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

 

 

EDITORIAL #2 – THE TIMES – TRF

NORTHLAND IS COMMITTED TO LONG-TERM SUCCESS IN THIEF RIVER FALLS

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

 

PROJECTED STATE BUDGET SURPLUS DOESN’T FIX HIGHER EDUCATION 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.


NORTHLAND HAS TWO MAJOR CHALLENGES IN UPCOMING FY 2015 BUDGET

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.


NORTHLAND MAY FACE UP TO A $1.6 MILLION DEFICIT

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.


NORTHLAND HAS SOLUTIONS IN THE MIDST OF CHALLENGES

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.


YOU HAVE THE POWER TO HELP

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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Weekly Update

We greeted the first day of spring with the ninth blizzard of the year. It is fortunate that our baseball and softball teams can play in the southern part of the state. Minneapolis – with its reputation of frigid temps – is regularly 20 degree warmer than it is up here. In southern Minnesota the snow is gone and some green is actually appearing.

In the past Sunday’s “Grand Forks Herald,” Publisher Mike Jacobs – who is retiring this week – reflected on change. His industry has certainly been rocked by change over the nearly 50 year span of his career. Over the span of my career, American Higher Education has also changed dramatically. Some of the change has been good, with concentrated emphasis on extending access and opportunity to a wider cross-section of the American population. Online education – once regarded with suspicion – is now a solid building block of the education of millions of people who find that asynchronous education allows them to accommodate the responsibilities of work and family.

Some change, however, is difficult to accommodate. Minnesota’s dis-investment in higher education over the past decade is one extreme challenge. In the first couple of years, reduced resources led only to greater efficiencies. Nearly all of us agreed that by becoming more efficient, we could demonstrate greater stewardship of public resources. When more recent reductions led to reduced programs and services, however, the promise of higher education becomes restricted and access and opportunity constrict.

Over the next several weeks, Northland’s administration is writing editorials that will address concerns that have emerged in the Thief River Falls Community:

• Higher Education funding in the State of Minnesota

• Facts about Northland TRF

• Challenges facing rural Minnesota colleges and campuses

• Football – the pathway forward

• Opportunities and celebrations

 

This is the text of the first editorial:

NORTHLAND IS COMMITTED TO LONG-TERM SUCCESS IN THIEF RIVER FALLS

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 several 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.

The topics that will be covered are:

  • Higher Education funding in the State of Minnesota
  • Facts about Northland TRF
  • Challenges facing rural Minnesota colleges and campuses
  • Football – the pathway forward
  • Opportunities and celebrations

 

NORTHLAND’S STATE FUNDING HAS DECREASED BY $5 MILLION.

There is good reason to be concerned about Northland’s budget situation in recent years. Minnesota’s public colleges have two main sources of revenue: state allocation and tuition. Since fiscal year (FY) 2008, Northland’s allocation has decreased by nearly $5 million. Out of concern for the rising costs of education, the legislature has limited institutions’ ability to increase tuition. During the current biennium (FY 2014 – FY 2015), NO increases are permitted for undergraduate tuition.

As a result of these factors, Northland has had to achieve greater efficiency in all of its activities and reduce academic, community and student services and offerings. Reduced academic offerings also drive lower enrollments. Lower enrollments exacerbate the loss of tuition revenue. This becomes a vicious cycle that is difficult to overcome.

It is important to note that Northland is not alone in these challenges. Currently 28 of the 31 colleges in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system (MnSCU) have experienced enrollment declines. MnSCU’s colleges and universities cannot make additional budget reductions without significantly impacting the quality of service and the opportunities we provide. Minnesota’s public colleges may not be able to fulfill its promise to address the workforce needs of our communities.


MORE THAN 35 FULL-TIME EQUIVALENT POSITIONS LOST

Since FY 2006, a total of 964 programs have been eliminated from MnSCU institutions. In FY 2012, reallocations and reductions resulted in layoff of 151 full-time equivalent positions (FTE) and the elimination of 276 vacant positions throughout the system.

