MSU President's Newspaper Column

August 20, 2022 

Celebrating the great things already happening while pointing to objectives for continued success

We officially kicked off the 2022-23 academic year on Wednesday, Aug. 17 with the annual three days of pre-service activities for faculty and staff. The first order of business was a time of socializing for all employees when new employees were also introduced. Topics of discussion throughout the three-day pre-service activities included safety and security, strategic planning, and more. It was also a time for employees to renew acquaintances and to catch up with one another as many have been away during the summer months. This time of year is always filled with optimism and a renewed energy for our mission of educating students in pursuit of their dreams and life goals.

An important aspect of progress is continued improvement, and we’ve been busy this past year transforming for our future. During my annual state of the university address to all faculty and staff, as well as the public, I highlighted many of the great things that are already happening, and I also pointed out several important objectives for Mayville State University for the upcoming year and into the future.  

As we serve the state of North Dakota, we must put our ideas together and identify things that fall within our mission and that we can do to make a difference in helping to fill the workforce needs of North Dakota. One of the greatest workforce needs is for teachers of all kinds. We are already pulling out all the stops to assist with huge demand for teachers, and especially special education teachers, but it doesn’t stop there. We need to help where we can with other high need areas that could include accountants and auditors, tax preparers, childcare teachers and workers, social workers, and more.

We need to provide access to programs people want, where and when they need them. Many of our employees have been involved in developing programs that adapt to meet the needs of all types of students. We need to expand on these opportunities across all academic divisions to serve the citizens of our state and beyond.

During the pre-service activities our newly hired Director of Institutional Research Dan Bussain announced our plans for a new strategic plan that will be developed during the 2022-23 academic year. Strategic Planning Committee members will be named in the next few weeks and we will work to develop a plan that matches up with the University System strategic plan and the needs of the state of North Dakota.

Enrollment stability is a key to the success of Mayville State University. It will be important that we strike a balance of on-campus and off-campus students. Maintaining a residential campus is extremely important, as is the enrollment of non-traditional students, particularly students with some college, but no degree. This is a major focus of the North Dakota University System, state legislators, and our governor.

Mayville State has made great strides in the area of financial stability, but it is imperative that we continue to keep this important goal in the forefront. Our employees have pulled up their bootstraps and made the best of difficult situations. A great team effort has resulted in a Composite Financial Index (CFI) score that went from .4 to 3.94 during the last couple of years. We have achieved balanced budgets. We need to keep things moving in this positive direction.

A great deal of effort has been put into making our campus not only physically, but also aesthetically sound. The physical environment needs to be welcoming, safe, and comfortable for students, faculty, and staff.

A number of smaller-scale capital projects (that aren’t so small) have been completed recently or are underway. They include a boiler replacement project in the Campus Center, replacement of library and Campus Center roofing, a new home for Campus Health, new science lab space, and security card access and updated doors. Total cost of these projects amounts to $1,344,000.

The $2 million project to construct a natural gas fueled heating plant is underway. We are fortunate to have this new option for heating that is projected to result in cost savings. The plant should be operational in time for the fall heating season, and we are grateful to the state legislature for providing the needed funding for the project in the last minutes of the 2021 legislative session.

A major effort to secure funding to renovate Old Main is underway. The project is currently one of four top North Dakota University System projects that has received State Board of Higher Education approval and been forwarded for legislative consideration. The proposed $50 million project addresses life safety needs and deferred maintenance. It will take a great team effort to see this through.

Team Mayville State is second to none. In many cases, we are asked to go above and beyond, and that’s what sets us apart. Working together, we make great things happen!