Robert Griggs named interim dean at Northwest Technical College

Northwest Technical College President Dr. Richard A. Hanson today announced that an interim dean will help the college prepare for expected restructuring to enhance its value to the Bemidji region and more fully leverage its partnership with Bemidji State University.

Griggs-Bob-2014-webmug“Bob has a combination of intelligence, creativity and a penchant for innovation,” said Hanson, who is also president of Bemidji State University. “Those characteristics are exactly what we need. We need someone who is organized, hands-on and also very creative.”

Hanson met with NTC faculty and staff at the college this morning to introduce Griggs and outline his leadership role. The interim appointment has no fixed timetable, but Hanson said Griggs will be responsible for maintaining high educational quality while preparing NTC for changes anticipated to take effect by summer 2015.

Griggs is a member of an 11-member task force that on May 2 submitted a series of recommendations to Hanson following six months of research and analysis.

The president said he will review those recommendations and consult with Chancellor Steven Rosenstone of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, NTC and BSU faculty organizations and others before determining how to move forward.

That process should be completed by Aug. 1, Hanson said.

He praised the task force for its report, describing it as “strongly coherent, data-based, data-driven – just an excellent piece of work.” Bill Maki, vice president of administration and finance for BSU and NTC, chaired the group.

The report outlines such goals as strengthened college leadership, intensified academic planning, improved student recruitment and retention, better service to Bemidji-region employers and greater public appreciation of the college as an educational resource.

With regard to NTC’s relationship to BSU, with which it has been aligned since 2004, the report suggests two major options: sweeping changes to maintain NTC as a distinct institution or transform it into a fourth college of the university while splitting off a separate technical and trades program.

Griggs said he appreciated Hanson’s confidence in him at this important time for the college.

“Northwest Technical College is a tremendous educational asset for this region,” he said. “It’s vital that we continue to serve students well even as we prepare the college for a future that I expect will be both financially sustainable and transformational.”

Griggs came to BSU in 2000 as dean of distance learning and summer session. He has been the university’s vice president for innovation and extended learning since June 2012. He served the preceding year as BSU’s interim vice president for academic affairs. Previously, he also was associate vice president for extended learning and library services and interim associate vice president for extended learning.

Griggs holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of North Dakota and earned his juris doctorate from the University of North Dakota School of Law. He is a member of the state bar associations in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Griggs takes over for John Centko, who has been provost of the college for the past two years. Centko is leaving to pursue new and different professional opportunities.

About Northwest Technical College

Northwest Technical College, located in northern Minnesota’s lake district, is an open, inviting technological learning organization. For more than 40 years, the college has valued life-long learning and the worth and dignity of all people. Its open-enrollment policy, affordable tuition and high-quality education have attracted a diverse group of learners; today, the College serves more than 1,200 learners. The college offers more than 40 degree programs in areas such as business, health, human and protective services and environmental and industrial technology career programs. Classes are offered on the Bemidji campus, online, or as a combination of both. NTC is a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.