Northland has had to do more with less. Since 2008, Northland has lost more than 35 full-time equivalent positions. If not for the nearly $10M in federal grants Northland has received, this loss would have been higher.

For greater context, additional MnSCU information is found at the following link: http://www.finance.mnscu.edu/budget/budgetrequests/pdf/House_HigherEd_Summary_2_8_13.pdf


NORTHLAND CONTINUES TO INVEST IN THE TRF CAMPUS

In a “Times” editorial in January, President Anne Temte provided assurances that Northland continues to make investments toward the long-term security of the TRF Campus with the following points:

• Long Term Airport Lease. On Northland’s behalf, MnSCU is negotiating a 30-40 year lease for the land at the TRF Regional Airport on which the Northland Aerospace buildings are located.

• $ 6 Million Aerospace Center. Northland’s proposal for a $6 million capital bonding project at the Aerospace site is ranked 16 out of 25 on the MnSCU capital bonding proposal. We have just completed the construction design phase of planning this project. If funds are awarded by the legislature, construction will begin in July on a brick-and-mortar building that will replace the old metal hangars. This new facility will connect the classroom building to the Swenson Hangar and will provide much greater security and modern technological infrastructure than existing hangar buildings.

• Student Housing Development. At the January MnSCU Board of Trustees meeting, Northland obtained permission to enter into negotiations with a private developer to build student-oriented housing on the Thief River Falls Campus. The need for this facility is acute, with demonstrated housing shortages throughout the community. This facility will meet a current need as well as positioning us for future growth.

It is important that members of the TRF community continue to support Northland by advocating for these efforts. Your support may be a determining factor in moving the items from concept to reality.

Other investments and improvements that have occurred over the past few years in the TRF campus include:

• Automotive Programs Improvements. All of Northland’s automotive programs at both campuses were merged and located at the TRF campus. The program labs were extensively remodeled and improved.

• KSRQ 90.1 & New Media Program Improvements. The radio station and new media program facilities were remodeled and updated with new technology.

• New Aerospace Programs. In addition to rebuilding the traditional aviation maintenance technology program, two cutting edge programs have been developed. Northland was awarded two federal grants totaling nearly $10M and is now offering first-in-the-nation civilian programs in unmanned aerial systems maintenance and imagery analysis / geospatial intelligence.

• Student Housing Loan Program. Northland created a loan program to assist TRF students in affording the deposits required for rentals apartment in the TRF community.

• NCTC Foundation / TRF Campus Scholarships. Annually, the NCTC Foundation awards an average of $100,000 in scholarship to students attending the TRF campus. Since 2009, the NCTC Foundation has awarded nearly $150,000 in addition to that annual amount. Most notably, the Ignite Post Secondary Enrollment Option (PSEO) scholarship program has awarded $30,000 to Lincoln High School graduates attending Northland in Thief River Falls.

All of these projects and programs demonstrate that Northland’s administration and NCTC Foundation directors are united and committed to sustaining and growing the TRF campus for decades to come.

 

YOU HAVE THE POWER TO HELP

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 it can continue to offer more scholarships to students to attend Northland.

Thank you in advance for your support.

Coming next week: Northland’s Fiscal-Year 2015 Budget Challenges.

 

Registration

Registration for summer, 2014 and fall, 2014 begins on Tuesday, April 1. Please direct any potential students who are interested in attending Northland to make an appointment with an advisor. All of our advisors are skilled at assisting students in their academic decisions.

 

Upcoming College Events

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

• 10:00 – CNA TESTING – TRF Campus

• 5:30 pm – EGF Spring Advisory Meeting

• 7:00 PM – Movie Night: “American Hustle” – TRF Campus Theater

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

• 12:00 pm – Diversity – Acceptance of Self and Others in College – EGF Commons

Thursday, March 27, 2014

• 12:00 PM – Diversity – Acceptance of Self and Others in College – TRF Campus Theater

• 1:00 pm – Baseball @ Dakota Wesleyan JV

• 3:00 pm – Baseball @ Dakota Wesleyan JV

Friday, March 28, 2014

• 1:00 pm – Baseball @ Dakota Wesleyan JV

• 12:00 pm – Softball @ Rochester CC

• 2:00 pm – Softball @ Anoka

• 3:00 pm – Baseball @ Dakota Wesleyan JV

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

• All Day – Registration opens for fall semester.

