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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 Tribune editorial board believes Bismarck State College has taken the right approach to finding a new president. The search committee has announced it won’t hire an outside firm to help with the search; instead the committee will rely on advice from two human resources managers at the college.

That’s a practical and financially wise decision. The presidential search committee doesn’t have a cost estimate for finding a new president, but it should be less expensive than hiring an outside firm. Both the human resources managers have experience with presidential searches, including the search that landed Larry Skogen.

The Tribune questions the need for outside firms, which don’t come cheap, to conduct presidential searches. The North Dakota University System has qualified people who can help find qualified candidates.

Skogen will retire June 30, 2020. He has been an innovative leader at BSC, expanding the school’s program offerings. He hasn’t been afraid to take chances such as helping establish an academy in Saudi Arabia.

BSC should be an attractive position, especially for someone working his or her way up the academic ladder. The search committee will publish the job description Nov. 20, take applications until Jan. 10, 2020, decide on finalists by early March and narrow the field to three finalists shortly afterward.

The State Board of Higher Education is expected to make the final decision on the next president at its March 26 meeting.

The search committee held listening sessions in October with students, staff, faculty and community members to get an idea of what characteristics they want to see in the next president.

The Tribune hopes some of the candidates will have ties to North Dakota. A BSC president who is from the state or has experience with the state should have a better understanding of the students, residents, the Legislature and how the University System operates. We don’t see it as a deal breaker, but it would be beneficial.

The University of North Dakota just announced its six finalists for the school’s presidency. None of the candidates has a direct tie to the state. AGB Search, a Washington, D.C.-based firm, was hired to help with the UND search.

The Tribune thought Joshua Wynne, dean of the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences and vice president for health affairs at UND, was an ideal candidate for president. He was serving as interim president of UND and decided not to apply.

Again, we believe BSC has taken the right approach to selecting a new president. The fact that the search will cost less should have no impact on the quality of the candidates and who is chosen to lead the college.

We are looking forward to seeing the candidates selected as finalists.

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