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College presidents sign charter for institute
14 February 2013

COLLEGE COLLECTIVE: After signing a charter creating the Institute for Culture and Public Service, BSC’s Larry Skogen, UTTC’s David M. Gipp and U-Mary’s Rev. James Shea reach out to thank BMDA’s Russ Staiger for the association’s work in bringing about the three-college collaboration. DENNIS J. NEUMANN<>United Tribes News

BISMARCK (UTN) – After more than two years of planning, Bismarck’s three colleges and universities now have a formal agreement to collaborate on education and leadership activities that focus on the region’s future.

The presidents of Bismarck State College, United Tribes Technical College and University of Mary have signed a charter creating the Institute for Culture and Public Service. BSC’s Larry Skogen, UTTC’s David M. Gipp and U-Mary’s Rev. James Shea signed the document December 12 at a meeting at United Tribes.

“This relationship is going to be nothing but positive. I don’t know how big it’s going to get but it will be positive,” said Skogen. “We’re here in the capitol city and we have all these young people going to our fine institutions. We need ways of getting them interested in culture and public service.”

Bismarck’s three colleges represent a population of nearly 10,000 students.

“This is about the future and where we want to go,” said Gipp. “Bismarck-Mandan is blessed to have these different types of institutions that include so much potential talent and skill. And we look forward to a strong working relationship with our business community too. They’re the primary leaders of where the future is going.”

The Bismarck-Mandan Development Association (BMDA) assisted the college leaders in creating the institute. The association helped shape the purpose to serve community development by tapping the leadership and ideas that come from higher education. The BMDA helped define the structure and implementation strategy, prepared a business plan (including long-term funding sources and commitments) and wrote the charter.

“From this, great things are going to come,” said Russ Staiger, BMDA’s Executive Director.

The text of the charter emphasizes the considerable economic, leadership and cultural challenges presented to the region by the unprecedented expansion of energy development in western North Dakota. It establishes a framework for the three higher education institutions to collectively address issues and opportunities, along with the BMDA and its members.

“We each serve different missions, which are unique and wonderful,” said Shea. “The charter has some pretty impressive and energetic proposals. It’s time to show how that will make an impact in the community and how education matters. This is also an invitation to broader participation throughout the community.”

The institute’s approach is strictly non-partisan. The action plan will focus on four areas: academic programming, leadership development, idea transfer and community outreach. The charter suggests that the colleges and BMDA will develop academic and internship programs for future leaders who will serve both in industry and the public arena. The institute will work to provide forums for developing and launching new ventures. And it will work to bring the region’s larger cultural issues to light through speakers, workshops and other forms of public discussion.

The charter describes the institute’s structure as flexible, allowing the partners and BMDA sponsors to allocate resources as needed.

The BMDA plans to spotlight the institute at the association’s annual meeting on February 11. Skogen, Gipp and Shea will provide the keynote presentation, introducing the institute to the community with their vision of its role as they launch the partnership.

More information about the charter, please contact Dr. Samuel B. Condic, 701-335-8192, sbcondic@umary.edu.

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