Press "Enter" to skip to content

DSU Presidential Search Committee Mostly Business

Bob Mercer does us the favor of pointing out the individuals nominated to dig up good candidates to run Dakota State University. The folks recruited from outside the Regental system demonstrate the South Dakota view that the primary purpose of DSU and higher education in general is jobs and economic development:

  • Julie Gross, executive director, Lake Area Improvement Corporation
  • Michael Halverson, VP Information Security Administration, Citibank
  • Miles Beacom, President/CEO, Premier Bankcard

The latter two also reinforce DSU's rich history of being torn away from its liberal arts mission and converted by Bill Janklow into a training school for the usury industry.

This search committee does at least nod toward my friends in Beadle Hall, including digital arts and design major Jared Mills a a student member of the search committee. The last time the Regents empaneled a team to search for a new DSU president, in 2012, they included no representatives of the liberal arts. Of course, the Regents also pulled the plug on that search committee a week after its naming and elevated David Borofsky from interim leader to president, which seems to have worked out poorly for pretty much everyone.

Borofsky has yet to update his LinkedIn résumé. Borofsky's previous employer, for-profit Westwood College in Denver, still faces a lawsuit from the Illinois attorney general over deceptive marketing practices. The college he ran before that, Bates Technical College in Tacoma, settled a lawsuit with graduates dissatisfied with the salability of their degrees for a half million dollars. No word yet on whether Borofsky's brief reign has drawn DSU into any litigation.


  1. Mike B 2014.11.26

    I've spent a good bit of time around all of the DSU presidents since Dr. Tunheim. An adminsitator has to have strong leadership and business skills FIRST. While they may need to appreciate and value a liberal Arts education, they MUST be able to manage the university, it resources and people, deal with the bureaucracy and raise money.

    The people named are at the top of their game and know what to look for in a potential candidate.

    I want great teachers at DSU and a great administrator to run the whole show. Seldom do you have someone who can do both well.

  2. Wayne B. 2014.11.26

    I'll echo Mike B's sentiment.

    Moreover, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a regental institution doing a good job preparing students for solid careers in business, computer sciences, health information technology, etc.

    If DSU didn't have that niche and high performance to boot, how long do you think it would exist? Could we really justify keeping a small general liberal arts college open when there are two other campuses less than an hour's drive away?

  3. Rich 2014.11.26

    Seeing the name Julie Gross reminds me of that imposter who used the moniker Julie Gross(NE). Wonder what 'she' is up to these days.

  4. Wayne Pauli 2014.11.26

    The mission change at DSU is now well over 30 years old. The good old days of being a liberal arts college must not have been so good or else the mission would not have changed, the very pretty campus in the center of Madison could be a prison like in Springfield. Yes, the focus and curriculum have evolved, and it has brought many exciting opportunities as well as young people to the campus.

    We do not educate as we did a generation ago. We are online, we are at university centers, and we are in graduate programs. We do not have to like it, we do not have to embrace it, but we have to accept the fact that time has changed DSU just as time has changed each of us. Personally I have grown weary of apologizing for who and what we are. I came here in 1998 due to the technology focus and have stayed because of the continued growth in this area.

    I do want to applaud the selection of Jared Mills to the committee. He is an outstanding student that South Dakota and DSU has gotten to rent for a few years. He comes from Iowa and plans on transferring to a university in California to finish his degree. I had the opportunity last year to be the faculty advisor to the Student Senate and through that organization I got to know Jared very well. Too bad he will not have a DSU diploma. But, he can leave his mark by helping bring in an outstanding new President to our university.

    Last year ex-President Borofsky requested additional funding in order to market that we are not nerds. He apparently did not want to be associated with a technology university either, based on his action less than 4 months later he was not. Yes, I am one of his final two personnel changes.

    Within the College of BIS the demand for our technology curriculum far outweighs our ability to deliver as we just do not have the faculty numbers we need. We all know the company line, “No Money” to hire more faculty. That is the only credence that I can give to Borofsky’s and Dittman’s June 2014 actions when they said it was because Tom and I were so good in the classroom that we were being relieved of our administrative duties.

  5. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.26

    Let's not go there, Rich.

    Mike B, I do not disagree with the fact that, since Janklow sidelined liberal arts at DSU, the Regents are obliged to find a leader who will focus on the business mission. I won't criticize the new president for being what the Regents want and the law demands. I criticize what the Regents want and the law demands.

