Monthly Archives: March 2014

Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute making an impact in North Dakota and beyond

UGPTI Collage PhotoThe State Board of Higher Education is now featuring “Institutional Initiatives” at its monthly meetings. These are outstanding programs or initiatives taking place at NDUS institutions. In February, Denver Tolliver, Ph.D., made a presentation on the North Dakota State University Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute (UGPTI).  Tolliver serves as the director of UGPTI.

UGPTI was established by the legislature in 1967. Since then, it has evolved from a freight/ag logistics center to a comprehensive multimodal/multidisciplinary center. The UGPTI has expanded beyond the NDSU campus with locations in Bismarck and Lakewood, CO, as well. The institute serves as the lead for the Mountain-Plains Consortium (MPC), a group of eight universities from Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota and North Dakota competitively selected for their outstanding university transportation centers.

Out of their Lakewood, Colorado location, the UGPTI runs a Transportation Safety Systems Center that develops and maintains software used by state and federal safety specialists nationwide for inspecting commercial vehicles.

UGPTI has also been instrumental in providing more accurate estimates of investment needs for roads to the governor and legislature, quantifying the benefits of making improvements to our highways, helping producers and businesses improve their competitive positions through economic analysis of transportation options.

Since UGPTI serves as a support center for the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT), engineering students are able to get hands-on experience working with NDDOT staff on design projects.

There are more exciting things on the horizon for UGPTI including multimodal/waterway corridor planning, air services planning in collaboration with UND Aerospace, transportation security and energy logistics.

Visit their website at  to learn more about the exciting impacts UGPTI is making on transportation across the country.

Two positions up for nomination to State Board of Higher Education

The State Board of Higher Education (SBHE) is made up of volunteers from across the state to serve as the governing board for the higher education system in North Dakota. These volunteers are vetted through a detailed nomination process.

The State Superintendent of Public Instruction serves as the chair of the nominating committee and the Department of Public Instruction handles the application process. Superintendent Kirsten Baesler opened applications for the two vacant Board positions on January 31. Applications were closed on March 10. Seven applications for the positions were received: Kirsten Diederich, Fargo (Current SBHE president); Terry Goerger, Mantador; Curtiss Kreun, Grand Forks; Kevin Melicher, Fargo; Michael Ness, Hazen; Rod St. Aubyn, West Fargo; and Benjamin Vig, Sharon.

The nominating committee will meet on April 1 to review the applications. The committee includes: Gerald W. VandeWalle, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; Senator Tim Flakoll, President Pro Tempore of the Senate; Representative Bill Devlin, Speaker of the House of Representatives; and Nick Archuleta, President of North Dakota United. The nominating committee will forward three candidates for each vacant position to the Governor’s Office. The governor will then appoint the two candidates who will serve on the Board.

The new Board members will begin their four-year terms in July. However, their appointment must be confirmed by the 2015 North Dakota Senate.


Planning for tomorrow’s North Dakota

State Board of Higher Ed President Diederich

Board Chair Kirsten Diederich

In 2009, the State Board of Higher Education developed a comprehensive strategic plan that the North Dakota University System has been following since then. It was an inclusive process involving business leaders, community leaders, legislators, campus leaders, faculty, staff, students and the Board. The common themes reflected by the four goals were: access, funding/affordability, economic development, and flexibility and responsiveness. They were united by the overarching theme of increasing the educational attainment of the state.

We’ve made good progress in reaching those goals, but it’s clear that the North Dakota that we were preparing students for in 2009 has changed significantly. Today, according to the North Dakota Department of Commerce, our state is ranked No. 1 for the best jobs market, for the highest growth of GDP and in personal income; No. 2 in state competitiveness and in entrepreneurship; and No. 3 in being pro-business and for economic growth potential.  It’s time to take a step back and once again look toward the future – our redefined future here in this wonderful state.

At our last Board meeting, Interim Chancellor Larry C. Skogen proposed a strategic planning retreat for this July, and I’m pleased to say those plans are moving forward. At our March board meeting coming up this week, we will have an announcement about how we are going to proceed and who will help facilitate the process.

