President's Message

Dear BSU campus community,

As we approach the second half of what already has been an exciting and eventful semester at Bemidji State University, I hope our entire campus community will join me in sending a message of thanks to all who were involved in an outstanding Homecoming weekend. 

From the informative and inspirational Alumni Leaders in the Classroom panel to the traditional Carl O. Thompson Memorial Concert, the entire weekend of activities was filled with excitement. 

On the field, football continued one of the greatest Homecoming traditions in the country with a swim in Lake Bemidji following a come-from-behind victory that will be remembered for years. Our women’s soccer team remains undefeated and is now ranked fifth in the nation in NCAA Division II. 

In addition, during Homecoming weekend I was fortunate to spend time with two remarkable groups of alumni. Friday evening, I joined the staff of BSU Alumni and Foundation to recognize five award recipients, including two Outstanding Alumni, a Young Alumni Award recipient, a Professional Education Hall of Fame inductee and our latest Honorary Alumnus, at another enjoyable and well-attended Honors Gala. Saturday, we honored four true pioneers in women's college athletics to an overflowing crowd at the American Indian Resource Center to kick off a year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of women’s athletics at Bemidji State University. 

However, my thoughts have also been with the family of the young man who lost his life outside Tamarack Hall nearly two weeks ago, and with our students and staff who were affected by his tragic death.

I am thankful for the outstanding work done by our Student Center for Health and Counseling staff who have has made a tremendous effort to ensure our faculty, staff and students have the support they need to cope with this situation, and for our residence life and campus security and safety teams for their efforts in response to this tragedy. I also am so appreciative of the strong relationship Bemidji State University has with our local law enforcement agencies, which has been apparent throughout this situation.

It is my hope that this incident serves as a somber reminder to our students to be safe and to look out for one another. While this is a difficult situation, it has reinforced why we place such importance on strong emergency preparedness and response procedures. 

If I could point to one consistent feeling through a Homecoming week that has been like no other in BSU’s history, it would be pride. I’m proud of how we responded in the face of a terrible tragedy, and I’m proud of how we celebrated our Homecoming weekend for the thousands of alumni who returned home to Bemidji.

Thank you, all of you, for what you do every day in support of this university and our students.


Faith C. Hensrud, Ed.D.

In the News: A Look Back at Homecoming:

Updates on Progress: Priority 2

Our strategic plan included five priorities with distinct goals to be completed over the five years of the plan. This section of the BSU Insider will provide an update with a focus on one priority each month.

Priority 2: Increase engagement with American Indian communities to become a destination university.

GOAL 2: Increase enrollment of American Indian students to 350 (36.7% gain from 2017) by Fall 2022.

Key Activities:
a) Develop and implement an American Indian student recruitment plan.

The American Indian recruitment plan is in its final version and provides a framework for new student enrollment growth through fall 2022. Strategies have been outlined to promote Bemidji State to potential students through multiple outreach initiatives. Application and enrollment strategies have been developed to support students as they navigate the pre-enrollment process. Finally, support has been identified to promote registration and financial aid completion to best position new students for a successful transition to BSU.
These initiatives will be directed by Bill Blackwell in the American Indian Resource Center through collaboration with many offices on campus. Annual progress reports will be shared with the president's cabinet and other key stakeholders.

Enrollment at Bemidji State University on the 30th day of fall classes, a date coinciding with official enrollment calculations at the Minnesota State system level, is relatively flat compared to recent years. Headcount enrollment is at 5,136 students — which includes 4,727 undergraduate and 409 graduate students — down 1.2 percent from a year ago. Graduate enrollment has increased by 12.1 percent, continuing a growth trend that has seen BSU add 200 grad students since 2014. Full-time equivalent enrollment declined 2.3 percent due to an increase in the percentage of part-time students. BSU's total number of students taking online courses grew for the 10th consecutive year, and new on-campus undergraduate enrollment grew to 1,051 students.

At Northwest Technical College, headcount enrollment has increased by 10 percent to 1,021, an increase of 93 students from a year ago, and full-time equivalent enrollment has increased by 6.3 percent.

President's Leadership Council: Retention

Please join President Hensrud on Friday, Oct. 19, for a conversation about student retention at the second of six President’s Leadership Council roundtables scheduled for this year. These roundtables provide the entire campus community with an opportunity for an in-depth conversation about important campus issues. 

The President’s Leadership Council will be held from 1:30-3 p.m. in the Crying Wolf Room. Please note the date has changed from the schedule released earlier this fall.

As with the Sept. 12 conversation regarding the Campus Climate Survey, a followup fac-staff message will be sent on Monday, Oct. 15. This message will include additional information that will be helpful for you to review prior to the roundtable.

I was pleased with the participation in and response to the first roundtable on the Campus Climate Survey, and I hope even more of you will be able to participate in this second conversation. 

Renovation Updates Available for Bangsberg Fine Arts Complex, Bensen and Sattgast Halls and A.C. Clark Library

The Office of Finance & Administration has posted floorplan updates illustrating the renovations being planned in the Bangsberg Fine Arts Complex, Bensen and Sattgast halls, and the A.C. Clark Library as part of the Hagg-Sauer Hall project. 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.

Preparations Underway for Oct. 23 EOT Tabletop Exercise

On Oct. 23, the Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College Emergency Operations Team will participate in a tabletop discussion exercise sponsored by the Northwest  Health Services Coalition. The coalition includes hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, county public health and emergency management offices and several higher education institutions in a 13-county region of northwest Minnesota. BSU and NTC will hold a discussion-based exercise focusing on communication, information sharing and internal response to an incident on campus.
The Emergency Operations Team, made up of various department representatives, continues to meet monthly to discuss emergency preparedness. Recent discussion topics have included: fire drills, building preparedness plans, a hazard vulnerability assessment for both campuses and the roles and responsibilities of the Emergency Operations Team. 

In the coming months Erin Morrill, public safety coordinator, will be reaching out to buildings, departments and floors to discuss and create emergency preparedness plans. A copy of the template can be found on the BSU website’s emergency preparedness page. The Emergency Operations Team conducted a hazard vulnerability assessment and worked to identify the top hazards and vulnerabilities that could affect each campus.
For more information, contact:
Erin Morrill
Public Safety Coordinator
Bemidji State University I Northwest Technical College
(218) 755-2545

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