A presidential search committee has narrowed down the list of candidates for Minot State University president to four.
The four semi-finalists are Steve Shirley, the current president of Valley City State University; Lorrie Clemo, provost and vice president for academic affairs at the State University of New York at Oswego; Nicholas Piccolo, vice president for student life at Alma College in Alma, Miss., and Martin Slann, dean of the college of arts and sciences at the University of Texas in Tyler.
Eight candidates were interviewed by the search committee via the interactive video network on Tuesday at Minot State University and the semi-finalists were selected after presidential search committee members each wrote down their top four candidates. The four candidates will be invited to be interviewed on the Minot State University campus next week, when they will also have an opportunity to visit with faculty, students and community members.
The search committee will then narrow the list further and submit a list of three finalists to the State Board of Higher Education, which will make its final choice when it meets on Feb. 27.
According to Jessica Kozloff, a consultant hired to check the references for the candidates, all four finalists received praise from former colleagues.
Slann was praised by people she spoke with as collaborative, humble, open and trustworthy, with experience working at the state level with a program that is somewhat similar to the North Dakota University System's Pathways to Student Success. Prior to moving to the University of Texas at Tyler, he had held the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences position at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and before that had been associate dean in the school of arts and sciences at Macon State College.
Piccolo is also well respected and has held positions in student affairs at various small colleges, including The College of Idaho, Western State College of Colorado, Pennsylvania State University at Mont Alto before taking the position at Alma College.
Clemo, while she has remained at the same institution for 25 years, has also had experience working with different types of institutions because the state university system in New York has 65 campuses of different types. Those Kozloff called said Clemo is a strong administrator and a team player "in an environment with a lot of sharp elbows." She told the search committee she has remained at the same university for so many years because she wanted to raise her children in the community where the family has strong ties. Now that her children are nearly all grown, she is able to take her career in a different direction.
Shirley, a North Dakota native who holds undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees from the University of North Dakota, has been president of Valley City State since 2008. Prior to that he was vice president and dean of student affairs at the University of South Dakota at Madison and before that was an assistant professor and director of the study abroad program at the University of Minnesota at Crookston. He is called a "rising star" by colleagues and also collaborative, well respected, student-centered and someone who works well in multi-campus situations. While he may have less experience than some, they deem him to have great potential.
The search committee is made up of student and faculty representatives from Minot State University and Dakota College at Bottineau, from the Minot community and the university system.
Current MSU president David Fuller is retiring in June.