Northern kicks off year with in-service sessions

ABERDEEN, S.D. (Press Release) – Northern State University kicked off the 2019-20 academic year with in-service sessions that welcomed new faculty and discussed strategies for student success.

NSU President Dr. Tim Downs led the first session in a packed Krikac Auditorium.

“I’m really excited because every year we keep doing more and more and challenging ourselves to get better and better,” Downs said.

While Downs stressed that Northern is never done trying to improve, the university is seeing great progress.

“We’re making great strides as a university,” Downs said. “We’re making a name for ourselves.”

People are now driving by Northern just to see the progress, with numerous campus improvement projects recently completed or currently underway – such as the Jewett Regional Science Education Center opening this fall. Campus is abuzz with positive momentum.

“The energy we have is infectious to our students and the community,” Downs said.

Downs also introduced new NSU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Michael Wanous. During his remarks, Wanous said he and the deans are launching a plan for professional development for academic advisors. He also said Northern will be sending a team to the Higher Learning Commission Emerging Leaders in Assessment workshop in September.

Other topics covered during in-service sessions Monday and Tuesday included marketing and branding, student enrollment, intellectual diversity, academic program development, campus safety training, multicultural diversity and inclusion, and strategic planning.

“Everything we’re learning this week revolves around student success,” said Downs. “We’re focusing on how can we better equip campus and our faculty to help recruit, retain and graduate the next leaders for South Dakota.”

NSU Director of Communications and Marketing Justin Fraase encouraged those in attendance to share positive stories from Northern on social media using the hashtag #northernstateu. Also, anyone wishing to host an event on campus should email

NSU Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs Dr. Jeremy Reed thanked faculty for their help with student recruitment, particularly in meeting with prospective students as part of Northern’s improved campus visit program.

Reed also shared that Northern’s first-year student enrollment numbers look positive at this point. Enrollment numbers won’t be finalized until late September, when they are released by the South Dakota Board of Regents.