The chancellor of Montana State University-Northern said this morning that he is leaving due to a difference of vision on the future of the university.
“I imagine it caught a lot of people by surprise …, ” he said. “That’s exactly what I’m doing, I’m leaving. I have not resigned.
“I do not truly believe that I am a quitter. But I believe my tenure here, when it started, was change. … Innovation and change is difficult for people to accept and embrace, ” he said.
Montana State University announced in a press release Tuesday that Trocki, who was appointed June 2009, would leave the university at the end of June.
Joe Callahan, who retired as provost in June 2010, will come back to Northern as interim chancellor.
The announcement came one day after MSU President Waded Cruzado announced two searches for personnel at Northern would be put on hold while a review of procedures in the searches was conducted.
Cruzado consulted with Trocki about reviewing the searches after she met with faculty from Northern who expressed concerns about the “overall direction and leadership of the campus. ”
Trocki said this morning he welcomed Cruzado investigating the searches, and reiterated comments he made Tuesday morning that it would find no improprieties in the processses.
He said he always had an open-door policy, and regularly held open forums with faculty and staff where they could discuss issues. The people may not always have liked what they heard, and may not have liked the decisions that were made, he said.
“They were not made cloistered (in this office), ” Trocki said.
Back to Massachusetts
Trocki said he and his wife, Joan, plan to return to their home in Massachusetts after he is done in June. That is, unless a new career matures very quickly, he said, adding that he doubts it would be in education.
“Going back to Massachusetts is not the worst thing in the world, ” he added.
Trocki said that both he and his wife have enjoyed living in Havre.
“We have developed great friendships, ” he said.
Working for change
He said he wanted to make changes at Northern when he accepted the position in 2009.
“My vision of this university when I first started out was to establish a university that excels in academic preparation in niche markets, ” he said.
He said work in identifying and developing those programs and markets has increased the university’s population. It also has made students confident that if they come to Northern they will eventually find a good job in their area, particularly Northern’s premier programs of technology, nursing and education.
He said work on finding funding through grants as well as industry donations has surpassed expectations, and work on reorganizing the alumni association and funding foundation also has been successful.
“Both groups are doing a phenomenal job, ” he added.
And much of the efforts, including changes in recruitment and finding money to finance those, have been successful, he said.
“I think our recruitment has been revolutionized under the leadership of people like Stacey Gonzalez, ” he said.
He also said much of the work has been in finding ways to make programs and systems more effective and more efficient, Trocki said.
“I’m leaving the university in a much better financial situation and position than ever before, again I attribute a lot of that to Sue Ost and her leadership and direction. We have found ways to do things more efficiently and effectively, ” he said, adding that that includes paying off hundreds of thousands of dollars of loans faster than ever.
He said that has been accomplished without any layoffs or cuts, although it did require reorganization in some areas.
Hopes for the course to continue
He said he hopes that Callahan, and whoever is hired in the position on a permanent basis, will continue his work to expand contacts with Havre, the Hi-Line, the state and the business community, as well as to improve the programs at Northern and develop new programs.
Trocki added that he hopes the chancellors will continue to work closely with Ost, Provost Rosalyn Templeton and Registrar Lindsey Brown in their efforts to improve Northern, and to continue many of the projects that started under his tenure.
Not all of his decisions about those efforts and about new projects met with universal support, but the work needs to continue, Trocki said.
“I did it because I thought that I was doing the job that I was hired to do, ” he said. “People look at my vision and there could be a conflict in that vision. ”