We are very grateful that several organizations have been gathering information and ideas from around the state this past year. State leaders have been working on initiatives under the titles of 2020 and Beyond and Succeed 2020 that include higher education as an integral part of the state’s future success. The Greater North Dakota Chamber through its Higher Education Partnership has been conducting listening sessions around the state and has collected valuable insight from business and community leaders. The Joint Boards of Education, which includes leaders from K-12, career and technical education as well as higher education, has been meeting regularly to share ideas about the future. And we have task forces within higher education that are working on new ideas for student success in our system. All of this information will be included in our process and will give us a head start in our planning.

I am very excited about this effort, and I think it’s exactly the right thing to do for higher education in the state. It’s a new day in North Dakota, and that requires a new plan to shape education to help meet the workforce needs of the future.





NDUS launches 2014 Community College Awareness campaign

The Community College Awareness Initiative is a legislatively funded initiative designed to build awareness and enhance the image of North Dakota University System community colleges. Based on research findings, the NDUS Public Affairs Committee (PAC) members and an ad agency worked together to develop the overall communication plan, including statewide television ads, print and online ads all directing students and parents to a specialized landing page,

By highlighting the on-demand degrees offered by North Dakota community colleges and the easy credit transfer to 4-year institutions, this initiative not only supports the community colleges, but also feeds into the 4-year institutions and helps fill workforce needs.

The campaign also highlights the $1,500 tuition grant available to qualifying community college students.

Be on the lookout for Community College Awareness Initiative ads on television, or take a look here:

Dickinson State University offers support in the midst of tragedy

Trinity band students at DSU

Trinity High School students pose before rehearsal in the Dickinson State University band room.

On Mar. 3, 2014, Trinity High School in Dickinson, ND, suffered a devastating fire that rendered their building unusable for the remainder of the current school year.

“I received a call from Steve Glasser, president of Dickinson Catholic Schools, the morning of the fire. He asked to meet.  It felt good that those in leadership at Trinity High School knew they could count on DSU to stand firmly with them. In recent weeks, we have affirmed our support through encouraging words and by assisting to meet tangible needs,” said DSU President D.C. Coston.  “There has always been an incredibly strong partnership between the Dickinson community and the University.  The support DSU has provided Trinity is part of who we are as a university.”

DSU has supplied desks for Trinity students as they have moved into classroom space at three Dickinson Public Schools.  Trinity women’s basketball team prepared for basketball tournaments by practicing in DSU’s Scott Gym. DSU has also welcomed Trinity band students to campus, providing practice space and instruments.  On Monday, Mar. 17, DSU hosted the Region X Music Festival which was originally scheduled to be held at Trinity High School.   In April, DSU will be hosting ACT testing for all Trinity High School juniors.


Change in Leadership at Minot State University

At the February State Board of Higher Education meeting, Steven Shirley, Ph.D., was selected as the 11th president of Minot State University. He will succeed David Fuller, Ph.D., who has announced he will retire after 10 years.

Shirley moves west within NDUSSteve Shirley High Res

Shirley currently serves as president of Valley City State University where he leads a campus of over 1,300 students, 111 faculty members and 110 full-time staff. He will take over as president of Minot State University by July 2014.

“The Board is pleased to appoint such a passionate leader as Dr. Shirley to serve as the president of Minot State University,” said Board Chair Kirsten Diederich. “His strong understanding of what’s important to students, especially in North Dakota, clearly demonstrates that he is someone who can continue to drive the growth of this university.”

Shirley previously served as Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs at Dakota State University and an assistant professor and Director of Study Abroad at the University of Minnesota, Crookston. He is a Fargo native with strong ties to the Minot community.

Shirley earned a Ph.D. in teaching and learning: higher education from the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, N.D. He also holds a master of business administration degree (M.B.A.) with emphasis on marketing and global business and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the same university.

Shirley and his wife, Jennifer, have a daughter, Anna.

