NCTC President’s Weekly Update

It’s been a gloomy few days in northwest Minnesota. But, as they say, every cloud has a silver lining. The warmer weather has meant that Monkey and Kiwi have gotten long morning and evening walks. This means that they sleep through the night. And that means that Mom and Dad get to sleep through the night. Our terrier mutts rule our lives!

We are now at the verge of fall semester finals week. I have been hearing from students, faculty members and student support staff that everyone is focused on completing projects, tutoring, studying, taking tests, and grading papers, exams and projects. Both campuses are humming as we reach toward a welcome break.

This week, I’ll focus on:

  • Important Reminders
  • Celebrations
  • Goals Exceeded – MnSCU Leveraged Equipment Program
  • Academic Master Plan

Important Reminders

There is still time to register for spring semester. Classes begin on January 12, 2015. Please remind students who have already registered that they need to pay their tuition or make arrangements with the Business Office by the end of the day on Dec. 18. This is the date when registrations will be canceled if arrangements have not been made. Most students who are dropped for non-payment do re-register, but it involves extra steps.


Northland will experience two very significant retirements at the end of the year. Mary Jo Bydal has worked on the East Grand Forks campus since 1975. She has assisted the campus deans and provosts and now reports to Vice President Carey Castle. All of us who are administrators have relied on Mary Jo’s deep historical knowledge, her organizational skills, and her infectious laughter to get us through the days. Faculty also know that Mary Jo is the one to come to if you need to find out how to get things done. She intends to fill up her new-found freedom with Jack, her 4-month old grandson.

Gail Johnson, is retiring after 26 years at Northland. Since 1989 she has been a vital part of the Financial Aid team. At the East Grand Forks campus, Gail has organized all employee events and has coordinated the Cheer Fund that provides support to employees as they pass through life events. Gail is moving back to the farm in Roseau where she will be surrounded by family and friends. Students have been well-served and supported by Gail over many years while they have wrestled with college financing.

Mary Fontes has completed her doctorate in Higher Education Administration from the University of North Dakota! She will graduate on Friday, Dec. 19. Mary gives tirelessly to Northland and its students as the Dean of Student Affairs. It is amazing that she was able to conduct her research and write a dissertation while always working more than full time.

Goals Exceeded – MnSCU Leveraged Equipment Program

For the FY2014-15 biennium, the Minnesota State Legislature provided funding to MnSCU institutions for instructional equipment through a leveraged equipment program. Financial goals were set for every college and university. Funding became available to institutions which were able to match the goals with private donations of funds, equipment, or services.

I am very pleased to announce that Northland achieved its goal of $188,540 and will receive matching funds from the system. We are grateful to our partners and donors. Their generosity allows Northland to continue to train our students with current equipment and technology.

Donors and partners:
Alex Air Apparatus, Inc.
Collision Repair Education Foundation (through American Family Insurance)
Dakotas Chapter – National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA)
Digi-Key Corporation
Innovative Tools & Technologies
Marvin Windows
Northern Motors
Northland Aerospace Foundation (NAF)
Superior Edge
Thief River Ford
Westside Motors

Academic Master Plan

As we close the year, I am excited that the broad committee of faculty and staff that has been working on the Academic Master Plan for the college has produced its first draft. It is an impressive document. It will be refined over the next month. Then the committee will work to solicit deep review and input from the college community. The AMP will provide a well-informed road map for the college as it continues to meet the needs of our communities and region.

Hope you all have a great week.

Upcoming College Events

Tuesday, December 16, 2014
 11:45 AM – End of Semester Employee Potluck – EGF Campus
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
 11:45 AM – End of Semester Employee Potluck – TRF Campus
Thursday, December 18, 2014
 10:00 AM – CNA Testing
 7:00 pm – TRF Practical Nursing Pinning Ceremony
Monday, December 22, 2014
Friday, January 2, 2015
 5:00 pm – Women’s Basketball vs. Bismarck State College
 7:00 pm – Men’s Basketball vs. Bismarck State College
Saturday, January 3, 2015
 3:00 pm – Women’s Basketball vs. Bottineau
 5:00 pm – Men’s Basketball vs. Dakota College at Bottineau
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
 7:00 pm – Wrestling @ Rochester Dual

