Black Hills State University

Officials say Black Hills State University in Spearfish is the only South Dakota school selected by to be featured in its higher ed holiday card 2016 edition.

In the virtual card, BHSU student Paige Michael paints a picture of a snowy landscape while a video of Black Hills scenery plays.

Black Hills State University

Dr. Tim Steckline, Black Hills State University professor of speech, and Jace DeCory, BHSU assistant professor of history and American Indian Studies, talk about what people mean when they use the word "race" and how people can communicate better. They present a BHSU Geek Speak lecture Thursday at 4:00 p.m. in Jonas Hall, "Are We All Related?: Race and the Embrace of the Other."

Black Hills State University

School has started for most universities across the state. The beginning of a new year is usually a time for fun but for some students, returning to campus means facing a staggering statistic.

Officials say that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college.

For years institutions across the nation have worked to stop sexual assault by raising awareness and promoting prevention.

Denice Turner teaches at Black Hills State University. Her book "Worthy" was chosen as a Dakota Midday Book Club selection.

"Worthy" is a memoir. In it the author searches for truth after her mother's mysterious death in a fire. Denice Turner joins Dakota Midday to talk about a writer's challenge to craft herself into a character, the struggle to find an authentic sense of self worth, and the joys (and occasional despair) of parenting.

Full interview with Denice Turner:

BHSU Hosts Indigenous Women’s Conference

Jun 9, 2016

An indigenous women’s organization is targeting justice issues for Native people, including the Indian Child Welfare Act, environmental protection and human trafficking.

The North American Indian Women’s Association (NAIWA) conference starts June 12 in Spearfish.

Jace DeCory, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe, uses a mix of Lakota and English to explain the theme of the North American Indian Women’s Association conference.

Jodi Archambault Gillette, former special assistant to President Barrack Obama for Native American Affairs, will receive an Honorary Doctorate from Black Hills State University on Saturday, May 7 at 10 a.m. during commencement ceremonies.

Gillette will also present a special lecture Friday, May 6 at 1 p.m. at BHSU. She joins Dakota Midday for a conversation about her lifelong advocacy for families and children, how the traditions of her youth continue to impact her work, and the importance of increasing visibility of Native American issues at the highest level of government.

Dr. Ahrar Ahmad, professor emeritus at Black Hills State University, talks about "Islam's Troubled Image" prior to his lecture at BHSU Rapid City. The conversation includes the origins of several misperceptions regarding Islam, the "awkward relationship" between Islamic countries and Western nations, optimism for the future, and steps the faithful can take to reclaim the soul of Islam in their lives and in the world.

Can South Dakota have a healthy tourism season if the forest appears unhealthy to visitors?

Dr. Ignatious Cahyanto joins Dakota Midday to discuss the latest research on the impact of the pine beetle infestation on the tourism business in South Dakota.

Dr. Cahyanto is assistant professor of tourism and hospitality at Black Hills State University.

Black Hills State University's Dr. David Wolff recently retired in order to spend  more time with his research. Today he joins Dakota Midday to talk about violence and death on the Black Hills mining frontier. From stagecoach robberies to vigilante justice, Wolff separates the pulp fiction from the fact as he talks with Dakota Midday host Lori Walsh.

Cherokee Artist Donates Work To BHSU

Oct 9, 2015
Courtesy BHSU

A well-known Native American artist and former administrator at Black Hills State University is donating all proceeds from the print sales of one of his works to the school. As SDPB’s Jim Kent reports, Cherokee artist John Gritts recalls his 24 years at BHSU as a time of nurturing and openness.

Black Hills State University has the largest proportion of Native American students in South Dakota's state universities.  But BHSU President, Dr. Tom Jackson, says efforts to increase the diversity of students in higher education are still needed. 

Jackson discussed the topic with SDPB's Charles Michael Ray. 

Google Images

Interview with Dr. Chang Kee Jung, Research Coordinator with the Long Baseline Neutrino Facility and associated Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment and professor of physics at the State University of New York Stony Brook.

Dr. Chang Kee Jung will deliver a presentation on “What’s Physics Got to do with Sports?” Thursday at 5:45 p.m. at Black Hills State University. His talk will focus on the effects of spinning and non-spinning balls in popular sports, including baseball, football, soccer and volleyball.

Amy Varland

Ida Clarke grew up on the Pine Ridge Reservation in south-central South Dakota. She’s now a junior at Black Hills State University in Spearfish studying environmental physical science. Clarke says her background in chemistry, physics, and geology helped her land a summer internship at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead. Clarke says she plans to use what she’s learning to help her community get involved in

BHSU Math Professor Talks Music

Apr 7, 2015
Dan May

Black Hills State University Math Professor Dr. Dan May is talking music this week. He says he wants to give students what they say they’re interested in – rock music. Actually, the rise and fall of rock music.

Dr. Dan May tracks the history of independent bands and labels throughout the 1980’s in is talk “Love Me I’m Rich: The Rise and Fall of American Alternative Music”.

May says the Seattle-based, grunge-band Nirvana wasn’t part of the rise – it was the rise of American alternative music.

Amy Varland

The South Dakota Board of Regents approved a proposal Wednesday to change the name of the University Center in Rapid City to Black Hills State University - Rapid City.

The proposal also includes plans to add more programming options for students in the area.

BHSU President Dr. Tom Jackson says the name change is consistent with current branding efforts by the university, and he says the expanded programming includes more certificates, associate degrees, and additional classes.

He says the changes offer students more accessibility and affordability.

