President's Message

Dear BSU campus community,

As we approach the end of November, I find that there’s much to be thankful for at Bemidji State University.

While we are recognizing the 50th anniversary of women’s athletics at BSU, it could not be more fitting that Jim Stone and the Beaver women’s soccer team completed its second consecutive unbeaten regular season. The team won its first-ever NSIC regular-season championship and its first-ever NCAA Tournament game. While their historic season came to an end with a loss to defending national champion Central Missouri on November 11, this team’s performance will not soon be forgotten. I’m so very proud of their accomplishments.

Also this week, the Minnesota State system office announced the findings of a study to determine the economic impact of Minnesota’s 30 state colleges and seven state universities on the state’s economy. Not surprisingly, that impact is significant. BSU and NTC were found to have an estimated impact of more than $322 million per year and support more than 2,700 jobs. System-wide, Minnesota State institutions generate an estimated $8 billion per year in economic activity. You can learn more about the study by visiting our website or

As we consider our economic impact and the next legislative session, I have asked Vice President Karen Snorek to share our fiscal year 2018 financial outcome and Minnesota State's request for the 2019-21 biennium. Please watch your email for a fac-staff message announcing a budget forum to take place before the end of the semester.

Also, I am thankful for the opportunity we all have to participate in a far-reaching conversation about the future of higher education in Minnesota. On Dec. 10, the Board of Trustees will convene its first “Reimagining Minnesota State” forum to explore the forces impacting higher education. The forum hosted by Minneapolis College will be live-streamed. Through Reimagining Minnesota State, the system asks essential questions about what it means to be a public higher education system in an environment of rapid and accelerating change. To learn more, visit

As I close, I want to share how thankful I am for all of you. I hear stories every day about our faculty and staff going the extra mile to make sure our students are successful. Your tremendous efforts and the personal attention you give our students are the reason this is such a special place. Thank you, miigwech, for all that you do.  Safe travels over the holiday weekend.

Faith C. Hensrud, Ed.D.

In the News:

Mission & Vision approved by Board of Trustees 

Bemidji State's new mission and vision statements were developed in 2013-14 during a Strategic Planning process led by President Emeritus Richard Hanson. At that time, broad campus feedback on the mission and vision statements was gathered from faculty, staff and students, as well as a variety of university constituents including the Greater Bemidji Board of Directors, area educators and community members.
In 2017, President Hensrud led a strategic planning effort in which the mission and vision were reviewed and determined to fit the needs of the institution. No changes were recommended.
In May 2018, as our campus HLC Accreditation team reviewed evidence that we are meeting the criteria for accreditation, they discovered that the 2013-14 mission and vision were never presented to the Board of Trustees for approval. As such, in August and September 2018, we presented the mission and vision to our bargaining units through the Meet and Confer process. All bargaining units supported the mission and vision as written with the recommendation to change the lower-case letter e in "earth" to an upper-case E to properly signify the entire planet.

On November 14, 2018, the Minnesota State Board of Trustees accepted a recommendation from Chancellor Malhotra and the system’s Academic and Student Affairs Committee to approve Bemidji State’s mission and vision statements. The approved mission and vision follow:

Our Mission:

We create an innovative, interdisciplinary and highly accessible learning environment committed to student success and a sustainable future for our communities, state and planet. Through the transformative power of the liberal arts, education in the professions, and robust engagement of our students, we instill and promote service to others, preservation of the Earth, and respect and appreciation for the diverse peoples of our region and world.

Our Vision:

We educate people to lead inspired lives.

Office of Affirmative Action Launches Six New
Employee Resource Groups

Six Employee Resource Groups, open to all employees, are now available at both Bemidji State and Northwest Technical College. These groups offer opportunities to meet and share ideas and experiences with others about diversity-related issues. They are meant to create connections between employees, help BSU and NTC employees feel welcome in our campus communities  — and welcome others as well — and share concerns with like-minded colleagues.

Current Employee Resource Groups include parents of young children; conversations about violence prevention; employees with elderly parents; race; LGBTQQIP2SAA and allies; and support for and networking with employees of color. Each group has a volunteer leader, whom you may reach out to for more information about the group and its goals. 

The groups will meet at least six times per year, and many have already held their first meetings.