My Schedule this Week
Monday, Dec. 15 – Executive Committee

Tuesday, Dec. 16 – Holiday Potluck / Retirement Recognition – EGF Campus
Wendesday, Dec. 17 – Holiday Potluck, Community Advisory Committee Exec Group, LPN Pinning – TRF Campus
Thursday, Dec. 18 – SEM Meeting, GFREDC meeting, Cabinet
Friday, Dec. 19 – Office – EGF Campus

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NCTC President’s Weekly Update

The past week was a really dynamic one. Despite the colder temperatures, things were cooking on our campuses. I’ll provide brief updates on:

  • NJCAA Women’s Basketball Banner
  • Phi Theta Kappa Induction
  • North Star Summit
  • Long-term Ground Lease at TRF Airport
  • Bid Openings
  • Housing in Thief River Falls

NJCAA Women’s Basketball Banner

The NJCAA Championship Women’s Basketball team from the 2014 season reassembled on Wednesday for another celebration. I had the honor of awarding championship rings to these wonderful student athletes. And a championship banner was unfurled in the gym. This event preceded a strong win for the Pioneers over the Jamestown State University JV team.

Phi Theta Kappa Induction

On the academic side of the house, six great students at the TRF Campus were inducted into Phi Theta Kappa – the honor society of American community colleges. Advisor Scott Bastedo arranged a beautiful ceremony that highlighted the meaning of the PTK emblem and the commitment these students will have to service and community.

North Star Summit

On Monday, I will attend the North Star Summit, an event focused on generating consensus on Minnesota’s postsecondary goals, particularly in regard to meeting forecasted economic and workforce needs. Senator Terri Bonoff, Chair of the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Division Committee has been instrumental in inviting all of Minnesota’s public college and university leaders to be part of his conversation. I hope to have an interesting report to include in next week’s Weekly Update.

Long-term Ground Lease at TRF Airport

The long-term ground lease between Northland (MnSCU) and the TRF Regional Airport Authority has finally been agreed to by all parties. This is an important step that had to be concluded prior to the beginning of construction of the funded capital project at Northland’s Aerospace Site at the airport. Although Northland owns the classroom building and the Swenson Hangar, the land is owned by the Airport. Consequently, this long-term lease had to be negotiated. Northland certainly appreciates the careful consideration of this lease by the Authority.

Bid Openings

Bids were opened last week for two projects. In Thief River Falls, capital project bids were opened for a new laboratory/shop building that will connect the classroom building and the Swenson Hangar at the Aerospace Site. This building will replace obsolete hangars and will provide secure and technologically-advanced facilities for Northland’s high-tech programs. The second bid opening was for a HEAPR roof project for the EGF Campus. Work on this project is scheduled to begin May 2015.

Housing in Thief River Falls

In the past week, we have worked with MnSCU personnel to finalize a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the $1.1 million grant approved by last year’s legislature to promote student housing in Thief River Falls. The RFP should be released on or about December 15. It is anticipated that the TRF student housing project will be occupant ready by fall, 2016.

Hope you all have a great week.

Upcoming College Events
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
 11:00 am – Ugly Holiday Sweater Contest
 7:00 pm – Wrestling vs. Itasca Dual
Thursday, December 11, 2014
 9:00 AM – CNA Testing – TRF Rm 627
Friday, December 12, 2014
 6:00 pm – Women’s Basketball vs. St. Cloud CTC
 8:00 pm – Men’s Basketball vs. St. Cloud CTC
Saturday, December 13, 2014
 1:00 pm – Women’s Basketball vs. M-State Fergus Falls CC
 3:00 pm – Men’s Basketball vs. M-State Fergus Falls
Thursday, December 18, 2014
 10:00 AM – CNA Testing – EGF Campus

My Schedule this Week
Monday, Dec. 8 – St. Paul – MnSCU Leadership Council
Tuesday, Dec. 9 – St. Paul – MnSCU Leadership Council
Wendesday, Dec. 10 – Fargo – Valley Prosperity Partnership
Thursday, Dec. 11 – EGF – Shared Governance Council, LPN Pinning Ceremony
Friday, Dec. 12 – TRF – Interviews

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NCTC President’s Weekly Update

It’s hard to believe that there are only two more weeks of classes before finals and Winter break. I talked to many faculty members who were planning a long weekend of grading papers along with their Thanksgiving Day celebrations. Our students certainly (probably? maybe?) spent time working on final projects and papers and studying for finals. We were very thankful for at least one day of above 20 degree temperatures for long walks along the Red River Greenway.

