Weekly Update President Anne Temte

I have never jumped from a plane with a parachute. I have talked to people who have, however. They talk of the joy of flying through the air before deployment of their chute. Then the chute opens and they drift, with the ability to relax and look around at the landscape and the clouds. Finally, they experience “ground rush,” as they approach landing. Everything seems to accelerate in that final phase.

I am entering the “ground rush” phase of my departure from Northland. Up until this week, I have felt as if everything for me is business as usual. Except for all of the complex manuals and paperwork associated with retirement benefits, my life at Northland has continued to be filled with meetings, decisions, and delightful conversations with colleagues and students in the halls and in our communities.

This week, I will experience my last graduations as president; I will preside over the last employee recognition events; and write my final “Weekly Update.” The last six weeks until June 30 will fly by, as I go through files, move personal effects from my offices, and assure that everything is as ready as it can be for my successor.

We’ve been through a lot together. I feel that at Northland we have worked together to achieve many powerful and positive things, even though these have been times of challenge for public institutions:

  • We took serious action, early in the recession, to address budget reductions. We identified factors that could be affected locally and those that were beyond local control. Consequently, we have consistently balanced our budgets and actually built reserves to buffer us from future financial storms
  • We experienced a significant increase in the diversity of our student body. We contribute to the success of first-time students, students from poverty, and multicultural students in greater numbers than ever before.
  • Our communities recognize how important Northland is to workforce training and economic development
  • We’ve had cooperative relationships with all of our employee unions. It has been a real pleasure to openly discuss and resolve issues
  • We’ve drawn in unprecedented levels of extramural funding that have allowed us to develop exciting, innovative new programs that distinguish Northland
  • We have achieved a full merger of our two campuses – at least at the administrative and operations level – while preserving the unique character of each
  • Our audits are very clean – we have not had a significant finding for several years
  • Our college accreditation and our program accreditations are strong. Time after time, teams that conduct the on-site visits commend Northland’s programs for being well-organized, providing excellent student experiences, and producing excellent results for our students
  • We have completed many capital projects that have improved the functions of our campuses
  • We have beautiful, well-kept facilities
  • We have technology services that protect our data security and assure constant high functioning performance
  • We have tremendous support from members of our community advisory committees, program advisory committees, employers and other partners
  • We are a stand-out among MnSCU institutions for the clarity, completeness, and currency of our policies and procedures
  • We have had great stability in our personnel – some staying with Northland for more than 40 years
  • We have weathered many controversies and emerged stronger and with more understanding from our communities. Even the suspension of the football program has brought a restart with better expectations for community support and the team’s academic performance and off-field conduct

Being president of Northland Community and Technical College has been an honor. It has truly been the high point of my long career in higher education. I will leave you with a keen interest in following your future successes.

I do not view my pending departure as retirement, but rather, as a commencement. Like our students, I will leave Northland with optimism for the future and energy for new opportunities and adventures. I have been blessed with good health and a generally positive outlook on life.I hope to use these attributes for good.

Hope you all have a wonderful week!

Upcoming College Events
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
 11:30 am – Campus Potluck and Employee Recognition – TRF Campus
 4:00 – 6:00 pm – College/Community Reception for Retiring President, Anne Temte – TRF Commons
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
 11:45 am – Campus Potluck and Employee Recognition
 4:00 – 6:00 pm – College/Community Reception for Retiring President, Anne Temte – TRF Commons
 6:00 pm – Graduate Banquet – EGF Campus Commons
Thursday, May 14, 2015
 TBD – Softball @ National Tournament
 3:45 pm – Nightingale Ceremony, LPN Students – TRF Theater
 7:00 pm – Graduation – TRF Campus – Gymnasium
Friday, May 15, 2015
 11:00 am – Graduation – EGF Campus – Chester Fritz Auditorium, UND Campus

My Schedule this Week
Monday, May 11 – EGF – Exec Committee
Tuesday, May 12 – TRF – Employee Recognition Potluck, Reception
Wednesday, May 13 – EGF – Employee Recognition Potluck, Reception, Graduation Banquet
Thursday, May 14 – TRF – Nursing Nightingale Ceremony, TRF Campus Graduation
Friday, May 15 – EGF – EGF Campus Graduation

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OTA/PTA Poster Presentation, Business After Hours Meet and Greet, LPN Licensure Pass Rates, Welding Students, NOCTI Test Results, Aerospace Groundbreaking, & Closing Days of the Legislature

Weekly Update
President Anne Temte
Monday, May 4, 2015

There are many exciting things happening at Northland as we move toward the end of the year! There is nothing better than seeing the success and development of our students and I have many great stories to relate this week:

