Dyer talks about Northern provost post
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The second of two candidates for the position of vice chancellor and p r ovo s t a t Mo n ta n a S ta t e Universi ty-Northern said he believes he and his wife would enjoy living in the area and that he would enjoy — and offer many benefits to — Havre's university. Christopher Louis Dyer, the dean of arts and sciences at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, made it to Havre late Tuesday night after winds kept his flight from leaving Billings to make his scheduled appearance at Northern that day. He told the group at the public forum held during his appearance at Northern Wednesday that he ended up driving here with another stranded flyer who needed to come back to the Hi-Line. "It was an interesting time getting here," Dyer said. The other of the two finalists, Rosalyn Anstine Templeton, was on the campus Monday and also held a public forum. The two are candidates for the position from which Joe Callahan is retiring June 30. The provost and vice chancellor, second-in-command at the university, is primarily in charge of academic programs at the institution. Dyer arrived just in time for the heavy spring snowstorm yesterday, but told the group that he is not concerned about switching from Texas weather to Havre's climate. "I'll be right at home," he said, adding that he loves the outdoors — hiking, camping, fishing and hunting for fossils — and that his wife, who is "very Swedish," also loves the outdoors, especially winter weather. "She's the one who's pushing me" to come to Havre, he said. He has worked on universities before with inclement winter weather, Dyer said, including a campus in Iowa where he walked across the campus during a stint of 50-belowzero wind chill to teach a class. "That's here (in Havre)," one audience member replied. Dyer also said he is ready to stay at Northern for a long time. "I'll make a commitment to be here at least 10 years," he told the group. He said he started his career in fishery biology, but early in his college studies realized that wildlife management is contingent to people management, which led him to add the study of anthropology to his education. Dyer has bachelor's degrees in fishery biology and anthropology, a master's in marine biology and a master's and doctorate in anthropology. His background in those fields also attracts him to the Havre area, with its diverse history, cultures and possibilities, he added. "This is an experiment waiting to happen," Dyer said. Dyer said Northern has numerous strengths, including its faculty, technical expertise and community-oriented programming. "That's what I see as the strength of this place. It's like a hidden gem," he said. He said he sees the potential for growth at Northern, and he would like to help with that growth. He said he helped Mount Olive College in North Carolina grow from a small college to a mid-size institution, now with 5,000 students. He tied in some of his experience around the world, including connections with the U.S. and foreign governments, to his leading and creating programs at Northern. Dyer said the programs at Northern would make it easy to put together programs for the U.S. government to offer in Eastern Europe, with Northern sending faculty for six-week junkets to help with development in that region. That would provide federal paychecks for the faculty as well as funding for the university, he said. "I've got a lot of ties in Washington I plan to call on" to develop programs and look for funding, he said. A key to Northern's growth and success is in marketing its strengths, both existing programs and new developments, Dyer said. The key is to have successes to show early, which will lead to more interest, more successes, more enrollment and more funding, he said. "You start showing people exciting things are happening, and you market it," Dyer said. He said he has extensive experience in finding funding. A project he is close to completing at Lady of the Lake would bring more than $20 million in new grants to that university. He said the keys to finding funding are knowing where the money is and contacting the funding sources directly to look for funding and showing the sources that the institution has creative, innovative programs that no one else has. "You show, 'Yes, you can,' to use Obama's catch phrase," Dyer said. "That's leverage. "I'm not shy about it. I'll take risks," he added.