Weekly Update

On a day that finally feels like spring, I am writing my final Weekly Update of the year. It has been a long, long winter – one in which we have grappled with many weighty issues. Now is the time to turn our attention to the reason most of us spend our lives engaged in higher education – our students. The next week will be full of celebrations, accomplishments, and transitions.

Over many years, I have watched students come to the college. Some are fully ready, with certain paths and dreams ahead of themselves. Others are more tentative, wanting to move forward in life but not yet sure of their direction. Some have been displaced from long careers and seek retraining. Others delayed their education after high school for reasons such as finances, family, or other circumstances of life.

Regardless of the path to our door, students change when they succeed in college. The tentative woman, who has raised a family before starting developmental education classes, science prerequisites, and nursing classes, walks across our graduation stage as a new professional, certain of her competence and her future. The veteran who has returned home after a long deployment finds a welcoming campus and support as he pursues a civilian career; he, too, finds new confidence and competence at Northland. The newly-minted high school grad explores the curriculum and decides that a business transfer major will lead to the life they hope for.

In the past week, I have reflected on the many different stories of success and aspiration I have witnessed in our students:

  • I visited with a student from Liberia who is pursuing a nursing degree. He has a dream to return to Liberia to build clinics and teach health professionals in that country.
  • The Occupational Therapy Assistant students conducted a poster session in which they presented their professional research-based solutions to problems as diverse as childhood obesity to elderly rehabilitation. They were all proud of their topics, prepared to discuss them professionally, and dressed for success.
  • The Phi Theta Kappa Chapter at the East Grand Forks Campus recognized its new inductees. These students must maintain a high grade point average and must commit to community service. Their hard work prepares them for success.
  • A veteran who returned to school after his deployment proudly displayed his newly-earned Commercial Drivers License (CDL). He was beaming with the new range of opportunities now open to him.
  • In special ceremonies in both of our communities, new nurses will receive their pins. Northland’s LPN and ADN graduates are well trained to enter the health professions, through their clinical experiences and the mentorship of their faculty members.
  • Our womens’ softball team and mens’ baseball team qualified for regional tournaments that keep getting moved to find the best weather conditions. These students really learn to be adaptable.
  • Nick Dokkin, the Thief River Falls campus “student of the year” has also been selected to the 2014 All-Minnesota Academic Team by Phi Theta Kappa, the national honor society for community and technical colleges.
  • Kortni Miller and Thomas Velasquez, two Northland Physical Therapy Assistant students, recently presented a research study at the American Physical Therapy Association meeting in Las Vegas. This is a rare honor for two-year college students.
  • Northland’s VEX Robotics team (Cody Walseth, Peter Tydlacka, and Nick Radeke) competed in the World Championship in Anaheim CA.
  • Sarah Durand, who led the women’s basketball team in scoring and rebounding, was named NJCAA Division III Player of the Year.
  • Kassandra Klinkhammer, the EGF Student Senate President, has been named to represent the Minnesota State College Student Association on one of eight “Charting the Future” implementation teams. This is a very important appointment; we are so pleased that one of Northland’s students will be on board.

And in many homes throughout our area, parents and friends are preparing to celebrate their students’ success at Northland’s two graduation ceremonies. The Thief River Falls Graduation will be in the campus gymnasium at 7 PM on Thursday, May 15. The East Grand Forks Graduation is scheduled for 11 AM Friday morning, May 16 in the Chester Fritz Auditorium at the University of North Dakota.

Please join in the celebration of student success and transition.

Have a wonderful week!


Upcoming College Events

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

  • 12:00 PM – Annual Storm Water Meeting – EGF 301

Thursday, May 15, 2014

  • Spring Semester Ends
  • 12:00 PM – Graduation Rehearsal – TRF
  • 3:30 PM – LPN Pinning Ceremony – TRF Theater
  • 7:00 PM – Graduation Ceremony– TRF Gym
  • 3:30 PM – CNA Class #63- Hybrid
  • TBD – Baseball @ Regional Tourney

Friday, May 16, 2014

  • TBD – Motorcycle- Basic Rider Course – TRF
  • 11:00 AM – Graduation Ceremony – EGF – Chester Fritz Aud. UND

Monday, May 19, 2014

  • Summer Session Starts
  • Last Day to Add or Drop an On-Campus Class
  • Last Day to Add or Drop an Online Class

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • 10:00 AM – CNA Testing – EGF

Thursday, May 22, 2014

  • 3:30 PM – CNA Class #63- Hybrid – EGF

My Schedule This Week

Monday, May 12 – TRF – Retirement & Recognition Potluck Luncheon, NAF Board Meeting, Engineering Discussion

Tuesday, May 13 – EGF – Retirement and Recognition Potluck Luncheon

Wednesday, May 14 – EGF – BGEA, Valley Prosperity Partnership Press Conference, EGF Grad Banquet

Thursday, May 15 – TRF – Exec Council, Nursing Pinning, TRF Graduation

Friday, May 16 – EGF – EGF Graduation

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Letter to the Editor – TRF Times May 5, 2014

Dave Hill, Editor
Thief River Falls Times
324 Main Avenue N | PO Box 100
Thief River Falls, MN 56721

Dear Dave,

I wanted to share with the Thief River Falls community the progress we are making on reinstatement of the football program at Northland. Toward this goal, we are assembling a team of people to examine identified issues and to propose recommendations. The team will consist of faculty members, students, community members representing organizations such as Sports Boosters and Jobs, Inc., and college staff members.

