The president of Bismarck State College will retire June 30th, 2020.
Larry Skogen has served as BSC’s leader for 12 years. Skogen said he’s leaving on a “high note” – after what he described as a “wonderful” Legislative session.
"The support we got for our health sciences program, the polytechnic initiative, pay raises for our employees -- all of this was just really, really wonderful," Skogen said in an interview with Prairie Public.
What also drove his decision -- the campus is beginning a strategic planning effort.
"It's not fair to them to go to a strategic planning session, if I'm not planning on being here," Skogen said.
And Skogen said his early announcement gives the Board of Higher Education time to start the search process, giving him ample time to help in the transition to a new leader – without the need for an interim president.
"Interim presidencies are difficult," Skogen said. "People know the interim president is not going to be there very long. They have to adjust to that person, and then have to adjust to a new person. I didn't want them to have to go through that."
Skogen said the BSC campus has grown. He said when he arrived, he and his team anticipated growth – not only in programs and offerings, but the campus infrastructure.
"That's why, when you drive on campus today, you sort of get the 'Wow factor,'" Skogen said. "It's a beautiful campus."
BSC is in a transition to a “poly-technic” institution, meaning the college will be offering four-year “bachelor of applied science” degrees. Skogen said right now there are two “BAS” programs, and a third to kick off this fall. He said BSC will continue with its associate degree and certification programs.
Skogen said BSC has worked with business and industry leaders to help meet their needs. He says the needs are huge.
"We've all heard Gov. Doug Burgum a number of times say the only thing holding us back is workforce," Skogen said. "We can't create the workforce, but we certainly can provide the skills the workforce needs."
So what is the next act for Skogen? He said he's a historian at heart, and wants to research federal policies toward the Native American population.
"I have a passion to study that unique relationship," Skogen said.