Captivates campus, community
By Tim Leeds
Dr. Alex Capdeville announced today that he will take the permanent chancellorship at Montana State University-Northern.
Montana State University-Bozeman President Dr. Geoffrey Gamble announced the appointment this afternoon at the meeting of the Board of Regents of Higher Education in Great Falls.
"He offered me the job permanently," Capdeville said. "I've agreed to accept it."
Capdeville took the chancellor position in September 2000 while the search for a permanent chancellor was made. Members of the campus and community told Gamble during a meeting at Northern on April 7 that they wanted Capdeville appointed to the position.
"When I came here, I didn't take the job with any expectations that it was a permanent position beyond 2002, but it's evolved into something I think is very positive," Capdeville said. "People in the community, and on the campus, have been very supportive of me."
Gamble said he solicited confidential input to allow everyone an opportunity to make comments on the search for a permanent chancellor. He said the comments, from the meeting and the confidential messages, was fairly unanimous.
"Everything we heard was that Alex is doing a superb job at Havre; they value his leadership and want him there in a permanent capacity," Gamble said. "It was very remarkable we set up a process where, if there were some voices that were critical, they could respond confidentially and we received nothing of substance (critical of him.) People admire him he's already had to make some tough decisions, but people respect that."
Gamble said after the meeting and soliciting comments he met with Dr. Richard Crofts, commissioner of higher education, and with the regents, and they all agreed that Capdeville would be a good choice for the position.
"Everything now is exactly what we can expect from him," Gamble said. "I'm looking forward immensely to continuing the relationship. He's great to work with."
Capdeville said a condition he made for accepting the position was support from MSU-Bozeman to improve the residence life at the Northern campus. When he first took the position last fall, Capdeville said improving resident life at the university would be a high priority for him.
Gamble said that MSU-Bozeman will work with Northern on the residence issues.
"One of the things he's asked is that we look seriously at some of the facilities, both the student union and the residence halls," he said. "I have said Bozeman will work with Northern. I have asked him to develop a preliminary work plan and we will work from there."
The other main issue Capdeville has said the university needs to focus on is enrollment. Capdeville has suggested greater recruitment from Montana high schools, COTs (colleges of technology) and from Canada.
Capdeville has already taken faculty and staff on two direct recruitment drives in Montana high schools. The first trip was at the end of February and the second was the week following graduation on May 5.
Another of Capdeville's priorities since he started was to support the drive to build a new applied technology center at Northern. The ATC was funded by the 2001 Legislature, although with less funding than was originally sought.
The creation of the ATC is intended to modernize and centralize the facilities for the technical programs at Northern and to provide high-tech labs and additional classroom and office space.