Northern has viable, good future
By Tim Leeds
Montana State University-Bozeman President Terry Roark said he sees Montana State University-Northern's glass as half full, not half empty.
"I think your future is viable, I think it's a good future," he said at meetings Thursday, June 29 at the university campus to collect input on the search for a new chancellor for MSU-Northern.
Roark said one reason for the visit to the campus was to dispel rumors that they were going to shut the university down or cut programs at the university.
"We want Northern to be alive, and thriving as well," he said. "Any rumors you hear that we are here to shut down Northern are false.
"I've heard rumors that we're going to hire someone to clean house.' Those rumors are false."
Roark said the reason he, members of his administration and staff and Commissioner of Higher Education Richard Crofts were at the campus was to find out what members of the university and campus think is needed to select a strong chancellor.
"We're concerned with the health of the institution," he said, "that's why we're here, why we're listening to you. We will try to find an individual to meet as many of your needs and requirements as possible."
Dave Dooley, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs at MSU-Bozeman, both said the search for a new chancellor should not have any major impact on the students and education at MSU-Northern at all. He said classes will run as planned, and with the strong faculty and programs at the university education will continue as always.
Dooley, Roark and Crofts all said during the day that this is always a time of great anxiety and fear at a institution of higher learning, and their goal is to minimize the anxieties and problems and find the most effective leader possible for MSU-Northern. Crofts said they will not rush the procedure, but will try to do the job properly and find the best candidate for the job.
Roark said that the institution is very focused and has good momentum right now. He said the recent program review has focused the university on the strength of its technology programs, such as the College of Technical Sciences, College of Business, College of Education and College of Nursing.
He said one crucial point right now is receiving NCATE accreditation for the College of Education. He said that MSU-Bozeman will provide any assistance needed, although receiving accreditation is ultimately up to MSU-Northern.
"We can't get NCATE for you," he said, "but we do have people who can help you get it."
He said while they can't leave MSU-Northern leaderless or "floundering in limbo" right now, the existing faculty, staff and administration are providing leadership for the university. He said it's crucial to keep the momentum MSU-Northern has gained going, and they will try to provide an effective new chancellor to do so.
Roark said the selection process for the chancellor would go in steps. He said the first issue was finding official leadership for the institution. He selected Provost Roger Barber as chief executive officer of the university Friday, June 30. Barber will remain CEO until an interim chancellor is found.
Roark has appointed a committee to review the recommendations made during their visit to the university and condense them into a concept paper to use for the search for an interim and permanent chancellor. Rolf Groseth, MSU system coordinator, will chair the committee, with the rest consisting of Barber; Dooley; Tom Stump, vice president of administration and finance for MSU-Bozeman, and Joyce Scott deputy commissioner of higher education.