This week, I have a wide range of items to focus on:

  • NCTC Philosophy Facebook Page
  • RED Forum
  • National Community College Enrollment Trends
  • Football Coach Announcement

NCTC Philosophy Facebook Page

I got a delightful note from Stephen Nelson, instructor of philosophy, last week. Along with colleagues Brent Braga and Mark Decker, the philosophy department has developed and launched a NCTC Philosophy Facebook Page at This page provides an opportunity to explore and interact on topics ranging from Plato to “Dungeons and Dragons.” What a great way to share enthusiasm about an academic discipline!

RED Forum

Last Tuesday, I participated in the Rural Economic Development Forum, sponsored by the McKnight Foundation in Minneapolis. This group meets three times a year to explore issues that impact economic development in rural Minnesota. The topic of this most recent forum was “Native Tribes as Contemporary Governments and Economic Drivers.” Primary speakers were Karen Diver, Chairwoman of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Melanie Benjamin, Chief Executive of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, and Dr. Joe Kalt, Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy at Harvard University.

Over the past two decades, the rate of economic growth on reservations that have developed strong constitutions and reliable court systems has exceeded that of the national economy in general. Because, as sovereign nations, they have the right to develop corporate regulations that may be different from state or U.S. federal regulations, tribes may be able to provide a beneficial atmosphere for business start-ups. This was a very interesting and encouraging discussion.

National Community College Enrollment Trends

As I scan national media, I have come across many articles that share experiences that mirror ours at Northland and northwest Minnesota. Ohio’s community colleges have experienced steep enrollment declines (18.5 % in the last five years). Enrollment follows the economy and as the economy improves and more jobs are available, fewer students come to community and technical colleges.

Jessie Balmert, writing for Gannett newspapers, quoted Jeff Ortega, spokesperson for the Ohio Association of Community Colleges, “Some non-returning students have placed employment ahead of continuing their education.” Many community colleges in Ohio are reducing their personnel, programs, and services to adjust to the lower number of students.

Football Coach Announcement

In a separate news release this week, the college will be announcing the selection of a new head football coach. This has been a long process, but I am very pleased with the outcome.

A Project Action Team, comprised of community members, faculty members, and other college employees
with close affiliation to student life and athletics, met throughout the summer and produced
recommendations in late August. Based on these recommendations, the administration announced that it
would seek a head coach who could demonstrate commitments to:

  • student success as well as athletic success
  • setting high expectations for student athletes in their roles as team members, members of the student
    body, and residents of our communities
  • recruiting an increasing number of student athletes from regional high schools
  • adherence to NJCAA, MCAC, Northland, and MnSCU policies, rules, regulations, and codes of conduct

If such a coach could be identified and if a solution to the problem of inadequate availability of affordable
housing in Thief River Falls could be found, football could be restored to the college for Fall, 2015.

It appears that both of these conditions have been met. Housing will still be problematic. Until the private student-oriented development can be constructed on college property in Thief River Falls, students may have to travel from the Greater Grand Forks area via college-supplied buses.

Hope you all have a great week.

Upcoming College Events
Monday, December 1, 2014
 10:00 AM – CNA Testing – EGF Campus
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
 6:00 pm – Women’s Basketball vs. Jamestown JV
 8:00 pm – Men’s Basketball vs. Jamestown JV
Friday, December 5, 2014
 6:00 pm – Women’s Basketball @ Western Tech
 8:00 pm – Men’s Basketball @ Western Tech
Saturday, December 6, 2014
 9:00 am – Wrestling @ Dragon Open
 1:00 pm – Women’s Basketball @ Rochester CTC
 3:00 pm – Men’s Basketball @ Rochester CTC
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
 7:00 pm – Wrestling vs. Itasca Dual
Thursday, December 11, 2014
 9:00 AM – CNA Testing – TRF Campus – Rm 627
Friday, December 12, 2014
 6:00 pm – Women’s Basketball vs. St. Cloud CTC
 8:00 pm – Men’s Basketball vs. St. Cloud CTC
Saturday, December 13, 2014
 1:00 pm – Women’s Basketball vs. M-State Fergus Falls CC
 3:00 pm – Men’s Basketball vs. M-State Fergus Falls

