NDSCS Recognized in The Aspen Institute’s Workforce Playbook

The Workforce Playbook

The Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program has released The Workforce Playbook: A Community College Guide to Delivering Excellent Career and Technical Education. After researching community colleges across the country, The Aspen Institute selected North Dakota State College of Science as one of six institutions they visited to learn what the best colleges do to build effective workforce programs. The Workforce Playbook recognizes NDSCS as a high-performing community college that has excelled in delivering excellent career and technical education.

“We are honored to have been selected to contribute to the Aspen Institute’s Workforce Playbook,” said NDSCS President John Richman. “Being selected as one of six two-year colleges from across the United States exemplifies the College’s effectiveness at strategically building programs and collaborations to fulfill workforce needs.”

The Workforce Playbook highlights NDSCS in several areas, including: assessing who’s being left out of the local economy, making partnership building an explicit expectation, effective K-12 outreach and engagement, and matching employers with students who are interested in their industry.

“As demographics evolve and the world of work changes rapidly, it is more important now than ever for community colleges to deliver excellent workforce programs,” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program. “Aspen has been researching community colleges that deliver exemplary workforce education – including North Dakota State College of Science – and have featured their practices in our just-released Workforce Playbook to guide other community colleges in offering the education their students and the employers in their communities need.”  

“We are proud of the work we do to fulfill our mission to educate and train the workforce for North Dakota and the region, and we are excited to share our practices and successes that can enhance career and technical education across the country,” said Richman. “We look forward to considering other successful workforce initiatives contained in this report to further strengthen NDSCS.”

Aspen’s workforce playbook is designed to help community college leaders develop practices and employer partnerships that improve labor market outcomes for students. Using concrete examples from high-performing community colleges, the playbook offers specific guidance about what colleges can do to build more effective workforce programs so that students gain the skills they need to succeed in the next stage of their lives.

The Workforce Playbook is available online at

NDSCS students place first in Behind the Mask Welding Contest

Welding Student

Two students from the NDSCS Welding Technology program took top honors in the American Welding Society Northern Plains Section’s 2019 Behind the Mask Welding Competition.

The students, both from Fargo, are:
Tyler Mehrer – first place, wire feed welding competition
Dillon Cardwell – first place, stick welding competition

Nearly 100 contestants from five post-secondary institutions and five high schools competed in welding tests throughout the day. Prizes were awarded to the top welders in each category.

Bisek Hall

NDSCS students place in Colorado TopTech Skills Competition

Students from the North Dakota State College of Science Diesel Technology program took top honors in the Colorado TopTech Skills Competition. 


Jane Vangsness Frisch Selected as a 2019-2020 Aspen Presidential Fellow

Jane Vangsness Frisch

NDSCS Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Jane Vangsness Frisch has been selected by the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program to join the 2019-2020 class of the Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence. This leadership program is aimed at preparing the next generation of community college presidents to transform institutions to achieve higher and more equitable levels of student success, both in college and in the labor market.

“Congratulations to Jane on her selection for this very prestigious professional development program,” said NDSCS President John Richman. “Jane’s many accomplishments and contributions have positively impacted NDSCS and higher education, and I’m excited for her to build upon her experiences through this fellowship.”

Vangsness Frisch and the 39 other Aspen Presidential Fellows will embark on a 10-month fellowship beginning in July 2019. Delivered in collaboration with the Stanford Educational Leadership Initiative, the fellows will work with mentors – current and former community college presidents – who have achieved exceptional outcomes for students throughout their careers. Fellows will also learn from national experts about ways to harness data to assess student success outcomes, strategies for internal change leadership, and how to create strong external partnerships with K-12 schools, four-year colleges, and employers.

The Aspen Presidential Fellowship responds to a specific and growing need for a new generation of leaders who are well-equipped to meet the challenges of the future. Nationally, nearly 80 percent of community college presidents plan to retire in the next decade. The pathway to replace them has traditionally excluded women and people of color. The incoming class of Aspen Presidential Fellows is 65 percent female and non-binary, 43 percent are people of color, and their institutions vary widely in size and location.

“Evidence shows that substantial improvements in student success are achieved only when presidents have the commitment and skill needed to lead change within their institutions and through partnerships in the community,” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program. “These fellows have been chosen because they embody that commitment and, we believe, will build their skills even further to become transformational presidents.”

Vangsness Frisch was selected through a rigorous process that considered her abilities to take strategic risks, lead strong teams and cultivate partnerships, and focus on results-oriented improvements in student success and access.

The Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence is supported by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, College Futures Foundation, Greater Texas Foundation, JP Morgan Chase Foundation, Joyce Foundation, Kresge Foundation, and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

For more information about the Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence, visit

Old Main

NDSCS Students Excel at North Dakota SkillsUSA Contest

Students from NDSCS received a number of awards at the North Dakota SkillsUSA State Leadership and Skills Conference.


NDSCS Employees Honored at Employee Recognition Program

Old Main Steeple

North Dakota State College of Science honored numerous employees at the annual Employee Recognition Program on May 1, 2019. 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 award.

