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Larry Skogen

Bismarck State College President Larry Skogen talks in July about the accomplishments he and the college staff have achieved during his decade on the job. Skogen has announced his retirement effective June 30, 2020.

The Bismarck State College presidential search committee took its first steps Wednesday to find a replacement for outgoing President Larry Skogen.

Skogen announced his retirement in July, effective June 30, 2020.

The committee approved a timeline for the presidential search, including plans to publish a job posting on Nov. 20.

The deadline for applications is Jan. 10, 2020, after which the committee will meet to identify which candidates to interview through video.

The committee plans to meet with finalists in early March and select at least three finalists shortly afterwards.

The State Board of Higher Education will make the final decision on who to hire as BSC's next president based on the committee's recommendation at its March 26 meeting.

Rather than hire an outside search firm, the committee is getting advice from two human resources managers at BSC with experience with president searches, including the search that landed Skogen.

"It's a lot of time and effort, but they have the experience and we're going to really tap into that going forward,” committee co-chairman Dan Leingang said.

Leingang, BSC's vice president of academic affairs, said the internal search was done as a cost-saving measure for BSC, which will foot the bill. 

It's unclear how much the presidential search will cost BSC.

Board members also discussed the results of four listening sessions held earlier this month, where students, staff, faculty and community members provided input on what characteristics they want to see in BSC's next president.

“We had a great group of listening sessions that have identified very important aspects and characteristics that we want to see in the next leader, and we’ll try to stick to that as we move forward with the process," said committee co-chairman Tim Mihalick, who is a voting member of the State Board of Higher Education.
 
Leingang said some of the feedback from the listening session will be built into the job announcement and the others will wind up as interview questions.

"We want the best person for Bismarck State College," Leingang said. "She or he, as they come in, needs to move forward with the campus. We are moving, we have momentum, and I think that's probably one of the traits that’s going to be really important: can they jump in and keep that momentum moving forward."

Board members also spent time discussing whether to emphasize the college's new polytechnic mission in the job posting.

Some felt that having the word "polytechnic" featured prominently in the job posting may give applicants an inaccurate impression what BSC is about, which has traditionally been to offer technical degrees and transfer options to students.

Leingang thought the word "polytechnic" might mean different things to different people, but he felt that it was a strength overall, especially since the college has been tasked by the board to move in that direction.

“I think it is more attractive," he said.

Mihalick said he thinks the search will attract a nationwide response and a strong applicant pool.

“A lot of things going on at BSC are exciting," Mihalick said.

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Reach Bilal Suleiman at 701-250-8261 or Bilal.Suleiman@bismarcktribune.com

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