NDSCS honors employee efforts with 2016 LIFE and Steeple awards

North Dakota State College of Science honored two groups with the College’s annual LIFE and Steeple awards on October 26, 2016. This year’s LIFE award was presented to the NDSCS Diversity and Equity Council, while the Steeple award was presented to the Faculty Qualifications Task Force.

This year’s LIFE award recognized Diversity and Equity Council Strategic Initiatives. The recipients included Dana Anderson, Mindi Bessler, Cheryl Brown, Sheila Goettle, Michelle Griffin, Jim Johnson, Melissa Johnson, Kerri Kava, Ronda Marman, Jackie Marquardt, Jane Passa, Elizabeth Phares-Oren, Chad Pitts, Sybil Priebe and Mason Rademacher. The LIFE Award stands for “Bringing LIFE to NDSCS” and recognizes collaborative efforts that support the LIFE values of the College. The award is presented to an individual, employee group or committee for developing and implementing an action plan for Strategic Planning or Academic Quality Improvement Project goals.

The Diversity and Equity Council worked collaboratively and administered the first NDSCS Climate Survey. The results of this employee and student survey established the direction and framework for the council to develop a strategic plan, which created a measurable, lasting impact on the NDSCS community over the past year. Specifically, the Diversity and Equity Council implemented a Safe Zone program and training for students and employees, developed Upstander training, enhanced policies and procedures to establish an inclusive college experience, planned and implemented events and materials to focus on awareness and action, encouraged the LGBTQ roommate matching system, and developed a one-stop reporting system to allow an easy way for students and employees to report concerns or issues.

This year’s Steeple award was presented to the Faculty Qualifications Task Force. The recipients included Greg Anderson, Clint Gilbertson, Sandi Gilbertson, Shannon King, Wade King, Ken Kompelien and Jane Krump. 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. Criteria for the award include taking a risk, thinking outside the box, just-in-time delivery and how that addresses immediate needs, shared innovation, impact on student learning and development, and documented results.

The Faculty Qualifications Task Force was established to draft policies and procedures for determining NDSCS faculty qualifications. This was in response to the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) publishing a clarification of faculty qualifications which had substantial implications for many faculty, especially faculty for Early Entry courses. The task force had a very tight timeline as the College wanted the policy in place prior to the HLC Comprehensive Quality Review visit last spring. Developing the policy and procedures required significant research, review, innovation and collaboration. The task force worked very quickly and had no template. The NDSCS policy was approved on April 14, 2016, and other North Dakota University System institutions are now using this policy as a model when developing their own faculty qualifications policies. The policy and procedures the task force developed will ensure that NDSCS faculty will continue to be world-class and meet the educational needs of NDSCS students.

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