  • OTA/PTA Poster Presentation Session
  • Business After Hours Meet and Greet
  • LPN Licensure Pass Rates
  • Welding Students
  • NOCTI test results
  • Aerospace Groundbreaking
  • Closing Days of the Legislature


OTA/PTA Poster Presentation Session
– On Thursday, April 30, the Occupational Therapy Assistant and Physical Therapy Assistant students came together to present posters related to their clinical work or research topics. I was absolutely awed by the professionalism of these students. The PTA students presented posters that explained therapies that they delivered in the clinical setting, with descriptions of the patient and the patient’s injury, research justifying the treatment, the treatment regimen, and the results. The OTA students each displayed posters that presented research on how occupational therapy can assist people in various populations or settings. Each student stood by their poster and eagerly discussed them with attendees.

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Many clinical professionals as well as college employees attended. I was really impressed by how articulate all of these students were and how professionally they dressed and presented themselves. Clearly, these students are ready to succeed in their chosen professions. Kudos to OTA instructors Kara Welke and Cassie Hilts and PTA instructors Justin Berry and Shelley Koerber.

Business After Hours Meet and Greet – Another great event held on April 30th was the reception hosted by Northland’s Business students. Guests were welcomed by students and faculty in the fireplace foyer – EGF Campus. This function was well attended by the business community providing interaction and networking opportunities for all. Thanks to everyone who participated!

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LPN Licensure Pass Rates – We just got the very good news that the cohort of licensed practical nursing graduates who took their NCLEX licensure exam had a pass rate of 96.36 percent. Northland had the largest number of students taking the exam among MnSCU colleges. Fifty-three of our 55 students passed the exam on the first attempt.

Welding Students – Brian Suckow reported that two of his students, Jace Landman and Donald Stewart volunteered to teach students at Hillsboro High School. There has been a vacancy there ever since the unfortunate bus accident that killed the driver/welding instructor in January. Brian’s students helped HHS students to begin and strengthen their welding skills. Nikki Holter, from HHS wrote, ”They were insightful and attentive to the differing needs of my students and especially helped to put the beginners’ nerves at ease by being very patient and encouraging.”

NOCTI test results – All technical program students must now take an appropriate test from the national Occupational Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI). Dean Brian Huschle shared the following: “Many of our Business and Technical programs have their students completing the NOCTI assessment examinations in their fields of study. So far the results are good with many of our programs comparing favorably to results from programs within Minnesota and nationally. A highlight with the results we have so far this year is our Computer and Network Technology program. The cohort averaged over 15 points higher than both the State and National in overall results and finished stronger than State and National results in each of the eleven categories of assessment, ranging from Network Connections, Network Standards, and troubleshooting to Network Architecture and Security.

It is great to see how favorably our programs compare – and also a great opportunity for faculty using these types of assessment exams to continue to strengthen our programs while better preparing our students for their careers.“

Aerospace Groundbreaking – Friday, May 1, was a glorious day for a groundbreaking. After a very foggy morning, the skies cleared and bright sunshine accompanied the brief speeches and ceremonial dirt-throwing that broke ground for the new building at the Aerospace Site at the TRF Regional Airport. This will be a great addition that will modernize shop, hangar, and lab space. It will provide greater security, technological capacity, and energy savings.

Closing Days of the Legislature – Throughout the state, colleges and universities and their communities are striving to influence the Minnesota Legislature to adequately support higher education. The MnSCU budget request was for $142 million in new money for the biennium. This would allow us to continue to freeze tuition for two more years. Keep your fingers crossed!

Hope you all have a wonderful week!

Upcoming College Events

Wednesday, May 6, 2015
• 1:00 pm – Storm Water Annual Meeting – EGF 301

• 1:00 pm – Baseball @ M State Fergus Falls – Double Header

Thursday, May 7, 2015

• TBD – Softball @ Region 13B Tournament

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

• 11:30 am – Campus Potluck and Employee Recognition

• 4 to 6 pm – College/Community Reception for Retiring President, Anne Temte – TRF Commons

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

• 11:45 am – Campus Potluck and Employee Recognition

• 4 to 6 pm – College/Community Reception for Retiring President, Anne Temte – EGF Fireplace Foyer

• 6:00 pm – Graduate Banquet – EGF Campus Commons

Thursday, May 14, 2015

• TBD – Softball @ National Tournament

• 3:45 pm – Nightingale Ceremony, LPN Students – TRF Theater

• 7:00 pm – Graduation – TRF Campus – Gymnasium

Friday, May 15, 2015
• 11:00 am – Graduation – EGF Campus – Chester Fritz Auditorium, UND Campus

