Proposed Bill Would Change Institute To College At South Dakota Tech Schools

(WNAX) — South Dakota legislators will consider a bill this session that would change the names of the four technical institutes to technical colleges. Technical Education Board Executive Director Nick Wendell says the change would reflect reality…

“We really are looking to do the name change because South Dakota’s technical institute system is a little bit out of line with what most two-year Associate of Applied Science degree granting institutions are across the country. Technical college is really the industry standard. So this is really an effort to align our four schools with most of their peers across the county.”

Wendell says the change to colleges would help raise their public perception…

“I think the term technical college does have a more positive perception in the public. You know, one of the central goals of the new Board of Technical Education has been to shift the public perception around the value of technical education and we think the term ‘technical college’ has a stronger, more positive perception in the public.”

Wendell says they have good legislative support…

“We’ve gotten a tremendous amount of support from legislators thus far. They see the wisdom behind the change. They understand that it is not a change to the mission of our institution and so we actually have no really received any negative pushback. I think most folks understand that they look at the industry and see what’s happening at technical colleges across the country and this would just be an effort to align South Dakota institutions with what’s happening in, you know, 48 other states.”

Wendell says the name change would not alter the focus of the four schools in Watertown, Mitchell, Sioux Falls and Rapid City.