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

Mission

The University of South Dakota offers undergraduate, graduate and professional programs within the South Dakota System of Higher Education. As the oldest university in the state, the University of South Dakota serves as the flagship and the only public liberal arts university in the state

Vision and Values

The University of South Dakota is regionally acclaimed and nationally recognized as a high-quality public liberal arts university with South Dakota’s only schools of law, medicine and business. We are recognized for the quality of our faculty. Their excellent teaching, effective service and innovative research are valued at USD. Our faculty are dedicated, experts in their fields and accessible to our students. USD educates leaders of communities, states and nations.

Student Experience Focused

Our students are engaged, thoughtful, and well-prepared for a global and complex world. The experience in and out of the classroom is robust, experiential, and practical. Lives are enhanced and changed by the breadth of experiences we provide.

Responsible Stewards

We strive to make a USD education affordable to every qualified student by operating efficiently and effectively with high quality standards to minimize financial barriers to a life-changing experience.

Transparent

We communicate frequently with our stakeholders, both internal and external. Our communication processes are informative, agile, and transparent. Our brand and identity are authentic, clear, and understood by all our stakeholders. People know who we are, what we do, and the connections we make to serve the citizens of South Dakota, members of tribal nations, the region, and the world.

Value Our Community

We are community partners and neighbors who value the strength of our community. We invest in our people and strive to achieve appropriate levels of compensation and recognition. We value our employees and invest in their professional development. All employees play an important role in creating the USD experience.

Welcoming

We embrace diversity as one of our strengths and strive to make inclusive excellence a reality. We are proud of the inclusive, equitable, and caring culture we continue to create. People feel welcome here.

Resource Custodians

We have a process for modernizing and upgrading our facilities so they can be fully utilized by our students, faculty, staff, and community. We leverage our technology resources to provide a flexible and adaptable learning and research experience.

Highest Integrity

We are seen as a trusted partner by those with whom we collaborate and live up to the high expectations of South Dakota, tribal nations, and other stakeholders. We are optimistic and excited about the future we will create.

2026 Strategic Plan

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

Engagement

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

Diversity

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

Affordability

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