Students Give Back By Offering Free Tax Help

Mar 30, 2015
Amy Varland

Elderly and low-income tax payers are getting free help preparing their tax returns through an IRS-sponsored Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA). Students at Black Hills State University in Spearfish are participating in the program and applying what they’ve learned in the classroom to help out members of their community.

This Is Your Brain On Relationships

Feb 13, 2015
Amy Varland

Valentine's Day is approaching and love is in the air. Relationships can be a rollercoaster of thoughts and feelings – extreme highs and extreme lows. Falling in love is exciting. It can make your palms sweaty and your stomach do flip flops. A painful break up though can leave you feeling devastated and physically ill. Psychology researchers say science is behind those feelings. Here’s a little of what’s going on in your brain when you fall in love with someone, and how to cope if the relationship doesn’t work out.

Photo by Kenzie Bailey

Students in Black Hills State University’s Contemporary Issues in Photography class are taking their individual photos from a class collaboration and combining them into a book. The book is called ‘The Creative Difference’.
For the book project, students could photograph the theme of their choice.
Kenzie Bailey is a senior at BH. She says she was inspired by popular culture, and chose to photograph humans in the nude.

Steve Babbitt

Black Hills State University Photography Professor Steve Babbitt is donating one of his photos to the Friends Without A Border photography auction.

Proceeds from the auction go to help improve healthcare for children in Southwest Asia.

Babbitt says the photo auction is helping children across the globe – but it also helps young people in South Dakota.

Steve Babbitt

A photographer from the Black Hills is donating one of his pictures to benefit children in Southwest Asia.

Steve Babbitt’s photo is helping children across the globe get better healthcare.

Black Hills State University Photography Professor Steve Babbitt is donating a picture he took to the Friends Without A Border photo auction.

Amy Varland

A long-time Black Hills State University professor is giving a million dollars to establish the School of Behavioral Sciences “Make A Difference” initiative. SDPB’s Amy Varland reports what inspired Dr. Jim Hess to give the money and how he hopes it will benefit students, the Spearfish community, and beyond.

Dr. Jim Hess is the Chair of BHSU’s Behavioral Science department and has been teaching at the university for thirty-two years.

Hess says his gift of a million dollars is for student scholarships. He says he was inspired to give early on.

BHSU Gets $600,000 NSF Grant

Oct 23, 2014
Amy Varland

Black Hills State University in Spearfish is getting money from the National Science Foundation. University officials say the NSF $600,000 grant is to enhance the university’s science lab capabilities and increase involvement between the college and the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead.
BHSU Assistant Research Professor Dr. Brianna Mount says part of the money is to purchase equipment that detects radioactive materials like uranium and thorium.


The South Dakota Center for Enterprise Opportunity is holding its annual “Women in Leadership” series. As part of the programming participants are filming YouTube videos to learn to use social media as a tool to promote their business or other topics they feel passionate about.

Amy Varland

Sexual assaults on college campuses across America are in the national spotlight due to claims that many universities have ambiguous or non-existent policies. SDPB’s Amy Varland reports what Black Hills State University in Spearfish is doing to ensure the safety of its students and highlighting some of the measures officials are taking to prevent sexual assaults on campus.

Joe Geyer

Black Hills State University student Joe Geyer landed a prestigious photography internship at Hearst Publishing in New York City. Geyer will learn to shoot fashion from some of the best photographers in the business.

Joe Geyer enrolled at BHSU with the goal of learning all he could about photography – fashion photography in particular. This year Geyer is a senior and is taking the photography skills he’s learned here in South Dakota to the Big Apple.

Rosalie Little Thunder Mourned In SD

Aug 11, 2014

Prominent Lakota language teacher, activist, author, artist and elder Rosalie Little Thunder died on August 9th at the age of 64.    Little Thunder’s work ranged widely from Lakota language preservation to restoring buffalo on the Great Plains.

Amy Varland

Science officials at the Sanford Underground Research Facility and art experts from Black Hills State University say there is a connection between art and science.

Officials from the Lab and the University are hosting a panel discussion exploring the notion titled “When Art and Science Collide.”

BHSU Photography Professor Steve Babbitt is one of the panelists. Babbitt has worked with scientists at the lab while photographing the transition of the former Homestake gold mine into a state-of-the-art research facility.

BHSU Celebrates Capital Campaign Results

Jun 18, 2014
Amy Varland

Black Hills State University in Spearfish has met and exceeded its fundraising goal. The University’s “Building on Strength and Stature” capital campaign began in 2008 with a goal of 22 million dollars. University officials say they ended up raising more than 26 million.

BHSU President Dr. Kay Schallenkamp says University alumni and community members helped make the goal a reality.

Artists Bike Across South Dakota

May 15, 2014

Karri Dieken and Michael Baum, both Black Hills State University graduates and adjunct art instructors, are taking their love of art and biking to a whole new level.  On Monday, the two embark on a five-day, 442-mile bike ride from Spearfish to Brookings while creating a series of seismic drawings, a photograph journal and a video documentary.  Their work will be part of a collaborative exhibit of 10 artist couples from South Dakota and elsewhere. After their cross-state ride, Dieken and Baum will com

Jackson To Replace Schallenkamp As BHSU President

Apr 30, 2014
Photo Courtesy of BHSU

Dr. Tom Jackson is replacing Dr. Kay Schallenkamp as president of Black Hills State University in Spearfish. The South Dakota Board of Regents made the announcement on campus Wednesday.

Jackson begins his duties as president on July 3rd, 2014.

Most recently, Jackson was the vice president for student affairs at the University of Louisville, Kentucky before accepting the position at Black Hills State.

Jackson says even after experiencing South Dakota spring-time weather, he and his family are excited to be a part of Black Hills State.