For more information about Employee Resource Groups, visit BSU’s Affirmative Action webpage, or contact a group leader listed above or Debra Peterson, assistant to the president for affirmative action and institutional accreditation, 755-4121,

Please use our online form and share your comments, questions or suggestions regarding this priority. You may submit the form without including your name or email address.

Furniture vendor selected for Hagg-Sauer Hall project

During October and November, Travis Barnes and Karen Snorek have been visiting with programs that will be affected by upcoming building renovations and demolition of Hagg-Sauer Hall. Programs have had the opportunity to review their future location floor plan, select offices and make minor changes. 

BSU has selected KI Furniture Consultant as as our furniture vendor. They are expected to visit campus shortly and will provide guidance as to the type and amount of furnishings that can fit into various office and classroom sizes.  

Overall construction bids will be opened on Dec. 20. The project is slated to begin in January and construction should be visible by the end of February. The project remains on track to see the majority of remodeling done by July 2019, allowing time to unpack and organize in August. Hagg-Sauer Hall is on schedule for demolition to begin shortly after the 4th of July holiday in 2019, with construction completed by Fall 2020.

Thank you to everyone who has begun work on the upcoming office relocations by assembling packing boxes or started to pack or purge items from their offices. 

Visit the News & Updates section of the Hagg-Sauer Hall Project page at the Office of Finance and Administration for more information.

Please use the feedback form to let us know if you have questions or concerns, or if you have suggestions for other information you'd like to see on the Hagg-Sauer Project site.

Work of Five HLC Criterion Committees is On Track

In our May Campus Update, we introduced the Five Criteria on which the university is evaluated by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Each of the Five Criteria is composed of three to five Core Components. There are a total of 22 Core Components. The evaluation of the university begins with one of the primary deliverables of the HLC Self-Study process, the Assurance Argument. HLC has strict requirements that limit the length of the argument to 30,000 words. Within that limit, we must identify how the university fulfills each of the Core Components.
There is one Criterion Committee for each of the Core Components. They have picked up this fall semester where they left off last spring. The responsibility of each Criterion Committee is to produce the outline of an assurance argument for each Core Component of the criterion. We are on track for the committees to complete this process by the end of the fall semester. An update on the work of our five Criterion Committees was distributed to campus on Oct. 9 and is available on the HLC website
As with any good argument, we also need evidence to back up our claims. This is the second responsibility of the Criterion Committees. As part of the outline the committee produces, it also identifies supporting documentation for the claims we are making as an institution. The entire process is intended to show not only HLC, but students, the university community, the region, and the state that Bemidji State University is transparent in all that it does.

Please use the feedback form to share questions or comments on the accreditation process with HLC co-directors Randy Westhoff and Marty J. Wolf. You may submit the form without including your name or email address.

Successes and Areas for Improvement from
Emergency Operations Team Tabletop Exercise

On Oct. 23, the Emergency Operations Team (EOT) for Bemidji State and NTC joined more than 50 other agencies in the northwest Minnesota region in a tabletop exercise. We started with a quick review of the National Incident Management and Incident Command systems (NIMS/ICS). Each participating agency worked on a scenario specific to them, and our scenario was based on an individual committing an act of violence on campus. Our goal was to explore how we would respond, communicate and recover from this type of incident. 

During the exercise, the EOT focused on situational awareness, identifying and assessing methods of internal and external communication and information sharing, and establishing procedures for opening and staffing an Emergency Operations Center.

The exercise generated a great deal of discussion and answered several important questions, but also left us with new questions to address — which is the goal of any successful exercise.

Our strengths included a general familiarity amongst the university’s staff with NIMS and ICS concepts through previous practice and training exercises, a variety of methods of communications available for use during an emergency — such as Blackboard Connect, our Informer system and others — and the EOT’s ability to participate in deep, meaningful conversations about emergency situations and our response to them. 

Our areas for improvement included getting more involvement from key stakeholders in emergency response situations, practicing our processes for locking or restricting access to campus buildings during an emergency situation, and practicing our initial communication plan for mobilizing and responding to an incident. 

The Emergency Operations Team will next meet in January, where we will begin planning another tabletop exercise focused on campus closure procedures for both BSU and NTC. 
Erin Morrill
Public Safety Coordinator
Bemidji State University I Northwest Technical College
(218) 755-2545 |

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