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McCallum is chosen

By accepting the position as Dickinson State University's next president, Dr. Richard McCallum can contribute to the broader scope of higher education.

By accepting the position as Dickinson State University's next president, Dr. Richard McCallum can contribute to the broader scope of higher education.

Currently serving as vice president for academic affairs at Missouri Southern State University, McCallum said he pursued the presidency to work in a larger framework within higher education.

"I felt very harmonious with the value system, with the programs that are in place, with the potential this university has, with the commitment that this institution, that this community has made to the process of higher education," McCallum said in a post-selection interview Wednesday afternoon. "I have also come to value in a very sincere way what the (State Dakota Board of Higher Education) has done in development of a statewide plan."

The higher ed board unanimously selected McCallum after less than two hours of meeting in a closed executive session. The board interviewed McCallum and candidate Dr. Bruce Speck prior to discussing its choice in the closed meeting.

McCallum replaces President Dr. Lee Vickers, who announced his retirement earlier this spring.

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"What really solidified the decision for me was having the opportunity to listen to him directly in face-to-face contact today," higher ed board President John Q. Paulsen said. "When I put together the credentials that he had presented to us prior to today, with his personal presentation to the board of higher education this morning in his interview with us, it simply reinforced my conviction that he will be an outstanding successor to President Vickers."

Pam Kostelecky, higher ed board member and chairwoman of the DSU Presidential Search Committee, said the board concluded McCallum had a background and vision that would be well suited for Dickinson State.

North Dakota University System Chancellor Bill Goetz said McCallum was a clear choice because of his convictions related to higher education for traditional and non-traditional students.

"I think he certainly is going to generate excitement on this campus, in this community and the state at large for those convictions," Goetz said. "I just feel very comfortable today in saying that I look forward to working with Dr. McCallum, and again, carrying the torch for higher education in North Dakota, as well as being a true, positive representative of the higher education cause within this nation."

After the board made the motion to select McCallum, Goetz met with him privately to finalize contract negotiations.

Goetz told the board McCallum agreed to a two-year contract, subject to review at the end of the first year, with a salary of $165,000.

"We did speak to a transition, which we both think will be very positive in terms of being able to work with Dr. Vickers for several weeks," Goetz told the board. "I truly, truly do look forward to working with Dr. McCallum."

McCallum said until he assumes the role of president, he would work closely with Goetz to chart a plan on how to transition into the new position.

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McCallum said during his interview with the board that to ensure a smooth transition, he would honor the legacy of the institution, while respecting ongoing program efforts, as well as inspiring the institution to move toward the next level of excellence.

"During the first couple of months, I will dedicate my energy to getting to know the people, to better understand the goals and programs that are in motion today and to begin a conversation that inspires a vision for the future," McCallum said.

Paulsen said has no doubt that McCallum and Goetz are capable of ensuring a smooth transition.

McCallum said throughout his interview he recognizes the position comes with challenges and opportunities. He pointed to the national higher education challenges of demographics, collaboration and globalization.

"One of the great and exciting programs I've just become familiar with is the Badlands Activities Center," McCallum said. "That's a challenge and an opportunity."

McCallum makes the transition to Dickinson State with his wife, Julie, and their little dog, Colby.

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