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. This year’s recipients were chosen from a group of more than 50 nominees. The honorees are:
• Margaret Brady: Associate Professor, Mathematics and Science
• Chuck Campbell: Associate Professor, Diesel Technology
• Stacie Garland: Instructor, Nursing
• Chanel Malone: Assistant Professor / Program Coordinator, Allied Dental Education

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 support staff are eligible to be nominated. The honorees are:
• Kim Dassenko: Office Manager, Academic Affairs
• Ryan Hanson: IT Support Specialist, Information Technology Services
• Shannon Herman: Administrative Assistant, Distance Education
• Alissa Sherven: Student Life Assistant, Customer Service Desk, Student Life

This year’s LIFE award recognized Alissa Herbranson, who serves as the Assistant Director for Business Operations in the Residential Life department. The award stands for “Bringing LIFE to NDSCS” and is presented to an individual, employee group or committee that exemplifies 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.

Herbranson was recognized for her work in implementing multiple processes to improve departmental business operations. These have included developing comprehensive systems to effectively track and monitor student housing placements, and transforming numerous paper applications and forms to an online platform. She was also instrumental in developing the LGBTQ roommate matching system to provide a more inclusive environment for students. Through her leadership, Herbranson and her staff have created comprehensive lines of communication through multiple platforms to ensure students are informed and to meet the needs of how students prefer to communicate.

NDSCS Commencement Ceremony set for Friday, May 10

Graduate receiving diploma

North Dakota State College of Science will hold its Commencement ceremony on Friday, May 10 at 3 p.m. in the Ed Werre Arena located in the Clair T. Blikre Activities Center in Wahpeton, N.D. Approximately 650 students from the Wahpeton campus, NDSCS-Fargo location and online are scheduled to graduate.

This year’s Commencement ceremony will include an automated player piano providing the traditional “Pomp and Circumstance” theme for the processional. The automated player piano was planned, designed, programmed and built by four students in the Robotics, Automation and Mechatronics Technology program as part of their capstone project.

Faculty Senate President Dr. William Shay will serve as the Stage Marshal, Vice President for Academic Affairs Harvey Link will preside as the Master of Ceremonies and NDSCS President John Richman will give remarks and recognitions as well as the presentation of degrees, diplomas and certificates. Brayden Lampe, Student Senate President, will also share remarks, and the NDSCS Wildcat Singers will perform musical selections.

NDSCS to Celebrate Agawasie Day on Thursday, May 2

Agawasie Day Logo

North Dakota State College of Science students, faculty and staff will celebrate Agawasie Day on Thursday, May 2. Events on the College’s Wahpeton campus will begin at 1:00 p.m., with competitions, inflatables, music, food and numerous attractions taking place throughout the afternoon and evening. The day-long celebration will close with an outdoor street dance for students from 9:00 p.m. until midnight in the parking lot north of Old Main, with music provided by a disc jockey.

The public is invited to participate in the Agawasie Day Car Show, which will take place from 1-3 p.m. Registration for the car show is free for all participants, including students, faculty, staff and the public. Trophies will be awarded for Best in Class for each category (cars, trucks, motorcycles), and one overall Best in Show. Additional information and registration is available online at or by calling 701-671-2401.

In 1914, the College published its first yearbook called the Agawasie. The arrival of the annual became a day for celebration, hence the start of the annual Agawasie Day Picnic. While publishing an annual yearbook was discontinued in 2004, the day for celebration still lives on as Agawasie Day and is celebrated every year right before the start of finals.

Saxophone and music notes

NDSCS Performing Arts department to present two concerts in April

The NDSCS Performing Arts department will present two concerts in April.


Phi Theta Kappa: Serena Langen Named a 2019 New Century Workforce Pathway Scholar

Old Main in spring

By: Phi Theta Kappa

Serena Langen, a student at North Dakota State College of Science, Wahpeton, has been named a 2019 New Century Workforce Pathway Scholar and will receive a $1,250 scholarship.

This scholarship is the first of its kind to support students at associate degree-granting institutions who plan to enter the workforce upon the completion of a degree or certificate on a national scale. The program is sponsored by The Coca-Cola Foundation and Phi Theta Kappa.

“Education helps ensure that young people can realize their full potential,” said Helen Smith Price, president of The Coca-Cola Foundation. “The Coca-Cola Foundation places a high priority on supporting education to help build strong communities.”

New Century Workforce Pathway Scholars are selected based on their academic accomplishments, leadership, activities, and how they extend their intellectual talents beyond the classroom. Over 2,000 students were nominated from more than 1,200 college campuses across the country. Only one New Century Workforce Pathway Scholar was selected from each state.

“We congratulate Serena for receiving this prestigious scholarship, and we are honored to partner with The Coca-Cola Foundation to recognize her outstanding achievements,” said Phi Theta Kappa’s President and CEO Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner. “Scholarship programs like this are integral for creating opportunities for students to succeed as they prepare to enter the workforce and for putting college completion within reach.”

The New Century Workforce Pathway Scholars will be recognized during the Association of Community College Trustees’ (ACCT) Congress in San Francisco, California, in October 2019.