Specifically, the goals of the team will be to:

  • Explore options and make recommendations for adequate and affordable housing for students.
  • Assure Title IX compliance in the reinstatement of the football program.
  • Propose avenues for community engagement (internal and external) in support of the football program.
  • Propose ideas for the allocation of resources to assist with the sustainability of the football program and/or other athletic programs.

The group will begin to meet in mid-May. Recommendations will be formulated so that they can be integrated into the college’s Academic Master Plan (AMP). The AMP is scheduled to be completed in December. This timeline will allow the college to plan for the position within which the football coaching assignment will be included.

At the first meeting, the team will develop a schedule, an action plan, and a communication plan that will inform the community of progress.

Thank you for your continuing interest.

Anne Temte, President

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Weekly Update

Weekly Update
President Anne Temte
Monday, April 28, 2014

In the past few weeks, as the snow has retreated and fields are filled with water, huge flocks of swans have visited our area and graced our vistas with their presence. As I drive between our campuses, stanzas from a favorite poem by William Cullen Bryant (1815) come to mind:

All day thy wings have fann’d
At that far height, the cold thin atmosphere;
Yet stoop not, weary, to the welcome land,
Though the dark night is near.

And soon that toil shall end,
Soon shalt thou find a summer home and rest,
And scream among thy fellows; reeds shall bend
Soon o’er thy sheltered nest.

The swans remind me that life is cyclic. Despite our petty human foibles, the great arc of renewal continues. In this Weekly Update, I will share information on

• All-Employee meetings
• Telepresence
• Call-a-Thons
• Valley Prosperity Partnership


All-Employee Budget meetings

In the past week, the administration conducted three all-employee meetings to discuss the FY 2015 budget. Almost 70 college employees attended. Many good questions and suggestions were raised. The meetings were held simultaneously in the telepresence rooms at the East Grand Forks campus, the Thief River Falls campus, and the Aerospace site.



Speaking of telepresence…. I do hope all of you will have the opportunity to experience a meeting or class session in these fabulous settings. The Cisco telepresence technology is a huge step up from the interactive television (ITV) that we have become accustomed to and frustrated by. In the telepresence setting, individuals appear life-sized and are shown in a broad array across the front of the room. When two rooms are connected, they give the appearance of a large conference table with two tiers. The third room that is connected is shown in a reduced projection until someone at that site speaks. Then the third room becomes the dominant one on the screen and the second site recedes to the reduced projection.

Many of us who have attended meetings in this format actually forget where we were for the meeting.

The connection and communication is so real. In the past with the more traditional ITV rooms, meeting attendees would engage in vigorous conversation in their physical room, often forgetting to include the televised room.

Northland’s telepresence rooms were made possible through the Department of Labor grants that came to us to build our imagery analysis and geospatial intelligence programs. The benefit to the college, however, is much broader. This spring, math and English classes are being taught between campuses and many meetings have been scheduled that reduce the need for intercampus travel. Many other MnSCU institutions are considering adopting this technology. As they do so, more classes can be shared among colleges and unnecessary travel can be reduced.



Nearly 35 college faculty members, staff members, students, and administrators gathered last Tuesday evening in Thief River Falls and on Thursday in East Grand Forks to call a long list of potential students who had inquired about attending Northland in the fall. These potential students had come to career fairs, visited the campuses, called, inquired by email or had personal encounters with other students or college employees. Over 1,400 individuals were called during the call-a-thons!

We believe that this type of personalized outreach is an important tool in encouraging students to attend Northland. In the past year, we have used person-to-person calls to remind students of the need to make financial arrangements for paying tuition and fees and have greatly reduced the number of students whose enrollment is dropped for non-payment.

Congratulations to our Enrollment Management team for taking this idea to heart. Nicki Carlson was central to organizing and accomplishing the events.


Valley Prosperity Partnership

Last Friday, I was involved in the final foundational meeting of the Valley Prosperity Partnership Steering Committee. A media event to announce the strategies of the group going forward is scheduled for May 14.

Bill Marcil Sr., CEO of Forum Communications, initiated the partnership, with a generous personal gift. A steering committee of 26 leaders from business, educational institutions, and economic development organizations has met periodically for the past years to explore how the Red River Valley – from Whapeton to the Canadian border – can work collaboratively to insure long-term economic prosperity.

