MSU presidential search continues

A search committee interviewed Nicholas Piccolo, the second of four semifinalists for the presidency at Minot State University, on the MSU campus on Wednesday.

Piccolo has been the vice president for student life at Alma College in Alma, Mich., since 2003. Prior to that, he was dean of student affairs at The College of Idaho from 1993 to 2003; dean of students at Western State College of Colorado from 1991 to 1993; director of student programs and services at Pennsylvania State University at Mont Alto from 1986 to 1991. He was director of housing and conference services at the University of Manitoba from 1982 to 1986, assistant to the associate dean of the School of Education at Indiana University from 1979 to 1981; held different positions at the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point from 1975 to 1979. He began his career as a classroom teacher for special needs in Reading, Pa., from 1971 to 1973. Piccolo earned a doctoral degree in education from Indiana University in 1981.

Piccolo described his preferred leadership style as “collaborative” and said he is a bit of a “fixer and healer” who has persuaded people at odds in different departments to work together. He said it is also sometimes necessary to be more decisive and he can handle those more challenging situations with dignity and respect for all involved.

He has experience in budgeting and believes fundraising is important for college institutions. He also believes in the importance of diversity and he currently supervises Alma College’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion. While Alma College is private, he said he had extensive administrative experience in the Penn State University and Colorado State Colleges systems.

Piccolo told the search committee he came from a family where education is valued. He is married with grown children.

The search committee interviewed Lorrie Clemo, provost and vice president for academic affairs at the State University of New York at Oswego, on Tuesday. Today it will interview Steve Shirley, president at Valley City State University, and on Friday will interview Martin Slann, dean of the college of arts and sciences at the University of Texas in Tyler.

After the semi-finalist interviews, the committee will forward three unranked names to North Dakota University System Interim Chancellor Larry Skogen. The three will then be interviewed by the State Board of Higher Education at its Feb. 27 meeting in Minot.

Current MSU President David Fuller is retiring in June.