Event showcases UND’s vision for the future
By Brian Johnson, University & Public Affairs writer
Last week, the University of North Dakota welcomed back thousands of students through an expanded Welcome Weekend that focused on creating community through gathering. UND’s more than 1,000 of UND’s newest students took a class photo and many attended Convocation the next day, where students began their paths toward a four-year degree and were encouraged to become involved in the University and community. It’s one example of how UND is moving from great to exceptional.
Other examples – of how UND is enriching the student experience, encouraging gathering, facilitating collaboration, expanding its presence in the community and beyond, and enhancing the quality of life – will be the focus of Exceptional UND: Realizing the Vision, set for Tuesday, Sept. 10, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in Memorial Union Ballroom. The first 200 attendees get a free t-shirt, and everyone will learn how UND’s roadmap for the future, Exceptional UND, is already having an effect on the University.
The event has a two-fold mission: to celebrate as UND completes a comprehensive institutional evaluation for reaccreditation and to help the campus gear up for the Oct. 28-30 visit of the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association (HLC of the NCA). That visit will occur 100 years after UND’s initial accreditation. UND has been continuously accredited by the accrediting organization since 1913.
“UND is very prepared for our reaccreditation,” said UND President Robert Kelley. “I believe the HLC team will see that UND is an engaged institution with a unique mission and responsibilities to our community and state. UND is part of the North Dakota University System guided by the policies of the North Dakota State Board of Education, and UND has a single goal in mind: to provide the best possible educational environment and opportunities for our students.”
In preparation for the HLC’s campus visit, the University has undergone a rigorous self-study.
“It’s been really amazing to see how all the work done by well over 100 people – faculty, staff, administrators, students ? could be combined into a portrayal of UND today that includes a lot of successes but also an honest discussion of areas where additional effort is needed,” said Joan Hawthorne, self-study coordinator.
The self-study process is being used as a springboard to focus on the five strategic elements of Exceptional UND – Enriching the student Experience, Gathering, Collaborating, Expanding UND’s Presence, and Enhancing Quality of Life.
Students have already reaped a variety of benefits from the campus revision. In addition to Orientation and Welcome Weekend improvements, UND developed the First Year Seminar (FYS) Program to help students make a successful transition to academic life. The completion of the Scale-up (Student-Centered Active Learning Environment for Undergraduate Programs) classroom reaffirmed the University’s commitment to progress.
Along with the all the improvements to academic life, students have plenty of areas to gather and have access to one of the best wellness facilities around.
UND’s presence is continuing to expand throughout the region as well. As North Dakota’s job market booms, UND continues to evolve to meet the need for young professionals. The activity in the oil patch led to the development of the Petroleum Engineering program, and the University is in the planning stages for new building projects to house the School of Medicine and Health Sciences and the School of Law, which are needed as UND educates even more health care practitioners and the legal experts needed to help support North Dakota’s booming economy.
“It’s important for any institution to evolve with society. That’s especially true with education, and that’s what we’re trying to do with Exceptional UND,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Thomas DiLorenzo. “UND is maneuvering into a new era of education, and that’s pretty exciting.”
For more details on the Exceptional UND, see UND.edu/provost/exceptional-und. For more details on the reaccreditation process, see UND.edu/hlc, and make sure to attend Exceptional UND: Realizing the Vision on Sept. 10 to hear UND’s vision for the future.