Student and employee satisfaction is discussed in Core Component 5a, above; survey details for any of the studies summarized are available for review in the Resource Room. This section, therefore, focuses on interactions with external constituencies. Members of the Valley City community make broad use of campus facilities, and recognize the importance of the University to the community's economy and quality of life. The importance of strong community support was recognized by NDUS Chancellor Goetz in Fall 2007, when he named two community leaders to the VCSU Presidential search committee: the campus and the community are interdependent and mutually supportive.
The University seeks to interact with the local community in ways that enrich both Valley City and the Institution. VCSU regularly provides cultural vitality to the Valley City community through offerings in the arts, education, and entertainment venues open to the public. Through collaborations between the community and the University, VCSU provides athletic and recreation opportunities that are also open to the public.
VCSU provides multiple educational opportunities for K-12 school programs, including Music contests, Theater performances, Planetarium shows, Science Olympiads, Medicine Wheel events, Science Field Experiences at the Prairie Waters Education and Research Center, Career Fairs, Spanish Day, and Business and Information Day. Ongoing collaborative ventures bring faculty, staff, students, and community members together in such diverse activities as the North Valley Voices, the Barnes County Historical Society Lecture Series, the Community Orchestra, water aerobics classes, or an artist's reception at the campus Art Gallery.
University facilities are used by the community on an ongoing basis. These include Vangstad Auditorium, the Student Center with swimming pool, Froemke Auditorium, Music rehearsal rooms, the Allen Memorial Library, W. E. Osmon Fieldhouse, and Ellig Field (football/track). For example,
Valley City area community leaders and partners value its role and contributions to the region. VCSU's economic impact to the area was highlighted in a 2009 study, "Economic Impact of the North Dakota University System." The study determined that VCSU had a $55.6 million impact on the area's economy during the 2008 fiscal year. Recognizing the importance of the University and its continued success, a large delegation of Valley City community and business leaders attended VCSU's Senate Appropriations Hearing at the North Dakota Legislature in March 2011, in support of the University's request for the Rhoades Science Center renovation and expansion; they also hosted a reception in Bismarck for legislators during the Session.
The community provides ongoing financial support for the University, as well. Individuals and businesses in the community channel financial donations through the University Foundation. Membership in the Century Club, which raises money for athletic scholarship, and participation in the annual Auction - both through donation and attendance - are primarily drawn from the Valley City community.
The recent success of the Foundation in raising funds for the new track program and the artificial turf project may be largely attributed to the financial support of the community. The City provided a substantial contribution to the turf project through tourism tax dollars. Another funding branch of the City, the Valley Development Corporation, has also assisted in these and many other campus projects, including support for new academic programs (Technology Education, Enterprise Applications, Nursing), marketing initiatives, and a variety of non-cash investments. The Valley Development Corporation built the Regional Technology Center on land leased from VCSU; in Spring 2009, when the University required an emergency location for its servers in an area above the flood plain, the Regional Technology Center immediately opened its doors.
In recognition of the importance VCSU plays in the community after the 2009 flood, the mayor of Valley City proclaimed September 11, 2009, "VCSU Day" with a proclamation detailing the significance of the University to the community, stating "We would not want to be without VCSU in our time of need" (see Resource Room for complete text).
The Music program at VCSU is fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), whose most recent visit was just completed in the fall of the 2007-2008 academic year; the next site visit will be in 2017. In June 2010, the NASM Commission voted to grant plan approval for the online music program, with the following commendation:
The teacher education program at VCSU is fully accredited by NCATE. Their team report noted,
Both accrediting bodies commend VCSU and the programs reviewed for careful attention to effective teaching and learning, concern for meaningful assessment, and best practices in use of technology.
Strengths: Community participation in support of the University and their willingness to make use of the facilities and resources of the institution indicate that the local community and region values the University, the service, the culture it provides, and the University's economic impact on the area.
New Initiatives: VCSU has established the Prairie Waters Education and Research Center to provide environmental education and research opportunities for students, teachers, and professionals in North Dakota. In its first year of operation, it has attracted over 1000 visitors.
The addition to the Rhoades Science Center will house the Great Plains STEM Education Center, a state-wide initiative that will lay the foundation for more science, technology, engineering, and math education in North Dakota. The new addition will also provide more classrooms and office space for growing science and health science programs at VCSU. Ground breaking for the addition is scheduled for fall of 2011.
Challenges: Flooding issues continue to concern the campus, the community, and the state, requiring careful planning and resource allocation.