My Schedule this Week
Monday, Dec. 1 – TRF – Director of Student Life and Athletics Interviews
Tuesday, Dec. 2 – EGF – Master Facility Plan discussion
Wendesday, Dec. 3 – TRF – Director of Student Life and Athletics Interviews, MEC Meeting
Thursday, Dec. 4 – TRF – Capital Project Bid Opening, PTK Induction Ceremony
Friday, Dec. 5 – EGF – Executive Committee, GFAFB Holiday Open House

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NCTC President’s Weekly Update

This is the week of Thanksgiving – a time when America used to pause to share the fall’s bounty with family and friends. When I was growing up, we truly did go “over the river and through the woods” to Grandma’s house. Now, it seems that this week becomes one where people hurl themselves across the county, fighting airport crowding or struggling to get into or out of big population areas. The news is filled with discussions of the evils or delights of stores that will open on Thanksgiving afternoon for an early capture of the “Black Friday” shopping frenzy.

Again, I want to pause to recognize all we have to be thankful for:

Despite all of the horror and violence in the world, we have the luxury to focus on holidays, family gatherings, and mundane aggravations.

We live in an area of great prosperity where opportunities are increasing every day.

We face challenges head-on, believing that there always are solutions.

At Northland, we have the privilege to contribute to the brightening futures of our students.

This week, I have the following highlights to share:

  • Congratulations to the Pioneer Wrestling team on their recent team victory!
  • Northland’s Women’s Basketball team is currently ranked #3 in the NJCAA poll.
  • Interviews have been concluded and we will name the head coach for the returning Football team in the next week.
  • The ‘State of the College’ address for the Thief River Falls Campus is scheduled for Monday, December 1st, beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the commons. A highlight will be selections from Northern Jazz, directed by Linda Samuelson.
  • The Learning Services Center, under the direction of Heather Meng, has been surveying students and zeroing in on a new name for the center – announcement coming soon.
  • An office will soon be set up with large-screen videoconferencing equipment on both campuses and at the airport site. These facilities will allow students and staff to have one-on-one private conferences regardless of where people are located.
  • Over the winter break, Clinton Castle and crew will be doing some painting and updating on the Thief River Falls campus – particularly in the workforce center and the bookstore.
  • Gerry Shulte has gotten early invitations to start financial aid information nights at area high schools. Normally, he doesn’t start this activity until January. This may be good news for student interest in Northland.
  • There will be holiday potluck luncheons for faculty and staff at both campuses: EGF – Tuesday, December 16, TRF – Wednesday, December 17.
  • Our COI Continuing Education Department is collaborating with TRF Community Education on a joint publication. This will be distributed via the Northern Watch.
  • The Academic Master Planning (AMP) process is approaching a major milestone. The full team met last Friday afternoon and is closing in on a draft report before the end of the semester.
  • Kristi Lane reports that the HR department is very busy with vacancies, job audits, open enrollment issues, and adaptations to the Affordable Care Act.
  • A grant proposal to the Department of Agriculture was submitted last week. We are seeking funding to further develop precision agriculture applications of small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS).
  • Faculty and deans, working together, have achieved the donations needed to get the full matching, leveraged equipment funds from MnSCU – a full report will come out soon. Good work, everyone!
  • During College Application Week at the end of October, over 200 high school students applied to Northland. Nicki Carlson, Interim Director of Enrollment Management reports high interest in Northland at numerous recruiting events and career fairs.
  • The Marketing team and the KSRQ Pioneer Radio 90.1 FM team are working together for greater exposure and spreading the good news about Northland.
  •  Here are some results from this past weekend’s Pioneer sports events:
    • Men’s Basketball @ Bottineau Basketball Tournament – Northland yielded to Bottineau 74-83 and defeated Turtle Mountain 83-66.
    • Women’s Basketball @ Dakota College Bottineau Tournament – Northland won Friday night against Dakota College Bottineau 83-79 and defeated Turtle Mountain on Saturday 72-58.
    • Wrestling @ Finn Grinaker Open – Individuals participated with Northland’s Brendan Edner placing 6th in the heavy weight competition.

Hope you all have a great week.

