About the President
Points of Pride
A Special Place
Dille Fund for Excellence
President's Remarks & Updates
Vision Task Force
University Reaccreditation 2007
Office of the President
203 Owens Hall
1104 Seventh Ave. S.
Moorhead, MN 56563
Edna Mora Szymanski
Quarterly Update Report
April 1, 2009
Minnesota State University
Moorhead is a wonderful community. I am very privileged to lead this
university. The activities reported in this update are the results of
the hard work of a fine group of administrators, faculty, staff,
students, and alumni, as well as the assistance of the Chancellor’s
Office. Again, I have deferred the template of key performance
indicators, this time until the summer after the program review data
related tasks have been finished. Also, I preface this report with a
brief update on the Red River Flood.
Red River Flood
Much activity during the last two weeks of this quarter and the first
week of April was consumed with flood preparation and recovery. I
believe that I have been most privileged to see the goodness and
generosity of our campus community and our city as we pulled together to
save the community and support each other. For a summary of flood
Goal 1: Listen, Learn, and Build Relationships
Regular meetings with Cabinet and direct
reports have continued.
I have established two additional groups
for leadership meetings: the Core Group of the VPs for
Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, and Facilities and
Administration and the Budget Council, which includes
the Core Group and the Budget Officer and Comptroller.
In addition, we have substituted quarterly directors’
meetings for the administrative council.
I have temporarily suspended meetings
with departments and will resume them in the fall. The
rationale is that I do not want to give any group the
appearance of unfair influence during the program review
I met with the Fargo Rotary and the Lake
Agassiz Exchange club. Additionally, I spoke with the
United Way’s 35 under 35 group.
I continued to meet periodically with
the Chancellor and members of his staff.
I continue to meet biweekly with
bargaining group leaders.
Town meetings are now held monthly and
will continue each month through May.
We have met with the Mayor, City
Manager, and other staff regarding enhanced town gown
collaboration and planning.
Our new retired faculty and staff
association has begun operation.
Goal 2: Build Shared Vision and Focused Identity
The members of the Vision Task Force
have developed a draft vision statement that has been
reviewed at two campus town meetings. The latest draft
can be found at
Following from the vision statement,
members of the Vision Task Force developed a draft
mission statement that was introduced for comment at the
March 11 Town Meeting. It will be further refined and
discussed at upcoming town meetings with the goal of
finalization before the end of the semester and review
by the Board of Trustees this summer along with the
vision statement. It can be found on the web with the
draft vision statement.
Elements of the vision statement have been used in
television ads as well as in our inaugural speech.
All bargaining units, students, and a representative
of the alumni foundation have been involved in the task
force. Drafts will be discussed reviewed with the IFO at
meet and confer and with the student senate beginning in
Goal 3: Enhance Enrollment and Student Success,
The Living Learning Community
subcommittee of the Vision Task Force worked with AVPs
Solinger and Sando to establish new communities for the
Fall. The following four communities will be operational
in the Fall and will serve approximately 18% of our new
first year students: Dragon Core, visual arts,
biosciences, and elementary and early childhood
A consultant evaluation of the
Residential Life function is underway. We have already
learned of a number of programmatic and physical
improvements that are needed to enhance recruitment,
retention, and safety. A plan is underway to increase
staffing and provide initial cosmetic repairs in
A consultant review of the Enrollment
Management function has been conducted by Noel-Levitz
Inc. As a result, an initial coaching effort is underway
and plans have been made for some reorganization and
continued coaching with the goal of a 2% increase in
total enrollment by the Fall of 2010.
A small group of a VP, deans, and
faculty have studied our marketing operation and made
recommendations for improvement that will help us to
increase enrollment. At the same time, I interviewed
presidents of four comparable universities that have
done well in marketing themselves. We hope to move
forward in the coming months.
Goal 4: Improve Fund and Friend Raising
Emeritus President Barden has been
helping with fundraising visits.
A new fundraiser has been hired to work
half time with the College of Education and Human
Services and Athletics.
The first annual Founders Gala raised
money for need based scholarships. This will become an
annual Founders Week event.
The Alumni Foundation has adopted a
communications plan and continues to implement its new
The campus campaign was launched with a
focus on scholarships. Proceeds to date already exceed
last year’s total.
Three reunions were held in Arizona with
great success and we are planning to enhance these
events next year.
A ribbon cutting was held at the new
Wellness Center featuring our major donors.
Public visibility contributes to both
friend raising and student recruitment. To that end, we
continued the Invest in Your Valley TV ads and used the
inauguration as a bully pulpit for media coverage. With
two talk radio shows and significant coverage in the
Forum and television, these events provided a good boost
for the university. In addition to inauguration related
events, we had positive coverage from three TV stations
and the newspaper for the Cabinet’s red hair spraying
event related to the success of the Women’s Basketball
Goal 5: Navigate Budget Challenges
Budget planning continues to evolve.
Current plans and reports from Town Meetings and other
sessions can be found at
A campus wide review of all programs and
services is underway. (see
This review will provide information that will be used
to determine which programs to reduce or eliminate.
The Summer Session Task Force completed
its work and has launched a new summer session format.
Initial registration results are promising.
The Tuition and Fee Structure Task
Force, with the help of the Chancellor’s Office staff,
completed work on a proposed change in the structure to
stabilize credit hour production, better address fees,
and promote faster degree completion. The Student Senate
approved the proposal, which will now go to the Board of
Trustees for approval.
Biweekly meetings with Bargaining Unit
Leaders and monthly Town Meetings provide opportunities
for information sharing with the campus.