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President's Desk

Moving in and welcoming new Vikings

Aug 30, 2021

outdoor portrait of President LaFaveGreetings from Valley City State University!

These past two weeks have been energizing and exciting at VCSU! Our planning efforts and anticipation for fall semester have come to fruition – we are finally beginning our new academic year. For most educators and campuses, the return of students combined with the resumption of classes, athletic activities and campus events, is one of the most anticipated and celebrated moments of the year.

During the week of August 16-20, we welcomed new faculty and held our annual in-service activities for returning faculty and staff. It provided an opportunity to share some of the positive developments on campus over the past few months, including:

  • Considerable construction progress on the Center for the Arts
  • New parking lot and street on the east side of Rhodes Science Center and McCarthy Hall
  • New VCSU sign on the front lawn
  • Provide a budget overview
  • Renovation updates in McFarland Hall
  • Introduction of new faculty and staff
  • Residence Hall updates
  • Steamline and HVAC upgrades
  • McFarland fire alarm upgrade
  • New Student Center elevator

It was also an important time to reconnect with friends and colleagues as we discussed VCSU’s vision: “As an innovative university, we deliver distinctive, learner-centered experiences.” This vision is at the center of all conversations we have regarding student success and continuous improvement.

Later in the week we were led through an update of the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accreditation visit which is scheduled for September 20-21. This is the accreditation organization that examines every aspect of campus. I will provide a more detailed explanation of HLC and this visit in my next column.

At the end of the week, new freshmen began moving into residence halls and upper classmen started returning to VCSU. There was a visible flurry of activity on campus and in the community. I’ve heard numerous favorable comments from several returning students about the campus improvements that have taken place during this summer.

Excitement and anticipation filled the air as new students began arriving, carting belongings to residence hall rooms and trying to get settled. Parents, perhaps feeling a bit unsettled in dropping off their sons and daughters as they start a new chapter here at VCSU, experienced a whole range of emotions.

Parents are placing their trust in their children as they transition to adulthood. They’re also placing their trust in us at VCSU to provide not only an education but an experience, and to protect and keep their young adults – our students – safe and well as they learn and grow. Our work is always vital and important, but you can imagine the responsibility we feel. Our continuing motto as we start this year is that we are “Better Together,” and we will have many opportunities in the days ahead to fulfill this belief.

Orienting new faculty, staff and students to Valley City is an important part of the onboarding process. Getting a feeling for the “lay of the land” and wayfinding around campus and Valley City helps acclimate the new students and staff to their new surroundings. These folks are new to our state and community. We all appreciate the warm and hospitable welcome provided by businesses and residents and look forward to continuing development of partnerships as we navigate through this exciting academic year!

If you see or meet one of our new Viking family members crossing the walking bridge to downtown, I hope you will consider greeting them, finding out a bit about their background, and welcoming them to the community!

Go Vikings!