Upcoming College Events
Monday, November 24, 2014
 11:00 am – Thanksgiving Holiday Lunch @ TRF Campus, sponsored by TRF Student Senate
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
 11:00 am – Thanksgiving Holiday Lunch @ Aviation Site, sponsored by TRF Student Senate
 6:00 pm – Women’s Basketball vs. North Dakota State School of Science
 8:00 pm – Men’s Basketball vs. Mayville JV
Monday, December 1, 2014
 10:00 am – CNA Testing
 5:30 pm – State of the College Address – TRF Campus Commons
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
 6:00 pm – Women’s Basketball vs. Jamestown JV
 8:00 pm – Men’s Basketball vs. Jamestown JV

My Schedule this Week
Monday, Nov. 24 – Travel to Minneapolis
Tuesday, Nov. 25 – Minneapolis – Rural Economic Development Forum
Wendesday, Nov. 26 – TRF (morning), EGF (afternoon)
Thursday, Nov. 27 – Thanksgiving Holiday
Friday, Nov. 28 – Thanksgiving Holiday

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Weekly Update

This is the start of my last winter in Minnesota. While walking our dogs yesterday morning against the wind, I tried desperately to enjoy the experience. I had my face mask pulled up to my eyes and my multiple hats pulled down – leaving just a small slit through which to see. The wind still found its way through my many layers. I suppose I can appreciate the tenacity of the wind and the sculpting of mini-drifts. I’ll try!

The Thanksgiving season is nearing. I am deeply thankful for my association with Northland Community and Technical College over the past nine years. We do great work in helping to shape the futures of our students and our communities. We have a devoted and talented staff and faculty. Our facilities are top-notch. And our students truly seem committed to taking advantage of their opportunities.

This week, I want to focus on a few things:

  • Registration
  • International Student Week
  • According to Coyote
  • Autumn Musicale


Registration for spring semester, 2015 is open. Classes are filling quickly. I want to encourage all students and potential students to consider registering early.

Students need to set an appointment with an advisor who will help guide course selection and will be available to discuss plans and academic progress. Appointments with advisors can be made at the front desk of either campus or by calling 1-218-793-2800 in East Grand Forks or 1-218-683-8800 in Thief River Falls.

We have found that when students take advantage of the opportunity to talk with an academic advisor, their likelihood of success and timely completion increases. Northland’s advisors work together on continual training to improve their knowledge and skills.

International Student Week

Governor Mark Dayton recently proclaimed the week of November 17-21, 2014 as International Education Week. International Education Week is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education “to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States.”

Northland has 19 International students on I-20s (student visas). They hail from the following countries: Canada, Ghana, South Korea, Cameroon, Nigeria, Uzbekistan, Russia, Ecuador, Norway, Japan, India, and Brazil.

Interacting with and getting to know these students provides a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the diversity and similarities within our complex world.

According to Coyote

Mixed Blood Theater, a traveling troupe from Minneapolis, will present “According to Coyote” on both campuses in the coming week. This amazing Native American heritage performance is free and open to the public. It is a one-performer show that focuses on Coyote, the legendary hero of Native American lore. Music, narrative, and dance are used to bring his lessons to life.

Autumn Musicale

The Northland Music Department brings the Autumn Musicale to the Thief River Falls campus stage on Thursday evening. This event is in conjunction with the Northland High School Honor Band workshop that will be held on that day as well. In addition to the Honor Band, the Northland Community Band and the Northern Jazz will perform. The concert is scheduled in the Theater at 6:00 pm.

Hope you all have a great week.

Upcoming College Events

Tuesday, November 18, 2014
 12:30 PM – Great American Smoke Out – TRF Cafeteria
 12:00 PM – Mixed Blood Theatre presents: “According to Coyote” – TRF Commons
 6:00 pm – Women’s Basketball @ M-State Fergus Falls CC
 8:00 pm – Men’s Basketball @ M-State Fergus Falls
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
 12:00 PM – Mixed Blood Theatre presents: “According to Coyote” – EGF Commons
 12:00 PM – Career Workshop – TRF 603
Thursday, November 20, 2014
 6:00 PM – Autumn Musicale Concert – TRF Theater
Friday, November 21, 2014
 TBD – Men’s Basketball @ Dakota College at Bottineau Tournament vs Dakota College
 TBD – Women’s Basketball @ Dakota-College Bottineau Tournament
Saturday, November 22, 2014
 TBD – Men’s Basketball @ Bottineau Basketball Tournament
 TBD – Women’s Basketball @ Dakota College Bottineau Tournament
 9:00 am – Wrestling @ Finn Grinaker Open
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
 6:00 pm – Women’s Basketball vs. North Dakota State School of Science
 8:00 pm – Men’s Basketball vs. Mayville JV

