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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Fired NSU president appointed president of Minnesota State U. Moorhead

Here is the news release from Moorhead: 

Timothy Downs Named President of Minnesota State University Moorhead

The Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities has named Timothy Downs to serve as president of Minnesota State University Moorhead. His appointment becomes effective July 1, 2023.

“Dr. Downs brings considerable expertise and keen insights into the changing nature of higher education,” said Devinder Malhotra, chancellor of Minnesota State. “He is a great communicator and a person who is strongly committed to being an ardent supporter of students and the innate missions of a regional comprehensive university anchored in liberal arts and sciences. Without a doubt, he is the right leader at this point in the university’s history.”

Downs is a leader known for facilitating transformational change and positioning campuses to meet current and future demands and needs. In past roles he has dedicated himself to student success and sustaining a campus culture that facilitates a spirit of belonging. Bringing enrollment management skills and strong financial acumen, he is an accomplished fundraiser who has successfully cultivated a shared vision with stakeholders and investors.

He currently serves Cal Poly Humboldt as interim chief of staff where he is responsible for coordinating efforts among all divisions within the university.

Previously, from 2016 to 2021, he served as president/CEO of Northern State University (NSU), a member of the South Dakota Board of Regents System with enrollment of 3,500 students and 330 employees. 

Under his leadership, NSU revised its campus strategic plan, including a refinement of its mission and vision, and revised its recruitment and enrollment plan to stabilize undergraduate enrollments, increase graduate enrollments, and increase student retention.

He worked to sustain respectful and supportive learning communities to serve all members of campus with respect and dignity.

He designed and led a capital campaign that raised over $62 million, raised additional endowed scholarship funds totaling $5 million, and, in total, received over $110 million in gifts to the university during his five-year tenure at NSU.

He facilitated efforts that yielded 20 new academic programs and partnerships, including a graduate program expected to become a national benchmark in special education.

His efforts have helped to confirm NSU as a regional economic and workforce development partner and build exceptional relationships with the community.

Previous engagements include serving as provost and chief academic officer at Niagara University (NY) from 2011 to 2016, and Gannon University (PA) from 2002 to 2011.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from California State University, Sacramento, a master’s from West Virginia University, and a doctorate from the University of Oklahoma.

Dr. Downs will succeed Anne Blackhurst who has served MSUM as president since 2014 and has announced her intention to retire.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations to President Downs! I hope one day in the not too distant future we can find out what happened at NSU.

Miranda Gohn

David Newquist said...

Minnesota State Moorhead is a competitor of Northern's. There is a tri-college arrangement in the Fargo-Moorhead area--North Dakota State, Minnesota State Moorhead, and Concordia College--which attracts students from the region but also nationally and internationally. That attraction affected enrollments for the Aberdeen colleges and posed some competition for Presentation and Northern. For example there is a major in health services up there which nursing students are drawn to as kind of a prestige matter.

I do not know if we will ever know what exactly was behind Downs' departure from Northern. It appears to involve programs for diversity and equality and political interference. When one makes inquiries about it, people seem frightened to talk about it. The faculty are a disappointment. They used to have a union and a collective bargaining contract which permitted them to be directly involved in issues of academic freedom, quality of instruction, and matters of equality. Two years ago, the legislature and the governor passed a bill banning faculty unions. That ban is a way of limiting academic freedom, and makes the state universities less desirable places to work or study. The Downs firing added to the detraction of the system's reputation. I have friends whose children won't even consider going to college here, although they could save a lot of money by taking basic courses here and transferring to more reputable institutions for their degrees.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Dr. Newquist! Their extreme ideologically based actions are not only sabotaging our public universities but the future of Aberdeen and the state as well. I think of the lost opportunities for recruitment and retention of talent not only for Northern but our community too. A Diversity of thought when it comes to problem solving for example, culture and opportunities loss.

With the super majority We do not have problem solvers in Pierre. We have problem creators.

At what point will South Dakotans finally realize enough is enough? So much potential to do and be better.

Miranda Gohn

David Newquist said...

I am responding to some email here that asked if Down's firing affected the campus in some way, and I pass on some information from a retired colleague who has picked up information in the community. In the fall after Down's firing, there was almost a hundred drop in enrollment. While NSU has currently about 3,400 students, it has the lowest number of full-time equivalents in the state at about 1,600. My colleague who was active in some fundraising said that Dr. Downs raised a considerable amount of funds for NSU, but after his dismissal some donors were reluctant to honor their pledges, and that may still be an issue.

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