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A Special Place

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Vision Task Force

University Reaccreditation 2007


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Contact the President


MSU Moorhead
Office of the President
203 Owens Hall
1104 Seventh Ave. S.
Moorhead, MN 56563
(218) 477-2243


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 of 2009
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 activities see .

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 process.

  • 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 late March.

Goal 3: Enhance Enrollment and Student Success, Including Retention

  • 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 education.

  • 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 response.

  • 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 strategic plan.

  • 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 team.

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.