A consulting firm conducted interviews with more than 120 individuals. It examined data related to the growing economy, business health, community attributes, workforce, and education/research capacity. Strategic recommendations were drafted and refined through discussions with Steering Committee members.

Stay tuned for more information on this exciting partnership.


Upcoming College Events
Monday, April 28, 2014
• 10:00 am – Job Service ND – EGF Commons

Wednesday, April 30, 2014
• 10:00 am – Job Service ND Appointments – EGF

Thursday, May 1, 2014
• 10:00 AM – CNA Testing – EGF
• 3:30 PM – CNA Class #63 – Hybrid- EGF

Friday, May 2, 2014
• 2:00 PM – Phi Theta Kappa Induction Ceremony – EGF
• 1:00 pm – Baseball @ U of Winnipeg

Saturday, May 3, 2014
• 1:00 pm – Baseball vs. Itasca CC – TRF
• 3:00 pm – Baseball vs. Itasca CC – TRF

Sunday, May 4, 2014
• 1:00 pm – Baseball vs. Itasca CC – TRF
• 3:00 pm – Baseball vs. Itasca CC – TRF

Monday, May 5, 2014
• 6:00 pm – Taking Shape: 3D Printing – TRF

Tuesday, May 6, 2014
• 12:00 PM – Boiler Safety & Review – EGF

Thursday, May 8, 2014
• 12:00 PM – Boiler Safety & Review – EGF


My Schedule This Week

Monday, Apr. 28 – EGF – Ag Center of Excellence WebEx, Staff Advisory Council, NCTC Foundation Board Mtg

Tuesday, Apr. 29 – TRF – AFSCME Labor Mgmt. Mtg, TRF Chamber Of Commerce Annual Banquet

Wednesday, Apr. 30 – EGF – Catch-up Day

Thursday, May 1 – EGF – Exec Council, OTA Student presentations

Friday, May 2 – EGF – GFREDC Board Mtg, Pres. Legislative Update, PTK induction ceremony

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Weekly Update

What a glorious weekend! Warm temperatures, gently breezes, dying snow piles, and hope for more of the same. The weather moved many people outdoors on Sunday – walking, roller-blading, biking, egg-hunting, and even picnicking. When it gets good up here in the North, we really know how to enjoy it.

UAS Summit

This week I want to relate information about a great event that was held at Northland’s Aerospace Site at the Thief River Falls Regional Airport. US Representative Collin Peterson, a long-time supporter of Northland’s aviation-related programs, convened a summit to explore cooperation and collaboration between North Dakota and Minnesota in the emerging unmanned aerial systems industry.

Nearly 90 representatives of state and local government, business, agriculture, and educational institutions met. We were excited to welcome the Commissioners of Agriculture from both states, Senator Al Franken, state representatives Dan Fabian and Deb Kiel, MnSCU system office representatives, representatives from Senators John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp (ND) and Rep. Kevin Cramer (ND), mayors and city administrators from Thief River Falls and East Grand Forks, presidents and/or other representatives from Lake Region State College, University of North Dakota, North Dakota State University, University of Minnesota, UM-Crookston, Ridgewater College, and Central Lakes College, representatives from Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development and North Dakota’s Department of Commerce, representatives from Camp Ripley in Minnesota, economic development and chamber of commerce representatives, and representatives from ten companies prominent in either aviation or precision agriculture.

The summit began with a press conference featuring Rep. Peterson and Sen. Franken. Their comments set the stage for the day. Both expressed enthusiasm for the potential of the industry and the Minnesota’s fortunate proximity to North Dakota’s FAA test site. They stressed the integration of UAS into civilian and commercial venues and the need to test carefully and thoroughly. Our own Curtis Zoller, associate dean of aerospace programs, delivered a presentation on Northland’s capabilities in aviation maintenance technology, UAS maintenance, avionics, imagery analysis, and geospatial intelligence analysis. He informed the group about the MnSCU system and the strengths an assembled institution can bring to bear.

Participants were divided into four groups for a tour of the Aerospace site facility, seeing the Swenson Hangar, telepresence classroom, UAS and avionics labs, and intelligent classrooms where lectures can be video-captured for later use. Much of the new technological development was enabled by the recent Department of Labor grants.

After a networking lunch, the group reconvened for a presentation by Col. Robert (Bob) Becklund, Executive Director of the Northern Plains UAS Test Site. He related the history of how North Dakota was awarded the test site designation by the Federal Aviation Administration. He predicted that this test site will be the first of the six national sites to be permitted to engage in actual flight research. The cooperation among interested parties in North Dakota and the early investment and focus brought by the state’s congressional delegation were keys to success. He also stressed the tremendous potential for success of collaboration between North Dakota and Minnesota, citing the strong existing relationship between Northland and the University of North Dakota.

