New man on the job

The first days as Minot State University president have been a happy whirlwind of activity for Steven Shirley.

“It is a real pleasure to be here,” said Shirley on Wednesday, his second day as the official leader at MSU.

Shirley, who spent six years as president at Valley City State University, said he has spent the first few days meeting with faculty, staff and students and touring campus facilities. On Wednesday night, he attended a reception where he got to meet with people in the community.

He is still setting up his office in Minot State’s Administration Building and at home Shirley and his family are still living out of boxes, said Shirley, but they found a home.

Ever since he was chosen as Minot State’s president this last spring, Shirley has been preparing himself to take over as president. He said he is excited by the possibilities every time he steps on campus.

Minot State, which has just finished celebrating its first 100 years, is in the early stages of its second century as an institution. Shirley said he will be looking for opportunities for the college to take advantage of the ongoing energy boom in the western part of the state and to prepare students for successful careers. He said Minot State has many strong academic programs. Noting that enrollment slumped slightly following the Souris River flood of 2011, Shirley said he would be interested in recruiting new students and retaining those enrolled at the university.

Having served as director of study abroad at one time at the University of Minnesota-Crookston, Shirley is also interested in maintaining the strength of Minot State’s international studies programs. Having served as president of Valley City State, Shirley said he is also familiar with the North Dakota State Legislature. He will be reviewing the university’s budget and capital requests for Minot State in preparation for the 2015 legislative session.

Shirley previously served as Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs at Dakota State University in Madison, S.D., and an assistant professor as well as Director of Study Abroad at the University of Minnesota, Crookston. Shirley earned a Ph.D. in teaching and learning: higher education from the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks. He also holds a master of business administration degree (M.B.A.) with emphasis on marketing and global business and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the same university. Though he is originally from Fargo, his parents had ties to the Minot community. He also has a lake cabin at Lake Metigoshe, he told board of higher education members during the interview process.

When he was chosen as president last spring, board members cited his familiarity with the culture of North Dakota and his past experience as president of a North Dakota college. Colleagues had praised his energy and enthusiasm. Shirley replaced David Fuller, who retired this spring.