MSU President's Newspaper Column
January 29, 2022
Spring semester, and all that comes with it, is underway
The spring semester is underway and we are excited and energized for what the new academic term will bring. We know that the spring is always packed full of extra activities that include awards programs, conferences, campus events for prospective students, and more. The busy semester culminates with our greatest annual celebration, commencement. It is our honor to celebrate with our newest graduates and their families as the new owners of Mayville State degrees are recognized for reaching their academic goals and dreams. For our faculty and staff, graduation means a feeling of accomplishment as well because they have played an active role in making it happen for the students.
As we all well know, the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is having a big impact across the country. We are not spared at Mayville State, but we are grateful that numbers of positive cases and close contacts have remained in check and we are able to continue operations in “new normal” mode as related to the pandemic.
We continue to encourage social distancing where possible and while masks are not required campus-wide, we are supportive of mask wearing. Faculty may require that their students wear masks in their classrooms. Vaccines and testing are available on campus for students, faculty, and staff.
With the uptick in cases and changes in recommendations regarding quarantine and isolation from the Centers of Disease Control and the North Dakota Department of Health, we have decided to update our campus COVID-19 dashboard more often. We had been doing a once-a-week update and are now updating daily, Monday through Friday. This will help us keep a better handle on the current status. Things change very quickly, especially when you take into account the new recommendations for shortened quarantining and isolation time.
It is good that a great deal of planning and preparation related to the pandemic has been done over the last couple of years. It has helped to establish a foundation that allows us to move fairly quickly when situations arise. Dealing with the pandemic has become a way of life.
Our faculty, staff, and students are to be commended for their hard work and perseverance that help to keep the campus community safe and well. We know that our students greatly value the opportunity to attend classes in person, and they are working hard to do whatever they can to help assure we can continue to do so.
Our Campus Health nurse, Amanda Jordan, is working very hard and doing a great job of providing services and information to our students, faculty, and staff, while staying on top of the latest developments and recommendations regarding COVID-19. She and Student Success and Disabilities Director Katie Richards have the important job of making sure there is communication with faculty regarding student absences from class and more. Director of Student Life Jeffrey Powell is instrumental in making sure students have proper housing and dining accommodations in light of quarantining and isolating. In addition, our custodial staff continue to maintain their high standards of cleaning. This is a great team effort and we commend everyone for doing their part.
Spring is also when we prepare our budget for the next fiscal year which begins on July 1. Vice President for Academic Affairs Steve Bensen and Controller Courtney Peterson presented information related to the status of the current budget at a recent campus forum for all faculty and staff. They also discussed how managers can submit their budget needs for consideration for the next budget cycle.
Several very difficult decisions needed to be taken when the current budget was determined last spring. We are seeing that those decisions have led to a much better financial state for the university. We know that many people have been impacted by the decisions and we are grateful to those faculty and staff who are going above and beyond to keep our operations running smoothly as we fulfill our mission.
Men’s and women’s basketball seasons are in full swing with the conference schedule of games well underway. Before we know it, we’ll be looking at basketball playoffs and conference tournaments, as well as the opening of the baseball and softball seasons. In the meantime, I hope you’ll get an opportunity to enjoy a basketball game. You can see the game schedules at www.msucomets.com.
Though the outdoor temperatures are unbelievably cold, our hearts are warm, especially when we consider the great team effort put forth by members of the Mayville State family and friends. Lives are changed because of the work that happens here. We are blessed to be members of the family.