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Community hears from first chancellor finalist


Tim Leeds Havre Daily News [email protected]

The community heard from the first finalist interviewed for chancellor at Montana State University-Northern Monday, with Frank Trocki talking about his views on issues and listing his experience and successes. Trocki met with about 45 members of the university faculty, staff and students and area residents at the university Monday, and said that the more he saw of Northern, the more he wanted the position. “I am more excited now than I was a week ago about becoming the next chancellor, and I was excited then,” he said. Trocki, the vice president of business development for Lincoln Educational Services, is the first of three finalists being interviewed to take the permanent chancellor position. Rolf Groseth has been interim chancellor since the retirement of Alex Capdevi l l e at the end o f December 2007. Trocki met with local residents again at 7:30 this morning. The next finalist, Gregory Sojka, will meet with community members at Hensler Auditorium at the university's Applied Technology Center at 3 p.m. Wednesday and at 7:30 a.m. Thursday in the Student Union Ballroom. Paul Dauphinais, the last finalist, will meet with communit y memb e r s a t He n s l e r Auditorium at 3 p.m. Thursday and at 7:30 a.m. Friday in the SUB Ballroom. During Monday's meeting Trocki said he can see areas where the col lege can be improved, especially in marketing and increasing connections with businesses. He said his original training was in teacher education, but he left teaching to go to work in graphic arts, which was an area in which he had taught, Trocki said. He worked on a project that had extreme success in industry a high-speed printing device for the textile industry, Trocki said with world-wide distribution. That system eventually was bought out by a major business, and Trocki said he decided to give back and return to education. He went to work for Lincoln Educational Services for one year then took a one-year position in Jamaica with the College of the Caribbean, then returned to Lincoln. He said he and his wife like the opportunity to come to Havre, but his work has been satisfying Even if he does not get the chancellor position. “If this opportunity doesn't work out I'm hoping it does it will be a great ride,” he said. Trocki answered questions from the audience for more than an hour, starting with his experience teaching Native Americans. Trocki said he had worked to create programs focusing on Native Americans, one while he worked at the College of the Redwoods in Eureka, Calif. He said he worked closely with a workforce investment board in California to increase the skills of members of Native Americans, particularly in a construction program. Trocki said that program seems to have worked and is continuing to work. He said he also did programming through the education program at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, La., to work with Native Americans. “To me, education is what we're all about,” he said. Several audience members asked Trocki about recruitment and retention, as well as finding partnerships with private industry. Trocki said much can be d o n e t o b e t t e r ma r ke t Northern. The key is to make sure people are aware of the high-quality programs Northern offers, he said. “There are ways of making sure people are aware not only locally, not only in the state, but regionally and north of the border that we exist,” he said. “We need to identify what makes us unique, and how to capitalize on what makes us unique,” Trocki said later. One way would be improving the Web site, which Trocki said is good but he believes can be raised to a higher level. He said he believes teachers at the university also can be recruiters, ranging from allowing tours in their classrooms, possibly with some comments and answering questions from potential students if time allowed, to going to career fairs and even to national fairs to recruit, if that's what the educators want to do. When asked about finding flexible finding options outside of the state budget, Trocki said that is something he has done at other universities. He talked about a partnership with Shell Oil that turned from a special class to several classes that are still running, at a profit of $300,000 to $400,000 a year. He said partnerships with a variety of businesses can help fund projects as well as recruit students but public schools sometimes seem unwilling to form partnerships with private businesses. He said the partnerships often can benefit both. “It's a win-win situation,” Trocki said. He said increasing cooperative education a system Northern already has to place Northern students in internships with companies is one benefit, as is advertising some right on campus naming students who have been placed with major companies. Trocki said he has had a wide range of experience in dealing with legislative bodies. He said he has dealt with state legislatures during his educational career, as well as local boards. “Yes, I think I have performed quite admirably,” he said. Trocki said he has had experience in dealing with systems such as Montana's two-university system, where the flagship campuses of Montana State University in Bozeman and the University of Montana in Missoula both oversee branch campuses, such as Northern. Trocki said he has worked in private-public partnerships, teaming with businesses like Xerox and Kodak to produce a program at one university and partnerships with other campuses. One example he used was partnering with a technical school to create a program in offshore oil drilling. Trocki said he hopes to strengthen the relationship between Northern and the local community off-campus. “I don't see them as distinct entities , ” Trocki said. “Both have something to offer each other.”


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