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President's Desk

President’s Column: Valley City Visit with the Chancellor

Nov 7, 2022

Greetings from Valley City State University!

As I write this message, the autumn sun is low in the sky creating a shadowy landscape on the campus front lawn. The leaves are mostly fallen, and I’m reminded of the beauty of the changing seasons and how fortunate we are to fully experience four vastly different seasons.

We were fortunate to host Dr. Mark Haggerott, Chancellor of the North Dakota University System and Vice Chancellor for Strategy, Mr. Jerry Rostad in Valley City on Friday, October 28 for an informative and educational day highlighting some of the collaborations between the Valley City Public Schools and VCSU – most notably the substitute teacher program and the high school dual credit opportunities.

The day began with a visit to Washington Elementary to have a conversation with students, teachers, staff, and administration on the integration of technology into an elementary classroom and “Purpose Driven Preparation” – a collaboration between VCSU and Valley City Public Schools (VCPS) in preparing teachers for a career in education. Following a robust description of the educational opportunities for the students at Washington and a question and answer session with the assembled group, we were given the opportunity to watch sixth grade students applying their knowledge of technology in advanced and creative projects. We were all impressed with the ease at which students were utilizing technology and applying concepts.

We then transitioned to the Hi-Liner Activity Center (HAC) at Valley City High School (VCHS) where a large panel of current students, former students, high school dual credit teachers, technology staff, directors and administrators assembled to discuss how VCHS students are using a partnership with VCSU to be better prepared for college and careers. The choice ready options for students, along with alternative education – an education platform that integrates CTE and work-based learning – and technology-driven education addressing how students are prepared for the digital world of technology beyond secondary and higher education were the three main topics of discussion. It was gratifying to hear the positive impact high school dual credit has had on so many students. 22 VCHS students have earned the 24-credit college studies certificate prior to graduation. This gives them a wonderful jump start on college and, in many cases, reduces the time it takes to complete a bachelor’s degree by up to one year.

We then assembled at VCSU for a luncheon including senior administration from VCSU and VCPS, local legislative members, city, county, and economic development officials. This was an opportunity for the group to hear from the Chancellor some of the challenges facing higher education and expectations for the upcoming legislative session. It was great to have such a wide spectrum of participants engaged in conversations focused on the importance of quality education.

Following lunch, we had a brief tour of the Center for the Arts. The Ployhar Band Festival was in full swing, so it was great to see a beehive of activity and the facility being utilized by students from across North Dakota, many of whom will choose VCSU as their destination for their university studies.

Chancellor Haggerot then addressed a faculty, staff, and student open forum discussing the current state of higher education and the importance of Valley City State University as part of the 11-member NDUS system. This was followed by a brief exit meeting with the VCSU president’s cabinet and shared leadership team including the presidents, or designees, from the faculty, staff, and student senates.

It was an informative and invigorating day and would not have been possible without a great team effort! While attending a recent joint board of boards meeting in Bismarck, Superintendent Josh Johnson believed this would be a wonderful opportunity to showcase our community and collaborations that are working so well. He and his team including VCHS Principal Kristi Brandt, Washington Elementary Principal Chad Lueck, Dr. Allen Burgad, VCSU Dean of the School of Education, Dr. James Boe, VCSU Dean of Graduate Studies and Extended Learning, and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Mr. Larry Brooks did a tremendous job of organizing and hosting the day.

We are grateful for these partnerships and look forward to maintaining excellence and developing new initiatives in response to changing workforce needs – placing high-quality educational experiences at the forefront.

Go Vikings!