My Schedule this Week
Monday, May 4 – St. Paul – MnSCU Leadership Council Tuesday, May 5 – St. Paul – MnSCU Leadership Council Wednesday, May 6 – St. Paul – Attending Northland Mtgs by ITV – AFSCME Labor/Mgmnt, SGC Thursday, May 7 – Vacation Friday, May 8 – Vacation

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AACC National Convention, MnSCU Board of Trustees Awards for Excellence in Teaching, XNOR Dominates at International Competition, Aerospace Ground-Breaking, & Northland Student Wins Mark M Welter World Citizen Award

Some weeks, I struggle with trying to find enough new information to fill this space. This week, my problem is just the opposite! So much is happening locally, on the state level, and nationally, that I am sure I will spill over into next week.

This Update will focus on:

  • AACC National Convention
  • MnSCU Board of Trustees Awards for Excellence in Teaching
  • XNOR Dominates at International Competition
  • Aerospace Ground-Breaking
  • Northland Student Wins Mark M Welter World Citizen Award

American Association of Community Colleges National Convention I had a wonderful opportunity to look at Northland from the perspective of what is happening in community colleges across the country. As a member of the Commission on Technology, Research, and Emerging Trends, I was involved in a very interesting discussion of how recent reductions in public support for community colleges is changing expectations, modifying how education is delivered, and threatening sustainability. The manner in which colleges are funded varies widely from state to state. Many states utilize local property levies and, consequently have lost almost all state support. Minnesota’s relatively high tuition reflects that its community colleges have only two sources of revenue: tuition and state allocation.

Malcom Gladwell, author of many stimulating books, including ‘The Tipping Point” and “Blink,” provided the keynote presentation of the convention. In brief, he spoke of the unique sets of happenings that lead to individual success. For some, the collection of environment, experiences, family background and financial resources nearly guarantees success. For others, success is rarer and is dependent on fortunate circumstances and adequate support. Public and private investments tend to be concentrated on those with the greatest likelihood of success ($50,000 collective public support for a student at top university vs $2,000 for a student at a community college). His strong premise is that society leaves a great deal of potential on the table by not investing in those who need more financial and emotional support to succeed.

Clearly, the promise of America’s community and technical colleges to provide access and opportunity to all is threatened by reduced public support and by the priority we, as a society, put on these institutions and their students.

MnSCU Board of Trustees Awards for Excellence in Teaching Carey Castle and I were very pleased and proud to attend the MnSCU Board’s Awards for Excellence ceremony last Wednesday. Our own Andrew Dahlen was one of the 35 faculty members from Minnesota community and technical colleges who were recognized. This is a fabulous celebration of the great and creative work that goes on in our classrooms.

XNOR Dominates at International Competition And, while I’m on the subject of Andrew Dahlen, XNOR – Northland’s Robotics Team – won the Amaze Award at the VEX Robotics World Championship Tournament held at the Kentucky Expo Center in Louisville Kentucky on April 15-18th. This is the largest robotics competition in the world with over 800 teams and 15,000 participants. An event to celebrate this achievement will be scheduled soon.

Aerospace Ground-Breaking An official ceremony to mark the start of the capital project at the Aerospace site at the TRF Regional Airport is scheduled for Friday, May 1 at 10:30 am. Our legislators (Sen. LeRoy Stumpf, Rep. Dan Fabian, and Rep. Deb Kiel), who worked so hard to secure this project for Northland, will be on hand if their legislative schedules permit. This project will provide technologically modern, secure space for our programs and will reduce utility costs significantly.

Northland Student Wins Mark M Welter World Citizen Award One of our graduating students, Abigail (Abby) Bak, is this year’s recipient of the Mark M Welter World Citizen Award. This is a nice award that goes to students who exhibit an awareness of important multi-cultural issues along with the kinds of values that make for a good global citizen. She was nominated by philosophy instructor Stephen Nelson. MnSCU Senior Vice Chancellor John O’Brien announced the awards and wrote, “Thanks to Dr. Welter’s generous donation to our colleges and universities, twenty students have been selected to receive $500 Mark M. Welter World Citizen Awards for the spring 2014-2015 academic year.”

Hope you all have a wonderful week!

