Presenting to the House

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Greetings from the President’s Office at Valley City State University!After being on the job for a little over a month, I have much good news and activity to report. I’ve learned a great deal regarding processes and needs of the university, but most important, the dynamic role VCSU plays in the community of Valley City and the outstanding collaboration that exists between so many entities here.I wish to begin by thanking everyone from the university, community and region for your kindness, hospitality, and welcoming comments. It truly is great to be a Viking, and my confidence in the future of Valley City State University continues to strengthen and grow with each passing day.Tuesday, January 16, was a tremendous opportunity for VCSU to share with the House Appropriations Committee some of our successes from the past year and planning efforts for the future. Here are a few highlights from that presentation:

  • Continued national recognition from U.S. News and World Report; VCSU has been ranked among the Top 3 “Public Regional Colleges in the Midwest” continuously since 2010 and has been a U.S. News “Best College” for 21 consecutive years!
  • Recognition as one of 25 “Hidden Gems of the Midwest” by the Online Schools Center, joining other institutions such as the University of North Dakota, Augustana University in South Dakota, St. Olaf and Gustavus Adolphus in Minnesota, Grinnell and Luther in Iowa, Beloit and Lawrence in Wisconsin, Wheaton in Illinois, and Oberlin in Ohio.
  • Continued enrollment growth to 1,547 for Fall 2018, with almost two-thirds of our student body coming from North Dakota.
  • $687,000 raised for VCSU student scholarships through the Higher Education Challenge Grant Fund.
  • A record 2018 scholarship allocation of $1,623,000 through the VCSU Foundation!
  • Several examples of high-impact educational practices, including faculty-mentored student research, hands-on work in our music production and recording studio, the substitute teacher program, and internships and career readiness initiatives.
  • Preparing teachers for North Dakota, with more than 1,400 alumni teachers and administrators serving 333 schools and education units in 157 communities throughout the state.
  • VCSU’s tremendous economic impact in the community and region, estimated at $104.6 million in FY2017.
  • Investments in infrastructure, including our new Heat Plant with its ribbon cutting last April and continued progress toward adding an activated carbon plant.
  • The continued need for investment in a new Communication and Fine Arts Building to replace Foss Hall, to address life safety issues and consolidate programs in multiple disciplines.
  • Testimony from Autumn Johnson, Student Senate president; Paige Fettig, alumna and teacher in Bismarck; Kirsten Baesler, alumna and state school superintendent; Julee Russell, faculty; and Wesley Wintch, vice president for business affairs.
I would also like to recognize the outstanding community support we enjoyed at the hearing. I was astounded at the visible display of supporters in the room from local officials and community representatives, along with VCSU students, faculty and our administrative leadership team. This truly exemplifies the “We All Row” descriptor of our outstanding university. With collaboration like this, we can look forward to wonderful times ahead!So, what’s on the horizon? I’ve been visiting with several academic and student affairs units on campus to help understand structures, strengths, weaknesses and needs within each of these areas. This “listening and learning” tour has been very beneficial and will continue until all departments have been visited. But that’s just the beginning of our important work together as we continue to identify and develop strategies for us to move forward in providing an innovative, high-quality, student-centered experience at Valley City State.I will be traveling with the VCSU Foundation from January 31 to February 3 as we reach out and reconnect with our alumni in the great state of Arizona. I look forward to meeting all of you and working with you to make our institution the envy of all—and not such a “hidden gem”—in higher education, well known throughout this part of the country for our excellence and innovative practices.Go Vikings!