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Griggs selected as interim dean at NTC

BEMIDJI -- Robert Griggs, who has filled several roles at BSU since he first came here in 2000, can now add another: interim dean of Northwest Technical College.

Griggs, most recently the vice president for innovation and extended learning at both NTC and BSU, on Wednesday was announced as the interim dean of NTC, a position designed to help the college prepare for expected restructuring.

"I'm very excited to be provided this opportunity to work with NTC faculty, staff and students," Griggs told the Pioneer on Wednesday afternoon from his new office.

Griggs replaces John Centko, who served as provost and vice president of NTC since May 2012. According to an NTC news release, Centko "is leaving to pursue new and different professional opportunities."

Richard Hanson, president of NTC and BSU, met with NTC faculty Wednesday morning to introduce Griggs and outline his role. Hanson was traveling and unavailable for comment by Wednesday afternoon.

"Bob has a combination of intelligence, creativity and a penchant for innovation," Hanson said in the news release. "Those characteristics are exactly what we need. We need someone who is organized, hands-on and also very creative."

Griggs was a member of the 11-person "reinvention" task force that was named last year to consider and make recommendations to Hanson on strategic improvements in NTC's programs and partnerships to better meet the needs of the region. The task force presented its recommendations to Hanson on May 2.

"The reinvention focus was definitely a strong review of the current programming, and what we could do going forward that would most benefit the community, our students, and the region," Griggs said.

The recommendations, available in a 300-page report on NTC's website, suggests a reinventing of NTC in ways such as creating a master academic plan, a recruitment and retention plan, naming a "singular leader" at the college that would have authority of making day-to-day decisions, and a comprehensive examination and evaluation of current programs.

Hanson is now reviewing those recommendations and will consult with others, including the chancellor of the Minnesota State College and Universities system and faculty associations at both BSU and NTC before moving forward. The process is expected to be completed by Aug. 1.

Hanson, in the news release, praised the recommendations as "strongly coherent, data-based, (and) data-driven."

Griggs said the recommendations are the starting point for larger discussion on the reinvention of the college. That work, still to come, contributed to his appreciation of the opportunity to serve as NTC's dean.

"I love the dean role. I enjoyed it very much at Bemidji State University and I really am excited about that opportunity here, especially in context of the reinvention of NTC and having a strong partnering, collaboration, working relationship with the university," Griggs said.

Griggs was initially hired as the the dean of distance learning and summer session for BSU. He also has served as BSU's interim vice president for academic affairs, associate vice president for extended learning and library services and interim associate vice president for extended learning.

"I have had extensive roles serving in various interim positions at the university," Griggs said, quipping that he is a "utility infielder" of sorts in the BSU/NTC community.

Those roles though, he said seriously, will only help him in his newest position.

"A primary function of my many different roles at the university has been about partnering and collaboration," Griggs said. "That's pretty critical to this role."