Mar 30th, 2009 @ 2:55 pm | Author: Dr. Steven Shirley, VCSU President
A Busy Spring ...
As I write this column it is the first day of Spring. Indeed, the new season will bring a very welcome change for all of us as it has been a long, cold, and snowy winter. Unfortunately, with the changing season we are also dealing with the potential devastating possibilities of damaging flooding conditions. Valley City State University is working closely with the City, and will assist the community any way possible during this difficult time. We will pull together as a community and support one another during the challenging moments ahead.

In preparing for the Spring months, I think of the exciting initiatives and new developments underway at Valley City State. It has been a busy, exciting, and rewarding experience going through my first academic year as president at VCSU. Among the upcoming activities ahead are VCSU's 117th Commencement Exercises on Saturday, May 16. I am pleased to announce United States Senator Byron Dorgan will deliver the keynote address for the Graduation Ceremony.

We will also have some personnel changes at VCSU in the coming months. Our Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Joseph Bessie, has accepted a similar position as VPAA at St. Martin's University in Lacey, Washington. Joe has been with VCSU nearly three years, and I have enjoyed getting to know and work with him. We will fill the position with an interim VPAA for the immediate future and then commence a national search to find a permanent Vice President of Academic Affairs. Beyond the VPAA position, we have several faculty positions in Business, Theatre, and Education which we are currently conducting searches for in addition to several open staff positions.

Of course, as North Dakota is in the midst of a Legislative Session, there has been much effort and energy spent visiting with legislators, presenting budget information, and attending meetings and hearings in Bismarck. We presented our 2009-11 budget before the Senate Appropriations committee in January, and delivered a similar presentation to the House Appropriations committee earlier this month. It has been a positive and educational experience thus far, and I have personally enjoyed the opportunity to share the many positive happenings at VCSU with an audience of legislators and others at the Capitol.

The Spring represents an interesting time in the higher education calendar as we are, in many ways, existing in two academic years. As the 2008-09 year is winding down nearing final exams and graduation, we are also busily planning for the 2009-2010 year working with prospective new students. Our early figures show new student applications are up for fall 2009 compared to fall 2008. Of course, it is still early and there are many months between now and the start of school next fall, but the current numbers are ahead of last year's pace and this is a very encouraging early indicator.

Indeed, a busy and exciting Spring Season is underway!