VERMILLION, SD—In response to the evolving workforce demands in South Dakota, the Board of Regents announces the launch of three innovative academic programs aimed at bridging the gap between education and industry needs: Artificial Intelligence, Agribusiness Leadership, and Strategic Innovation and Leadership.

“These new programs reflect our commitment to meeting the needs of South Dakota’s workforce and economy,” said BOR Executive Director Nathan Lukkes. “By providing students with cutting-edge education and practical skills, we are preparing them for successful careers, fueling innovation, and driving economic growth in our state.”

As the world increasingly relies on technology, the demand for skilled artificial intelligence (AI) professionals continues to grow. Recognizing this trend, Dakota State University (DSU) developed a Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence (MSAI) program that equips students with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in this ever-changing field.

The program will teach students the foundations of the field by providing a comprehensive curriculum of the core components of AI, including computer science, mathematics and statistics, and current AI models and frameworks, which will allow them to create practical applications for various industry and academic purposes. With ever-changing AI technologies, this program teaches the foundations needed to be successful and agile enough to bring new and emergent technologies to students. From machine learning to natural language processing, students will receive hands-on training from industry experts, preparing them for careers at the forefront of modernization.

South Dakota’s agricultural sector is a cornerstone of the state’s economy, requiring strong leadership to navigate complex challenges and capitalize on emerging opportunities. The Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Agribusiness Leadership at the University of South Dakota combines business, agribusiness, leadership, and artificial intelligence-informed business analytics classes to produce professionals and entrepreneurs with the knowledge to drive decisions with data, understand the agribusiness environment, and lead organizations in the challenging and dynamic world of agriculture. Through coursework tailored to the needs of modern agribusiness, graduates will emerge as leaders equipped to address the evolving demands of the agricultural landscape.

“Leadership degrees are essential in preparing students to become visionary thinkers who can navigate complex challenges, drive transformative change, and contribute to the growth and success of their organizations and communities,” said BOR System Vice President of Academic Policy and Planning Dr. Janice Minder.

The final program approved during Thursday’s meeting was a Master of Science in Strategic Innovation and Leadership at Northern State University. With this coursework, students will study leadership theories, design thinking, creativity, decision-making, communications, and team dynamics. The graduate-level program will equip students to lead organizational change, drive business growth, and add customer value. By combining strategic thinking with innovation management, graduates will be prepared to tackle complex challenges and drive sustainable development in a variety of industries.

The continuous review and modification of programs ensures that the six public universities in South Dakota stay relevant and responsive to the economy’s changing needs. This process helps equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in the workforce. As industries evolve and new opportunities arise, institutions must adapt to meet these challenges and provide students with the best education to support their career aspirations.

More information on these programs can be found in the April Meeting Agenda (