Campus Update

Northland Town Hall

Greetings. Please review the content on this page in preparation for our upcoming Town Hall. If you have questions, please reach out to the Office of the President at 715-682-1205 or via email.

Board Updates


Alumni Board Trustee

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Our Mission
The Northland College Alumni are dedicated to advancing the goals of Northland College by
providing connection, cooperation, and collaboration between alumni, students, faculty, and
the Northland Community.

Impacting the Student Journey and Experience
NC Alumni will continue to support the recruitment of new students but will begin a focus on how alumni can positively impact and engage in the student experience. Working collaboratively with student services, college leadership, and the board of trustees the alumni association wants to help positively impact student retention. We will begin identifying what timely and relevant actions we can take to positively impact the student experience to lead to improving studentretention rates. Retaining and graduating more students will lead to more alums.

New Initiatives/Activities focused on Leveraging Alumni Professional Experiences

  • Growth of active alumni in LinkedIn Northland growth – seeing an increase in activity and
    members. Career Services is engaging students to create profiles and some students
    have even reached out to Alums for informational interviews.
  • 21 alumni participating in career service panels organized in partnership with the Office
    of Career Services and Student Career Advisor, Julie Winter.
  • Planning of professional-focused lunch and learns for current alums to share insights
    and advice on professional topics with other alums–in the planning stage.
  • Continuing our direction on alumni engagement and student retention

Recent Highlights

  • Giving Tuesday was December 1, 2020 – Over 260 total supporters raised nearly $108,000!
    Fun stats:
    » Alumni: 153, $17,293; Trustees: 4, $32,725; Friends: 82, $54,187; Parents: 30, $3,750
    » Top 5 Classes by Participation: 2005, 2016, 2017, 1970, 2000
    » Top Class by Dollars Raised: 1970, 1969, 1978, 1977, 1976
    » Top States by participation and dollars raised: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois
  • Internships and the archives – 5 internships in the NC archives under the leadership of the Alumni Board.
  • Leveraging nostalgia to engage alumni in online platforms – active organic engagement on Facebook – example Valentine’s Day post.
  • Target focus on personal connections and building networks out from there will result in a stronger response
  • Recruitment of a new board member from the class of 2013

Faculty Council

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Board of Trustees, February 2021 Meeting
Faculty Council Report
Submitted by: Dr. David Ullman, Faculty Council President

Dear Board of Trustees,

I hope that all of you are well and that the varied and protracted challenges of the past 12 months have brought you silver linings. For those of you connecting with us from afar, the North Country and Big Lake have reached their wintery prime. Piercing blue skies and reflective snow cover cast a blinding light into the frigid air. Typically, the extreme cold provides an opportunity to gather and connect, but this has been a challenging year in testing our ability to adapt to a variety of changing conditions.

In my short time at Northland, I have gotten to know and work with some of you, but for those of you I have not met, please call me Dave (I greatly prefer my first name over the unfortunate ‘dullman’ username of my Northland email address). As of January, I have stepped into the role of Faculty Council president following the end of Dr. Stroud’s term. Let me be the first to thank Angela for the many ways in which she served us all through her advocacy, encouragement, and attention to the concerns and goals of the Northland community.

As we approach a full calendar year of the pandemic and its myriad of challenges, I would like to reflect on the one thing that is clear: this college has without a doubt been up to the test. We have been nimble in adapting to new health protocols and digital platforms, innovative in developing new educational opportunities, and committed to developing solutions to keep our community of learning healthy and happy. Last week I was meeting with a group of geoscience colleagues from other small colleges around the country, and they were amazed to know that we are still able to meet in-person, offering students the opportunity to learn among their peers, while also continuing to safely participate in other co-curricular activities such as athletics and clubs/organizations.

