Sep 24th, 2007 @ 6:25 pm | Author:
During her annual State of the University address, Valley City State University (VCSU) president Dr. Ellen Chaffee announced her intention to leave the presidency effective June 30, 2008.

"I am in my fifteenth year as president of VCSU," Chaffee commented. "While I believe that this has been a time of outstanding growth for the university in many important ways, I also believe that the leadership of a university should change periodically. It is simply time for me to move on and allow others to introduce new ideas and energy."

Dr. Chaffee took office as president of both VCSU and Mayville State University on August 1, 1993, serving as president of both universities until September 1, 2002 and then continuing as president of VCSU. During her presidency, VCSU achieved a number of milestones that will stand-out in its history. Among them:

In 1996, the university received national recognition for becoming one of the first institutions in the country to issue laptop computers to full-time students. Since then, the laptop initiative at VCSU has evolved into a world-class program of enriching the learning experience with the latest educational technology.

Also in 1996, Dr. Chaffee established the VCSU Foundation, and during her tenure, its asset base has grown from approximately $2 million to nearly $6 million. A series of major gifts have been an important component of this increase including gifts from Gary and Connie Tharaldson, Don and Marjorie Meredith, Charlotte Van Houten, and Richard and Ardis McCready. This growth has been accompanied by a significant growth in scholarship allocations to students.

Academics in several areas took important steps forward including establishment of a Community School of the Arts, sister university relationships with two universities in Mexico, NASM accreditation for VCSU's music programs, and new programs in health science, fisheries and wildlife management, psychology, and information technology.

In 2005, the Higher Learning Commission granted to VCSU authority to offer a new online Master of Education program, resulting in the first significant change in the university's status since it was authorized to offer a bachelor's degree in 1921. The program represents an effective and practical means for teachers to extend their skills and add to their credentials without disrupting their careers or personal life.

In 2006, VCSU was designated a state 'Center of Excellence,' and received $1 million in state funds to establish the Institute for Customized Business Solutions to develop enterprise applications consulting jobs in North Dakota.

Under Dr. Chaffee's leadership, VCSU has maintained a productive relationship with the community of Valley City and the region through such initiatives as establishing the Kathryn Center (now Corporate Adventures, LLC), developing the nation's first standards-based online curriculum in Technology Education, and creating innovative curriculum in Information Technology.

In her comments, Dr. Chaffee reminded faculty and staff that many other important goals remain that will drive future growth in enrollment. "We are well positioned to continue development of academic programs that represent significant growth opportunities for both VCSU's enrollment and the economy of North Dakota. New technologies are enabling flexible delivery options that allow us to serve new kinds of students. Although these challenges are significant, I have every confidence that they will be met with the same dedication that has been characteristic of the faculty and staff in the past."

Valley City State University (VCSU) prepares people for life through visionary leadership and exemplary practices in teaching, learning and service. VCSU is nationally acclaimed for attracting and retaining talented individuals who advance quality learning opportunities and economic growth through technology and innovation.