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DSU administration undergoes changes: Officials heed advice of audit

After experiencing a tumultuous 2011-12 school year, there are several administrative changes in store for Dickinson State University, officials said.

Many changes take effect Sunday, when fiscal year 2013 begins, DSU director of university relations Marie Moe said Wednesday.

The changes are a chance for DSU to wipe the slate clean and start fresh in the fall, she said.

"This is an opportunity for us to accept the reality of what happened at DSU and to lead the institution in positive change," Moe said.

It was recommended in an audit performed by the North Dakota state auditor that DSU combine enrollment services, university relations, multicultural affairs and financial aid.

The director of enrollment services position, formerly held by Norman Coley, was eliminated and a new department was created.

Coley was not offered an alternative position with the university. A listing for Coley could not be located.

Moe will head the enrollment services and communications division.

Outgoing North Dakota University System Chancellor William Goetz feels confident leaving NDUS, even with all the changes at the school where he was once a professor.

"I think the standing of the university today is very good," he said Thursday. "There's a lot of optimism on the campus, there's optimism by the faculty, the administration. I know the president is very optimistic about the future and the continuation of good, quality education at the university."

Goetz's last day as chancellor is today, although he will be available to his replacement, Hamid "Ham" Shirvani, for the next two months in a consulting capacity, Goetz said.

This past spring saw many changes in the administration of DSU, including the retirement of Registrar Marshall Melbye and most recently of Vice President of Business Affairs Alvin Binstock, whose retirement is effective Saturday.

Jon Brudvig, vice president for academic affairs, and Hal Haynes, vice president for student development, tendered their resignations earlier this year.

A permanent replacement, Kathleen Meyer, was found for the registrar.

The university is performing a nationwide search and hopes to have the academic affairs/provost position filled by the end of August, which has been held by interim Vice President Richard Brauhn. A search also will be conducted for the business affairs position.

Pattie Carr, a 13-year DSU veteran, has been appointed the interim vice president for student development.

At the beginning of the school year, former President Richard McCallum was ousted. He was replaced by interim President D.C. Coston, who was later appointed as permanent president Feb. 20.

Ten days before, the university was rocked when Doug LaPlante, dean for the College of Education, Business and Applied Science, was found deceased in nearby Memorial Park from an apparent suicide. That same day saw the public disclosure of an audit revealing DSU had been graduating foreign students without first having completed all requirements.

LaPlante's successor will be interim Dean Dawn Olson.

There were a few changes in the chairmanships of the departments, but there were no faculty resignations, Moe said.

There is confidence at DSU in the new leadership, Carr said.

"I am a city girl at heart," she said. "And it would be really hard for me to live in Dickinson without this job, without working for DSU."

The students have been and will remain the life blood of the university, Moe said.

"We're going to continue to do what we do best," she said. "Training teachers, training nurses, health care professionals."

Neither Moe nor Carr were worried about student perception of DSU.

"I think over time the activities of the past year will become more of a memory as people recall the great tradition that Dickinson State has here," Moe said.

In her former capacity as wellness program director, Carr made calls to students who had not registered for the fall semester and only one of the 60-plus students she spoke to was upset with the university for an unrelated matter.

"Maybe they really didn't understand all that had gone on," she said. "Or they were forgiving, or whatever, but I was really encouraged by that."

Carr, Goetz and Moe are all confident that DSU will remain an important part of the region and of NDUS.

"I think Dickinson plays a major part as an institution in the southwest area and particularly now with the growing population in the western part of the state," Goetz said. "Dickinson's role will continue and strengthen and certainly there will be a need to make certain that the institution is fulfilling its role in that area of the state."

Katherine Grandstrand
I graduated from Bemidji State University in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in mass communcations, from Columbia College Chicago in 2009 with a master's degree in journalism.  
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