Such success in maintaining an in-person campus existence has been built on a foundation of collaboration from the very start. We all learned quickly that the new, unfamiliar, and uncertain challenges of COVID-19 were best addressed through collaboration across campus constituencies. For example, the shift in the academic calendar from a typical 15-week semester to the compressed 2-session format (in order to limit exposure through reduced class mixing) required campus-wide coordination between the faculty, the Academic Affairs office, Residential Life, and our students. Similarly, faculty have exhibited enormous flexibility in redesigning their courses and accommodating students who can only attend virtually. That we have seen no evidence of transmission of the virus in the classroom is a testament to an on-campus community of faculty, staff, and students who are committed to each other’s safety, as affirmed in the Northland Pledge.

This spirit of collaboration led to numerous instances of Northland shining in unique ways: Dr. Nick Robertson, Dr. Tom Fitz, and Dr. Jon Martin built outdoor class spaces to alleviate COVID-19 space constraints and provide students with “well-ventilated” classrooms. These spaces have provided an invigorating setting to teach and to learn encouraging us all to engage with the college’s environmentally-focused mission in new ways. Similarly, with students returning to campus early for quarantine prior to the current winter semester, Dr. Evan Coulson, staff, and student leaders worked tirelessly to rapidly expand the SOEI Outdoor Pursuits program, with 44 distinct activities that served 121 students in those 2 weeks. Not only did these opportunities provide an outlet for safe, social, and enriching connections to the outdoors in January, but the program continues to grow with new offerings each week that provide some normalcy and balance to our students. In addition, the Outdoor Pursuits program is helping student facilitators build skills in leadership, organization, and group management that directly extend from the Outdoor Education academic program.

Behind the scenes of the classroom, Faculty have been riding an accelerated learning curve of digital platforms and hybrid teaching design in adapting to changing demands of various learning environments. Those with more experience using such tools and alternative pedagogical approaches immediately stepped up to serve the collective faculty. Dr. Danielle Sneyd, first-year Assistant Professor of Psychology, created numerous video tutorials helping all of us orient to a new digital communication platform of Microsoft Teams. Dr. Paula Anich also helped initiate a robust online discussion group on MS Teams that has allowed faculty to share every new digital trick and troubleshoot common technical issues with equipment and software. This resource has created a collaborative space for faculty to find quick solutions when we cannot be face-to-face. By incorporating these new digital communication tools into our classes, we are improving our own technical prowess, while modeling innovative practices for students as they acquire hands-on transferable skills that will provide invaluable preparation for the post-COVID workplace.

Even the research endeavors of our faculty have taken on a collaborative streak, as the latest installment from the Blacklight Biologists now draws upon the unique expertise of six Northland faculty across three different academic programs. Such collaborative energy continues to grow in novel directions as our next campus research seminar finds Drs. Sarah Johnson and Erica Hannickel sharing the virtual stage in a presentation that merges science with the humanities on the topic of orchids.

However bright these moments of the past year, they have not been without struggle. Many faculty tell me that they are exhausted. The increased demands of hybrid teaching cannot be separated from the challenges of pandemic life, with young children home from school, other family members needing additional care, and a sense of separation from our communities of support. Similarly, the current events of the past year, including the loss of life, political tension, racial injustice, economic uncertainty, and civil unrest all have compounded a sense of unease. These events strike contrary to important core principles of collaboration and kindness that are shared throughout the Northland faculty. Many of the faculty were particularly troubled by the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Recently, 36 faculty voted to formally voice concern over this attack while pledging to continue our roles as educators who teach the importance of thinking critically across all disciplines (see attached statement).

While this year has and will continue to be challenging, many of us sense the words “post-COVID” will begin to shape our plans in the coming years. Preparations for the coming fall are already in the works as we plan for various contingencies surrounding testing, vaccinations, and the possible continued need for physical distancing. In addition, the faculty are particularly excited to engage with Board in the conversations surrounding Shared Governance this spring. Successful collaboration in pandemic planning has taught us that we make better decisions and are more successful at overcoming adversity when we allow more voices into conversation. To this end, we appreciate the wealth of unique perspectives, expertise, and responsibility that the Board brings to the college.