Fuller leaves lasting impression

President FullerAppointed in 2004, Fuller is now serving his tenth year as the university’s chief administrator. As president of Minot State University, Fuller also serves as president of Dakota College at Bottineau. Between the two institutions, he is responsible for more than 4,400 students and 550 faculty and staff.

In his time at Minot State, Fuller has spearheaded a number of large-scale projects, including an 18-month strategic planning process that culminated in “Vision 2013: A Vision for the Future of Minot State University,” a campaign audit and plan for fundraising, a new campus master plan and landscaping plan, resulting in multiple building renovations and infrastructure redesigns, totaling more than $25 million in improvements.

Over the last ten years, Fuller has built strong community relationships through serving on the boards of directors for Trinity Health Care, the Minot Chamber of Commerce and the Minot Area Development Corporation, along with involvement in many other community organizations. Dr. Fuller and his wife, Nancy, have one son and one daughter, and three grandchildren.

“Dr. Fuller has been a strong advocate for higher education in North Dakota – not just at Minot State University but through the university system as a whole,” said NDUS Interim Chancellor Larry C. Skogen. “His presence will be missed, and we wish him the best of luck in his retirement.”

In appreciation of Dr. and Nancy Fuller’s contribution to the university, Minot State University is hosting a community event on May 14 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the McFarland Gallery on the second floor of the Old Main building.

Alumni Spotlight: Sam Coleman finds his mission

Sam ColemanFinding his love for art by first grade, Sam Coleman, 35, spent much of his time growing up in rural Bismarck exploring art and testing what else he wanted to do in life. He grew in faith at Shiloh Christian School, was homeschooled between fourth and 10th grade, and spent his last two high school years in Michigan. By age 18, the seeker had a paramedic license and was gaining political experience as a page in the 1997 Legislature. While at BSC studying health education, he earned a semester credit by working in a Russian orphanage for three months.

“I always liked medical stuff, people, ministry, politics, arts – I tried a ton of different things,” Coleman said. “It was always a process of narrowing down what I thought my strengths were.”

After graduating from BSC in 1999, he was off to Minneapolis and The Atelier art school for three years of studio training in classical realism. As one of 17 accepted students, he painted all day expanding his skills into portraiture, landscape and still life. Nights and weekends, he attended seminary at Magdalen College, receiving his ordination as a licensed minister and a bachelor’s degree in biblical studies in 2003. Students were taught in the Oxford University-style, their knowledge tested after four years in one massive three-day exam.

Coleman returned to Bismarck, confident he had figured it out. He launched into an art career full time. Eventually, he realized his open-ended life as an artist needed structure, plus something was missing. He started volunteering at Charity Lutheran Church in north Bismarck. After six months, the position of youth ministry director opened and Coleman applied. That was nine years ago. His job will transition in June to third pastor at Charity, where he will still work with youth.

“I was always interested in ministry, but never had any idea what part,” Coleman said. “I found youth ministry is exactly where I should be. It has become food for the soul and a perfect fit for me.”

His work at Charity involves organizing and speaking at weekly youth groups, events and Bible studies, organizing mission trips and fundraising activities, and talking with kids and families about a relationship with Christ and other things in their lives. The combination of youth ministry and artist are a balance for him, he said. Art can be “finished” on canvas, while ministry offers no such completion. Each allows for the other.

“Art is more than a job. It’s a passion,” Coleman said. “Everywhere I go, I’m looking for beauty. My mind is constantly creating paintings. The flexible schedule of ministry has allowed me to fulfill art as a passion rather than an income.”

BSC helped set the trajectory for his life’s work with his semester in Russia, when he kept a journal as part of a course credit.

“That speaks volumes for how BSC operates – a win-win for college students,” Coleman said. “BSC was a place of learning, not dogmatic theory. Whenever I talk to young people, I always tell them what a good experience I had and how you don’t come out with a lot of debt.”

