President's Message

Dear BSU campus community,

We are well into the Spring 2019 semester, and I am sure you will agree the weather feels nothing like spring. With historically low temperatures forecasted for this week, it became critically important for the safety of our students and employees to close campus. As you know, the forecast held and we saw wind chills in excess of -50 for several days. It is my hope that you remained indoors and stayed safe. Just a reminder that all employees remained in pay status during this closure.

Thanks to Aramark, our residence hall and student life staff, Physical Plant, GMWs, and Campus Safety for your role in keeping our students fed, safe and warm. Thanks also to our grounds crew for clearing sidewalks on Thursday and IT staff who provided support for our keyless entry system. 
When you return to campus I encourage you to stop by the Talley Gallery to see the work on display by our very talented TAD faculty. In addition, our A.C. Clark Library is hosting the traveling exhibition on indigenous concepts of health and illness until February 14. You'll also want to check out our music department’s student performances over the course of the semester, as well as our sporting events as our athletic teams compete over the remainder of the spring season.
Our Board of Trustees continues to provide opportunities to participate in the conversation about the future of higher education in Minnesota. On February 4, the Board of Trustees will convene its third "Reimagining Minnesota State” forum to explore the forces impacting higher education. The forum will be live-streamed once again. You're welcome to join me in the Crying Wolf Room at 8 a.m. to participate in our broadcast of the live-streamed event. Previous forums are found at 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.
I want to remind you of some important planning work that needs your input. In February our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee will begin to develop our 2019-2024 strategic plan for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Also in February, we will begin development of our next strategic plan for athletics. I encourage your participation in both planning opportunities as we shape our institution for years to come.

Faith C. Hensrud, Ed.D.

In the News:

Progress on Priorities 3 and 5

Priority 3: Increase Engagement in campus life

NSSE: This Spring 2019 semester, we will administer the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) to freshman and senior students. Results of this survey are used to help faculty and staff determine what areas we should focus on to improve student engagement both within and outside of the classroom. We have elected to add questions related to advising and civic engagement as these are included as goals within our academic and strategic plans.

NSSE notes that student engagement represents two critical features of collegiate quality. The first is the amount of time and effort students put into their studies and other educationally purposeful activities. The second is how the institution deploys its resources and organizes the curriculum and other learning opportunities to get students to participate in activities that decades of research studies show are linked to student learning.

The Athletics strategic planning process will begin in February and will include three surveys, as well as listening sessions throughout the spring 2019 semester focused on the following topics:
  • February – Financial Stability/Marketing Reputation
  • March– Facilities/Governance Structure
  • April – Student Success/Successful Competition
  • May – Athletic Advisory Council (AAC)
Your input is important as a part of the planning process to help us shape our athletics strategy for the next several years. The plan will be finalized in July with implementation in August of 2019.
Priority 5: Create a university culture in which diversity is embraced and all people are safe, welcome, and validated

Work on Goal 1, which calls for us to increase our number of international students, began this semester with the hiring of the Director of International Recruiting and the International Program Center. Patrick Liu joined the staff in January 2019 to help move this initiative forward. 

Our Center for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has a new coordinator. Dr. Ye (Solar) Hong also joined our campus community in January 2019 and will work with us to fulfill our mission to provide a diverse, inclusive, high-quality and comprehensive educational experience for all students. The center works with the BSU and NTC campus communities to ensure a quality college education for all students — one that encourages a diverse and multicultural educational experience.

The BSU Diversity and Inclusion Committee requested employee input on a very short survey to help us prepare for the development of our 2019-2024 strategic plan for diversity, equity, and inclusion.  Thank you to those of you who completed the survey. Results from this survey will be shared at a Visioning Session that will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 5, and will be used to shape our plan for diversity, equity and inclusion.

Hagg-Sauer project remains on schedule, under budget

The university’s project to demolish and rebuild Hagg-Sauer Hall and to renovate areas in four other academic buildings on campus remains on schedule and on budget.

Karen Snorek, Vice President for finance & administration, provided an update on the project at a Jan. 11 open forum in Hagg-Sauer Hall. She announced that the university received an additional $75,000 to renovate bathrooms on the fourth floor of Bensen Hall during that building’s renovation, bringing the project’s total to $22.587 million. 

Snorek also announced that construction bids, opened Dec. 20, came in lower than projected. The selected base bid came in at $14,345,613, which allowed for optional items to be added back into the project and bring the current construction cost to $14,964,689. Two additional optional projects — upgraded interior wall panels for Hagg-Sauer Hall and an outdoor pedestrian bridge on Hagg-Sauer’s south side  — are still being evaluated and may be added to the project as well.

