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MSU Profiles

Taking chances to discover unknown passions

A winding career path has many advantages, allowing one to build skills and discover more about one's true passions. That was the case for Kris Warmoth, Center for Extended Learning dean. From aspirations for law school, to a newfound zeal for teaching, each experience and discovery led her to where she is today.

"I liked speech so much I decided to get my master's in speech communication," Warmoth said. "I coached speech and debate during that time and thought I would go to law school after I completed it," Warmoth said.

While pursuing her master's in speech communication, the California native worked as a graduate teaching assistant at San Diego State University and realized just how much she enjoyed teaching.

"I never thought I'd want to get in to teaching at all, period," Warmoth said, "but I really liked it and dropped my plans for law school," Warmoth said.

Warmoth taught communication classes in the California community college system for more than 15 years, and earned her doctorate in educational administration at the University of San Diego in 1991. While completing her doctorate, she interned with Continuing Education at MiraCosta Community College and it went so well, she became the program coordinator. Over breaks, Warmoth visited her sister and family in Minot.

"I fell in love with Minot," Warmoth said. "When a job opened in CEL, I applied and was hired to run the community and professional education program."

From that point, Warmoth was on an upward trajectory at Minot State University. One year after joining MSU, she was hired as an online instructional designer, and later the Title III project director.

"I was not a 'techy' person," Warmoth exclaimed. "But for the grant, they needed someone who understood curriculum and assessment. You can learn the technical side as you go, one just needs a desire to reach students to enhance their learning experience."

In 2003, Warmoth was promoted to director of the Office of Instructional Technology, and in 2007 became the Center for Extended Learning dean.

"CEL is bigger than the online program ... it's a monster piece of it," Warmoth said. "I firmly believe that to survive, any institution needs non-traditional opportunities, and they have to be well designed and supported."

Warmoth is also involved on and off campus. In 2009, she became a Higher Learning Commission peer reviewer, and last year began serving as a team chair.

"I've gained so much knowledge with HLC site visits," Warmoth said. "Focusing on the distance education programs at other schools, I learned a lot to bring back to MSU."

Warmoth has also served on the Souris Valley Animal Shelter board of directors for nine years and is the current president.

"When I moved to Minot, I knew I wanted to do something to support community interest," Warmoth said. "I've always loved animals, and the shelter depends on the board of directors to connect them with others in the community. It's a labor of love. I loved Minot when I came to visit years ago, and also fell in love with MSU. I love the collegiality here."