Posted: July 3, 2002

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

How was the decision made to put campuses of Northwest Technical College under the administration of the presidents of Bemidji State University, Fergus Falls Community College and Northland Community and Technical College? Who made the decision?

    • When President Ronald Swanson announced that he would step down on June 30 as president of Northwest Technical College at the end of his contract, Chancellor James H. McCormick asked Linda Baer, senior vice chancellor for academic and student affairs, to seek ideas for future leadership and organization of the college.
    • Seventeen listening sessions were conducted with faculty, staff, students and community members at the Northwest Technical College campuses and at the central administration offices at Perham during the week of April 30.
    • Office of the Chancellor staff reviewed all of the input from those sessions along with letters and e-mail messages sent to the chancellor's office and developed options for the chancellor's consideration.
    • The options were presented as an information item to the Board of Trustees at their May meeting.
    • The chancellor held a community forum in Detroit Lakes (with 10 sites connected by interactive television) on June 14 to present his recommendation and hear further reactions.
    • The chancellor's recommendation was then presented to the Board of Trustees for action on June 19, and the board approved the plan.
  1. How will the new structure work?
    • President Ken Peeders of Fergus Falls Community College will administer the Moorhead, Detroit Lakes and Wadena campuses. President Orley Gunderson of Northland Community and Technical College will administer the East Grand Forks campus. President Jon Quistgaard of Bemidji State University will administer the Bemidji campus.
    • The three presidents are working together to make decisions about the collegewide administrative structure.
    • The three presidents will work together on the areas that were identified as college or regional strengths, such as customized training and those academic areas that have worked to gain collegewide accreditation.
    • The three presidents have a commitment to consult with faculty and staff as they move ahead to determine how this structure should look.
  2. How will the new structure affect students?
    • The restructuring should be invisible to students, and no changes are expected in financial aid or program decisions for the next academic year.
    • Over time this change should actually improve services to students by more efficiently using resources and by expanding the opportunities for partnering on programs with other colleges and universities in the region.
  3. What will be the impact on employees?
    • All terms and conditions of union contracts and personnel plans remain in effect.
    • Meetings have been held with union leaders to plan how to incorporate existing vehicles such as Meet and Confer into the new structure. These discussions will continue.
  4. What will be the impact on the community?
    • There is a strong commitment to continuing the excellent programs that already were part of Northwest Technical College. In addition, the intent is to use the new structure to expand customized training offerings by using the resources made available by including Northland Community and Technical College, Fergus Falls Community College and Bemidji State University in regional planning.
    • The new structure should make the existing colleges campuses stronger, which is a positive benefit for their home communities.
  5. How does this partnership affect Northland Community and Technical College, Fergus Falls Community College and Bemidji State University?
    • This provides an opportunity to share resources. For example, Northwest Technical College has a very strong customized training program, and Fergus Falls Community College can take advantage of that expertise. At the same time, Fergus Falls, as a community college, always has offered the kinds of classes that technical college students must now take as part of their general education requirements.
  6. Why weren't Minnesota State University Moorhead and Central Lakes College included?
    • Bemidji State University and the Bemidji campus of Northwest Technical College already have been talking about sharing space. Although these kinds of discussions were not taking place in Moorhead, they could occur in the future.
    • The faculty, staff, students and community members in Wadena expressed a strong desire to remain part of Northwest Technical College, rather than becoming the third campus of Central Lakes. Geographically, it made more sense to form a relationship between Moorhead, Detroit Lakes and Wadena with Fergus Falls than with Brainerd.