My Schedule this Week
Monday, Nov. 17 – EGF – Staff Advisory Council
Tuesday, Nov. 18 – TRF
Wendesday, Nov. 19 – EGF – Exec. Committee
Thursday, Nov. 20 – TRF – College in the High School Conference, Cabinet
Friday, Nov. 21 – EGF

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Weekly Update

I’m looking out the window at the first snow that has actually stuck on the ground. I have to be thankful, however, that it’s not worse. Our kids came up for a visit over the weekend from Minneapolis. On their return, they were facing the need to do some fast raking of the pile of maple leaves that finally dropped last week. The weather forecast is for 5-12 inches of snow in the next few days. And then there is the shoveling of all that snow….. Uff da!

This week, I’ll focus on:

  • MnSCU Leadership Council Meeting
  • Charting the Future Gallery Walks
  • Dyan Rey – Mayor’s Choice Artist
  • Occupational Therapy Student Successes

MnSCU Leadership Council Meeting

Every month, the presidents of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities meet to discuss issues facing our colleges and the MnSCU system. Our last meeting, on November 3, was a sober affair. One after another, the presidents related the challenges they have at their campuses and the difficult decisions they have made.

Across our system, 14 of 24 colleges have given lay-off notices to a total of 49 full-time permanent faculty members. Undoubtedly, many more probationary and temporary faculty members will also be notified of non-renewal. At Northland, three faculty members have been given lay-off notices and others have been notified that their positions will be non-renewed for next year. All colleges reported deep examination of all programs, positions and expenditures as they work to develop balanced budgets for next year.

The combined effects of declining state support, frozen tuition, increasing costs, and declining enrollment are taking a toll on Minnesota’s public higher education institutions. For several years, colleges and universities have struggled to become more efficient and to manage with declining resources. Now, these efforts are not sufficient to deal with the imbalance between revenue and expenses.

Charting the Future Gallery Walks

The ambitious initiative, “Charting the Future,” was conceived, in part, to create a new future for our enormous system of public higher education. With over 400,000 students in seven universities and 24 colleges on 54 campuses throughout the state, there certainly may be more efficient ways to operate. While seeking greater efficiency and collaboration, we all want to provide the best possible opportunities for student success.

This initiative has become controversial, however MnSCU’s Board of Trustees stands firmly behind the initiative and the work continues. Throughout the state, the steering committee for Charting the Future is coordinating gallery walks on MnSCU campuses. Posters displaying the challenges and suggestions developed by the first four implementation teams were set up for review. Reviewers have the opportunity to indicate which ideas they are most interested in by using small sticky dots. There is also the opportunity to write comments in response to any of the ideas presented.

At Northland, gallery walks were held on Tuesday, Nov. 4 in East Grand Forks and on Wednesday, Nov. 5 in Thief River Falls. In total, 252 students, faculty members, employees, and community members passed through the galleries. Many comments were made. Many people indicated their intention to give further input through the online gallery walk.

If you did not have a chance to attend the gallery walks, you can review the information and give your input at

Dyan Rey – Mayor’s Choice Artist

Dyan Rey, an art instructor at the East Grand Forks campus, has been selected by Grand Forks Mayor Michael Brown for the Mayor’s Choice designation. Her work will be on display at the Grand Forks City Hall for the next three months. A reception is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 12 from 4:30 – 6 pm at City Hall.

The work of Dyan’s students is wonderful to see as it develops through each semester. Student work is normally displayed outside of the art classroom and in the hall near the administrative suite.

Occupational Therapy Student Successes

Kara Welke, Occupational Therapy instructor, shared this good news: “The Minnesota Occupational Therapy Association conference was this weekend. Katelynn Sharp and Laura Atilano presented their posters that they completed last spring. They did great and represented the program nicely. They were the only OTA students presenting posters. Also, Katelynn Sharp received the MN OTA student of the year award yesterday during the awards presentation.”

This program gives students a wonderful opportunity for professional exposure. Congratulations to Katelynn and Laura!

Hope you all have a great week.

