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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 Strategic Planning Task Force, collaboratively with input from on- and off-campus stakeholders, has established a systematic, continuous improvement plan that is true to the mission of the university and in which all university decisions are rooted.

Strategic Themes

The six strategic themes represent areas to which the university will devote particular effort in the coming years. They do not—and cannot—encompass every aspect of USD's efforts in educating students, advancing knowledge, and serving the public. As a whole, the Strategic Plan presents a refinement of direction toward a future for which USD has already prepared conscientiously.

Academic Excellence

Ensure that we offer an unsurpassed education, grounded in the Liberal Arts, for all our students.

Goal 1: Improve long-term outcomes and success of USD students as it relates to Liberal Arts
Goal 2: Align faculty teaching, research, and service with the mission of the university


Communicate USD’s mission, vision and values with all stakeholders.

Goal 1: Engage Internal Stakeholders
Goal 2: Engage External stakeholders

Facilities and Infrastructure

Modernize campus buildings and infrastructure for students, faculty and staff.

Goal 1: Renovate and modernize buildings to meet the needs of students, faculty and staff
Goal 2: Invest in technology and infrastructure to realize student success, research and creative scholarship


Continue to create an inclusive and supportive environment for all.

Goal 1: Develop and refine new core competencies for diversity 
Goal 2: Recruit and retain diverse faculty and staff

Serving South Dakota

Foster outstanding service throughout South Dakota.

Goal 1: Address key statewide issues by leveraging USD expertise
Goal 2: Collaborate with underserved populations to improve the quality of life in South Dakota


Provide access to a first-class education efficiently and effectively.

Goal 1: Increase financial resources for students
Goal 2: Increased affordability through a comprehensive review of all student-facing processes related to financial aid and academic progress

2026 Strategic Plan