NDSCS Employees Honored at State of the College Address

NDSCS Entrance

North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS) honored numerous employees at the State of the College Address on September 21, 2021. Faculty and staff members were named recipients of the College’s Excellence in Teaching Award and Excellence in Service Award as well as the College’s LIFE and Steeple awards.

The Excellence in Teaching Award recognizes instructors who, among other outstanding characteristics, stimulate present and continuing interest in the subject matter, present courses so that the topics are clear, suitable and well-integrated, and demand rigorous thought and generate enthusiastic responses from the students while achieving course objectives. The honorees include:

  • Vance Harthun: Associate Professor, Welding Technology
  • Mike Redding: Associate Professor, Diesel Technology
  • Amy Medhaug: Instructor, Nursing
  • J. Whitmore: Instructor, Culinary Arts

The Excellence in Service Award recognizes employees who consistently go above and beyond every day and exemplify the College’s values of learning, integrity, flexibility and excellence. All NDSCS staff members are eligible to be nominated. The honorees incldue:

  • Nick Kraft: HVAC Systems Lead, Facilities Management
  • Dean Kappes: Building Services Technician, Facilities Management
  • Rhonda Dehmlow: Dining Services Worker, Auxiliary Services
  • Lisa Braun: Business Specialist, Information Technology Services

This year’s LIFE award recognized the NDSCS Human Resources department. The recipients included Sandi Gilbertson, Executive Director of Human Resources, Amy Keller, Human Resources Manager and Shirley Fox-Trydahl, Human Resource Administrative Assistant. The award stands for “Bringing LIFE to NDSCS” and is presented to an individual, employee group or committee that exemplifies the NDSCS LIFE (Leadership, Integrity, Flexibility and Excellence) values by demonstrating and practicing the NDSCS Quality Standards. This can be done with an event, project or activity that reflects these areas.

Gilbertson and her team had to exhibit a high level of flexibility in order to deal with the challenges of COVID-19, including multiple new human resource situations caused by the unprecedented COVID pandemic. The NDSCS Human Resources department effectively communicated college-wide essential information, while delivering remarkable customer service.

This year’s Steeple award was presented to staff within the NDSCS Facilities Management department. The recipients included Facilities Management staff Kari Hasbargen, Brenda Korinek and Dawn Jirak. The Steeple award stands for “Climbing New Heights” and is presented to an individual, employee group or committee for new and innovative methods to accomplish their role on campus. Hasbargen, Korinek and Jirak received this award for their involvement in three different projects: enhancement of employee on-boarding process, adoption of a simplified process for tool inventory, and identifying practices to effectively reduce warehouse inventory.

NDSCS announces Fall 2021 Enrollment

Old Main

Fall enrollment numbers are now official at the North Dakota State College of Science. Total student enrollment is 2,802, which includes Wahpeton, Fargo, Online and Early Entry students.

The College saw an increase in the total number of credits in which students are enrolled, while the official headcount is a decrease of about 1% when compared to the fall 2020 enrollment of 2,829.

“We continue to see students coming to us because of the full college experience we offer,” said NDSCS President John Richman. “NDSCS continuously makes adjustments to fulfill our mission by providing our students the opportunity to learn in the mode that best fits their needs – including while in high school.”

New students to NDSCS (part-time, full-time, transfer) students increased 2.8% from Fall 2020. There was a slight decrease in the number of students taking classes face-to-face at the NDSCS Wahpeton location; however, the percentage of students living on campus increased 3.6% with 869 students living in a residence hall or campus apartment.

The enrollment data shows 907 students taking early entry courses, a 4.9% increase over 2020. An additional 462 students are taking classes at multiple NDSCS locations, or through a combination of in-person and online instruction, a 1.9% increase from 2020.

Students from North Dakota comprise 70% of NDSCS enrollment, with 47 of the state’s 53 counties represented.

