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NDSU Graduate School to host education leaders in Fargo event

Leaders in graduate education from the U.S., Canada and Pacific Rim will converge in downtown Fargo next week. The NDSU Graduate School is set to host the 56th annual Western Association of Graduate Schools Conference March 30-April 2 at the Radisson Hotel.

Held previous years in Tucson, Ariz., and San Diego, the conference is expected to draw more than 70 participants to downtown Fargo. 

The association consists of deans and administrators from accredited institutions of higher education in the western United States, Canada and Pacific Rim that offer master’s and doctoral degrees. The Western Association of Graduate Schools is a regional association affiliated with the U.S. Council of Graduate Schools.

“This conference gives NDSU an opportunity to encourage conversation about the importance of graduate education and offers attendees a taste of Fargo,” said David Wittrock, dean of the NDSU Colleges of Graduate and Interdisciplinary Studies and University Studies and 2014 president for the Western Association of Graduate Schools. “Most attendees have never been to North Dakota.”

Conference presentations will feature graduate student professional development and career planning. Noted speakers include:

  • Debra Stewart, president, U.S. Council of Graduate Schools
  • Gisele Muller-Parker, program director, National Science Foundation
  • Victor Piotrowski, program director, National Science Foundation
  • Henning Schroeder, dean in residence of the Council of Graduate Schools/National Science Foundation and vice provost and dean of graduate education at University of Minnesota
  • Barry Batcheller, president and CEO, Appareo Systems LLC
  • Evan Burkett, chief human capital officer, Sanford Health
  • Dr. Gene Hoyme, president of Sanford Research and Office of Academic Affairs at Sanford Health
  • Don Morton, site leader, Microsoft
  • William Wilson, University Distinguished Professor of agricultural economics at NDSU
  • Donald Warne, director of the NDSU Master of Public Health Program
  • Cynthia Fuhrmann, assistant dean of career and professional development, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences; assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular pharmacology, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Paula Chambers, president and CEO of Versatile Ph.D.

The primary purpose of the Western Association of Graduate Schools is the consideration of mutual problems among the member institutions, relating to graduate studies and research. The member group cooperates with other agencies to disseminate information, improve standards, encourage research and assist institutions embarking on graduate programs.

NDSU is recognized as one of the nation’s top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.


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North Dakota State University
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