Coleman joined the art club and “lived” at the campus, because the art program was so much fun under instructor Richard Sammons – “It was like a family at BSC,” he said. Coleman had great conversations with Provost Dr. Drake Carter, then a biology instructor, on science and life questions, and Frank Koch, longtime chemistry teacher. He also remembers visiting the tutors “non-stop” to keep up in math classes and taking swing dance lessons with his sister.

Coleman teaches art workshops at a local gallery and is preparing for a one-man show in November. Because he is always gathering subject matter by taking photographs, he recently started S² Photography in Mandan with his wife Sarah. They live in Mandan with their two children, Gabriel, 3 and Cassia, 1, and a soon-to-be son. He said his greatest achievement is loving the Lord, having a family and being married.

“The greatest thing you can do is help people – that is what makes the greatest impact in the world.”

Bismarck State College recieves over $150,000 library grant

BSC receives grant for Library – BSC received a Bremer grant for $166,250 to help construct and equip the Learning Commons/Library portion of the $13.3 million BSC Communications and Creative Arts Center. The grant will help fulfill the $665,000 in special fund requirements that was part of the ND Legislature’s authorization of the project.

BSC training refinery operators – BSC has partnered with Dakota Prairie Refining to train operators for the first new refinery built in the U.S. since 1976.  The first operators began training at BSC’s National Energy Center of Excellence in January. Located near Dickinson, the refinery is a joint venture between MDU Resources and Calumet Specialty Products.

700+ attend Rick Steves event – More than 700 people heard America’s most respected authority on European travel, Rick Steves, at BSC March 12, when he discussed travel as a political act. Steves has produced 50+ guidebooks on European travel, hosts travel programs on public television and radio, and writes a weekly syndicated column.

Dakota College at Bottineau named one of America’s Top Military-Friendly Schools

DCB named military-friendly school – Dakota College at Bottineau was named by the Guide to Military-Friendly Colleges and Universities as one of America’s Top Military-Friendly Schools for 2014.

Grad to receive DCB Conservation Award – Mr. Dennis Nelson, a Dakota College graduate and President and CEO of the Project WET Foundation, will receive the College’s Conservation Award during its annual Earth Day observance. Project WET (Water Education for Teachers) is a global leader in water resources education.

DCB hosts regional events – This spring, Dakota College is continuing its service to the region by hosting the annual Science Olympiad, Business Challenge, and Spelling Bee events.

Dickinson State University senior wins national wrestling championship

Hellinger wins national wrestling championship – Jesse Hellinger won the 197-pound weight class at the NAIA Wrestling National Championship.  Hellinger entered ranked No. 4 in the nation for his weight class.  Hellinger, a senior at DSU, led his team, unranked at the beginning of the tournament, to a 15th place finish in the nation.

DSU men’s indoor track and field finish 10th overall at NAIA championships – Dante Carter, Andrew Knebel, Dustin Sandbak, Brady Sundheim, and Breyan Miller of the DSU Men’s Track and Field team all earned All-American honors at the NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championships.   Carter and Miller each earned All-American status in two events.  Carter set a new university record in the mile run.   The DSU team finished tenth in the nation.

DSU supports Trinity High School – In the wake of a fire at Trinity High School, DSU has supplied desks for students at three Dickinson Public Schools where Trinity classes are now being held; provided space for the Trinity women’s basketball team to practice; and provided the band with instruments and practice space.

Lake Region State College vocal ensemble debuts at Carnegie Hall

LRSC vocal ensemble performs at Carnegie Hall – The Lake Region State College Vocal Ensemble had a triumphant debut at Carnegie Hall in New York City. In February, the LRSC ensemble joined forces with four other community college choirs from around the Midwest to form a 110-voice choir.

LRSC athletic director retires – The Lake Region community gathered Saturday, February 22, to salute Duane Schwab, LRSC athletic director and head women’s basketball coach on his upcoming retirement. Schwab is in his 25th year leading the Lady Royals. He has made trips to the national tournament in 1990, 1991, 1992, 1997, 2005, 2006, 2008, and 2014. Duane has 9 Region XIII Championships and 9 “Coach of the Year” awards.