The summit concluded with a wide-ranging discussion of interests, ideas, and questions. Minnesota needs to achieve a common advocacy voice for support of this industry and economic development potential. Fortunately, our neighbors to the West have the experience and professional generosity to assist Minnesota in achieving this.

I am deeply grateful to the Northland team for their excellent work in collaborating with Rep. Collin Peterson’s office to organize a truly professional summit. I have received numerous notes from participants congratulating us for bringing about this important conversation. In particular, Dan Klug and Sheila Bruhn worked tirelessly to insure that all of the details were tended to. Curtis Zoller, Jim Retka, Jon Beck, Lynn McGlynn, Clinton Castle and staff were also very important to the success of this event.

I am so proud that Northland can be seen as a regional and, perhaps, national leader. These successes are the issues I want to concentrate on. Please read the accompanying editorial that will be submitted to the TRF Times this week that is dedicated to “Celebrations and Opportunities.”

VEX Robotics World Championship Tournament

Starting Thursday April 24th Northland Community & Technical College’s Robotics Team will be competing in the World Championship – VEX University Robotics Competition in Anaheim Ca. This competition hosts teams from exotic locations across the globe including New Zealand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Spain, and Thief River Falls, MN. Northland’s team will face 62 college teams in their division.

Northland’s team (ETAS) has been working overtime to design, build and program three separate robots for this competition. The students wish to thank their sponsors: Digi-Key, 360°, and Altoz Precision Mowers. These sponsors helped the team financially in their pursuit of going to the VEX World Championship. Students also fundraised to offset the trip costs. Each of the team members volunteered their time at VEX events at the high school level this year.

Northland granted UAS Certificate of Authorization

Curtis Zoller announced at the Northland UAS Summit that they have been given a certificate of authorization (COA) from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly small-unmanned aerial systems (SUAS) over agricultural areas in Roseau County Minnesota. Northland intends to use a hand launched SUAS to collect imagery of farm fields for use in Northland’s Imagery Analysis (IA) and Geospatial Intelligence (GeoInt) Analysis programs in order to aid in precision agriculture activities. This imagery will be used to develop useful information for farmers to enhance their farming practices, such as crop health monitoring, pest detection, and increased precision in variable rate applications. The information will lead to more environmentally conservative practices and help farmers be more profitable.

Northland has been working on the COA over the last two years. The COA grants Northland approval from the FAA to fly a small UAS in Roseau County under the following conditions:

  • Prior approval from landowner
  • Fly under 500′ over farm field locations
  • There must be a direct line-of-sight between the operator and the SUAS
  • The imagery collected will be used for Northland’s and the landowner’s educational purposes.


Upcoming College Events
Monday, April 21, 2014
• 3:00 pm – Softball @ NCTC vs. Central Lakes College Doubleheader
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
• 11:00 am to 1:00 pm Earth Day Campus Clean-Up
• 3:00 pm – Softball @ NCTC vs. Rainy River CC Doubleheader
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
• 1:00 pm – Baseball @ Rainy River CC Doubleheader
Thursday, April 24, 2014
• 3:00 pm – Softball @ NCTC vs. Hibbing CC
• 5:00 pm – Softball @ NCTC vs. Hibbing CC
Friday, April 25, 2014
• 9:00 AM – Pilot/Escort Driver Certification – TRF
Saturday, April 26, 2014
• 1:00 pm – Baseball @ Fond du Lac TCC Doubleheader
• 12:00 pm – Softball @ NCTC vs. Vermilion CC Doubleheader
Sunday, April 27, 2014
• 1:00 pm – Baseball @ Hibbing CC Doubleheader
Monday, April 28, 2014
• 10:00 am – Job Service ND – EGF
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
• 10:00 am – Job Service ND Appointments – EGF


My Schedule This Week
Monday, Apr. 21 – EGF – All-College meeting regarding budget
Tuesday, Apr. 22 – TRF – All College meeting, meeting with TRF Community Reps, evening inquiry calling
Wednesday, Apr. 23 – EGF
Thursday, Apr. 24 – TRF – day-time meetings, EGF – evening inquiry calling
Friday, Apr. 25 – Fargo – Valley Prosperity Partnership meeting, Twin Cities – Founding Flyers Gala

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Weekly Update

I spent five days in Washington DC last week. I am a member of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Commission on Research, Technology, and Emerging Trends. The meeting of this group coincided with the annual AACC Conference. The conference is always a wonderful opportunity to gain insight into the challenges faced and solutions achieved by community colleges throughout the nation. It was frosting on the cake to have the conference in the nation’s capital at the beginning of the cherry blossom season. Saturday was a gap day between the Commission meeting and the conference. I took full opportunity of the spring weather to walk many miles, see the museums and monuments, and stand in awe of the history and accomplishment of this country.

