Mary Ward named interim VP of student development and enrollment

BEMIDJI, Minn. (July 21, 2011) — Bemidji State University President Richard A. Hanson announced today that Dr. Mary Ward has been named interim vice president for student development and enrollment at the University.

Ward, who has been the director of Bemidji State’s Advising Success Center since 2008 and instructor teaching First-Year Experience courses since 2009, will take over a position vacated by Dr. Lisa Erwin. Erwin had been vice president of student development and enrollment at Bemidji State since 2007. She is departing the University to become vice chancellor for student life at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, beginning Aug. 17.

“Mary has a strong record of leadership not only in student development and enrollment at Bemidji State but also campus-wide,” Hanson said. “She is a passionate advocate for students, student learning and student success. She has done outstanding work with our Advising Success Center and she will continue that outstanding work as our interim vice president.”

Ward’s appointment as interim vice president begins in August.

For nearly two decades, Ward has been focused on student success on college campuses. For the last three years, she has worked to develop Bemidji State’s Advising Success Center and has been key in the University’s work to strengthen its academic advising. She authored BSU’s academic advising curriculum and has coordinated a new faculty advisory group that seeks to guide and strengthen advising efforts across the campus. She also has reconstructed the University’s First-Year Experience program. Her efforts have been instrumental in a three-percent increase in BSU’s student retention rates over the last three years.

Ward joined the BSU staff in 2008 after spending 14 years in a variety of student services-related positions at Minnesota State Community and Technical College (formerly Northwest Technical College) in Wadena, Minn. From 1998 until 2008, she was director of student services at the college. In that role, she authored a student success plan for the campus, developed a cross-training manual for the school’s student services department and created a consortium to deliver career information days to high school students. She taught a contemporary career search course at the school as an adjunct faculty member in 2005-06 and was the advisor to the college’s Student Senate for 13 years. She also served as an academic advisor and coordinator of the school’s REACH program providing counsel and advising to single parents, displaced homemakers and non-traditional students.

From 1993-94, she was regional coordinator for Minnesota Rural Futures, a nonpartisan non-profit organization seeking to develop leadership opportunities for women in rural communities.

Ward is a member of more than a half-dozen national professional organizations, including the National Association of Academic Advisors, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators and the National Orientation Directors Association.

Ward earned an associate’s degree from Brainerd Community College and her bachelor’s degree in vocational education at Bemidji State. She holds a master’s degree in educational leadership from Southwest Minnesota State University and a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of North Dakota.

A national search for a permanent vice president will begin shortly.