My schedule for this week:

Mon. Mar. 24 – EGF – Campus Management, Staff Advisory Council

Tues. Mar. 25 – TRF – Meetings, EGF – Spring Advisory Committee Dinner

Wed. Mar. 26 – TRF – Exec. Comm.

Thurs., Mar. 27 – EGF

Fri., Mar. 28 – EGF – am, TRF –pm – FBM meeting

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Weekly Update

Please join us in congratulating our Pioneer Women’s Basketball team for bringing home the first national championship in the history of Pioneer Athletics.  On Saturday, March 15, the team defeated first-seeded Rock Valley College in the finals by a score of 69 – 60, winning the 2014 NJCAA national championship.

On Sunday evening, the campus and community came together at the Northland gym to welcome the team and its coaches Shannon Nelson and Mandy Crittenden back after the victory.  It was wonderful to have this great accomplishment to celebrate.

Trends and Highlights

For the past several years, MnSCU Vice Chancellor of Finance Laura King has scheduled meetings for small groups of MnSCU institutions to get together to discuss challenges and opportunities.  This year, Northland was grouped with two other institutions from Northwest Minnesota – Minnesota State University – Moorhead and Minnesota State Community and Technical College (M-State).  All three institutions had prepared information on overall college financial condition, facilities challenges, academic initiatives, and personnel data.  All revealed a challenging future, with reduced enrollments, insufficient funding to cover inflation, and factors that cannot be controlled locally.

We were able to bring to life the conditions in NW Minnesota that are different from those in the Metro area.  Among them are the declining high school population, the very low unemployment rate, the relatively high beginning wages offered to attract employees from a thin employee pool, and the proximity to North Dakota with its wealth and its incentives to keep North Dakota students in North Dakota.

All of us emphasized that our institutions extend the promise of higher education to all areas of the state.  We provide the workforce that promotes economic vitality in rural areas and we are the portals for innovation and community engagement. Unfortunately, the financial realities of recent years have dimmed our promise.

Update on Football Suspension

Several letters related to the football suspension have been published by “The Times” in Thief River Falls.  Meetings have been held to discuss concerns about the future of the TRF Campus.   We certainly recognize the passion some people have for athletics and the disagreement many people have with our decision to suspend the football program.

The future of the TRF Campus is not in jeopardy.  As I discussed in an editorial in January, 2014, the college is exerting extreme efforts to strengthen the position of the campus and the college through a capital bonding project in Thief River Falls and working to secure housing on the TRF campus.

Future decisions about the football program must be influenced by more than just passion and disagreement.  It requires careful examination of many complex factors:

  • The college budget for FY2015 is extremely challenging.  This has been exacerbated by a decline in enrollment similar to that of other MnSCU colleges.
  • There is a significant shortfall in student life funds due to the decline in enrollment.  Against this backdrop, it is very difficult to fund the budget increases requested for Northland’s student life and athletics programs.
  • NCTC must adhere to the requirements of Title IX.  As a college, we need to determine which prong of compliance we will follow.  Even without a football program, the addition of a women’s sport might be needed to assure compliance, requiring additional funding from student life and/or general fund sources.
  • There is a severe housing shortage in Thief River Falls; assisting students to find housing has been extremely challenging.  We are going through all of the steps required by MnSCU to enter into an agreement with a private developer to build housing on college property; this is by no means a certainty at this point.
  • The level of support and supervision required for successful deployment of a football team justifies that the football coaching assignment be imbedded with a position on campus.  The administration did not believe that the position, as configured for the past several years (football, women’s’ softball, and Health, Physical Education and Recreation-HPER courses requiring a master’s degree) was a successful model.
  • Women athletes in the softball program have a right to expect coaching that puts them at a priority.