LRSC enrollment on the rise – LRSC showed an increase in the number of full time students spring 2014. The college has 477 at LRSC compared to 461 a year ago. The college shows an equal number of students to Spring 2013 when comparing the full time equivalent figures. Full-time equivalent headcount is 912 compared to 910 in in 2013. Total enrollment for Spring 2014 is 1845 students compared with 1882 last spring.

New volunteer group at Mayville State University logs more than 400 hours of service

MaSU volunteer group logs 400+ service hours – A new student group at MaSU, the Cometeers, is giving MaSU’s tradition of personal service new life. The Cometeers promote volunteer service of MaSU students by reaching out to the campus and beyond. Since August, members of the group have logged more than 400 hours of volunteer service.

Foundation participates in Giving Hearts Day for first time – The MaSU Foundation participated in the Dakota Medical Foundation and Impact Foundation Giving Hearts Day for the first time in February, and raised nearly $41,000 in donations and matching gifts. Funds raised will be used to help implement the new RN to BSN nursing program at MaSU.

MaSU awards scholarships to STEM students – MaSU, an associate of the ND Space Grant Consortium, encourages students to become involved in science, mathematics, and technology. Awarding scholarships to outstanding students is one of the ways in which this is accomplished. Scholarships have recently been awarded to 11 MaSU students who are pursuing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) degrees that support NASA research and technology needs.

Dr. Shirley named president of Minot State University

Shirley named president of MiSU – The State Board of Higher Education Feb. 27 named Steven Shirley, Ph.D., as the next Minot State University president. Shirley currently serves as Valley City State University president, but he will assume his duties at MSU by July 2014. He will succeed David Fuller, Ph.D., who announced he will retire after 10 years.

Severson Entrepreneurship Academy to expand – New academic enhancements are on the horizon for Minot State University’s Severson Entrepreneurship Academy, expanding services and projects. This expansion will empower entrepreneurs and regional business leaders to discover new opportunities, such as found by MSU students in creating Minot’s Beaver Brew Café, in North Dakota’s booming Bakken region.

The expansion involves study and research which will be disseminated into the business community and retained in an incubator for use by future students, businesses and entrepreneurs.

This expansion was made possible by a $500,000 gift given by Clint Severson, a 1973 graduate, and Conni Ahart and a $250,000 grant from the Higher Ed Challenge Grant supported by legislators.

Mrozik appointed College of Business dean – Jacek Mrozik has accepted the position as dean of Minot State University’s College of Business.  He will continue to serve as interim through this contract period and assume full appointment as dean beginning July 1. Mrozik joined MSU as an assistant professor of business administration in 2011, after being a visiting professor at Clemson University, S.C.

NDSCS presented with North Dakota College and Career Readiness Award

NDSCS receives ACT award – NDSCS was presented with a North Dakota College and Career Readiness Award in February. The College was the recipient in the Career Preparedness category of the awards, which were awarded as a collaboration between the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction and ACT, Inc. to celebrate North Dakota’s progress toward the goal of college and career readiness for all students.

NDSCS hosts Give Kids a Smile® Day – The NDSCS Allied Dental department participated in the annual Give Kids a Smile® Day on Friday, February 21. The event provided free dental care worth more than $12,000 to 45 area children at the NDSCS Allied Dental Education Clinic. Services included dental exams, radiographs, cleanings, fluoride treatments, sealants and fillings.

Student-operated restaurant opens – River Valley Inn, a restaurant operated by students in the NDSCS Culinary Arts program, has opened for business for the spring semester. Each week features a different theme, with menus planned and prepared by students in the Culinary Arts program.

NDSU wheat geneticist awarded $500,000 grant through USDA

NDSU wheat geneticist awarded $500,000 grant – NDSU wheat geneticist Xiwen Cai, in collaboration with USDA-ARS research geneticist Shiaoman Chao, was awarded a four-year, $500,000 grant by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative through USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The goal is to expand genetic variability and develop a physical map of the wheat genome.

