College presidents sign charter for instituteMay 15th, 2013 | By dneumann | Category: 24-4: Language Revitalization, Tribal College News
After more than two years of planning, Bismarck, North Dakota’s three colleges and universities now have a formal agreement to collaborate on education and leadership activities that focus on the region’s future. The presidents of Bismarck State College (BSC), United Tribes Technical College (UTTC) and the University of Mary (U-Mary) have signed a charter creating the Institute for Culture and Public Service. BSC’s Larry Skogen, United Tribe’s David M. Gipp, and U-Mary’s Rev. James Shea signed the document this past December at a meeting on the UTTC campus. “This relationship is going to be nothing but positive,” said Skogen. Bismarck’s three colleges represent a population of nearly 10,000 students. “This is about the future and where we want to go,” said Gipp. “Bismarck- Mandan is blessed to have these different types of institutions that include so much potential talent and skill. And we look forward to a strong working relationship with our business community too. They’re the primary leaders of where the future is going.” The Bismarck-Mandan Development Association (BMDA) assisted the college leaders in creating the institute. The BMDA helped define the structure and implementation strategy, prepared a business plan, and wrote the charter.
The text of the charter emphasizes the considerable economic, leadership, and cultural challenges presented to the region by the unprecedented expansion of energy development in western North Dakota. It establishes a framework for the three higher education institutions, along with the BMDA, to collectively address a variety of issues and opportunities. “The charter has some pretty impressive and energetic proposals. It’s time to show how that will make an impact in the community and how education matters. This is also an invitation to broader participation throughout the community,” said Shea.
The institute’s approach is strictly nonpartisan. The action plan will focus on four areas: academic programming, leadership development, idea transfer, and community out reach. The charter suggests that the colleges and BMDA will develop academic and internship programs for future leaders who will serve both in industry and the public arena. The institute will work to provide forums for developing and launching new ventures. And it will work to bring the region’s larger cultural issues to light through speakers, workshops, and other forms of public discussion.