NDSCS Division for Workforce Affairs offers free UpskillingND


The NDSCS Division for Workforce Affairs, in conjunction with TrainND Southeast, has partnered with Microsoft to offer UpskillingND to support job seekers looking to build their skills for in-demand careers. UpskillingND utilizes self-paced virtual curriculum to learn new technology skills for in-demand jobs and earn certifications. This program provides a flexible learning experience for individuals looking to change their career path or want to enhance their skills, including individuals who have been displaced or are facing barriers to employment due to COVID-19. The five-week program is available at no cost to participants and starts October 18, 2021 and ends November 23, 2021.

UpskillingND participants work at their own pace through the five-week curriculum. In addition to the virtual training sessions, group and individual meetings with mentors are provided, and customized workshops with industry experts are offered. Participants will have access to the following: self-paced virtual curriculum from LinkedIn Learning to gain skills enabling participants to earn certifications and badges; one-on-one support from experienced coaches, support with interview skills and resumé writing; support from a network of peers; connections to local companies seeking employees with these skills.

“UpskillingND is an opportunity for individuals to better themselves,” said UpskillingND Coach Sanchez-Dekarske. “I would encourage anyone, at any facet in their career, to consider this program. It can be a new beginning to refresh on things you already know and learn new skills to open up your world.”

“Often times people feel this program is too good to be true, says TrainND Program Manager Mary Beth Burns. “Due to generous donations from our business partners, this program is offered to participants at no cost.”

Interested individuals must complete a brief online application by Friday, October 15. The application form and additional information is available online at

NDSCS announces new Vice President for Instruction


Dr. Lisa Karch will join NDSCS in October 2021

North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS) President Dr. John Richman announced this week that Lisa Karch, Ph.D. will assume the Vice President for Instruction position on October 4, 2021.

Dr. Karch replaces Harvey Link, who retired from NDSCS mid-July after 43 years serving in various capacities at the College, with the last 16 years in a Vice President capacity. In this new position, Dr. Karch will be responsible for all academic functions of the College, technology support and infrastructure, and non-credit workforce education and training.  “Dr. Karch’s wealth of experience and strong leadership will help NDSCS continue the tradition of being one of the best two-year colleges in the United States,” said President Richman.

Most recently Dr. Karch has been a part of the Minnesota State University-Moorhead (MSUM) academic leadership team. Since 2009, she has held positions with increasing responsibility at MSUM from classroom teaching, student advising, and internship supervision as an Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, to her current role as the Interim Dean of Graduate and Extended Learning. Dr. Karch has working knowledge and experience within the K-12 educational environment, both as a licensed school counselor and teacher. She holds a Ph.D. from North Dakota State University (NDSU) in Human Development and Education (emphasis: counselor education and supervision), Master’s Degree in Education – School Counseling from NDSU, a K-12 Principal Licensure (Specialist Certificate) from MSUM, and Bachelor of Arts from Concordia College – Moorhead in Secondary Health Education.

NDSCS to begin 119th academic year August 23

NDSCS Entrance

Welcome Week events for students to include outdoor evening events

North Dakota State College of Science fall semester classes will begin Monday, August 23 at 4 p.m. for all students in Wahpeton, Fargo and online. Students who are not yet enrolled for fall semester can still do so by contacting the Admission office at 701-671-2521.

Opening weekend events in Wahpeton will kick off on Saturday, August 21 when residence halls open for student move-in at 10 a.m. Welcome Week, an annual series of events designed to help students connect to the College community and establish positive and healthy habits, will take place from August 21-28 and will include outdoor evening activities for new and returning students.

These events will include:

  • August 21, 9 - 11 p.m.: Outdoor Movie on The Oval
  • August 22, 9 p.m. – 12 a.m.: Street Dance in Lot 2 north of Old Main with music provided by a D.J.
  • August 23, 7 - 10 p.m.: Glow Games on The Oval with music provided by a D.J.
  • August 25, 8 – 10 p.m.: Karaoke and Open Mic Night on The Oval
  • August 26, 9 p.m. – 12 a.m.: Neon Street Dance in Lot 2 north of Old Main with music provided by a D.J.
  • August 27, 7 – 10 p.m.: Laser Tag on The Oval with music provided by a D.J.

