South Dakota's Board of Regents is putting together a search committee to find a new president for South Dakota State University. President David Chicoine is "stepping away" from the role he has held for almost nine years. KELOLAND News was the first to tell you about Chicoine's announcement, which he only told SDSU staff about on Monday.
On Tuesday, he told an alumni group that he is stepping down and will eventually divide his time between houses in Chicago and an area 30 minutes outside of Brookings. Even so, Chicoine says he is not leaving home.
Chicoine: I'll have to commute a little farther to campus. That'll be okay.
Brady Mallory: Get up a little earlier?
Chicoine: Or arrive a little later.
His new schedule is the product of a new position he will take in a year. Chicoine, who became SDSU's 19th president in 2007, will join the university's Department of Economics in 2017. He says he and department leaders are still figuring out what his job will entail. Numbers seem to work for Chicoine; his accomplishments as president seem to have added up over the years.
"You just have to have very high standards and continue to pursue excellence all the time," Chicoine said.
In his own words, Chicoine says his two biggest achievements are finishing SDSU's transition to Division One -- which includes boosting not only athletics, but academics. The other focus was solving this problem: more students on-campus and not enough places to live.
"It was clear the sophomores who lived off-campus, the retention rate to be a junior was lower and if they did come back as juniors, their academic performance was not as robust as those who spent their sophomore year living on-campus," Chicoine said.
SDSU has added seven new residence halls, made several renovations to existing buildings and has built new department buildings. He says all of this has helped create a better learning environment for undergraduate and graduate students.
According to SDSU, the list of Chicoine's accomplishments as president is IMPACT 2018, the current university strategic plan. The plan was implemented in 2013 after a 14-month collaborative process that shaped the direction of the university as a comprehensive teaching and research public institution of higher education. Key indicators of the plan are the number of nationally accredited programs-a mark of academic excellence-and number of graduates. Accredited programs, targeted to reach 42 by the conclusion of IMPACT 2018, increased the first two years of the plan from 32 to 37. Included are 20 programs seeking first-time accreditation. Last spring marked the fourth consecutive year that more than 1,800 students received their undergraduate degree from SDSU-an increase of more than 125 students annually from previous years. Students receiving their Ph.D. awards increased as well, registering a record 47 in 2014, up from 21 in 2008.
South Dakota State also has enjoyed tremendous growth in research activity under Chicoine's leadership. Total research expenditures increased by about $30 million annually and intellectual property disclosures grew from less than 10 in 2007 to an average of 46 in the last five years. Eventually, a new president will take over the reins at SDSU, but Chicoine says he is leaving behind a strong foundation for whoever calls the university home.
"It feels like the university is in a good place," Chicoine said.