Upcoming College Events
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
 12:00 PM – University of North Dakota Transfer Visit – TRF Theater Commons
Thursday, November 13, 2014
 10:00 PM – CNA Testing – EGF Campus
 6:00 pm – Wrestling @ University of Jamestown Tri
Saturday, November 15, 2014
 1:00 pm – Women’s Basketball vs. Gogebic Community College – TRF Gym
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
 12:30 PM – Great American Smoke Out – TRF Cafeteria
 6:00 pm – Women’s Basketball @ M-State Fergus Falls CC
 8:00 pm – Men’s Basketball @ M-State Fergus Falls
Thursday, November 20, 2014
 6:00 PM – Autumn Musicale Concert – TRF Theatre

My Schedule this Week
Monday, Nov. 10 – Day Off
Tuesday, Nov. 11 – Veterans Day
Wendesday, Nov. 12 – TRF – Athletic Dept Meeting
Thursday, Nov. 13 – TRF – Exec Committee, Shared Governance Council
Friday, Nov. 14 – EGF

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Weekly Update

Despite the unseasonably beautiful weather, this last week of October will be difficult.  The college administration has shared with many constituent groups the challenge the college faces in crafting a balanced budget for the 2015-2016 academic year.  October 31 is the first deadline that must be met in taking steps to assure that Northland remains fiscally healthy and able to serve the communities of northwest Minnesota and northeast North Dakota.

To quickly reiterate:  Northland must reduce its budget by $1.1-$1.6 million.  This deficit is due to four factors:  reduced state allocation, frozen tuition, inflation and compensation increases, and reduced enrollment.  Although we anticipate that the legislature will favorably consider MnSCU’s proposal for increases to the allocation, we do not believe that the legislature will allow public colleges to raise tuition.  Inflation dictates increases in expenditures.  Finally, Northland is actively working to increase enrollment despite the robust regional economy that provides ample employment opportunities.

As we approach decisions, we are adhering to four principles:

  • Focus on programs and services that link the college and the region to the future.
  • Our finances don’t allow the college to retain all existing programs and add new programs that meet emerging community needs.
  • We need programs that attract investment; tuition alone will not support high tech innovation.
  • Grants, partnerships with business & industry, and philanthropy are essential to the future of the college.

We all need to remember that Northland is a phenomenal asset to the region – we are a POWERFUL partner in our communities.  And, we are committed to retaining this position of strength.  It is time to clearly emphasize our strengths:

  • Aerospace:  We have had an eight-year arc of change within this area.  In 2007, we nearly closed the program because of lack of enrollment.  Then, reinvestments were made and growth occurred.  In 2010 and 2011, a total of nearly $10 million in grants were received allowing the development of new programs.  These developments have transformed the college technologically and have attracted industry partners and bonding funds to construct a new building.  With the strong regional commitment to developing the unmanned aerial systems industry and to the emergence of autonomous technology in agriculture, Northland will propel students into high wage career positions in UAS, Big Data, and Precision Agriculture.
  •  Agriculture: There is a revolution occurring in agriculture.  We are working to diversify our focus from only Farm Business Management to high tech developments in precision agriculture, high school/college/university articulations in general agriculture, agri-business, and agricultural education.  We are in the right place at the right time.  We have the talent to go in these directions and we have the unique assets of the UAS, Imagery Analysis, and Geospatial Intelligence programs to support them.
  • Health Care:  We are the premier provider of education for health professions in our area.  Hundreds of our graduates staff regional hospitals, clinics, and care facilities.  The enrollment in these programs will remain strong because degrees and certificates are required for employment, demand for employees will continue to be high, and wages are attractive.
  • Trades and Mechanics: Northland has strong trades and mechanics programs.  However, we have continued to offer our programs in traditional academic patterns – day-time from August to May.  We may able to leverage our programmatic strengths by diversifying the length of programs and the schedules at which they are offered.  Greater flexibility may serve the needs of more potential students and employers.
  • Liberal Arts – Transfer:  The Liberal Arts offerings at both campuses provide the foundation for transfer.  We need to remember to emphasize that we provide the first two years of a university degree – and we have many universities to which our students transfer successfully.  Additionally, the liberal arts can be the foundation for career programs in business, management, and human services.  The Academic Master Planning process should reveal options for the college to develop in the future.

So, with all of this positive reflection, why have I said that this last week of October will be difficult?