The college is engaged in a process to develop a strong Academic Master Plan that will guide college decisions over the next several years.  One thread of the Academic Master Planning Process (AMP) will focus on the role and importance of intercollegiate athletics.  A task group to reconsider football will fit within this planning process.  The following conditions for restoration have been established and communicated to the Northland faculty Shared Governance Council:

  • Northland must determine how it will satisfy the requirements of Title IX.
  • Housing that meets the needs of our students must be available on the Northland TRF campus or in the Thief River Falls community.
  • The restoration of football must be prioritized through college planning processes.
  • The football coaching assignment must be imbedded in a position that assures adequate supervision and support of student athletes in the football program.
  • There must be a plan to identify and secure financial resources to support a football program.

These are not unreasonable requirements.  In fact, they promote a healthy and sustainable program.


Upcoming College Events

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Friday, March 21, 2014

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

·         10:00 AM – CNA testing – TRF Campus

 

My schedule for this week:

Mon. Mar. 17 – TRF – Meeting with TRF Airport Authority

Tues. Mar. 18 – TRF

Wed. Mar 19 – TRF – Student Senate Consultations

Thurs., Mar. 20 – EGF – Cabinet Meeting

Fri., Mar. 21 – Fargo – Valley Prosperity Partnership Steering Committee Meeting

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Weekly Update

I’m looking out at another day of blizzard-y weather.  It is not a great start to Northland’s Spring Break – but at least the temperatures are a bit warmer.

There was some good news from St. Paul in the past week:

  • Minnesota Management and Budget announced that the February budget forecast for the state had improved by $408 million from November forecast.  Minnesota is now projecting a $1.233 billion surplus for the second year of the current biennium.
  • Governor Dayton released his supplemental budget proposal on March 6.  In it is a $17 million base allocation increase for MnSCU.  We are working hard to support this proposal as it passes to the Senate and the House.

Northland is still working on crafting a balanced budget for the next year and will keep providing information to the campuses and communities.

Other Happenings worth Noting:

  • Tishara Melcher, Massage Therapy instructor at the TRF campus, was featured in a story on the Bemidji State University website.  Tishara completed her bachelor’s degree through BSU’s extended learning program.  She was quoted saying, “What’s great about the BSU online program is that you’re still able to live life, get your degree and be balanced.  I was really able to do everything that I wanted.”
  • The Women’s Basketball team defeated Vermilion College 78 to 37 and will advance to the NJCAA Division III Women’s Basketball tournament March 13 – 16.  This tournament will be hosted by the Rochester Amateur Sports Commission in Rochester MN.
  • Northland freshman Jordan Engen is a Pioneer in more ways than one. Not only is he a member of the first Pioneer wrestling team to take the mat in more than 40 years but on Friday, Feb. 28 and Saturday, March 1, he became the first All-American in program history while competing at the NCAA National Championships in Spokane, Wash.  Engen concluded the tournament with a seventh place finish.
  • Kathy Huschle, Northland’s softball coach has announced the “Northland Pioneer Grip It ‘N Rip It Softball Clinic” on Saturday, March 15.  The announcement has been sent out to 52 area coaches inviting them to bring their players to the clinic that will focus on hitting and pitching.  The Northland coaching staff, players, and alumni will participate in the clinic.
  • Vice President Carey Castle has assembled the steering committee for the Academic Master Planning process.  Faculty members include Lynette Neppel, Steven Nelson, Brent Braga, and Don Fischer. The first meeting will be held on March 17; on April 4, the group will gather for a longer workshop to plan the process that will get underway during the fall in-service.

