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The State Board of Higher Education invites nominations and applications for the President of Valley City State University. Valley City State University is one of eleven public colleges and universities (five community colleges, four regional universities, and two research universities) comprising the North Dakota University System. It is a university characterized by innovation, collaboration, and collegiality.

The President is the chief executive officer of the university and reports to the Chancellor. The successful candidate will be an individual who joins in the university’s vision to be nationally recognized for advancing important collaboration, fostering innovative engagement, and promoting noteworthy transformation. She or he will succeed Dr. Steven W. Shirley, who has served with distinction as president since 2008.

Founded in 1890, Valley City State University begins a yearlong recognition of its 125th anniversary this fall. The student population of approximately 1,350 is guided by about 200 full-time faculty and staff, pursuing studies among 80 undergraduate degree programs and an online M. Ed. program in education. Valley City State University has been ranked by U. S. News and World Report among its “Best Colleges” for 16 consecutive years. The University is committed to providing exceptional learning opportunities.

Valley City, the “City of Bridges,” is less than an hour’s drive from Fargo, the state’s largest city. Valley City’s population is about 6,600.


Valley City State University seeks a dynamic, politically astute, and purpose-driven president who has knowledge of national higher education issues, along with understanding the complexities of accreditation and state/federal compliance. The president must have a bold vision for the university’s future, along with a strategic and respectful understanding of how to advance Valley City State University in conjunction with the State Board of Higher Education policies and the university’s own mission. The university community expects a thoughtful, congenial leader who will pursue a change agenda with vigor and invite the participation of the entire campus community in its delivery. She or he is expected to build partnerships and collaborate statewide for the well-being of North Dakota.


The successful candidate should possess the following characteristics:

  • record of success in senior level higher education experience, preferably in a small to medium-sized university setting;
  • proven abilities in planning, developing, implementing, and assessing quality academic programs;
  • success in fiscal management, development, budgeting, funding, and fundraising;
  • understanding of online education, along with campus-based teaching and learning;
  • commitment to a student-centered focus for student support, services, and intercollegiate athletics, and recognizing the impact of policy decisions on students and the campus community;
  • experience in institutionalizing diversity and a culture of inclusiveness;
  • understanding and support of the public university’s access and affordability mission;
  • supporter of economic and workforce development enhanced by partnerships with area industries, businesses, and public schools;
  • ability to work with the State Board of Higher Education and interact effectively with many constituencies, including the state legislature, the university foundation, businesses, community leaders, and residents from all parts of the state;
  • a commitment to collaborative efforts with other higher education institutions, particularly those in the NDUS;
  • appreciation for and ability to engage with alumni;
  • excellent interpersonal skills, written and spoken, with an ability to practice an open communication style; and
  • an earned doctorate from a regionally accredited institution of higher learning (preferred) or demonstrated leadership in regional or national affairs, the professions, or business management.

The candidate should have a demonstrated ability to make complex decisions and utilize problem-solving skills; recognize the importance of shared governance; manage diverse relationships; build consensus; and practice unquestionable integrity.

Nominations and Applications

Valley City State University offers the next President a special opportunity to inspire and to be a part of a unique higher education community. Salary considerations will be competitive.

To assure best consideration, applications should be received by August 25, 2014. The application should include a letter of interest specifically addressing the applicant’s background in relationship to qualifications described (not more than three pages); a current résumé (or curriculum vitae); and the names of at least five professional references with each person’s position, office or home address, e-mail address, and telephone numbers. References will not be contacted without prior authorization from the applicant. The new President will assume office on or about January 1, 2015, or sooner if available. Veterans’ preference is not applicable to this position.

The North Dakota University System and Valley City State University Presidential Search Committee are being assisted by James H. McCormick, Senior Consultant, AGB Search. Nominations and applications should be sent electronically (MS Word or PDF format) to Additional university information may be found at The consultant may be contacted at 651-238-5188 or

Names of all applicants or nominees for the position are a matter of public record as the search process complies with the open meetings-open records statutes and policies of the State of North Dakota.

As employers, the State of North Dakota and political subdivisions prohibit smoking in all places of state and political subdivision employment in accordance with N.D.C.C. § 23-12-10.

Equal Opportunity Employer: The State of North Dakota and this hiring agency do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, genetics, religion, age, or disability in employment or the provision of services, and complies with the provisions of the North Dakota Human Rights Act.


Linda Donlin
Director of Communications and Media Relations
North Dakota University System
Phone: 701-328-2962

The North Dakota University System and the Valley City State University Presidential Search Committee are being assisted by

James H. McCormick
Senior Consultant
AGB Search
Phone: 651-238-5188

Names of all applicants or nominees for the position are a matter of public record as the search process complies with the open meetings-open records statutes and policies of the State of North Dakota.