I will devote this update to some of the highlights of the conference and the trends that are emerging:

Keynote Speakers

Jim Collins, author of “Good to Great” and other books related to business leadership, related his ideas to community colleges. He noted that the “brutal facts” for colleges include low graduation rates, unproductive developmental education programs, public funding cuts, and a misunderstanding of the vital role that two-year colleges have in their communities. Recognizing these facts and still building a great team and focusing on “one big idea” are marks of great leadership.

Dr. Jill Biden spoke of her deep commitment to American community colleges and her adamant retention of a full-time teaching position at North Virginia Community College despite her involvement as the nation’s Second Lady. Vice President Joe Biden, referring to himself as “Middle Class Joe,” talked about his belief that community colleges are the greatest pathway to economic security. He announced the Registered Apprenticeship College Consortium (RACC), a new federal initiative that will make it easier for students to turn apprenticeship experiences into academic credit. The consortium will include colleges, employers and unions.

Gen. Colin Powell, former Secretary of State, delivered a great performance that closed the conference. He is much funnier that I could have ever imagined – particularly relating to his experience on the last day of his public service. His primary message was “optimism is a force multiplier,” urging attendees to recognize that difficult situations can be surmounted through positive focus on goals.

Developmental Mathematics

Many of the sessions at the conference focused on developmental math. College-level math is one of the most potent barriers to college completion. If in-coming students can successfully overcome their difficulties with math, they have a much better chance of completing their college program.

The Khan Academy offers tremendous resources for students and faculty members that are free and open source. Some colleges have developed learning labs that allow students to progress at their own pace, guided by faculty facilitators. Others have taken traditional classroom approaches, but have integrated new resources that are inexpensive for students.

Notable Alumni

A really moving part of the conference is the recognition of community college alumni who have done great things. This year the Association recognized, Toshiko Abe, Japan’s Parliamentary Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and alumna of Gadsden State Community College in Alabama; Geno Auriemma, Head Coach of women’s basketball at the University of Connecticut and alumnus of Montgomery County Community College in Pennsylvania; Doug Blevins, Kicking Coach in the NFL and alumnus of Virginia Highlands Community College, John Dau, Founder and CEO of the John Dau Foundation and lost boy of Sudan and an alumnus of Onondaga Community College, New York, Elias Provencio-Vasquez, Dean of the School of Nursing at the University of Texas at El Paso and alumnus of Gateway Community College in Arizona; and Joseph Searles, President of Joseph Searles & Company and alumnus of Pratt Community College in Kansas.

Their profiles are worth researching – all are inspiring. I was most moved by the stories of John Dau who survived a 1,000 mile trek from Sudan to refugee camps in Kenya as one of the “lost boys.” He thrived on the education he was able to acquire in the refugee camp and was sponsored to come to America where he attended Onondaga Community College. His experience was featured in the 2006 documentary film“God Grew Tired of Us.” He founded the John Dau Foundation which aims to transform health care in South Sudan.

The Kentucky Experiment

The Kentucky Community and Technical College System is engaged in a great experiment. It has developed a new online option for students that is called “Learn on Demand.” Courses are offered in modules. Students can pre-test and post-test to determine if they have already acquired the competencies that the module includes. If they have the competencies, they can proceed to the next module. Students pay a monthly subscription fee, rather than tuition per course or credit and can move through the curriculum at their own pace. The work of faculty is dis-aggregated. Some faculty members develop the curriculum and modules, some faculty members are available to students as individual mentors and tutors, and some faculty members conduct the assessments of student learning. So far, approximately 3,000 students in Kentucky are exploring this pathway.

Student Success Initiatives

Many sessions were devoted to student success initiatives. These really resonated with the work we are doing at Northland through our “Commit 2 Complete” initiative. Many colleges are trying a variety of approaches to increase student retention and completion. The most effective seem to relate to advising, personalizing approaches to students, and course section availability at the times that students need them.

I hope you all have a great week. We look forward to welcoming the entire Junior Class of Lincoln High School to the Thief River Falls campus on Tuesday. They will have a chance to meet with the faculty and students of programs that interest them. Last week, we had 200 students from regional high schools at a similar event in East Grand Forks.


Upcoming College Events

April 14-18: National Library Week observance at NCTC campus libraries

Tuesday, April 15, 2014
• 10:00 AM – Lincoln High School Junior Class Visit – TRF
• 9:00 PM – Rock ‘N Bowl – TRF

Wednesday, April 16, 2014
• 3:00 pm – Softball vs. Fond du Lac TCC
• 5:00 pm – Softball vs. Fond du Lac TCC

Friday, April 18, 2014
• TBD – Baseball vs. Vermilion CC
• TBD – Baseball vs. U of Winnipeg

Saturday, April 19, 2014
• TBD – Baseball vs. Vermilion CC
• TBD – Baseball vs. U of Winnipeg

Tuesday, April 22, 2014
• 11:00 AM – Earth Day Campus Clean-Up – TRF
• 3:00 pm – Softball @ Rainy River CC
• 5:00 pm – Softball @ Rainy River CC

Wednesday, April 23, 2014
• TBD – Baseball @ Rainy River CC

My Schedule This Week

Monday, Apr. 14 – EGF
Tuesday, Apr. 15 – TRF – Rep. Peterson UAS Summit
Wednesday, Apr. 16 – EGF
Thursday, Apr. 17 – TRF – Cabinet, NCTC Foundation Exec. Comm., EGF – GDREDC Annual Meeting
Friday, Apr. 18 – Possible Vacation

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Weekly Update

Vice President Carey Castle
Monday, April 7, 2014

Are you ready to be AMP’d?

