By Tim Leeds
The president and members of the administration of Montana State University-Bozeman and the commissioner of higher education met with members of the administration of Montana State University-Northern to collect ideas about what qualities the next MSU-Northern chancellor should have.
Commissioner Richard Crofts; President Terry Roark; Rolf Groseth, executive assistant to the president; Dave Dooley, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs at MSU-Bozeman, and Tom Stump, vice president for administration and finance at MSU-Bozeman started their day-long schedule of meetings at 9:15 a.m. in Donaldson Commons on the MSU-Northern campus.
Roark said that he, the commissioner and the board of regents have the opportunity to think creatively at this point, while searching for new leadership at MSU-Northern. He said they can look to make positive changes for the institution instead of saying "we've done this for 30 years, let's do it for another 30."
Roark said the reason they are on campus today is to listen and share ideas. He said they did not come to Havre with a plan, although they obviously need to develop one.
"Our idea here today is to listen and solicit ideas," Crofts said. "Subsequently, we will go back and have discussions amongst ourselves and the regents; come up with a plan.
"This is a time we like to visit campus. Leave it open-ended; what is it we need to know to help us."
Will Rawn, who will be taking over as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences next week, said it would be helpful to break the needs down into necessary functions instead of looking at it as a position to fill or person to find.
Some of the qualifications Rawn said would be helpful included an ability to evaluate and assess faculty and staff, and correct errors as needed. Rawn said a good understanding of and how to work with unions, both professional and industrial, is also needed. He said Chancellor Mike Rao has effectively set up a system to plan for the university's future, and the next chancellor needs to be able to support this planning structure.
Rawn said Rao has been very effective at facilitating discussion, eliciting ideas from large numbers of people and dealing with the confusion resulting from the discussion of those ideas, and being persuasive with large groups of people. He said these are all qualities that would be helpful with the next chancellor, although he said finding a candidate with them for Northern might be difficult.
Rawn said whoever is chosen for the position needs to be licensed to deal with these and other issues as fully as possible.
Curtis Smeby, who is taking over as interim director of MSU-Northern in Great Falls, said the next chancellor has to look at and deal with the specifics of the institution. He said some issues the chancellor needs to deal with is the number and power of deans at the university, and the amount and proportion of power in and out of the university.
Smeby said one issue the chancellor will have to deal with is the difficulties of working cooperatively with other units of MSU when all units are competing for students, with funding tied directly to full-time enrollment.
Darlene Sellers, interim dean of the College of Education, said one issue the next chancellor must deal with is the search for NCATE accreditation by the university. She said if the accreditation falls through, the college could be shut down by 2007, and the next chancellor must be able or prepared to facilitate that search.
Darryll Thackeray, dean of the College of Technical Sciences, said the next chancellor should be aware of the strength of the technical programs at MSU-Northern and be able to facilitate the college's growth and continued strength.