Successful week of meetings and travel
Greetings from Valley City State University!
As I was traversing back and forth between Bismarck, Valley City, Fargo and Jamestown this past week, I came to the realization that I’m really getting to know Interstate 94 very well! Remembering the heavy winter weather last year at this time, it also made me thankful for the generally good travel conditions, except for a windy day last Thursday.
Being a campus president in a university system provides many opportunities and responsibilities. One of those for me lately has been serving on the search committee for the next president of Bismarck State College. This has been a very interesting and enjoyable experience. I’ve gotten to know members of the faculty, staff, student body and alumni base at BSC during this process and have been warmly welcomed as an outside member of the committee. The folks I’ve interacted with truly exhibit North Dakota friendliness and hospitality, and I’ve enjoyed my time working with them.
Having spent Monday and Tuesday in Bismarck, I traveled back to Valley City on Tuesday evening and then was off to Fargo on Wednesday to meet on details regarding VCSU’s upcoming $25 million capital campaign, which was recently approved by the State Board of Higher Education. (More details will follow on this in one of my upcoming columns.) It was back to Bismarck on Thursday for the final BSC presidency interview and then back to Valley City that evening. On Saturday I was excited to travel to Fargo to visit and meet with the Oarsmen Club as they were participating in their annual fundraiser for VCSU Viking Football. The excitement and passion of this group is contagious!
Of course, mixed in with these travels were some of the ongoing meetings, discussions and efforts to continue our work and planning for quality at VCSU. Our President’s Cabinet — the university’s leadership team — met for a half-day planning session to review progress on each of the presidential and institutional goals related to our strategic plan.
This is one of the many things I value about VCSU. Many institutions spend many hours creating strategic plans and then place them on the shelf to collect dust, but that’s not the case at VCSU. We review, update and revise the plans to ensure that efforts to meet the needs of students, faculty, staff, the campus and community are moving forward.
Additionally, I want to assure the public that VCSU officials are working closely with the Valley City Public Schools, city and county officials, North Dakota University System, North Dakota Department of Health and the campus to closely monitor the rapidly changing COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. While the risk of this virus in the United States, along with the impact to VCSU and North Dakota, remains relatively low at this time, we continue to prepare for a potential outbreak. Our emergency management team and Health Services Office are following this very closely and providing regular updates to our campus community. We will continue to work with all constituents and have a plan in place should the need arise to address the situation locally.
Finally, I am continuously amazed at the beauty of North Dakota. The sunrises and sunsets are spectacular. The wide-open spaces and vistas are amazing. The air is clean and crisp…and something we should not take for granted.