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Unique BSU-NTC partnership brings candidate to Bemidji

Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College presidential candidate Betsy Vogel-Boze, a senior partner at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, speaks at a public forum Monday afternoon during her two-day visit to BSU and NTC. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

Understanding successful partnerships, such as the one between Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College, is why Betsy Vogel-Boze thinks she should be the next president of BSU and NTC.

She has spent the last 20 years working at institutions that are partnered, merged, aligned, co-located and just about everything in between, Vogel-Boze said.

"That was my first attraction," she said. "I had six different people forward me the job announcement and write, 'This sounds like you.'"

Vogel-Boze gave a 20-minute presentation, titled "Higher Education at a Crossroads," Monday afternoon on the first day of her two-day visit to BSU and NTC.

She is the second of five BSU-NTC presidential candidates to present at a public forum on campus.

Vogel-Boze is currently on leave from her job as campus dean and chief executive officer at Kent State University at Stark in Ohio, a position she has held since 2005, to fulfill a one-year position with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

She has filled a variety of administrative roles, including dean of the business school at the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College. She was chief academic officer at the University of Texas Telecampus MBA Online from 1996-2005 and was assistant to the president at Tulane University from 2003-2004 as part of an American Council on Education fellowship. She was also chair of the business administration department at the University of Alaska Anchorage from 1989-1994.

BSU's themes of giving students international and multicultural experiences, community involvement and an environmental awareness are what Vogel-Boze said she has spent most of her life trying to pursue within higher education.

"My university was a signer of Presidents' Climate Commitment," Vogel-Boze said. "My commitment to climate goes way back. I actually made an Earth Day flag for the first Earth Day and flew it from my high school."

She also noted the possibility of giving freshmen a passport while at orientations to give them a better opportunity of attaining a worldly college experience.

Vogel-Boze said what sets her apart from other presidential candidates is her role and experience in starting the Telecampus at the University of Texas. The UT TeleCampus works with all 15 UT institutions to deliver online courses, degree programs and support services for distance learners.

"It's an important market," Vogel-Boze said of the online market for higher education. "You've got people who, because of personal or family commitments, can't get to a campus. Their personal lives have to take precedent."

Vogel-Boze earned her bachelor's degree in psychology and master's degree in business administration, both from Southern Methodist University. She earned a doctorate degree in business administration at the University of Arkansas.

She noted today's campuses are very different than those she started teaching at many years ago. In explaining those differences and her foresight for the future, Vogel-Boze posed a series of questions.

"What will the next 18-year-olds of the next decade look like? Will they be college ready? Will we be ready for them?" Vogel-Boze asked.

Vogel-Boze said one of her main challenges will be funding, as the percentage of state funding decreases. She also stated the change in demographics of region, distance-learning opportunities and the two institutions will be challenging.

She said she feels up to the challenge.

"It's something I spent most of my career in," she said. "I see some challenges in how (BSU and NTC) will evolve in the future. I don't think either has a clear sense of where one needs to go 10 or 20 years down the road."

On a more personal level, Vogel-Boze said she doesn't worry about northern Minnesota weather, noting she had a five-year stay in Alaska.

"When I saw (BSU's mission statement), I thought of all the things I spent a lifetime working on and am really passionate about," Vogel-Boze said. "It's an excellent fit and a good opportunity."

Next public forum

Presidential semifinalist Jason A. Laker, currently the associate vice principal and dean of student affairs at Queen's University in Kingston, located in Ontario, Canada, will make a presentation and answer questions from 2:15-3 p.m. Thursday, April 15, in Room 100 of Bridgeman Hall on the BSU campus.

After all five semifinalists have completed their on-site interviews and public forums, the Search Advisory Committee will make a recommendation to Minnesota State Colleges and Universities' Chancellor James McCormick by April 26.

For information on the BSU-NTC presidential search, visit