News Releases

New Strategic Plan to Guide School of Mines Growth through 2022
Release Date Friday, June 13, 2014

RAPID CITY, S.D. (June 13, 2014) – The South Dakota School of Mines & Technology has published a new strategic plan identifying goals and strategies to guide intentional growth in enrollment, research and other areas through 2022.

The Pursuit of Excellence outlines six broad goals – student success, research, human resources, facilities, administration and development – and specific strategies to accomplish each, including aggressively growing enrollment to 3,000 undergraduates and redeveloping and expanding needed living, learning and research spaces.

President Heather Wilson presented the document to the South Dakota Board of Regents this week in Vermillion. 

“The School of Mines is an exceptional engineering and science university,” said Wilson. “This plan will help guide us to prepare leaders for the challenges of the twenty-first century.” 

With a current enrollment of 2,640 students, the School of Mines is a role model for engaged science and engineering education. Proof of the university’s effective approach to preparing leaders is in the numbers: 98 percent of students either go on to graduate school right away or land jobs in their field of study at a starting salary of $62,400, higher than the starting salaries of students from all Ivy League institutions.

“Engineering and science intensive industries account for 40 percent of the gross domestic product of the United States, and occupations in science, technology, engineering and mathematics are projected to grow by almost 20 percent by 2022,” Wilson said. “The problems our graduates will solve are more complex and change faster than those earlier generations addressed. The South Dakota School of Mines & Technology will do its part to help meet this need for more and better engineers and scientists.”

Among highlights are increasing undergraduate and graduate level enrollment through aggressive recruitment, mentoring and support plans, and strengthening research by developing sustainable funding for doctoral-level studies and growing private sponsorship.

Ambitious facilities plans include constructing or refurbishing a number of buildings to meet new or growing educational and resource initiatives, including a Student Innovation Center for hands-on learning and competitive engineering projects that have become a hallmark of the Mines approach to 21st century engineering education. 

Facilities strategies also address the need for new housing and student union expansion to accommodate a growing enrollment. Additionally, existing space will be refurbished or expanded, including the Mineral Industries Building and laboratories within other buildings to meet needs of chemistry, applied biology, physics, electrical engineering and nanoengineering programs.

Goals detailed in The Pursuit of Excellence strategic plan include:

  • Student Success: Prepare more undergraduate students for leadership in engineering and science.
  • Research: Increase research to prepare science and engineering experts, advance knowledge and catalyze economic development.
  • Facilities: Redevelop and expand needed living, learning and research spaces.
  • People: Recruit, develop and retain excellent faculty and staff.
  • Administration: Responsibly steward financial and physical resources.
  • Development: Establish a robust culture of philanthropy to enable the university to sustain excellence.

For details on The Pursuit of Excellence visit the School of Mines website at


About SDSM&T

Founded in 1885, the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is a science and engineering research university located in Rapid City, S.D., offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university enrolls 2,640 students from 45 states and 37 countries, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1. The average starting salary for graduates is $62,400 with a 98 percent placement rate. Find us online at, on Facebook at and on Twitter at