Compared with the nearly 130 years of Northland’s existence, this pandemic has been more than a passing inconvenience and a test of patience. To the contrary, it has provided us with the opportunity to demonstrate flexibility and creativity in our structures, to innovate in the classroom, and to recognize the value of this community in supporting the education of our students. The faculty looks forward to further collaboration with the Board, campus administration, staff, and students in realizing the potential of Northland College.


Dr. David J. Ullman
Assistant Professor of Geoscience
Faculty Council President

Northland College Faculty Statement Concerning Sedition and Insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021

The grievous attack on the United States Capitol on the 6th of January, 2021, has left many Americans searching for a way to heal and reform national politics, and rededicate to our country’s commitment to ensuring equality for all. Northland College was founded on the principle of justice, a search for truth, and a commitment to civic responsibility and engagement. As part of an institution of higher learning, the faculty remain unequivocal in the repudiation of untruths. We are also resolute in our confidence that a more just society is possible. We accept and reaffirm our civic responsibility to engage in the most pressing matters of the day. As members of an institution dedicated to the search for truth and justice, we feel compelled to denounce the actions of those involved in the attack of the U.S. Capitol and to use our collective voices to challenge the lies that served to provoke, and later attempt to excuse, the actions of those involved in the attack.

In addition to the attack on the foundations of our democratic republic, the inadequate preparation for possible violence and the delayed, tepid response exposes the systemic racism that continues to lie beneath the surface of our society. White nationalism, conspiracy theories, and racist organizations played an important role in the impetus and direction of the violent insurrection. As President Solibakke and Administrative Council articulated in an earlier public statement, “The key purpose of education is to shine light in the dark…the work of justice requires that we continue to confront white supremacy and all of its intersecting forms of oppression.”

We the faculty of Northland College stand in solidarity with all those who are voicing their anguish, revulsion, and deep frustrations with the January 6 attack on the capital that was encouraged by lies, white supremacist ideology, and white nationalism. Therefore, we are devoted to continue teaching how to practice discernment and accountability in civic engagement; to demonstrating the connections between the sciences, social sciences, humanities, and public policy; and to challenging falsehoods by communicating the truth, especially when those falsehoods are used to promote actions that attempt to undermine the foundations of our democracy. Furthermore, we dedicate ourselves to understanding and

Staff Council

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Board of Trustees February 2021 Meeting
Staff Council Report Submitted by: Alex Patterson, President of Staff Council

Some of the major highlights have been working to open better communication between faculty and staff council and determine the role of staff in shared governance. We have looked at issues related to staff involvement with retention, athletics and the needs of staff in that area, and have worked to actively increase staff participation in Staff Council.

Accomplishments and Successes
There are many successes for us to celebrate this year, we are open and keeping students safe! Staff continue to innovate and maintain a student centered approach to their work. We are seeing great strides being made from our advancement and admissions staff, Athletics is working harder than ever to engage their students and recruit the best students for the school and student affairs has introduced many new staff to their ranks to help students graduate from Northland. Additionally, the diversity center continues to grow on campus!

Staff face challenges as we navigate long term planning as we await updates on structures for conduct and strategic management for next year as we start to understand more of what next year holds. We also work to help with the roll out of the new employee handbook, data initiatives on campus as it relates to the needs of staff and rally around the upcoming celebration of Northland’s 130 year anniversary. We have found challenges that relate to roles within the decision making process around items on campus and the blurred lines that exist within the process or procedures of staff. Hopefully the work with the new handbook and new initiatives with shared communication will help with this.

Activities that are in Progress or Upcoming
We are still working towards a long-term strategic plan and goals of staff council or its committees. We have added a staff risk management team that is looking at that strategic planning for staff council alongside the executive cabinet. Finally, we have worked extensively to align staff welfare with the work of our HR department to open regular communication between these two roles on campus. Additionally, the presidents of staff council and faculty council have begun to meet monthly to align ourselves around issues that relate to both groups.

