By September 2013, Montana State University-Northern will be a very different kind of institution, if new Chancellor James Limbaugh has anything to say about with it.
The new Northern would have a knowledge of what it is, where it is, where it wants to go and a plan for how to get there.
“I know how competitive it is out there,” Limbaugh said. “The institutions that know their strengths and play to those strengths are going to be successful.”
To get to that point, Limbaugh unveiled recently an Action Roster, with 32 specific areas for the school and community to look into and move forward in and an 18-month timeline for how to get there.
The 32 points, which include everything from student gathering places to academic program resource review, were what Limbaugh identified as key issues after spending his first five weeks meeting with as many stakeholders as possible and listening to their concerns.
While the list is quite diverse, Limbaugh said he can explain how each and every one of them relate back to the primary mission, to offer students, current and prospective, the best service and experience possible.
Documenting every change, to let everyone know what is going on, is very important to Limbaugh. He said that throughout his career, working his way up administrations, he always felt better knowing the context for his work, knowing how his work fits into the larger system.
That’s why one part of the plan is to hold a series of six chancellor forums over the next few weeks.
During the first, Friday at noon in Hensler Auditorium, Limbaugh will answer questions about the Action Roster and the ongoing visioning process.
On Wednesday, March 21, at 4 p.m. and Thursday, March 22, at noon, the chancellor will lead two identical presentations on the school’s budget, to “accommodate as many schedules as possible,” so that everyone can get an idea of how much money comes onto campus and where exactly it all ends up.
The final presentation, on April 18 at 4 p.m., will, two days before his inauguration, show the results of the visioning process, with a draft of a new “Montana State University-Northern will be known for ...” statement.
The schedule of the forums, as well as the entire action plan and Limbaugh’s explanation of what he expects within the plan, are available on a recently updated portion of Northern’s webpage, in the Chancellor’s Welcome section.
To find that page either go to the main page, at www.msun.edu, click on “About Us” then “Chancellor’s Welcome,” or go directly to www.msun.edu/admin/chancellor/.
That website will also offer an update, every three months, on the progress the university has made toward the fall 2013 goal.
Some onlookers, wary after years of program cuts and false starts, may be skeptical of the chancellor’s plan, but Limbaugh welcomes it. Skepticism, Limbaugh said, at least means that they care about the college and are paying attention.
He acknowledges that it is hard work, and a lot of it.
It is also a possibility that not all of it will get done. Limbaugh recalled a previous post as provost of Angelo State University, where he had 27 projects he wanted to get done in one year, and a few fell through from external factors.
Aside from his own ambitious plan, and skeptics who may doubt, Limbaugh is excited by helping Northern be the school “this campus and this community deserve,” calling his work “challenging, rewarding, exhilirating.
“If we think about what we could give the state, the students, with this, that’s the rush,” Limbaugh said.Looking forward to a new Northern