The project’s renovation phase, which will see space updated in the A.C. Clark Library and in Bangsberg, Bensen and Sattgast halls, is also underway. Asbestos abatement on the first three floors in Bangsberg was completed Jan. 11, and began on the third and fourth floors in Bensen on Jan. 14. That process was scheduled to be completed Jan. 28. 

Travis Barnes, physical plant manager, said the university hopes to begin renovation projects on Feb. 4, pending final building and demolition permits. He also reminded the campus that Hagg-Sauer Hall must be completely vacated by May 17 so demolition of that building can begin.

Faculty and staff who will be relocating as part of this project are reminded to select office chairs for their new locations. Also, anyone on campus is welcome to vote on carpet samples being considered for Hagg-Sauer Hall. Samples may be reviewed in the stairwell landing behind the Human Resources office on Deputy Hall 3rd floor.

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.

HLC Assurance Argument is taking shape

As Fall Semester ended, so did the bulk of the self-study process. Our five Criterion Committees effectively surveyed the entire institution to obtain an effective picture of all the things we do to support our students. Thank you to all who helped in the process. We are now in the process of drafting the complete Assurance Argument that demonstrates how BSU satisfies the twenty-two Core Components that are distributed among the five criteria used to evaluate the institution. The primary responsibility for drafting the Assurance Argument falls to HLC Co-directors, Randy Westhoff and Marty J. Wolf. Don’t worry, you will have a chance to help, too. Later this semester we will share the draft Assurance Argument with the campus for comment and feedback. See last week’s Campus Update for more details. 

Here are some reminders of things you can do to help ensure BSU’s continuing accreditation.  

  • Make sure assessment activities for your area are up-to-date. 

  • Each faculty should ensure that their dean has an up-to-date curriculum vitae. 

  • Each department should ensure that departmental mission and vision statements are easily found on the department’s webpage.  

  • Each program should have programmatic student learning outcomes clearly identified in an appropriate place on the website.

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.

Emergency preparedness and safety update

Erin Morrill, security coordinator in the BSU/NTC environmental health & safety office, is gearing up to launch a Continuity of Operations Planning process in the coming weeks. This process will kick off with a discussion-based exercise focused on BSU/NTC's immediate needs following an emergency or disaster. The Continuity of Operations Plan helps ensure the continuance of critical operations by identifying essential functions and key resources. Department-specific plans will be created to help build the overall plan for both BSU and NTC.

As a result of the fire drills conducted in September 2018, Erin will be seeking out building coordinators for each academic building on campus. Building coordinators will be asked to assist during evacuations and other emergencies. More information will follow, but if you are interested contact Erin

In addition to emergency preparedness, Erin is also responsible for occupational health and safety at both BSU and NTC. Dale Dreyer has taken on environmental health & safety duties. The two are working on updating and adding safety programs, policies and training. Offices and departments on campus that have been working with Erin and Dale should be on the lookout for more information in the future.

The Environmental Health and Safety page on the BSU website will be undergoing some construction and changes as well; in the meantime, if you can't find what you are looking for on the website always feel free to email or call at 755-2545. Dale has been hard at working in Sattgast creating a new chemical inventory, cleaning up no-longer used spaces and creating a building Safety Committee. The Sattgast Safety Committee is a sub-committee of the larger Bemidji State University Safety Committee that meets quarterly. Dale is chairing the sub-committee group and joining the larger BSU Safety Committee chaired by Erin. Dale will be the new contact for pickup of hazardous waste or sharps in your area that need to be disposed of. Please contact him to set up a pickup time.

Winter is in full force and this week's weather has been a good reminder for us to be extra cautious. In extremely cold weather it is important to remember to limit the time you spend outdoors, to wear layers and cover as much skin as possible. Frostbite can happen in a matter of minutes. As hard as we try, there are still roadways, sidewalks and walkways that are covered in snow and ice; wearing shoes or boots with good traction, taking your time, and even walking like a penguin can help prevent slips and falls. Entrance areas to buildings and stairs may also be a little hazardous with the melting snow and sand tracked inside by shoes. Please report any icy sidewalks to staff, building managers or to the safety and security office. Remember also to fill out a first report of injury with your supervisor if you do experience a slip, trip, fall or other injury. If you have questions about this process please contact your supervisor, the Safety Office or Human Resources. 
Erin Morrill
Public Safety Coordinator
Bemidji State University I Northwest Technical College
(218) 755-2545 |

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