As with many things in life, the better you plan the better the results will be. Higher education and Northland Community and Technical College in particular are no different when it comes to planning. Since our primary mission is to create a quality learning environment for all learners, this can be quite a task. The extremely challenging environment we operate in calls for us to balance student, business, industry, faculty, staff, and budget needs in the most efficient ways possible. Over the past decade, the preferred process to do that is through an Academic Master Plan (AMP) that strives to look ahead 5-10 years and analyze all of these needs. This is done through assessment of students, faculty, staff, business, industry, community, and national trends. Then the planning group will do a gap analysis and plan to move the institution academically towards those goals by incorporating the best programs, delivery methodologies, facilities, and other pieces that determine academic success. Of the things an institution can do to improve, this plan has the most significant impact on the college/university success.

One aspect of the AMP that is different from many other planning groups is how it is developed. The committee does put together a lot of material and carries the brunt of planning development; however the plan is consistently discussed and vetted throughout its development with the college community. Our group at NCTC decided to tackle this over two semesters breaking the plan development into manageable pieces. The first part would be development of our college goals. The second part of this effort will take place in the fall when our group will analyze and write the plan. One very important piece to remember is the strategic plan for the college will actually be revised beginning in the fall and incorporate the AMP as a central thread.

Beginning in February, the AMP Steering Committee met and began discussing the things we felt were important for academic success at NCTC. I am very excited by the enthusiasm and effort this group is putting into the process. We have people from all over the college participating including ADawn Melbye, Bobbie Taylor, Brent Braga, Dean Dalen, Don Fischer, Jason Trainer, Jim Retka, Jodi Stassen, Karl Ohrn, Lisa Bottem, Lynette Neppel, Mary Jo Bydal, Shannon Jesme, and Stephen Nelson. Hopefully we’ll add several students to this group at our next meeting.

In our initial discussions, the group worked four hours analyzing where the college is academically and where we should be focusing for the next five years. We asked questions about what we do for students and what should students expect from us. We want to know what the community looks for from students and from the college. What is our single most important tenant and how do those relate to our values as an institution? We also had starting discussions about our academic mission and vision. Finally, we began discussing the goals of the NCTC AMP and will be finalizing those in the days ahead. While this paragraph doesn’t do justice for the actual discussion, the opportunity to push for positive change is very exciting! The conversation and first draft ideas were great! As these get fully developed, we’ll be sharing them with everyone else for feedback and comments.

In a few weeks, we’ll have an update from our committee to let you know how things are going. We are also in the midst of setting up a web page with options for input from all of you. As you might imagine, NCTC is always looking at the future we want and trying to figure out the best ways to get there. In the higher education arena, getting the most efficiency for our students, faculty, and staff ultimately means helping the community and institution grow. As we move forward with this process particularly in the fall, we’ll be asking for your opinions too – please let us know what you’re thinking!

Upcoming College Events
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
• 10:00 AM – CNA Testing
• 3:00 pm – Softball @ Rainy River CC
• 5:00 pm – Softball @ Rainy River CC
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
• 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Career Expo
• 2:00 p.m. – Baseball @ M State
• 4:00 p.m. – Baseball @ M State

Friday, April 11, 2014
• TBD – Baseball @ Northland vs. Mesabi CC

Saturday, April 12, 2014
• TBD – Baseball @ Northland vs. Mesabi CC
• TBD – Baseball @ Northland vs. Moorhead State University
• 1:00 p.m. Softball @ Northland vs. Central Lake
• 3:00 p.m. Softball @ Northland vs. Central Lake

Sunday, April 13, 2014
• TBD – Baseball @ Northland vs. Mesabi CC
• TBD – Baseball @ Northland vs. Moorhead State University
• 1:00 p.m. Softball @ Itasca CC
• 3:00 p.m. Softball @ Itasca CC

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Weekly Update

This week, we are sharing with the college community – through meetings and editorials – the challenges facing Northland as we prepare our budget for FY2015. An allocation increase is included in the Governor’s proposed budget and in bills being considered by both the Minnesota House and Senate. This will certainly help with our budget planning. But, significant reductions still must be considered. Our communication this week will explain the context within which we are developing plans.

The second editorial that has been prepared for the Times of Thief River Falls is attached.

