While he has ruffled some feathers on campus — and off— in the process, Northern Chancellor Frank Trocki said he is proud of the achievements he has made in his two years at the university.
“My leaving the university was a surprise, considering some of the achievements that happened, ” he said this morning.
He said his leaving as chancellor the end of June, which was announced Tuesday, was over a difference in vision over where Northern should go and how to get there.
The announcement came one day after MSU President Waded Cruzado said that she had consulted Trocki and was going to review the searches for a new dean of the College of Nursing, Arts and Sciences, and Education and for director of field experiences.
Trocki said change can be difficult, but that the changes that occurred in his time at Northern have improved the university.
He cited work to restore $7.9 million in funding for a new automotive and diesel technology building to replace an aging building that was not up to code when it was built in the 1950s, and to restore $400,000 in funding for the university’s cutting-edge biodiesel research program as two of the successes.
He said working closely with local partners and with the legislators in Helena, the funding finally was restored to be sent to the governor.
“If we hadn’t been proactive, Northern could have been left to the wayside, ” Trocki said.
Another is the work to build up the Bio-Energy Center, and corrolary work including joining a consortium to test unmanned aircraft in Montana airspace.
Part of the success in those areas has included finding the right partners, he added.
One of those achievements was hiring Tony Preite, whose lengthy resume includes his former position as director of the state Department of Commerce, to help Northern find and leverage partnerships — as well as Preite’s work in restoring Northern’s funding in the Legislature.
Another was working with 23-year U. S Navy SEALS veteran state Sen. Ryan Zinke, who has been hired as a consultant as co-director of the drone aircraft testing consortium.
He said another is the close work he has done with Bear Paw Development Corp., the county, the Bio-Energy Center and industry partners to bring a major biodiesel production facility to the industrial park being built southwest of Havre.
That project is inching closer and closer to fruition, Trocki said.
Another achievement is work to improve the infrastructure at the college, including making the stay of the students at Northern more enjoyable, Trocki said.
He also cited work to revamp and improve many programs such as recruitment, the alumni association and the funding foundation, as well as academic programs themselves.
Trocki said one push he hopes continues is work to upgrade and improve the education program at the university, to align it better with Office of Public Instruction and national accreditation standards.