MSU President's Column for Traill County Tribune

August 25, 2018

Mayville State serves in an important role for our state

The Grand Forks Herald reported this week that tuition rates in North Dakota are less than in Minnesota. I’m happy to say that Mayville State was listed nearly at the top of the most affordable four-year institutions, coming in second behind the institution whose tuition and fees are just $100 less than Mayville State’s per year.

This is great news! Recently I visited with new students at a student success orientation activity. I asked each of the students what brought them to Mayville State. Affordability was a consistent answer among the students with whom I visited.

Not only is a Mayville State education affordable, it’s a great value! We offer wonderful programs, exceptional extracurricular and co-curricular opportunities, and Mayville State’s legendary brand of personal service that is second to none.

This is just one reason why I’m “Comet proud.” We are Mayville State University. We do what we do and we do what we do well. I’m proud of what we stand for. I’m proud of our faculty, our staff, and how we treat students.

That being said, I am delighted that our enrollment numbers on the first full day of classes for the 2018-19 academic year are extremely positive across the board. The word about the good things happening at Mayville State is out and students are taking advantage of the opportunities we have to offer.

In my first state of the university address at Mayville State last week, I laid out my strategic priorities for the next 12-to-36 months as Mayville State University president. They are: collaborations and partnerships, direction and growth, and funding priorities.

It is my goal to develop strong relationships with K-12 education, community colleges, and with the community. With K-12, we will be working hard to get our faculty into the schools and sharing their ideas and knowledge. Getting students into the classrooms is important too. We can do that through internships, practicums, and service learning opportunities. In our work with community colleges, we’ll concentrate on developing articulation agreements and review current and new programs and how we might work together to offer more opportunities for students. Education is an economic engine for North Dakota, and our “town and gown” relationships will fuel that economic engine.

We know that building on the firm foundation that has been formed over the last several years will require some change. As Albert Einstein said, “We can’t do the same thing over and over again and expect different results.”

Research shows that average human knowledge doubles every 13 months. Until 1900, human knowledge doubled about every 100 years. By the end of WW II, knowledge was doubling about every 25 years. IBM predicts that one day human knowledge will double every 12 hours. It used to be that a person with a college education was set for the next 30 years. That is no longer the case. We can’t wait. We need to change with the times to keep up with this rapidly increasing rate of human knowledge.

We will need to put our efforts into improving our retention rates and look at academic program growth.

Funding priorities will be extremely important in the overall scheme of things, as well. Affordability for students is key, but it is difficult to maintain in tough economic times, when energy and crop prices are down. We’ll need to take a serious look at budget stability and revenue generation, with the goal of keeping student costs as low as possible. I also plan to launch a salary compression study. Unfortunately, several years of no raises leaves our faculty and staff salaries in a tough spot. Often times, in order to get new faculty, we need to pay them more than those already on staff. I want to do what I can to remedy this predicament.

I look forward to working with all constituencies to bring Mayville State to even greater levels of success. To soar to new levels, we need only compete with ourselves.