Posted on Dec 11, 2017
Higher education has long been viewed as a gateway to opportunity and the necessary path to greater quality of life. However, Dr. Bradfield believes that changes in the enterprise and societal expectations have called into question the relative value, or lack thereof, of a college degree, especially in consideration of its return of investment. As college costs escalate and more concerns emerge regarding suffocating loan debt for students, higher education is called to demonstrate its value proposition. Higher education should be viewed as a major player in serving the greater good of societal needs and be a major contributor to workforce development that drives the national and local economy.
Program Highlights for December 11, 2017

In 2016, Dr. Brett Bradfield became the 23rd President to lead the University of Sioux Falls (USF), a Christian and liberal arts university, home to over 1,200 students. There has been a 1700% increase in the cost of college since the 1970's.  This increase in rate is even higher than that of medicine.  

Dr. Bradfield discussed external forces causing the enterprise of higher education (private, public, for-profit, non-profit) across the nation to reconsider best practices and business models of operation; sharing regional implications resulting from radical change in higher education scene over the last 8-10 years, and illustrate how USF is responding to industry changes with a mission-centric view to the future.
Dr. Bradfield stated that because of the decrease of net revenue in higher education, Moody's predicts that in the next 5 to 10 years there will be triple the closures and double the mergers of public and private colleges in the United States.  Our community has witnessed closures as well with Globe, Colorado Tech, and Killian in recent years.  
During the summer of 2017, the Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce reported that 82% of recent graduates stayed in South Dakota while 89% lived within 30 mile region of Sioux Falls.  With $50,000 dollars as the annual median salary in South Dakota, college students often drown in debt.  The University of Sioux Falls believes that it is their job to improve the quality of lives of their students, and not allow them to suffocate in debt upon graduation.  As a result, on October 5, 2017, the University of Sioux Falls decreased their college tuition by $10,000 per year.  The tuition is now $17,980 plus housing.  Dr. Bradfield stated that there have been no program or job cuts as a result, only a readjustment of their scholarship program.  

Dr. Bradfield is a graduate of Dakota State College (SD) and holds a Master of Arts degree in educational psychology and counseling and a Doctor of Education degree in educational administration from the University of South Dakota. In completion of his Doctor of Education degree, Dr. Bradfield was awarded the Dr. H. C. Rustad Memorial Award recognizing the Outstanding Dissertation of the Year on the topic of board leadership in education. Prior to moving into higher education, he held various instructional and administrative roles in public and private K-12 education. During that time in his career, he also served as an adjunct instructor for the graduate educational administration program at the University of South Dakota, teaching in various content areas relative to leadership in the field of education.

Dr. Bradfield previously served as Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at the University of Sioux Falls (USF), an appointment he accepted in 2006. Upon arriving at the University in June 2000, his first assignment was as Director of Graduate Programs in Education. In 2003, he was elevated to Vice President for Professional Studies, a new position designed to increase the institution’s footprint in the adult learning market. On multiple occasions, he served as Acting President for periods ranging from 4 weeks to 6 months in duration, in addition to more abbreviated periods as deemed necessary to support the University and its executive leadership.

Throughout the last 26 years of his career, Dr. Bradfield has demonstrated his commitment to Christ-centered leadership with a passion for building a strong sense of faith community within the context of fostering the delivery of high quality education and services to students. He has served in key leadership roles for many initiatives that added new and/or enhanced programming and services to the University. Although not an exhaustive list, some of these initiatives have included new academic programs at the undergraduate and graduate level, campus safety, programming focused on student success and persistence, enhancements to enrollment management operations, various facilities and grounds projects, and the University move into NCAA II. In addition, he has been instrumental in leading significant fundraising efforts and partnerships with various public and private entities that have resulted in multi-million-dollar benefits in support of the University.

Dr. Bradfield and his wife, Jane, have 4 children and 2 sons-in-law, Brittany (Josh) Childress, Brooke (Lane) Mellegaard, Blake, and Braden, all of which are USF alumni. In addition, Dr. Bradfield and Jane have 7 grandchildren, Creighton, Kate, Isaiah, Meile, Berklie, Kase, and Clara, ranging from 2 to 9 years in age.
Program for December 18, 2017
Christmas Program with Rock Garden Tour