MSU President's Column for Traill County Tribune

May 2, 2020 

Members of the Mayville State family are shining stars

I’m Comet Proud of our faculty and staff who have gone above and beyond to deliver the Mayville State University brand of personal service to our students and to each other during these uncertain times. It was business as usual up until spring break began. A quick turn-around was needed when the coronavirus pandemic necessitated us moving all classes online the Monday after spring break. Big kudos go to our students, too, for their flexibility and willingness to help turn what could be perceived as lemons into lemonade.

While most faculty and staff are working from home through the end of the spring semester, some are on campus. The campus is open for business and observing the guidelines for social distancing. The Child Development Programs staff are providing much-needed child care for parents who continue to go to their job sites, including essential workers such as those employed in the medical field, public safety, and more. The dining services staff is providing meals during limited hours, feeding the handful of students who remain in the residence halls, faculty and staff who come to campus to work, and members of the community who take advantage of their curbside service. Physical plant and facilities services staff are keeping the campus in tip-top shape. The enrollment services, extended learning, foundation, and business offices, as well as the bookstore, are keeping regular physical campus hours, while many of the other offices are functioning remotely only. Whatever the mode, the Mayville State campus is open for business.

I congratulate all employees for their can-do attitudes. I know it is not easy to juggle the extra demands of all that is going on. Some are caring for children while doing their best to get their Mayville State work done as well. Others are caring for elderly parents or others who are at-risk. Just getting groceries and basic necessities is difficult right now.

Our student nurses are on the front line of this pandemic. They are experiencing an especially trying time right now and we are incredibly proud of the work they are doing. You may recall that Mayville State’s RN-to-BSN nursing program is designed to allow nurses to continue to work in the profession while pursuing higher education. They have let us know that they have been asked to work above and beyond their scheduled shifts (some of them as many as 20+ hours) in preparation for what is to come. They continue to coordinate their family lives and are homeschooling their children as well, again, all while remaining enrolled in the RN-to-BSN program at Mayville State. Their commitments to the health care profession and to Mayville State should not go unnoticed.

Dr. Carolyn Baker, professor of English, has been editing a lexicography project (dictionary) for international translators. Dr. Baker’s friend, Dr. Lavonne Larson, a longtime educator and traveler in more than 60 countries, works in the Lutheran Social Services Elder Refugee Program in Fargo. She helps those new Americans, aged 60 and older practice their English and prepare for the citizenship test. She was a guest speaker in Dr. Baker’s ENGL/COMM course, “Intercultural Communication,” via Zoom. The students loved her real-life stories about working with refugees.

Dr. Michael Kjelland has made us proud again! Dr. Kjelland, assistant professor of biology, was recently featured in a Wall Street Journal story that focused on the clash between science and commerce over selling dinosaur fossils. People are buying rare fossils for millions of dollars. Paleontologists fear that if the wealthy continue to buy up the fossils, they will be lost to science because public institutions cannot afford to buy them.

Matt Dalrymple, an information systems technician with MSU Information Technology Services, has been putting his technological expertise to work to aid in the shortage of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) during the coronavirus pandemic. He’s used his 3D printers to produce more than 150 ear relief bands, which are used to help relieve pressure on the ears caused by medical mask straps; and more than 50 face shields.

Several Mayville State elementary education methods course instructors facilitated the creation of videos and lessons created by our teacher candidates. These videos and lessons were shared with area teachers. Faculty reached out to area teachers asking them what types of lessons/standards they would like to have created. Faculty members expressed that this was an amazing experience for our teacher candidates as they got a hands-on understanding the creation of online teaching in their teacher preparation program.

Members of the Mayville State University family are shining stars, not only during these uncertain times, but always. We know that it is our people who make our university stand out and that most certainly is true as we navigate through this uncharted territory.