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Academic Affairs

Centers for Excellence

Minot State University’s Centers for Excellence stem from a 1999 Roundtable on Higher Education directive to establish engines for economic development on North Dakota university campuses.  The Board of Higher Education asked campuses to select areas of distinction and make them appealing to state and federal funding agencies.  The criteria for centers include:

  • Being distinct from academic programs.
  • Being self-supporting.
  • Meeting campus criteria to earn “excellence” label.
  • Aligning with the university’s mission.
  • Identifying a niche clientele.

While Minot State University was founded upon its teaching mission and has proudly continued this heritage for the last 100 years, MSU also has a responsibility for research and service.  Centers of Excellence expand the capacity of the university for research and service.  In the context of higher education, centers are “a place at which an activity or complex of activities is carried on; a place from which ideas, influences emanate; and a place to which many people are attracted” (Webster’s New World Dictionary, 1991).

Minot State University currently has two existing Centers of Excellence with a fourth center in development.  The grandfather of these centers is the North Dakota Center for Persons with Disabilities (NDCPD).  With its history and success in research and service in assisting individuals with disabilities, NDCPD has become the model for economic development serving community niches.  The Center for Extended Learning (CEL) rounds out the existing Centers for Excellence. CEL provides diverse continuing education opportunities for students, businesses, community youth, faculty, public school teachers, Minot Air Force personnel and their families, and others.


North Dakota Center for Persons with Disabilities
NDCPD provides service and research that directly affects individuals with disabilities. This center is an excellent example of a place where a complex array of activities occurs. Recent efforts include services directed toward infants, families, Native Americans, teens, teachers, and many others. Over 25,000 individuals, organizations, and agencies were served last year.

"We've capitalized on Internet technology and telecommunication advances to develop accommodations for people with disabilities to keep them in school, to help them have employment opportunities, to add to their quality of life." ~Bryce Fifield, PhD, executive director.

Highlights of research and service:

  • First Sounds Project. Prior to this project, only 38 percent of North Dakota's newborns had their hearing tested. The rate is now over 90 percent due to NDCPD's work and the training of nurses at every birthing hospital in North Dakota.
  • Pioneered a telecommuting program which has enabled individuals with substantial intellectual developmental disabilities to secure work doing data-entry work from home.
  • The Great Plains Rural Initiative on Transportation (GRIT) connects persons with disabilities with rural community transportation providers.
  • North Dakota Family Support Project.  Based on research findings that the success of an individual with a disability is highly correlated to the involvement of their family in the decision-making process.
  • For more information, visit the NDCPD Projects Directory.   To return to this page use the Back button in your web browser.

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Center for Extended Learning
CEL is all about service! In 2003, CEL served over 580 individuals, organizations, and agencies through noncredit activities.  Priding itself on serving the needs of people leading fast-paced and complex lives, CEL utilizes a variety of high-tech delivery systems to offer an ever-expanding list of courses.

Highlights of services:

  • MAFB Aid Society approached CEL about job-training.  CEL provided education for spouses of active duty individuals at the base.  The training was customized for the types of positions that tend to open in the Minot area.
  • ACT Center.  CEL oversees the ACT Center, located at the Gordon B. Olson Library.  Minot State University’s ACT Center is the only full ACT Center in North Dakota, providing testing required by public and private organizations to determine employee qualifications, as well as a place for students to take professional exams such as licensure for social work.
  • Dual-credit for high school juniors and seniors.  Students take MSU courses at their high school, on campus, online, or through correspondence to earn credit at both their high school and at Minot State.
  • Community employer training needs.  CEL surveys the community regularly to discover unmet educational needs and works to establish educational programs to meet these needs.
  • For more information on programs, visit CEL. To return to this page use the Back button in your web browser.

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