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