    Wayne B., can we justify keeping any campus open within an hour's drive of two other campuses? Could SDSU or the Sioux Falls campus carry out DSU's mission as effectively and for less money?

  6. Wayne B. 2014.11.26

    Cory, I personally find it hard to justify having six regental institutions and 3 additional campuses in a state of 845,000. I find it hard justifying having my alma mater exist; it never made sense to have the law school and school of medicine an hour away from the largest concentration of lawyers and medical professionals in the state.

    We could afford to have a few more tenured professors if we eliminated a couple presidents and redundant administrative personnel. Of course, it'd be devastating to the communities that house those institutions.

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.26

    Wayne B., that point about the devastating impact of downsizing (rightsizing?) the Regental system brings us right back to the topline critique that the Regental system's focus really is more on economic development (life support?) than on education.

  8. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.26

    Wayne P., I found Borofsky's personnel choices puzzling and his defense thereof arrogant. I found his marketing suggestion absurd: it sounded to me as if his proposal was to sell DSU as something it isn't, to downplay the very advantages that distinguish it in the marketplace and justify its ongoing tech mission.

  9. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.26

    And Wayne B., if community economic development is a reasonable function of the Regental system, what if we shifted DSU from Madison, a community with plenty of industry and infrastructure and opportunities for other economic development, to Pine Ridge, a community clearly in need of economic development assistance? The Regents say they want to increase American Indian enrollment and graduation. They recognize that separation from home and family is one strong factor in keeping American Indian enrollment and completion at Regental institutions low. What if we created the first Regental reservation campus?

    (Sorry: brainstorm hit!)

  10. Troy 2014.11.26

    FYI: Miles Beacom is a graduate of DSU and one who has been generous to the DSU foundation and tirelessly worked to raise money for the college.

    And, if anyone thinks DSU would still exist but for its mission change, they are dreaming.

  11. Connie Mogen 2014.11.26

    Cory, I really like your brain storm about Pine Ridge! Put it where the greatest need for education and economic development are! Realistically, it has an ice cube's chance of it happening but it's a great idea!

  12. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.27

    Troy, I have little doubt that Janklow would have dissolved DSU without the mission change. That by itself does not obligate me to like the mission change.

    Stalin could have executed Solzhenitsyn; instead, he chose to give Solzhenitsyn "mission change" and send him to the gulag for forced labor. That does not oblige me to approve of forced labor.

  13. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.27

    Thanks, Connie! It's probably enormously impractical (although piggybacking with Oglala Lakota College and Sinte Gleska could reduce costs), but it seems to be one logical policy conclusion we could draw from making the argument that the Board of Regents is really just a branch of the Governor's Office of Economic Development. (Uh-oh: that's how Northern got tangled in EB-5.)

  14. Rich 2014.11.27

    Sorry, Cory. :)

  15. Wayne B. 2014.11.27

    I'm not certain community economic development is an excuse/reason to have so many campuses. I just put it out there as the obvious downside of consolidation. Even if it were justifiable, it certainly wouldn't make economic sense to close down a campus and spend tens of millions to create a new campus somewhere else. (I also don't buy your argument that Madison would do just fine without the college campus.)

    I still don't see what the problem is for our regental system to prepare young adults for good-paying, in-demand careers. Given how much a college education costs, it makes sense to me some of our tax dollars could go to support initiatives such as the School of Mines and DSU.

    Given the Affordable Care Act's mandate for EMR (electronic medical records), DSU's health information technology track is a perfect fit for filling our region's need. Why do you harp on a good thing? There are still plenty of places in South Dakota to get any liberal arts degree you could want.

  16. Douglas Wiken 2014.11.27

    SD could get by with one university "President" and a VP on each campus. All the campuses, especially SDSM&T, need improvement in basic teaching practices.

  17. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.11.28

    Go to the MNSCU system. That's the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. No schools closed, which really pleased towns like Crookston and Morris. But administrative costs were significantly decreased. The only public higher education schools not included in MNSCU are the campuses of the University of MN in Minneapolis, St. Paul and Rochester.

    There are a variety of issues and struggles, but it works and saves money. If MN, with its much greater population of students can do that, SD certainly can.

  18. Wayne Pauli 2014.12.01

    by the way, the resume link has bee updated. DSU is not the marquee institution any longer.

Comments are closed.