Dakota State University students walking around campus

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That's the DSU equation. We're a four-year university with nationally recognized programs, cutting-edge facilities, and the brightest thinkers. But we're also a tight-knit, inclusive community. Small class sizes mean hands-on training and individualized attention. All this with an affordable, public school price that's among the best values in the region.

Majors & Degrees

Camaraderie is Key

February 22, 2024

At Dakota State University, the General Beadle Honors Program is a catalyst, providing students with an academically rigorous program while simultaneously enriching their lives in ways they are quick to articulate. Among these is the benefit of living in the honors residence hall.

“The community is the base,” said Dr. Kurt Kemper, director of the General Beadle Honors Program. “The community allows the academics to become so much more productive.”

Sioux Falls native Grace Schofield, a senior with a double major in computer science and cyber operations, came to the University accustomed to working hard, having taken advanced classes in high school. Aware of the high cost of a university education, she was also focused on succeeding, which meant investing deeply in her studies.

As an introvert, she believes that level of dedication might have isolated her from fellow students had she not enrolled in the honors program. Living with other high-achieving students as a freshman, walking to classes with them and working with them to complete assignments, she forged friendships which helped her to grow in confidence and become more actively engaged in class discussions.

“It’s good to foster a sense of community with like-minded students,” she said.

The General Beadle Honors Program draws together students who excelled academically in high school and tested above 26 on the ACT for a unique college experience. They take courses that challenge them to explore ideas in multi-disciplinary ways, such as Honors 390, where students explore the question of how people learn to live with technology so that it uplifts humanity rather than enslaves humanity.

However, students also learn outside the classroom through the friendships forged.

“We spend most of our time having intense discussions, talking about life issues,” said Kierra Miller, a freshman from Bayard, Neb., majoring in biology.

Having graduated from a small high school that didn’t offer advanced courses, her earlier learning experiences bored her rather than challenged her. When offered the opportunity to participate in the honors program, she welcomed the opportunity and has discovered the rewards.

“You get the intensity you need to learn the most,” she said.

Kemper said students who qualify are recruited for the program. While it’s not suitable for all high-achieving students, such as those who hope to graduate quickly, many blossom by participating. Through the program, they also prepare to enter the workforce in tangible ways.

“It opens all of us up for professional collaboration,” said Luke Constantino, a second-year student from Cheyenne, Wyo., majoring in cyber operations.

Honors students often share their work with peers and ask for feedback. This begins when they live in the honors residence hall as freshmen and take general education courses together; it continues as they move into their majors. The trust established enables them to also seek guidance from one another in other areas as well.

“You really cannot do everything on your own,” Constantino said.

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