Upcoming College Events
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
• 4:00 pm – Softball vs. Mesabi Range CC – TRF
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
• 9:00 am – Career Expo – EGF Campus
• 1:00 pm – Baseball vs. Hibbing – Double Header – TRF
Thursday, April 30, 2015
• 11:00 am – Shoes 4 Kids Shoe Drive – EGF Commons
• 9:30 am – University of Minnesota- Crookston visit – TRF Theater Lobby
• 1:30 pm – University of Minnesota – Crookston visit – EGF Commons
Saturday, May 2, 2015
• TBD – Softball @ Conference Tournament
• 1:00 pm – Baseball @ Itasca CC – Double Header
Sunday, May 3, 2015
• 1:00 pm – Baseball @ Itasca CC – Double Header
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
• 1:00 pm – Storm Water Annual Meeting – EGF Campus, Rm 301
• 1:00 pm – Baseball @ M State Fergus Falls – Double Header

My Schedule this Week
Monday, Apr. 27 – EGF – meetings
Tuesday, Apr. 28 – TRF – meetings
Wednesday, Apr. 29 – TRF – TRF Chamber Dinner
Thursday, Apr. 30 – EGF – Exec Committee, Master Facility Planning
Friday, May 1 – TRF – Aerospace Ground-breaking

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President’s Weekly Update

Weekly Update
President Anne Temte
Monday, April 13, 2015

I approach this week with overstressed muscles, back, and bones. We have sold our house in EGF and are downsizing until we relocate to Arizona. Deliberate exercise makes me feel young and energetic. The kind of exercise we indulged in this weekend does not make me feel young. Although for a couple of young thinking ‘60 something’, we do pretty well. Advice to young people just starting out: never buy anything heavier than 20 pounds or bigger than a breadbox!

I’ll start this Weekly Update with a couple of notes and then focus on the impact that the recession of 2008 had on American Higher Education.

Notes

  • Check out the special music events at the TRF Campus this week. The Music Department’s Spring Concert will be held on Thursday, April 16 at 7:00 p.m. in the Campus Theater.

    Then on Saturday, April 18, (6:30 p.m.) and Sunday, April 19 (2:30 p.m.) enjoy a full meal and two hours of entertainment at a HOEDOWN in the Gunderson Commons. Cost is just $12.00. Featuring the Northland Chamber Choir and Northern Jazz, under the direction of Linda Samuelson, the music selections will spotlight country music hits from over the decades. (Doors will open 30 minutes prior to event.)

  • The Computer Networking Club on the EGF Campus will be providing volunteer IT help at the Grand Forks Senior Center on April 21 and 22. The group will be helping individuals with their cell phones, computers, e-readers, and tablets.
  • I will be attending the American Association of Community Colleges annual conference April 17 through the 21. I have been a member of the Commission on Technology, Research and Emerging Trends for three years. This meeting will be my last, fulfilling my commitment to the Commission. I will bring back interesting information to share.
  • On April 22, the MnSCU Board of Trustees will host their annual recognition of excellence in teaching awards luncheon in St. Paul. Andrew Dahlen, NCTC instructor of Electronics and coach of Northland’s Robotics Team will be recognized as one of 35 excellent instructors in the MnSCU system.

Lingering Impact of the 2008 Recession on American Higher Education – In these final Weekly Updates, I am summarizing what has changed in higher education over the nine years that I have served as president of Northland.

None of us can forget the sudden deterioration of economic conditions that occurred in October, 2008. Many businesses downsized, people lost jobs or couldn’t find work, retirement savings shrank and older workers remained in the workforce, state tax revenues shriveled. As a consequence, many states suffered severe budget deficits. In Minnesota, we approached the 2009-2010 biennium with a $2 billion shortfall.

During the next three biennia, MnSCU colleges and universities faced sharp reductions in state allocation. At the same time, family and student spending power was reduced by unemployment or underemployment. Concern for student debt led both the legislature and the MnSCU Board of Trustees to limit tuition growth; in the last biennium, the legislature froze tuition. This shrinkage of funding to higher education occurred across the country.

Most institutions of higher education have had to deal with shortfalls in revenue. Salaries grew slowly or were frozen. At first, colleges reduced the numbers of sections of classes to increase efficiency. Unfortunately, this led to fewer choices and less convenience for students. More classes were moved online where students could access them from anywhere. As the deficit deepened, staff positions were eliminated, academic programs were suspended, faculty positions were reduced, and innovation and new program development slowed considerably.

Although we have felt these constrictions sharply at Northland, the pain was widespread. National publications reveal that institutions across the country have had to make similar hard decisions. In our own area of Minnesota, we have seen serious reductions at MSU – Moorhead, Bemidji State University, and Northwest Technical College.

The only positive impact of the 2008 Recession was that it led to increases in enrollment. When unemployment rises, many people look to education, particularly technical education as a way to train or retrain for better employment when jobs become available. Northland had its highest enrollment ever in FY2010 when we recorded more than 2900 FYE. The tuition gathered from students mitigated the reduction in the state allocation.

