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President's Desk

A busy start, and more to come

Aug 24, 2018

We have completed our first week of classes at VCSU. It’s great to have students and faculty back on campus. They bring new energy and excitement as they start the new semester. We’re not sure yet where our enrollment stands—enrollment numbers aren’t official until the fourth week of classes—but it certainly feels like we have a “full house” on campus.

We also had the honor of hosting the Interim Higher Education Legislative Committee on campus last Monday and Tuesday. Our education faculty had a good opportunity to visit personally with members of the committee and show them some of the innovative teaching activities being launched or augmented this fall in our education program.

VCSU’s formal presentation focused on our strengths—strong enrollment, the success of our larger programs (education, fisheries and wildlife science). About half of our students are enrolled in an education program, and 46 percent of our students study exclusively online.

We also talked about our facility needs: a new building to replace Foss Hall, which sits on the wrong side of the flood wall; an upgrade to our fire alarm system; and renovation of McFarland Hall, our oldest building. Because we have some of the oldest buildings in the state higher education system, it’s important that we pay particular attention to those with special meaning to campus—McFarland Hall, for example. The main floor was beautifully updated in the mid ’90s, but the other two floors need attention. And the roof needs to be replaced, and tuckpointing, which we chip away at each summer, is becoming more urgent.

Not that we’re complaining! The state has been very good to us, authorizing two new buildings on campus in the past 10 years, providing support for the Wellness Center, and authorizing other improvements, such as the track renovation (currently in progress) and the new activated carbon plant that is still on the drawing board.

An update for the presidential search: When my next column comes out (Sept. 10), we will be in the midst of on-campus interviews for the committee-selected finalists. If you are interested in meeting the candidates, please look for the interview schedule and feel free to join us at one of the forums.

After the on-campus interviews are complete, the search committee will select three names from this group to forward to the State Board of Higher Education, which will meet in Valley City on Sept. 27 to interview the three candidates and select the next president for VCSU.

And don’t forget—please join us for the Ag Bowl on September 8, as we celebrate the importance of agriculture in our region. Tailgating and entertainment at 5 p.m., football game (vs. University of Minnesota–Morris) at 7 p.m., and fireworks after the game!