Dr. Faith Hensrud, president of Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College, officially kicked off Bemidji State’s 2018-19 academic year at the President’s Welcome Breakfast.
Several hundred members of the university’s faculty, staff and administration gathered to review the university’s achievements during the past year and to preview significant events on BSU’s horizon, including BSU’s 100th anniversary and the 50th anniversaries of women’s athletics, Madrigal Dinners and the Hobson Memorial Union.
On the threshold of BSU’s second century, Hensrud commended the passion and dedication shown by members of BSU’s faculty and staff to create an enriching academic environment. She highlighted the important role each department and office plays in the success of the university and celebrated the start of a new academic year. She also unveiled five priorities for universtty during the 2018–19 school year.
“As we enter a new academic year, I want you to be aware of the direction we, together, will be taking Bemidji State University as we complete our first century,” Hensrud said.
The five priority areas unveiled by Hensrud were:
- to focus on the implementation of the 2018-2023 Strategic Plan as set forth by Hensrud on Jan. 3, 2018,
- to invest in the campus community through supervisory trainings, regular performance evaluations and professional development opportunities,
- obtaining Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accreditation, with plans underway for a campus visit from an accreditation team scheduled for October 2019,
- the Hagg-Sauer Hall demolition and reconstruction project, with subsequent renovations in four other campus buildings, and
- emergency preparedness.
Hensrud applauded the university’s accomplishments in diversity and encouraged the expansion of diversification efforts in the student body, administration and faculty.
“At BSU we must create opportunities for all of our students to experience, interact with, and appreciate differences and diversity,” she said.
Hensrud also commented on the current plans for the Hagg-Sauer Hall demolition and construction project, which received $22.5 million in funding as part of the state’s capital bonding bill which was signed into law in May.
“We are quite confident we will create a highly positive learning environment with a state-of-the-art facility our students and faculty deserve,” Hensrud said, while encouraging faculty and staff to remain engaged in the project.
Michelle Frenzel, executive director of enrollment management, provided a brief update on the preliminary enrollment outlook for the upcoming year. Official enrollment figures will be announced in conjunction with the 30th day of classes, which this year falls on Oct. 8.
Karen Snorek, vice president for finance and administration, recapped efforts to promote the university’s Hagg Sauer Hall project, which will include renovations to the A.C. Clark Library, the Bangsberg Fine Arts Complex, and Bensen and Sattgast halls. She detailed the facility projects that were started or finished during the summer and provided a brief update on current campus construction, including the updated student activity lounge in the Hobson Memorial Union, the John Glas Field House renovation and new flooring in Oak Hall.
Snorek also announced plans to begin work on an updated Master Facilities Plan, which would guide the university’s capital, revenue bonding and Higher Education Asset Preservation and Restoration (HEAPR) projects over the next 20 years, and announced a HEAPR project to install updated energy controls systems for the university.
Hensrud closed with short recap of the BSU’s centennial celebrations and vision for the future.
“The work of higher education is both absolutely essential and profoundly inspiring, especially as we practice it here,” she said. “I believe, with the spirit of inspiration from the past and innovation for the future, BSU will be better than ever.”
Startup activities continue throughout the week in advance of BSU’s annual residence hall Move-In Day on Aug. 24. Fall classes begin Aug. 27.