Recommendations Looking Forward
We hope to carve out a defined roll of staff council in shared governance as we push on. We want to organize our work to best serve staff as they work to maintain the strong student populations on campus. I appreciate the shared governance exercise and hope to meet with leadership of Northland to better define an outcome coming away from the event itself. This will help us with communication and defining the role of staff on campus and in the community outside of our respective areas of employment.

Student Trustee

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Board of Trustees February 26, 2021 Meeting
Student Trustees Report Submitted by Lucy Herman and Kaya Luck

Dear Fellow Trustees,

What a chilly few weeks we’ve had! The students here on campus have differently had to put their winter gear to the test. Fighting off –20 degree mornings is not for the faint of heart! To get through this cold snap, students and faculty have been tending to warm fires in the Ponzio fireplace and warm drinks and treats were offered as a midterm pick-me-up.

Before the weather plunged, students were able to enjoy the new campus ice rink and free rental ice-skates. This addition has been very popular, and students are very grateful to have a new form of covid-safe fun. Students were also offered the opportunity to receive free season passes to MT Ashwabay Ski and recreation Area which has been popular for beginner and advanced skiers and snowboarders alike. NCSA even hosted a college ski night on February 17th.

Recent activities occurring around campus or online have included an online interview/Q&A with professors Sarah Johnson, Michaela Carlson, and Alissa Hulstrand for International Day of Women and Girls in Science. This event gave students a better understanding of the challenges and triumphs women face in a male dominated career. Ruth De Jesus held multiple events in the new (and beautiful) Diversity Center to celebrate Black History Month. These events range from open discussions about racism to discussing the series “Eyes on the Prize,” a documentary that focuses on the path of the Civil Rights Movement.

Another success on campus has been the addition of a second mental health counselor. The counseling services at Northland have always been a heavily discussed topic with a typical consensus of wanting more options/variability. By bringing a new counselor to campus, even if she is an intern, students have been allowed more availability for appointments and more options on who can best suite their individual needs. We hope to see Northland continue to expand their mental health services and abilities in time.

We are excited to announce that the 15 week-based classes will be returning though next year! Accelerated courses have proven a safe approach to socially distancing due to smaller class sizes and decreased number of interactions, but students and faculty struggled to keep up with the fast pace and ultimately decided to return to the old semester schedule. This choice was voted on by the Academic Council near the end of January and classes have been moved up to begin near the end of August rather than the typical early September.

While it is important that we do discuss some of Northland’s accomplishments, we do need to bring up the challenges that students, faculty, and staff have been facing as the new semester has
begun. At the end of January, a water pipe had burst in Fenenga’s boiler room which led to the hall not having heat nor water. All Fenenga residents were evacuated and forced to find a place to stay for the night. Some rooms were available on campus, but this number was limited. This led to a one-night campus-wide disarray as people stayed with friends, in hotels, residence hall lobbies, etc.

Another issue that has risen has been the general struggles with the sun setting sooner. While it is important to get your daily dose of vitamin D, typically when students are most available is after the sun has set and there’s not much to do once it does get dark. While the events are nice and have seem to been working for getting people to come, the consensus seems to be that it still is hard to be motivated/active when there’s restrictions for activities, homework, little sunlight available, a pandemic, and more factors playing into all of it.

Mainly, the students are worried. Worried about keeping up in classes, worried about being able to balance their schedule while being able to continue taking care of themselves, worried about staying as safe as possible while keeping in touch with their friends and families, worried about how this school is handling everything. While students do have hope in Northland College for making the right decisions, it’s still hard for them to trust an institution that is privately based because students are learning to challenge the actions and decisions our institutions are making. The students strive to feel safe and are looking for as much transparency as they can get right now.

Students ask that the Board understands that they are struggling. While students are making a conscious effort and choice to continue getting an education, they deserve to have their voices heard and their needs met, to the best of the Board’s abilities.

Be well in this time,
Lucy Herman and Kaya Luck