I have many positive notes to pass on this week and am very happy to devote the bulk of this update to them:

Justin Berry, instructor in the Physical Therapy Assistant program and Division Chair of Allied Health, has been notified that he is the recipient of the 2014 “FA Davis Award for Outstanding Physical Therapist Assistant Educator.” This award is given to one PTA educator annually by the American Physical Therapy Association’s Board of Directors. We are so pleased for this well-deserved recognition.

The APTA website states:

  • All nominees for the award must teach, or have taught, in an accredited physical therapist assistant education program from which students earn an academic degree, or in a developing physical therapist assistant education program that has established a formal liaison with the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).
  • All nominees must exhibit a strong commitment to physical therapist assistant education and to her/his students.
  • All nominees must demonstrate her/his commitment to the advancement of physical therapy education through participation in activities occurring at the state and national level.
  • All nominees must participate (or have participated) in activities that serve to advance, promote, and define physical therapist assistant education.
  • All nominees, through her/his efforts, must reflect (or have reflected) substantial commitment to physical therapist assistant education, the physical therapy profession, and to the American Physical Therapy Association.

Dawn Eickman, adjunct instructor in the Physical Therapy Assistant Program, has been selected to serve a three-month term as an item writer for the PTA licensure examination by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy.

Ron Dvergsten, Farm Business Management instructor and FBM program director, was named Outstanding Agriculture Educator in the state of Minnesota by the Minnesota Assoc. of Agriculture Educators (MAAE). He will officially receive the award in July at a summer conference in Red Wing, MN.

Don Campbell, instructor in Northland’s Computer and Network Technology program, has been recognized as an Advanced Level instructor by the Cisco Networking Academy. This recognition is awarded to the top 25 percent of instructors globally – all are cited on the Cisco NetSpace Recognition Program website. Don’s impressive accomplishments and contributions to the Cisco Networking Academy program brought him recognition in:

  • Participation in professional development opportunities
  • Attention to student needs
  • Student performance
  • Use of resources

Northland’s Marketing Department
The National Council for Marketing and Public Relations, in announcing its recognition program for 2013 states, “NCMPR’s prestigious Paragon Awards recognize outstanding achievement in communications at community and technical colleges. It’s the only national competition of its kind that honors excellence exclusively among marketing and PR professionals at two-year colleges.”

Congratulations to our team of Jason Trainer, Chad Sperling, Katie Jurvelin, and Matthew Brenden. Northland was recognized with four awards, the second largest collection of any college in the country:

  • Gold – College Website
  • Gold – Folder for Aerospace Recruitment
  • Silver – TV AD, Series
  • Bronze – Electronic Viewbook

Upcoming Trip 

On Thursday, I will leave for the American Association of Community Colleges annual conference in Washington, DC. I am completing the second year of a three year term on the Commission on Research, Technology, and Emerging Trends. It is really enlightening to work with the presidents of other community colleges throughout the US. By sharing observations and experiences, we are able to inform our national association of what is on the near horizon for our colleges.


Upcoming College Events
Saturday, March 29, 2014
• 1:00 pm – Baseball @ Mount Marty College
• 12:00 pm – Softball @ St. Cloud
• 3:00 pm – Baseball @ Mount Marty College
• 6:00 pm – Softball @ M State
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
• Registration opens for fall semester.
Saturday, April 5, 2014
• TBD – Baseball @ Crossover Tourney
Sunday, April 6, 2014
• TBD – Baseball @ Crossover Tourney
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
• 10:00 AM – CNA Testing
• 3:00 pm – Softball @ Rainy River CC
• 5:00 pm – Softball @ Rainy River CC


My schedule for the next two weeks:
Mon. Mar. 31 – TRF – AG Center of Excellence Web-EX
Tues. Apr. 1 – EGF – Meeting with Reps of UM-Crookston
Wed. Apr. – EGF – GGFYP Advisory Board, Student Senate
Thurs. Apr. – TRF – GFREDC Board, DEED meeting related to TRF Housing
Fri. Apr. – Washington DC – AACC Commission on Research, Technology and Emerging Trends

Mon. Apr. 7 – Washington DC – AACC Annual Conference
Tues. Apr. 8 – Washington DC – AACC Annual Conference
Wed. Apr. 9 – TRF – Shared Governance Meeting
Thurs. Apr. 10 – EGF – Exec Council
Fri. Apr. 11 – EGF/TRF





Concern has been expressed in the Thief River Falls (TRF) community about the TRF campus of Northland Community and Technical College (Northland). Northland’s decision to suspend the football program in December 2013 has resulted in these concerns being expressed publicly in media outlets.

We understand that supporters of Northland football may not understand or agree with the decision to suspend the program. It is also recognized that this decision may feed into a greater fear concerning the overall future of Northland’s TRF campus. Northland is committed to long-term success in TRF!

It is our desire, over the next few weeks, to present accurate information to address both the suspension of football and the generalized concern about the future of the TRF campus. It is our hope that this information will help create a more accurate understanding for the continued positive support and growth of Northland.