I am proud to note that, at Northland, we worked very hard to address the difficulties of the recession and actually improved the financial foundations of the college during this time. Northland now has a strong fund balance and reserve and has a respectable Composite Financial Index (COI) – a measure that receives very critical review from the Higher Learning Commission, our accrediting body.

Next week I will focus on the economic recovery and its impact on American Higher Education.

I do hope you all have a wonderful week.

Upcoming College Events
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
 1:30 pm – Soccer Club: Watch Soccer Games – EGF 236
 3:00 pm – Softball @ Rainy River CC
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
 1:00 pm – Baseball vs. Rainy River CC – Double Header – TRF
Thursday, April 16, 2015
 3:30 pm – TRF Student Senate WaterPark Trip – TRF Seven Clans Waterpark
 7:00 pm – Music Department Spring Concert – TRF Campus Theater
Friday, April 17, 2015
 1:00 pm – Baseball @ U of M Crookston – Double Header
Saturday, April 18, 2015
 1:00 pm – Baseball vs. Vermilion CC – TRF
 1:00 pm – Softball @ Central Lakes College
 6:30 pm – Hoedown! – TRF Gunderson Commons
Sunday, April 19, 2015
 1:00 pm – Baseball vs. Vermilion CC – TRF
 1:00 pm – Softball vs. Itasca Community College – TRF
 2:30 pm Hoedown! – TRF Gunderson Commons
Monday, April 20, 2015
 TBD – PTK Club: Commit to Complete – EGF Commons
 10:00 am – CNA Testing – EGF
 10:00 am – PTK Club: Job Service of ND – EGF Commons
 11:00 am – Rad Tech Club: Food Drive – EGF Commons
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
 12:00 pm – Earth Day Campus Clean Up – EGF Foyer
Thursday, April 23, 2015
 11:30 pm – Earth Day Campus Clean Up – TRF Campus
 1:00 pm – Baseball @ Bemidji State University – Double Header
 3:00 pm – Softball vs. Lake Region State College – TRF

My Schedule this Week
Monday, Apr. 13 – TRF – FBM mtg, NCTC Foundation Board meeting
Tuesday, Apr. – 14 – TRF
Wednesday, Apr. 15 – EGF
Thursday, Apr. 16 – Travel to AACC Conference, San Antonio
Friday, Apr. 17 – AACC Commision on Technology, Research, and Emerging Trends, San Antonio

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President’s Weekly Update

A few weeks ago, I wrote that I would focus some of my final Weekly Updates on changes that have occurred over the past nine years that brought new challenges to American Higher Education. I read three news feeds every day that bring headlines from higher education across the country. In recent weeks, there has been an escalation in the number of colleges and campuses that have either announced closures or are having to consider this drastic action. Many other colleges and universities face downsizing and reductions due to strained resources.

Clearly, the fondly-held notions or memories we hold of what college is — are being challenged. It is the minority of students who have the luxury of coming to college immediately after high school graduation with all of their expenses covered by parents, grants or scholarships. I remember my parents discouraging me from working while being a college student; they felt that I needed to have all my time to study (and socialize). In the 70s, we studied a wide range of liberal arts classes, went to Saturday football games, participated in campus clubs, lived in a dorm, and ate at the college cafeteria. We had the certainty that our education would lead us to fulfilling careers and a successful life.

Things are very different now. Since the mid-1960s, community and technical colleges have become a major player in the higher education scene. Most of our students work, many have families and jobs. Online options have many students attending college from home at all hours.

The past decade has been a period of increasingly critical review of American Higher Education and has led to concern, proposed solutions, and legislative action. Among the issues are:

Student Loan Debt – The public and state and federal legislatures are concerned about student loan burdens. Stories of students leaving a four-year education with debts of more than $100,000 have shocked the public. Today, student loan debt exceeds credit card debt in the United States. In Minnesota, this has led to a legislatively-mandated freeze on tuition growth. Colleges must assume a greater role in advising students on the long-term obligations of taking on student loans. Getting a big check to pay for educational expenses seems wonderful to an 18-year old, but it creates a multi-year tail of repayments that sometimes exceed house payments – a burden that severely limits the freedom of new graduates.

Completion Rates at Public institutions – The Chronicle of Higher Education publishes the graduation rates for all colleges and universities in the United States. In Minnesota, only 34.2 % of students graduate with a bachelor’s degree in four years; 58.6% graduate in six years. At Minnesota’s public two-year colleges, only 25.3% graduate in three years – but this is considerably better than the national average of 19.4%. This data is somewhat misleading in that the only students who are included in these statistics are those attending college for the first time and who are full-time students. At community and technical colleges, only 30.1% of students fit this category. But, the data has caught the attention of the public, state legislatures, and even the federal government and the president.