Click here for a full schedule of events.

NDSCS President announces retirement

Dr. Richman

President John Richman announces his retirement after 35 years at NDSCS

North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS) President Dr. John Richman announced his retirement to the College community today - effective December 17, 2021.

“After 42 years in higher education, and 35 years of that spent at NDSCS, it feels like the right time to retire. I am very thankful to have spent the majority of my career at NDSCS and could not be prouder of the mission-focused institution it is today. It is the dedicated people and their commitment to our students which makes the College a special place, and I look forward to watching NDSCS thrive into the future,” said Richman.

Richman first came to NDSCS as a student in the early 1970s. He returned in 1986 as the Head Football Coach and through the years has been an instructor in the Health, Physical Education and Recreation Department, the Director of Athletics, and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs. Richman then served as interim President for one year and was appointed the ninth president by the State Board of Higher Education in February of 2007.

During his time at NDSCS, Richman has led the College through innovative and purposeful change, enabling NDSCS to be recognized as one of the premier two-year colleges in the U.S. Notably, he facilitated NDSCS’s high performance and strong student outcomes by implementing initiatives to expand access to Career and Technical Education to high schools, improving the College’s fiscal position through budget alignment and increasing the NDSCS Alumni Foundation’s endowment to $28 million, diversifying workforce training opportunities, creating efficient and affordable career pathways for students while simultaneously striving to meet the workforce needs of North Dakota and the region, and advancing capital improvements to enhance the learning spaces at both NDSCS locations.

North Dakota University System Chancellor Mark R. Hagerott commented on his long-lasting and impactful leadership “Dr. Richman has served NDSCS in multiple roles for decades, and as President with unparalleled energy and dedication for close to 15 years. We wish him and Marcia the very best as they embark on the next phase of life's journey."

Richman has been a dedicated collaborator and an advocate of giving back. He has served many local, regional, national organizations, including as a Trustee for the Higher Learning Commission, several years on the United Way of Richland and Wilkin, and later the Richland Wilkin Community Foundation board, the National Coalition of Certification Center (NC3) board, and being active with the Wahpeton Community and Fargo-Moorhead Economic Development Corporations.

His outstanding leadership has been recognized several times, in 2016 he was presented with the NASPA Region IV-West Presidential Excellence Award for continually demonstrating his passion and commitment to supporting students' success; he was named a Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM) Distinguished Alumnus in 2009; received the Associated Equipment Distributors Founders award in 2011 and the NC3 Founders award in 2016, and has been inducted into both the NDSCS and MSUM Athletic Halls of Fame.

For a full biography and photo visit:

Meat Processing

NDSCS offering Meat Processing program

North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS) is accepting applications for students interested in obtaining a certificate in Meat Processing, a new program, beginning Fall 2021.


Old Main

NDSCS Announces Spring 2021 President’s Honor List

The North Dakota State College of Science has named 371 students to its spring semester 2021 President’s Honor List. The Honor List recognizes students who have achieved grade point averages of 3.5 or higher while taking at least 12 credits with letter grades.



NDSCS Commencement Ceremony set for Friday, May 14

North Dakota State College of Science will hold its Commencement ceremony on Friday, May 14 at 3 p.m. in the Ed Werre Arena located in the Clair T. Blikre Activities Center in Wahpeton, N.D.



NDSCS to offer new Autonomous Systems Technology program

North Dakota State College of Science is accepting applications for students interested in obtaining a certificate in Autonomous Systems Technology (AST). This new innovative program will start enrolling students for Fall 2021. The NDSCS AST program is one of the first of its kind in the nation.