Greetings from Minot State University.......

Dr. Steven W. Shirley
President, Minot State University
Published December 14, 2019 in the Minot Daily News

A few weeks ago, Kent Olson, Managing Editor of the Minot Daily News, contacted me to see if I would be interested in writing a monthly column. I jumped at the opportunity, and certainly appreciate the MDN seeking input from Minot State University for its newspaper. So, what you are reading here is the first of what will be a regular column about the happenings and goings-on at MSU. This inaugural column will simply offer a general overview and some basic facts about Minot State. Future columns will dig more deeply into a variety of issues.

MSU was originally founded in 1913 as the State Normal School at Minot. The “Normal School” designation meant it was a post-secondary institution dedicated to training new teachers as North Dakota expanded and the children of new, first-generation American settlers needed education. Through multiple name changes, today’s Minot State University certainly still educates a lot of new teachers, but our academic offerings have expanded considerably during the past century. Last year, our majors with the largest numbers of graduates included Nursing, Social Work, Criminal Justice, Elementary Education, Corporate Fitness, Communication Disorders, Biology, Marketing, Physical Education, Psychology, Addiction Studies, Broadcasting, Computer Science, Management, International Business, Finance, English, Radiologic Technology, Medical Lab Science, Art, and Chemistry. We also have a large number of secondary education majors split among multiple areas such as Math Ed, Music Ed, History Ed, Chemistry Ed, English Ed, and Social Science Ed. Beyond the undergraduate programs, MSU also offers graduate-level Masters degrees in such areas as Communication Disorders, Management, Information Systems, Education, Special Ed, and Sports Management.

MSU’s total student enrollment this fall is 3,121 students, which is a slight drop of 2% from Fall 2018. Within this year’s enrollment, we welcomed the largest freshman class in eight years and our second-largest number of graduate students in eight years (approximately 10% of MSU’s students are at the graduate level). Within the overall enrollment, there is a mix of students taking classes both online and in traditional classroom environments. We also have students at distant sites with programs we deliver at Bismarck State College, NDSU, and the Minot Air Force Base. Further, we have approximately 200 dual-credit students this fall, which are students enrolled in area high schools taking coursework for college-level credit. So, whether students are taking courses on the MSU campus, in Fargo, on Base, in Bismarck, at area high schools, or via the internet, these are all important student populations and are part of the overall mix that comprise MSU’s total enrollment.

A final important aspect relates to MSU’s accreditation of academic programs. Our institution-wide accreditation comes from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) in Chicago. HLC is responsible for accrediting all colleges and universities throughout this region of the country. Beyond institution-wide accreditation are MSU’s program specific specialized accreditations. Our programs in Addiction Studies, Business, Communication Disorders, Music, Nursing, Social Work, Teacher Education, School Psychology, and Athletic Training all have national accreditation. Typically, campuses of our size and scope have four to six accreditations. MSU’s nine specialized accreditations reinforce the breadth and depth of quality and rigor throughout our academic offerings.

I look forward to sharing additional thoughts and information about Minot State University in future columns, and again want to extend my thanks and appreciation to the Minot Daily News for this opportunity. MSU is grateful to exist in a community as supportive and welcoming as Minot. As I have said on many occasions, both MSU and the Minot region are stronger thanks to each other and the terrific, long-standing partnership.

As always…..Go Beavers!