Poor Rates of Employment Related to Education – Connected to concern about completion were the increasing reports of recent graduates not being able to find jobs related to their degrees. And, to employment that did not give the graduate a salary that allowed repayment of student loan debt. We’ve all heard stories of the Ivy-League graduate serving coffee at Starbucks. The lack of solid employment opportunities, particularly for liberal arts graduates, has made the public question the value of higher education. And, I believe it has led to greater emphasis on workforce education.

Return on Investment of Public Dollars – With poor completion rates and anecdotes of underemployed or unemployed graduates, people wonder if there is a reasonable return on the investment of public funding. When the recession of 2008 hit, completion rates were some of the statistics used to justify reductions in public support.

Next week, I’ll focus on the impact that the recession of 2008 had on American Higher Education; these impacts continue to reverberate.

I do hope you all have a wonderful week.

Upcoming College Events
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
 11:00 a.m. – Upper Iowa University Transfer Visit – TRF Theater Commons
 3:00 p.m. – Softball vs. Dakota College Bottineau – TRF
 5:00 p.m. – Softball vs. Rainy River Community College – TRF
Thursday, April 9, 2015
 11:00 a.m. – OTA Awareness Month Open House – EGF Campus RM 360
Saturday, April 11, 2015
 11:00 a.m. – Softball @ NDSCS
Sunday, April 12, 2015
 12:30 p.m. – Baseball @ Concordia College – Double Header
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
 3:00 p.m. – Softball @ Rainy River CC
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
 1:00 p.m. – Baseball vs. Rainy River CC – Double Header – TRF
Thursday, April 16, 2015
 3:30 p.m. – TRF Student Senate WaterPark Trip – Seven Clans Waterpark – TRF
 7:00 p.m. – Music Department Spring Concert – TRF Campus Theater
Friday, April 17, 2015
 1:00 p.m. – Baseball @ U of M Crookston – Double Header

My Schedule this Week
Monday, Apr. 6 – St. Paul – MnSCU Leadership Council
Tuesday, Apr. 7 – St. Paul – Leadership Council, GF – GFREDC Annual Meeting
Wednesday, Apr. 8 – EGF – VPP Steering Committee, Exec. Committee
Thursday, Apr. 9 – TRF – Shared Governance Council
Friday, Apr. 10 – Vacation

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Master Facility Plan, Impact 2020, Gallery Walks, Legislative Activity, Points of Pride

In just the past couple of weeks, some of my responsibilities and involvements as president of Northland Community and Technical College have begun to blink off as I approach my retirement date on June 30. I have had the honor of serving as a board member of the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corporation for the past six years. My term ends on April 7 at the annual meeting.

I have also been a long-time member of the Leadership Council of IMPACT 2020, a group working to influence the economic development of NW Minnesota. While I can continue in this capacity in retirement, I will wait to see what else is capturing my attention. IMPACT 2020 also has given me a great opportunity to understand the economic dynamics and diversity of this large region that spans the pine to prairie area.

It has now become easy to count the remaining days, the remaining regular meetings like Cabinet and Shared Governance Council and, the remaining trips to St. Paul for Leadership Council and MnSCU Board meetings. What is difficult to account for is how I will FEEL when I no longer have Northland to regard as my home away from home.

Just a few short notes this week:

  • Master Facility Plan
  •  Impact 2020
  • Gallery Walks
  • Legislative Activity
  • Points of Pride

Master Facility Plan – Working with Gary Hay of Hay Dobbs Architects, we are nearing completion of our 5-year Master Facility Plan. This plan is required of all MnSCU institutions and is a critical piece that must accompany any requests for funding for facility improvement or capital projects. To some extent, the plan is a grounded wish list of projects – some of which will come to fruition, others that may not. We have spent the last year and a half gathering input from faculty and staff members. The work on the Academic Master Plan has also been important to consider in putting this document together. We will look at a complete draft at the end of April, with the goal of presenting the final product to the MnSCU Board in May or June.

IMPACT 2020 – I mentioned IMPACT 2020 earlier. Last Tuesday, I attended a Leadership Council meeting. In a quick round-table, it was interesting to note that all representatives reported the same challenges for their communities or businesses – housing and attraction of an adequate trained workforce. There is some concern that if these issues cannot be resolved, successful companies may look elsewhere to expand. At the same time, there is distinct optimism. New industries like precision agriculture and unmanned aircraft are emerging. There is greater collaboration among school districts, higher education, community leadership, and business and industry to assure that young people and their parents are aware of the tremendous career opportunities in this region.

