NDSU presidential candidate Mary Holz-Clause, chancellor for the University of Minnesota Crookston and acting executive chancellor for Crookston and University of Minnesota Morris campuses, discussed her vision for the university during an open forum on Feb. 3. She is last of five candidates to visit the NDSU campus for interviews, to meet with faculty and students and conduct an open forum.
“North Dakotans rely upon NDSU,” Holz-Clause said. “They treasure you, they value you and they expect a lot from you as their land-grant university,”
She proposed aggressive marketing to highlight NDSU’s many successes, ranging from the achievements of the Bison athletic teams to NDSU’s recent status as an R1 research university.
“We are one of only three universities in our six-state area that have that distinction. So, how widely is that known? These are demonstrations of our success and need to be a building block for more success,” she said. “People want to be part of a winning team; it’s human nature. You can’t be humble about good outcomes.”
She suggested NDSU should build bridges and relationships, personalize the experience for students and hone the areas of focus.
“Our success must be strong and apparent; no questioning in our strategies,” she said. “Wear it, own it, celebrate it. Let it be known that NDSU is the force in the region, the growing force in the region.
“My vision for NDSU is to be a catalyst, to mobilize our resources. The emphasis of my leadership style is to allow people to fly, and then expect them to do so,” she said. “What better place for groundbreaking research than here in North Dakota? We have all the access but most importantly, we have you – the creative, dedicated, innovative faculty, staff and students that make this an amazing place where knowledge grows.”
As chancellor of UM Crookston and acting executive chancellor for both Crookston and UM Morris campuses since 2017, she has created and increased opportunities in such areas as value-added agriculture, entrepreneurship and scientific and medical discovery.
From 2014-2017, she was dean of agriculture at Cal Poly Pomona, where she was appointed to the 15-member California State Board of Food and Agriculture, an advisory board to the governor.
Holz-Clause was vice president for economic development at the University of Connecticut from 2011-2014. She secured the Small Business Development Center on campus, and oversaw more than $1 million in patent and licensing revenues yearly, 71 disclosures, 52 patents and technology incubation services.
She was associate vice president of Extension and outreach and associate director of Iowa Cooperative Extension Service at Iowa State University from 2006-2011. She oversaw 100 county offices, 1,000 staff and $100 million in contracts, grants and state and federal funds.
Overall, Holz-Clause has helped to secure more than $40 million in grant funding for emerging and ongoing initiatives. She has been a tenured professor of agricultural business, agricultural business management, agriculture science and Extension.
Prior to academia, Holz-Clause was with the Iowa Department of Economic Development, where she launched the first-in-nation ethanol program. She also taught vocational agriculture in Iowa.
Holz-Clause earned her bachelor’s degree in agricultural business, Master of Public Administration and doctorate in agriculture education and technology transfer at Iowa State University.
Four other presidential candidates earlier visited the NDSU campus. They include David Cook, vice chancellor for public affairs and academic development at Kansas University in Lawrence; Debra Larson, provost and vice president affairs at California State University, Chico; Michael Tidwell, immediate past president of University of Texas at Tyler; and Hesham El-Rewini, provost and senior vice president of academic affairs at Marymount University in the Washington, D.C., area.
The NDSU Presidential Search Committee will recommend an unranked slate of finalists to the State Board of Higher Education. The board will conduct final interviews on the NDSU campus on Wednesday, Feb. 23, with the selection of the next NDSU president announced thereafter. It is anticipated that the new NDSU president will assume office in June.
For more information or to watch video of any of the candidate presentations, visit the Presidential Search web page.
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