This week’s focus is on Northland’s Fiscal-Year 2015 Budget Challenges



Although State finance officials have projected a FY 2014 budget surplus of over $1.2 billion, this does not automatically trickle down to public institutions of higher education. State support, in the form of allocation, for each full-time Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) student has declined by nearly 45% since fiscal year (FY) 2000 (fall 1999-spring 2000), while the system educates 66,247 more students per year than it did in that year. Minnesota’s allocation reduction is among the nation’s deepest – in 1999, Minnesota’s higher education appropriation per student was 24% higher than the national average; it is now 17% below the national average.

Recently the following question was posed to the leadership at each of the MnSCU institutions: “What are you doing for budget cuts for FY 2015?” One college indicated it was exploring reductions well in excess of $1 million to be achieved with two layoffs, not filling vacated faculty positions following retirement, and other possibilities. A second college responded that reductions of approximately $1 million have been identified that will result in elimination of three or more academic programs as well as other identified reductions. A third institution indicated it is seeking to eliminate $1.45 million from the budget with possibilities to include keeping several vacant positions open, eliminating positions, not replacing a couple of retirees, and looking at increasing class enrollment caps. These reflect the reality of what is occurring throughout the MnSCU System. Minnesota State University-Moorhead has been featured in many news articles because of its plans to eliminate programs and tenured faculty positions.


There are two major challenges that remain in building a budget for FY 2015. They are:

• System Level Funding. Resources provided by the state were insufficient to address compensation increases in the FY 2015 – FY 2016 biennium. MnSCU requested an increase in the allocation of 3% for compensation increases; the legislature awarded 2.6%. This situation was exacerbated when Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) settled contracts with a couple of bargaining units that established a state pattern at 3.6% – 3.9% annually.

Northland and the MnSCU system may wish to provide the same level of compensation advancement to the college faculty bargaining units as was agreed to between MMB and the other bargaining units; however, at this time, the remainder of allocated salary dollars is insufficient to do so. MnSCU has calculated that the gap between available funds and anticipated compensation settlements that follow the state pattern is $48M for the current biennium (2014-2015).

As of this date, the Governor’s proposed budget for FY 2015 includes an additional base increase of $17 million for the system for FY 2015. The House Higher Education Committee has endorsed this amount. We are certainly grateful for this step forward.

• Local Level Funding. Enrollment declines have occurred at all but three MnSCU colleges during this fiscal year 2014. Northland also experienced an unexpected decline. A budget was built based upon a projection of 2715 full year equivalents (FYE). Actual enrollment for the year will be approximately 2500 FYE, representing a reduction of 8%.

The extremely low unemployment rate and the continuing decline of the high school population in our area are factors that contribute to the enrollment decline. The fact that there are ten institutions of higher education within 100 miles of Northland’s two campuses creates immense competition for the declining student population. An increasing percentage of our students are enrolled part time, rather than full time, probably indicating they are working while attending college. Loss of tuition revenue is a budget challenge that must be solved locally by adjusting programs and services to the size of our student population.


Although Northland has had to make some very difficult budget decisions in past years, it is in a relatively strong financial position. Of course, we must develop an annual budget that is balanced for cash (revenue = expenditures). At the same time, all MnSCU institutions are expected to budget for accruals and depreciation. For Northland, this amount is approximately $1.8M annually. In the past several years, we have been very successful in budgeting for both a balance in cash as well as for accruals and depreciation.

We are not optimistic however, about financial balance in FY 2015. With a significant number of unknowns, Northland’s finance office has identified the “worst case” and “best case” scenarios. With current enrollment projections and anticipating our proportional amount of the Governor’s proposed funding increase, Northland faces a $1.6 million cash deficit.

This level of projected deficit requires significant planning. All administrators have been directed to develop tentative strategies to reduce budgets by 4.5%, and 6.5%. By the end of May, a budget will be developed and shared with the college community.


Amidst the challenges, Northland’s leadership is not sitting by passively. Major efforts have been accomplished or initiated in strategic enrollment management and in master academic planning. Information about these endeavors will be shared in the weeks to come.

We are encouraged that current student inquiries and applications are up from this time last year. Assessment and advising sessions for incoming students are also beginning to fill up. Current and past student satisfaction with Northland remains positive as well.


Yes, Northland is a State entity and part of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. However, it remains your community college. It will only cease to be the community’s college when the community chooses to no longer support and attend Northland. May this never happen.

Therefore, Northland invites and encourages the community to:

  • Promote. Emphasize the range of programs offered by the college and the positive outcomes that students experience.
  • Invite. Encourage the young people in our region to attend Northland and take advantage of Northland’s affordable education.
  • Attend. Enroll in a course at Northland yourself for career improvement and advancement.
  • Support. Donate to the NCTC Foundation so they can continue to offer more scholarships to students to attend Northland.


Respectfully submitted,
Northland Community & Technical College Administration


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