Gallery Walks – Events featuring the work of four implementation teams of Charting the Future, the MnSCU initiative to assure sustainability were held on our campuses last week. Teams featured in the Gallery Walks last fall are currently in the process of reviewing their Gallery Walk information and refining their initial ideas and concepts. Teams featured in the Gallery Walks this spring are expected to receive their Gallery Walk feedback in May and will review and make refinements to their initial ideas and concepts over the summer and in early fall.

Legislative Activity – The Minnesota Legislature is on recess until April 7. Last week, both the House and the Senate revealed their budget targets.

Melissa Fahning, MnSCU Director of Legislative Communications, shares a daily update on the session. She wrote: “Senate DFL leadership held a press conference this morning releasing the finance division targets for the 2016-2017 biennium. For higher education, the Senate has set a target of $205 million (for MnSCU and the U of M combined). This compares to the House higher education target of $53 million. I’ve received many inquiries about what these targets mean for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. At this time, that is unknown. Now that the higher education committees have their targets to work with, they will begin crafting their omnibus bills when lawmakers return from the legislative break. With such a drastic difference between the House and Senate higher education targets, once each body passes a bill, they will head to conference committee to work through the differences. As a reminder, Governor Mark Dayton has recommended $142 million for MnSCU colleges and universities.”

Points of Pride

  • Northland Community & Technical College is proud to announce its recipients of the annual NISOD Excellence Awards. 2015 honorees include Mary Fontes, Dean of Student Affairs; Peggy Rogers, Early Childhood & Paraprofessional Instructor; and Davis Hamilton, Commercial Vehicle Operator Program Instructor. NISOD, is a membership organization committed to promoting and celebrating excellence in teaching, learning, and leadership at community and technical colleges for faculty, administrators, and staff.
  • Northland will be hosting the American Welding Society, Northern Plains Section, annual “Behind the Mask” welding contest on April 2, 2015. The contest gives area secondary and post-secondary students an opportunity to show their welding skills and abilities. Contestants compete in SMAW (stick) and/or GMAW (wire) categories. The competition tests an individual’s skill in print reading, fabrication, welding, and time limits. 50-70 students are expected to compete at the contest.
  • Come out and celebrate with the Northland Chamber Choir and the Northern Jazz as they perform in the Gunderson Commons at Northland Community & Technical College in Thief River Falls on April 18 and 19, 2015 and play country music hits from over the decades. Attendees will receive two hours of entertainment and a full meal for $12.00. On Saturday, the doors for the event open at 6:00 p.m., with food being served at 6:30 p.m. and the show beginning at 7:00 p.m. On Sunday, the doors will open at 2:00 p.m. with food and concert time at 2:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.


Upcoming College Events

Wednesday, April 1, 2015
 10:00 am – Minnesota State University – Moorhead Transfer Event – TRF Theater Commons
 12:00 pm – Minnesota State University – Moorhead Transfer Information Session – TRF Campus 219

Thursday, April 2, 2015
 9:00 am – CNA Testing – EGF Campus

Saturday, April 4, 2015
 11:00 am – Baseball vs. Moorhead State University @ NCTC
 3:00 pm – Baseball vs. Lakehead University @ NCTC

Wednesday, April 8, 2015
 11:00 am – Upper Iowa University Transfer Visit – TRF Campus Commons
 3:00 pm – Softball vs. Dakota @ NCTC

Thursday, April 9, 2015
 11:00 am – OTA Awareness Month Open House – EGF Campus 360
Saturday, April 11, 2015
 11:00 am – Softball @ NDSCS
Sunday, April 12, 2015
 12:30 pm – Baseball @ Concordia College – Double Header
My Schedule this Week
Monday, Mar. 30 – EGF
Tuesday, Mar. 31 – TRF
Wednesday, Apr. 1 – EGF
Thursday, Apr. 2 – EGF
Friday, Apr. 3 – Vacation

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New President at Northland, Gallery Walks, Governor’s Proposed Budget

With the erratic changes in our temperatures, I am having a difficult time knowing what month we’re in.  Then, I look at the calendar on the wall and see the shrinking collection of dates that remain to me as the president of Northland Community and Technical College and realize that we are almost at the end of March!  I still have so many things to do to wrap up my tenure here.

New President for Northland

One of the major transition points was the appointment of the President-Elect by the MnSCU Board of Trustees last Wednesday.  Dr. Dennis Bona, currently the president of Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek, Michigan, will be the next president of Northland, beginning officially on July 1, 2015.  I appreciated having time to talk with Dr. Bona at length.  He is very knowledgeable about college leadership and management and has the experience to recognize that each college is the product of its history and people.  He seems to be genuinely enthusiastic about the college and the communities of NW Minnesota, our region, and the potential for growing the college.  I think he will be a great fit!