NDSU offers remote access to microscope for K-12 educators – An NDSU team demonstrated the remote capability of the university’s scanning electron microscope to North Dakota science educators. K-12 teachers who want to incorporate it into their science curriculum can use it. Students operate the microscope through a school computer and high-speed Internet connection to view a variety of samples at high magnification.

Student innovation competition brings winning ideas – A new cancer therapy, a service to provide free swimming lessons to children in high-risk drowning areas, and hummus made from North Dakota products won their categories in NDSU’s third annual student innovation competition. The competition allows students to present ideas, earn prize money and learn about turning ideas into commercial ventures.

UND Aerospace Foundation renews collaboration agreement with Japan’s Tokai University

UND Aerospace Foundation renews collaboration agreement with Japanese university – The University of North Dakota Aerospace Foundation and Japan’s Tokai University signed a four-year extension to a successful collaboration that the two schools launched eight years ago.  As part of the renewed agreement, Tokai University students attend UND aerospace for 15 months while training to become commercial pilots. The first four-year agreement had two classes a year of about 20 students each. Tokai students are in Grand Forks for approximately 15 months while training to become commercial pilots.

UND immunologist receives Research ND BIO grant – David Bradley, PhD, an immunologist and executive director of the Center of Research Excellence for Avian Therapeutics for Infectious Diseases at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, received a peer-reviewed Research ND BIO grant of $2 million to assist in the research, development, and commercialization of a novel therapeutic for parvovirus infection in puppies and dogs.  The North Dakota Department of Commerce awarded Bradley $1 million through its Research ND BIO program that promotes the development and commercialization of products and processes through industry and university research partnerships. Research ND Bio, which provides matching funds to help companies pay for university research, matched the $1 million awarded to Bradley from Avianax LLC, a joint venture between Intraglobal Biologics and the University of North Dakota.

Children and Family Services Training Center celebrates 30th anniversary – The University of North Dakota’s Social Work Department hosted the 30th anniversary celebration of the Children and Family Services Training Center (CFSTC) Friday, March 14.  The celebration recognized one of the country’s oldest and most enduring partnerships between a university-based social work department and child welfare professionals.

Library and Information Technologies program at VCSU earns national recognition

VCSU President Shirley named next president of MiSU – VCSU President Steven W. Shirley has been named the next president of Minot State University by the State Board of Higher Education (SBHE). Shirley, who began his presidency at VCSU in July 2008, will begin his work at Minot State by July 1, 2014. The SBHE will direct the search for Shirley’s successor at VCSU.

Library and Information Technologies program earns national recognition – VCSU’s Master of Education program in Library and Information Technologies has earned “National Recognition” status from the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). VCSU’s program is one of only 46 programs nationwide to receive AASL/CAEP National Recognition.

VCSU hosts North Dakota Science Teachers Association conference – The North Dakota Science Teachers Association annual conference, exploring best practices in science teaching and learning, was held in Rhoades Science Center at VCSU Feb. 20–22. Keynote speaker was Learning with Nature’s Sam Stier, who presented on biomimicry—the application of natural elements, models and systems to solve human problems.

Two WSC students named to All-North Dakota Academic Team

Two WSC students, Megan Telehey and Rebekah Fetzer, were named to the 2014 all-ND Academic Team. Telehey holds a 3.9 GPA and Fetzer a 4.0 GPA. Both students are sophomores, active in campus organizations, and also work part-time positions off campus.

WSC received the Patriot Award during the annual banquet for the Williston Area Chamber of Commerce. This award is given to an individual/business/institution that goes out of its way to support the military. WSC has been a military-friendly campus for years providing resources, assistance, and space to military entities.

WSC recently hosted a screening of local documentary, “6 Brothers”, produced by Watford City native Daniel Stenberg. Richard Stenberg, WSC Associate Professor of History and brother to Daniel, also involved in the project. The documentary chronicles their grandfather’s life. The film was also broadcast state-wide on Prairie Public TV.