New interim dean appointed at Northern


Another change in Montana State University-Northern's administration is just around the corner.

The university announced this morning that Carol Reifschneider, former chair of the College of Education, Arts and Sciences and Nursing, will move up to the interim dean position next month.

"I do, as dean of this college, look forward to working with our partners in education, particularly with the tribal colleges, " Reifschneider said. "I look to solicit any input from the faculty and do what they feel I need to do, as well as any student, alumni, partner. "

Kathy Jaynes, director of Human Resources for Northern, said that interim Chancellor Joe Callahan decided to fill the position, which has been empty since 2008, for the year.

After consulting that college's staff and faculty, Reifschneider was the best option.

"Dr. Reifschneider is an outstanding choice as she brings a wealth of experience gained from being the chair of the (college) and will be able to hit the ground running, " Callahan said.

He's not the first to think so.

When the school was seeking a permanent candidate for dean, Reifschneider's name came up as well. In the first round, the search committee put her forward as the single most qualified candidate.

Then-Chancellor Frank Trocki said at the time that he wanted to make a decision and needed more than one candidate and extended the search.

After inviting two more candidates to be interviewed later in the spring, that search was deemed failed, according to Jaynes.

"It was dragging on too long, " Jaynes said. "When that happens, you lose applicants. For all intents and purposes, there was no reason to continue the search.

"At that point, a decision was made to appoint an interim. "

Reifschneider has been teaching at Northern for more than 15 years. Before that she taught in the civil engineering departments at North Dakota State University and the University of Kansas, where she earned her bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees, the first in environment studies and the latter two in environmental health science.

She was the chair of the college from 2005 until fall 2010, when she left to apply for the upcoming dean search.

Now that she holds the position for the next year, Reifschneider said she is already working on preparations for various upcoming accreditations, "making sure that we provide the courses and programs our students need, " and ensuring the quality of the faculty behind those programs.

She is scheduled to hold the interim seat from August until June 30, by which time a permanent dean will have at least been sought.


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