 

Upcoming College Events

Monday, March 10, 2014

·         Spring Break

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Friday, March 14, 2014

.Saturday, March 15, 2014

 

My schedule for this week:

Mon. Mar. 10 – Vacation

Tues. Mar. 11 – Vacation

Wed. Mar 12 – EGF – BGEA, Executive Committee

Thurs., Mar. 13 – Executive Committee Travel to Twin Cities

Fri., Mar. 14 – Brooklyn Park – Trends and Highlights meeting

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Weekly Update

As I mentioned last week, I took a few days off to begin the process of sifting through accumulated “stuff.”  Maybe this urge to “tidy up” is something that happens when one passes 60 years old and is planning for a simpler future.  For years – and over several cross-country moves – I have carried boxes of letters and papers from my past.  I had put so much work into my college and grad school papers, my lecture preparations, and my work in human resources, student services and academic administration that I have been loath to discard this work.  Of course, much of this early work was done on a type-writer, without electronic back-up.

I had boxes of letters also – all hand-written or type-written.  This load was made heavier this past summer when my siblings and I sold our parents’ home and divided up the boxes of papers and letters accumulated over their lifetimes.

As well as the task of organizing and sorting, last week was filled with reminiscing.  I felt again the excitement of preparing to teach a course in invertebrate zoology, the pain of unreturned affection, the love of my mother who died in 1972.  Now, when we text, and email, and tweet – will future generations be faced with the task of sorting a lifetime of papers and letters?  Will my children be luckier that they will not have to dig through a mountain of accumulated writing – or will they be impoverished?

Ah, well – back to the work of today.  As I have shared with you over the past several weeks, our Minnesota public colleges and universities have momentous challenges.  I will be active with other MnSCU presidents during the legislative session to insure that our legislators fully understand the importance of these institutions and the serious challenges that lie ahead.

 

Positive Notes for the Week

  • Ralph Cox, math instructor at the TRF Campus organized the 9th annual MathCounts tournament hosted by Northland.  Between 90 and 100 middle school students from twelve schools throughout NW Minnesota participated.  Many departments were involved in making this a successful event:  the Learning Center for organizing and grading tests, Enrollment Management for the donation of t-shirts, instructors for relocating classes, the kitchen staff for meals and snacks, the IT staff for help with technology, and the maintenance staff for set-up and clean-up work.  This is a great way to promote STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and Northland Community and Technical College!
  • The Thief River Falls Campus hosted a Career Expo Day on Feb. 19.  More than 100 students and counselors from ten area high schools participated.  Many faculty members and current NCTC students took time out of their schedules to participate and engage with these prospective students.  Visiting students filled out an evaluation of their experiences. The positive comments about the hand-on activities and setup of the day were overwhelming.  Nicki Carlson, organizer of the event wrote “The only consistent request from our visitors was to increase the time for students in the classroom.  This is a huge compliment to the level of engagement our prospective students encounter from our faculty and students.”  Again, kudos to all of those who made this event such a positive one.
  • Northland is in only its first season of intercollegiate wresting.  Already, there has been significant success.  In mid-February, a couple of Northland’s wrestlers qualified for the national tournament.  Jordan Engen and Craig Williams are travelling to Spokane to compete against some of the best scholarship-granting colleges in the country.  Northland, as part of the Minnesota Collegiate Athletics Association, does not offer scholarships.  We are very proud of these athletes and of Coach Scott DCamp.
  • Another Northland online course has been certified by Quality Matters!  EGF instructor Farah Rahnama’s Math 0094 Pre-College Algebra course received this recognition recently.  Quality Matters is a national-recognized process through which online courses are evaluated.  Northland is very proud of the faculty members who have done the extra work to have a total of 20 courses certified in this manner.  Elizabeth McMahon, a Northland instructor is leading the QM effort state-wide.

Have a great week, everyone!

 

Up-coming Events

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Saturday, March 1, 2014

·         Graduation applications due

Friday, March 7, 2014

Monday, March 10, 2014

·         Spring Break

 

My schedule for this week:

Mon., Feb. 24 – EGF, Leadership Council Conference Call

Tues., Feb. 25 – TRF – Staff Advisory Council, Travel to St. Paul

Wed., Feb. 26 – St. Paul – House Higher Education Committee Hearing

Thurs., Feb. 27 – EGF – Exec. Comm., EGF City mtg

Fri., Feb. 28 – EGF – Facilities Master Plan, Presidents’ Legislative Update Conference Call

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