Aug 21st, 2006 @ 9:58 am | Author: By Ellen-Earle Chaffee
We had a great Welcome Week, with faculty returning to duty, football players eating and meeting and pounding and eating, and freshmen tasting high adventure on the ropes course in Kathryn and in a training session as they were issued their laptops.

You probably saw the story on Scott Kost, our visiting speaker, who helped us celebrate the ten-year anniversary of the laptop initiative. Dr. Curt Hill put out a display of computing equipment through the years, offering his comments on changes past and future. Scott Kost, CEO of Eide Bailly Technology Consulting in Fargo, had a spectacular presentation, also on the theme of change. And then Joe Tykwinski, our chief information officer, played a video he had prepared with footage from the computer distribution events ten years ago. He then talked about changes we are making this year and those yet to come.

I doubt that anyone left the event that morning with anything less than enthusiasm for change. For example, conditions for computing ten years ago were pretty primitive compared to today – those are changes we can relish in hindsight, however we may have felt at the time. It's not that we like or dislike change, but we want to choose our changes even though we are unable to predict their outcome.

I see quite a few reasons to predict that this year will be a great one. First, we have the academic energy of two new leaders, Vice President for Academic Affairs Joseph Bessie and Dean of Education and Graduate Studies Patricia Rogers. Dr. Bessie and Dr. Rogers began work at VCSU on July 1, and they are already well in tune with what needs to be done and eager to do it. They are creative, knowledgeable professionals with lots of exciting ideas.

In addition, we have a talented professional as the new director of our Institute for Customized Business Solutions, Ken Brooks. His leadership will help us continue to work closely with economic development.

We also have new software that greatly improves our ability to share, store, and create information, as well as schedule meetings, make announcements, and communicate. The Information Technology Center staff has had a tough summer getting this together, but the changeover went remarkably well.

The facilities services staff has done a great job of making the campus fresh and ready, with all kinds of improvements all over campus. The W.E. Osmon Fieldhouse has new bleachers and is getting a major facelift in the lobby area. The main floor of McFarland Hall has never looked better. And we certainly thank the Wagars for spectacular new plantings at the Grace Bowen Garden.

I have a hunch that this will be a breakthrough year for Valley City State University. Playing on one of Scott Kost's slides, someone suggested that we make "Eat Our Dust" the theme of the year. The challenges we face are serious, but so is our strength and determination to deal with them. We are in the process of making the good kind of change.