University Center has interim leader as USD's Card accepts appointment

Last week University of South Dakota official Michael Card recently was named interim director of University Center Sioux Falls, while the state Board of Regents looks to make a permanent hire.

Last week University of South Dakota official Michael Card recently was named interim director of University Center Sioux Falls, while the state Board of Regents looks to make a permanent hire.

Card, a 1977 Timber Lake graduate, is USD's associate provost and dean of distance education. The university announced the assignment May 9. The regents approved construction of the center's two main buildings Aug. 11, 2006.

USD, based in Vermillion, manages the center. South Dakota State University at Brookings and Dakota State University at Madison also offer degrees through the center.

An outside consultant reported in June 2017 about opportunities to stabilize and increase enrollment. The report called for three years of changes. Among them were:

More emphasis on associate (two-year) degrees for middle-skill jobs that reflect demand and shifts in the labor market;


Stronger counseling and other student services; and

Establishing a community steering board.

SDSU currently is making plans to use space at University Center Sioux Falls for its Sioux Falls nursing and pharmacy programs.

Those Sioux Falls programs currently are at Southeast Technical Institute, which is managed by the Sioux Falls public school district.

Card said he received his bachelor degree in political science at USD in 1981 and a master degree in public administration from USD in 1987. He also worked four years for state government during that period.

He received his Ph.D. in Public Policy and Management from The Ohio State University in 1992.

"My Ph.D is from a degree program that is an historical artifact of the days when business and public administration were thought to be similar if not the same public policy and management," he said. "The academic unit was the College of Administrative Studies which housed business and the School of Public Administration."

According to the USD news release, Card returned to USD in 1992 and specialized in strategic management, leadership and organization in the business school.


"He moved to the Department of Political Science in 2002, where he taught public management to government and non-profit leaders," the news release continued. "He was named associate provost and dean of the USD Graduate School in 2014. His title changed to associate provost and dean of distance education in 2016."

Since 2012, students attending courses offered through the university center in some fashion, whether in person or online or both, fell to about 1,000 from about 1,600. That's down approximately 40 percent.

Pierre-based reporter Bob Mercer recently asked Dr. Card some questions about the additional role.

Will this be a long-term appointment?

"Interim status traditionally lasts less than six months.

"The search process should begin shortly as the screening committee is formed from representative of various UCSF constituencies to search for the characteristics and attributes of someone who can lead an organization like the Sioux Falls University Center - multiple state institutions offering courses to a cadre of students with different needs in terms of schedules, educational abilities to be balanced by their job, family, and personal commitments.

What does USD and/or the regents want you to accomplish?

"The University Center is an interesting place. There are many competing values surrounding the mission of the University Center, and I hope to work with the University Center Sioux Falls community advisory board, and with the partner institutions of the South Dakota Board of Regents to sort through those competing values.


"USD is committed to providing educational opportunities in Sioux Falls and in the region to help individuals meet their personal and professional goals and to enable them to be active participants in a democratic society.

"As a center which houses programs granting academic credentials from three educational institutions, we as educators and educational support staff are also to try to link student's individual professional success to the economic, social, and cultural development of the community and the surrounding region.

"The institutions have a responsibility to provide educational programs that are meaningful to the institution, the student, and to the Sioux Falls region's workforce. Everybody has a role to play, and everybody has the responsibility to fulfill their role.

"And of course, this has to be accomplished in a fiscally responsible manner."

Do you want the directorship on a more-permanent basis?

"I have accepted the position as an interim, which would traditionally preclude me from applying for the position as a 'permanent' position."

How does this fit into your existing responsibilities?

"My primary USD responsibility is to facilitate the offering of online courses and programs so that students who by choice or circumstance cannot attend a South Dakota university have access to higher education opportunities, primarily in South Dakota.

"The University Center fits well with that set of responsibilities in that many students are not able to attend one of the nearby public universities (DSU, SDSU, or USD) to begin or finish their education and are able to take advantage of the educational opportunities at the University Center while working, caring for children, parents, siblings, or others, and so forth."

At A Glance

Here's a history of directors at University Center in Sioux Falls. The University of South Dakota now manages the public campus.

May 9, 2018: USD announced Michael Card as interim during search for Johnson's successor.

April 18, 2018: USD announced Craig Johnson would leave June 21. On July 1 Johnson becomes president of Ridgewater College, a public two-year community and technical college with campuses in Willmar and Hutchinson, Minn.

March 28, 2014 - USD announced hiring of Craig Johnson. He was director of the Winona State University branch at Rochester, Minn., from 2007.

Sept. 2013 - Peg O'Brien, an accounting faculty member from Dakota State University, was assigned as interim director.

Aug. 9, 2013 - Mark Lee departed University Center to be public affairs and communications director for the Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce.

Oct. 1, 2001 - Mark Lee started. He was an administrator at Dakota State University in Madison since 1984 and succeeded Judy Nissen, who retired. She began in 1995.

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