College changes leaders Tuesday: Jolicoeur ready to learn more
After prevailing under the pressure of a presidential search, Pamela Jolicoeur is looking forward to being the one who asks the questions. The new president of Concordia College moves into her office today and begins her official duties Tuesday. ...
After prevailing under the pressure of a presidential search, Pamela Jolicoeur is looking forward to being the one who asks the questions.
The new president of Concordia College moves into her office today and begins her official duties Tuesday.
Already, she has set up a series of interviews with each board of regents member and faculty and staff to hear how they view the school's strengths and weaknesses.
"I think job one for me is to learn as much as I can about the institution," she said last week while packing at her home in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
The board of regents approved a six-year contract for Jolicoeur in May. The former provost and dean of faculty at California Lutheran University is only the 10th president in Concordia's 113-year history and its first woman president.
Jolicoeur tied up loose ends at California Lutheran University in late June and has been focusing on Concordia since then.
The college is coming off a year that saw enrollment increase by 3 percent last fall, to 2,856, after plunging to a low of 2,775 in 2002.
At the same time, the college cut 17 faculty and staff positions as part of a budget realignment.
Jolicoeur said a major concern is that states from which Concordia has traditionally drawn students - North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana - have fewer high school graduates.
"Obviously, that raises the question, where are the students going to come from in the medium term," she said.
Concordia has hired Lee Johnson to serve as interim director of admissions until a permanent replacement can be found for Lindsey Rodenbaugh. Rodenbaugh, vice president of admissions and financial aid, left this summer to become associate vice president of college relations at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wis.
Johnson was Concordia's admissions director for more than 15 years before leaving in 1999 to join Hardwick-Day, a Bloomington, Minn., consulting firm specializing in admissions and financial aid matters.
"I have worked with this consulting firm and I have worked with Lee, so it's a very happy situation," Jolicoeur said.
Along with the admissions position, Jolicoeur also will be looking for a dean of academic affairs to replace Sabine O'Hara, who left Concordia this summer to become the first woman president of Roanoke College.
Jolicoeur's arrival means a déjà vu-like departure for Paul Dovre, who retired in 1999 after 24 years as Concordia's president, only to return July 1, 2003, to serve as interim president.
Dovre said Concordia is on solid financial ground as Jolicoeur takes over. The college has been successfully raising funds for a number of initiatives, including a new campus center. A curriculum review project also is making headway, he said.
"I'd say it's been a year when people really rallied around the college," Dovre said. "The spirit of productivity among faculty and staff and alumni has just been very positive."
Dovre said his return to retirement will keep him busy. He accepted an appointment to the Minnesota Humanities Commission earlier this month, and was recently named chairman of the Regent Candidate Advisory Council for the University of Minnesota.
Jolicoeur, a former Catholic nun, said she's ready for a change after having spent the past 32 years at California Lutheran University.
Her husband, Michael Doyle, a faculty member at CLU, will arrive in Moorhead next month. He is on sabbatical this fall and will teach at CLU next spring before permanently moving to Moorhead.
Jolicoeur admits she has a few butterflies about starting her new job.
"It's a major responsibility, and I want to live up to the expectations that people have of me," she said. "That's enough to make anybody nervous."
Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528