expected to be completed in 2020:

  1. Phase I: Getting Organized (2 months)
  2. Phase II: Data Gathering and Engagement (3 months)
  3. Phase III: Making Sense of the Issues (2-3 months)
  4. Phase IV: Vision Conference (1-2 months)
  5. Phase V: Goals Conference (1-2 months)

Stakeholder Meetings

Members of the USD Strategic Planning Task Force will meet with internal and external stakeholders across the state until October 2019. 

Concept Papers

The purpose of Concept Papers is to inform and educate readers about a particular subject. They help to manage information from a planning process, are neutral in presenting facts and not opinions about a subject, and should enable the reader to understand critical elements and decisions that need to be made related to a particular issue. Members of the Strategic Planning Task Force have developed Concept Papers for each of the areas of the strategic themes that have emerged through the Stakeholder Engagement and feedback gathering process.

  1. Academic Excellence
  2. Affordability
  3. Communications
  4. Diversity
  5. Facilities and Infrastructure
  6. Service

Vision Statement

Recently, the USD Strategic Planning Task Force participated in the Vision Conference as part of the collaborate process that started last year. From the six concept papers, the task force and other stakeholders created a Vision for USD in the next five years. From the activities of the day, the co-chairs worked to synthesize the pictures created of the preferred future of USD. The outcome is a Vision Statement for USD. This document is aspirational and will serve as the base for developing strategic planning goals during the next phase. Please take time to read the Vision Statement of what stakeholders think should be the future of USD.

2025 Vision Statement 

Credit: Patrick Sanaghan, Ed.D.