The State Board of Higher Education today named Dr. Alan LaFave as the next president of Valley City State University in Valley City, North Dakota. LaFave currently serves as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota.
During the interview, he emphasized the importance of student retention and collaboration with all 11 institutions across North Dakota. “It’s important that we have a unified system and that we all work together to make an impact on student success. We all achieve more if we work together,” LaFave said.
During his in-person visit to campus earlier this month, he said that he talked to several students on campus who praised their experiences as students at VCSU. “We need to be innovative and creative in our vision for the future. As president, I want to focus on affordability of education and collaboration with other institutions because that is paramount to the success of the entire state of North Dakota,” said LaFave. “My leadership style is all about personal attention and placing an emphasis on the interactions between students and professors. I like to see students succeed.”
The search for the next VCSU president began in March 2018. Dr. Margaret Dahlberg has been serving as interim president since December 2017.
“This was a difficult decision to make because we had excellent candidates brought forward by the presidential search committee,” said Don Morton, chair of the State Board of Higher Education. “I’m confident LaFave will provide the type of collaborative leadership that reflects the community of Valley City. I thank the search committee for their diligence in keeping community, students, staff and faculty central in their selection process.”
The presidential search committee was co-chaired by Wesley Wintch, VCSU’s vice president for business affairs, and Board member Greg Stemen, who led the effort to interview semifinalists and forward its recommendations for the position to the Board for final interviews.
“The 12-person committee consisted of a cross-section of the VCSU community, representatives of administration, faculty, staff, foundation, students, enrollment services and community members of Valley City. There were countless hours invested into the entire search process. We started by evaluating an initial pool of 50 applicants and eventually narrowed that pool to two highly qualified finalists for the Board’s consideration. I am confident that the best leader was chosen to lead VCSU into the future,” said Stemen.
LaFave holds a doctor of musical arts degree. He has served at Northern State University since 1991 in various capacities including tenured faculty, music department chair, associate dean, dean of graduate and extended studies, dean of the school of fine art and most recently the provost.
LaFave will take over as the 14th president of VCSU in December 2018. The new president succeeds Dr. Tisa Mason who served as VCSU president from December 2014 to December 2017.