Now that we have met and exchanged lots of information, we will begin a three-month process of preparing both the college and Dr. Bona for the transition.  A great deal of information about the college will flow to him from both Northland and the MnSCU System Office.  I have prepared two extensive transition reports already and will finalize a third report on May 1.  The Foundation Office is preparing a directory with pictures, short biographies, and contact information for the many important partners we have in our communities.

My confidence and comfort in preparing to depart has increased considerably.

Gallery Walks

The “Charting the Future” initiative is an important MnSCU project aimed at identifying ways in which the system can change to insure a sustainable future that provides access to a quality, affordable education for all Minnesotans.  The initiative had become controversial last fall when the two faculty unions withdrew from participation.  They felt that there was not adequate representation of faculty and that the process was pre-determined and not transparent.  The System administration and trustees met frequently with union representatives and agreed to reconvene with stronger representation of faculty and more opportunities for input.

As a consequence, the Gallery Walk events that will allow students, faculty members, employees, and community members to view the ideas of the final four implementation teams will go on as planned this week.  Each college and university is hosting these events to showcase ideas, suggestions, and recommendations and to get input and feedback.  The spring events will focus on:

·         Academic Planning and Collaboration

·         Competency Certification and  Credit for Prior Learning

·         Education Technology

·         Information Technology Systems Design

Northland’s Gallery Walks are scheduled for Wednesday, March 25 from noon – 3:00 pm in the EGF Campus Front Foyer and Thursday, March 26 from noon – 3:00 pm in the TRF Campus Gunderson Commons.  I encourage you to take some time to attend and encourage students to be part of this process as well.

Governor’s Proposed Budget

We were very encouraged when Governor Mark Dayton released his supplemental budget last week.  His first budget proposal included no new funds for MnSCU, despite the system’s request for $142 million for the biennium.  That amount was projected to just cover compensation increases and inflation and anticipated no tuition increases.  The rationale for the Governor’s proposal was that he wanted to see significant progress in mending the rift between the system administration and the faculty bargaining units that arose over the “Charting the Future” initiative.  At that time he indicated that he was reserving $35 million for the system.

Since that time, the February state budget forecast from Minnesota Management and Budget revealed an anticipated $1.9 billion surplus.  Also, the system administration, the Interfaculty Organization (university faculty) and the Minnesota State College Faculty announced a path forward for collaboration on ”Charting the Future.”

The Governor’s proposed budget increase for MnSCU is the full $142 million that was requested.  Throughout our system, we are gratified by his expression of support for our colleges and universities and our mission to serve our students and the needs of our communities.

The next steps are the release of proposed higher education budgets by the House Higher Education Policy and Finance Committee and the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Budget Division of the Finance Committee.  Eventually a final number will emerge as the Higher Education Omnibus Bill is crafted, negotiated, and signed by the Governor.  At Northland, we are working on several possible budgets For FY2016, based from the best to the worst possible allocation and enrollment-based tuition revenue projections.  We hope to be able to share a clear picture with the college community by the end of May.

I hope you all have a great week!

Upcoming College Events

Tuesday, March 24, 2015
·         10:00 AM – Bemidji State University On-Site Registration – TRF Campus 662

·         5:30 PM – EGF 2015 Spring Academic Advisory Meeting – EGF Commons

Wednesday, March 25, 2015
·         Noon – 3:00 pm – Charting the Future Gallery Walk – EGF Campus Front Foyer
·         1:00 PM – “Soul Food Junkies” – Free Movie Showing – EGF Campus 250

Thursday, March 26, 2015
·         Noon – 3:00 pm – Charting the Future Gallery Walk – TRF Campus Gunderson Commons

Friday, March 27, 2015
·         9:00 am – Softball @ RCTC ( Crossover Tournament)

·         1:00 pm – Softball @ St. Cloud (Crossover Tournament)

Saturday, March 28, 2015
·         7:00 am – Softball @ M-State (Crossover Tournament)

·         9:00 am – Softball @ Ridgewater (Crossover Tournament)

Monday, March 30, 2015
·         12:00 PM – “Soul Food Junkies” – Free Movie Showing – TRF Theater

Wednesday, April 1, 2015
·         10:00 am – Minnesota State University – Moorhead Transfer Event – TRF Theater Commons

·         12:00 PM – Minnesota State University – Moorhead Transfer Information Session – TRF Campus 219

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