The first deadline we reach for making decisions that will affect our academic mix and our budget is October 31.  The Minnesota State College Faculty (MSCF) contract requires that any faculty who might be affected by a lay-off be notified by this date.  This gives affected faculty members seven months to consider other options.

Based on several years of program review, several lay-off notices will be issued this week.  The reviews have been based on metrics related to enrollment, student success, student-faculty ratios, and cost of the program relative to tuition revenues.  Programs where notices will be given have been in a “sustainability” process for several years.

Lay-off notices at this time do not automatically mean that the programs will no longer be offered.  The college is committed to working with individual faculty members and the faculty association to ascertain if there are changes to programs that would make them more successful and/or reduce program deficits.

October 31 is the first milepost on the decision-journey toward a balanced budget.  From November to May, the following activities will be occurring:

  • The Academic Master Plan will be completed and will form the basis for program decisions, academic additions, and grant-seeking in the future.  The AMP will identify what are the strongest and/or most unique opportunities, what are the unique characteristics of each campus, and what program mix best meets the needs of our communities.
  • We will continue to work to restructure our agricultural offerings so that they have broader reach and attract a broader audience of learners.  Through this work and our association with AgCentric – the Northland Center of Excellence, we will respond to the evolution in agricultural technology and tie agriculture in with other college areas of expertise.  And, we will respond to the growing shortage of agricultural educators through articulations with university partners.
  • We will work with our faculty to hold on to existing programs – even those with challenges – through considering options for program length, methods of delivery, and alternate schedules.
  • We will work to develop greater connections to business and industry through advisory groups and customized training.
  • We will consider all other aspects of college performance, organization, and staffing.  Greater efficiencies will be employed wherever possible.

We will be connecting with community advisory groups, media, and internal audiences to assure that accurate information about decisions and future activities are shared.

I hope you will have a good week!

Upcoming College Events

Monday, October 27, 2014
·         5:30 PM – EGF Campus Wide Advisory Meeting – Commons

Tuesday, October 28, 2014
11:00 am – Why Treaties Matter : Guest Speaker – Dr. Jack Haymond – EGF Rm 250
·         9:00 PM – Halloween Rock ‘n Bowl – TRF Family Bowl

Thursday, October 30, 2014
·         10:00 am – Prevention of Domestic and Sexual Violence: The Role of Community and Culture – TRF Commons

·         10:00 am – Why Treaties Matter Exhibit – TRF Art Gallery

·         7:00 PM – Movie Night — The Purge: Anarchy – TRF Campus Theater

Friday, October 31, 2014
·         5:00 pm – Volleyball @ Regional Tournament

Saturday, November 1, 2014
·         TBD – Men’s Basketball @ Dakota College at Bottineau Tournament vs Candadien Mennonite

·         9:00 am – Wrestling @ Yellowjacket Open

Sunday, November 2, 2014
·         TBD – Men’s Basketball @ Dakota College at Bottineau Tournament vs University of Winnipeg

Monday, November 3, 2014
·         12:30 pm – Mayville State University Transfer Visit – TRF Theater Commons

·         12:00 pm – Why Treaties Matter : Guest Speaker – Dr. Jack Haymond – TRF Theater

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

·         11:00 am – 2:00 pm – “Charting the Future” Gallery Walk – EGF Campus

Wednesday, November 5, 2014
·         12:00 pm – Why Treaties Matter : Guest Speaker Jim Jones – TRF Theater

·         12:00 pm – 3:00 pm – “Charting the Future” Gallery Walk – TRF Campus

Thursday, November 6, 2014
·         6:00 PM – Choral Works Concert – TRF Theater

Saturday, November 8, 2014
·         10:00 am – Wrestling @ Bison Open

·         12:00 pm – Women’s Basketball vs. Alumni Scrimmage – TRF Gym

My Schedule this Week

Monday, Oct. 27 – TRF – Community Advisory Committee, NCTC Foundation Annual Meeting

Tuesday, Oct. 28 – TRF – Exec Committee, Donor Recognition, SGC Small Group meeting

Wendesday, Oct.  29 – EGF – North Valley Career Expo, Valley Prosperity Partnership Meeting

Thursday, Oct. 30 – EGF

Friday, Oct.  31 – EGF – Northland Aerospace Foundation Board meeting

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