DSU’s enrollment surge includes growth in graduate students

Nov. 27, 2018

This paid piece is sponsored by Dakota State University.

You might have heard that Dakota State University was the only state university in South Dakota to grow its headcount this school year.

But there’s a lesser known story behind that story.

While undergraduate programs have experienced a surge in students – with enrollment up 18 out of the past 20 years – graduate programs have quietly started showing their own impressive increases.

This school year, graduate programs saw an 11 percent increase in attendance.

“That’s tremendous growth,” said Mark Hawkes, dean of graduate studies.

“Our focused integration of technology and innovation is drawing local, national and even global attention.”

Here’s a closer look at the numbers:

  • DSU now counts 3,382 total students. Of those, 389 are in graduate programs.
  • The Beacom College of Computer and Cyber Sciences is helping drive growth, accounting for 95 more students this fall than in 2017. Of those, 40 percent are women studying cyber sciences – one of seven master’s degrees offered at the school.
  • DSU currently offers doctoral programs in information systems and cyber operations. Seven master’s degrees are offered in areas including information systems, cyber defense, analytics and computer science, as well as five graduate certificates in banking security, business analytics, digital humanities, ethical hacking and information technology.

“These are accessible, affordable, valued-added ways to increase your skills for jobs in a technology-centric world,” Hawkes said. “Many can be completed online or on our Madison campus, and knowledge gained immediately translates to the current and future job market.”

DSU has invested in its faculty with an emphasis on professionals who will lead and adapt future innovations in their career, Hawkes added.

“The quality of any graduate program, in fact the lifeblood of a quality program, is faculty. So the most important benefit to our students is when we recruit and support faculty who can help us nurture top-notch graduate students and prepare them for success in the careers of their choice.”

Graduate students also are drawn to DSU because of the well-rounded experience provided, Hawkes said.

They can engage in faculty development events, colloquia, research series and other opportunities for juried conferences and publications.

Some graduate students are selected to become teaching assistants or research assistants to further develop their professional skills. Those roles allow them to support the costs of their schooling by supporting research, teaching and other university endeavors.

When they are not in the books or a computer screen, graduates can participate in extracurricular activities such as the Phi Beta Lambda business club, which competes locally and nationally, or the College Entrepreneurs Organization.

“DSU graduates have secured jobs in higher education, tech industries and local businesses. Major employers in health care and financial services frequently hire many DSU graduates,” Hawkes said.

“Whether starting a new job or continuing in an existing one, their DSU graduate degrees offer upward mobility and leadership opportunities.”

As enrollment has increased, DSU’s campus has vastly expanded.

In 2017, DSU completed construction on the newly renovated Trojan Center and held a grand opening for the Beacom Institute of Technology in the fall. The building known on campus and in the community as DSU MadLabs is projected to open in 2019, dedicated to research and application in computer science, with a focus on cybersecurity and cyber operations.

The university also is part of the state of South Dakota’s Research, Education and Economic Development, or REED, network that provides high-speed fiber optic networking to and from the campus.

“This helps us to compete for federal and state research dollars which requires the manipulation of large amounts of data,” Hawkes said.

“We make significant investments in data sources, data analysis tools and hardware to give students real-world problems to solve. Acquiring these resources has been a significant investment on the part of the university on behalf of our students and faculty – but it’s a priority for us.”

Above all, DSU is finding that students are seeking out programs and universities that feel like home, fit their needs and are flexible with location, he said.

“We think we’re fitting the bill for a growing number of graduate candidates who are motivated and ready to take roles as highly regarded professionals in their field.”

To learn more about graduate opportunities at DSU, call 605-256-5799 or click here. 

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DSU’s enrollment surge includes growth in graduate students

There’s an under-the-radar growth story happening at Dakota State University: Graduate programs in everything from banking security to ethical hacking are up double digits.

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