All Montana State University-Northern wants for Christmas is a new chancellor — well, maybe more funding and students wouldn’t hurt — and this week they have begun seriously shopping.
Over the course of this week, the four final candidates chosen by the 20-member search committee set up late last spring will be in Havre to meet with various groups over each candidate’s two-day visit, from the student senate to the heads of administrative departments, including an hour-long session for the community.
On Monday night, a few dozen community members came out to Hensler Auditorium in Northern’s Applied Technology Center to meet with Lenny Klaver, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in Kenosha, Wis.
After providing details of his career, from K-12 education through higher education positions at Wayne State College in Nebraska and his current school in Wisconsin, Klaver took questions on the role of Northern in Havre, the Montana University System and as a regional economic engine.
When asked what he thought the challenges were for the position he is seeking, Klaver noted the high turnover at Northern through the past decade has created a sense of inconsistency, saying, “What’s the strategic plan flavor of the day? ”
As for his ideas on the challenges, he said the university needs to highlight its existing programs, focus on enrollment beyond seeking recent high school graduates and plan with “real engagement” of the community and the many relevant groups on campus.
Northern professor and Havre Public Schools trustee Curtis Smeby asked Klaver about what role he sees Northern playing in the broader statewide higher education system.
Klaver said that “it is a very integral player in MSU” that has “some room to grow. ”
He said he wanted to know more about how to work together with many groups, including local tribal colleges, Northern students and members of Havre’s business community.
Referring to Northern’s position as the smallest and most remote of the MUS four-year schools, Klaver was asked how he feels about playing the role of “the underdog, the scrapper, the fighter” to have the school hold its own against larger interests.
Klaver said he had experience “overcoming obstacles” to create programs in his previous positions.
“I don’t think I’ll ever step into a situation, nor would I want to, where I could just coast, ” Klaver said.
Overall he said he is impressed with the area and the Hi-Line mentality, and could see himself working here for more than a decade if allowed.
“I think I’d really like it here, ” Klaver said. “I think I’m a pretty good fit, and I think you are a good fit, as a campus and a community. ”
Full resumes and schedules for all candidates are available at www.msun.edu/chancellorsearch2011.
Public forums will be held in Hensler Auditorium in Applied Technology Center for each candidate:
11 a. m. to 12 p. m.
Lenny Klaver’s university background
University of Wisconsin-Parkside:
Current tenured faculty, Department of Health, Exercise Science, and Sport Management. Return to full-time teaching
2001-2010: Vice chancellor for university relations and advancement
1996-2001: Chair, Department of Health, Exercise Science and Sport Management and director of athletics
Wayne State College:
1983-1996: Tenured faculty, assistant athletic director and coach.