Monday, June 30, 2008

The end of the Kupchella era

Today is Charles Kupchella's last day as president of the University of North Dakota. Tomorrow, the Kupchellas will move back to Pennsylvania and Dr. Robert Kelley will officially become UND's eleventh president.

Kupchella has been UND's leader since 1999 and has presided over an eventful period in the institution's history. From research to the Ralph, from flood recovery to enrollment growth, and from strategic planning to unceasing debates over words and imagery...Kupchella had an interesting presidency.

The Grand Forks Herald and the Fargo Forum both had editorials about Kupchella's time at UND. Interestingly, the Forum's sendoff of Kupchella was truly glowing when compared with the "fair and balanced" Herald editorial.

What will you remember about Dr. Kupchella? What is his legacy at UND? Was he a good president? What do you hope to see in President Kelley?


Anonymous said...

Of all the things President Kupchella did well, I remember the things he did not do well. The biggest thing was what many of the staff at UND perceived as aloofness and not being overly friendly to the "peons", like his time was too valuable to take the time to say good morning, or how are you today.

I hope President Kelley will have some of the charisma that ex President Baker used to show. Baker always had time for faculty, staff and students. So did his wife.

I will not be sad to see Mr. Kupchella retire.

ec99 said...

The opinion one holds about Kupchella and his presidency at UND is dependent on what one sees as the puropose of the place. If one thinks it should be a business, for which students, faculty, and administrators are to generate revenue streams; the engine of economic development for ND; a source of entertainment through athletics, then he would get high marks.

If, however, one views UND as an institute of higher education, he gets an F. Quite simply, education has ceased to exist as a mission there.

The Whistler said...

Personally he's always been more than friendly than me.

However a measure of the institution ought to be how much tuition went up for the students.

Now it would be terribly difficult in the era of skyrocketing tuition in all institutions for him to hold it where it "ought to be."

But I think that he could have done a better job to keep college affordable.

Anonymous said...

So, rumor has it that McCain is gonna announce Gov. Hoeven as his VP running mate in late-August.

Makes sense to me, though... a boring governor with no ideas to match McCain--the candidate with no ideas.

Anonymous said...

Obama is coming to Fargo to announce that talk show host(returning from vacation) Joel Heitcamp will be his VP. Two know nothing Dems for the price of one !

Anonymous said...

Amen, e99! Here is a pertinent quote I happened upon today.

A university is what a college becomes when the faculty loses interest in students--John Ciardi

I would change that from faculty to administration.

Anonymous said...

Boy, with the flood of praise for Kupchella here, sounds like he is really going to be missed!

Anonymous said...

Here is what I will remember: how he decimated the humanities, how he had no interest in working with anyone who disagreed with him, how he thought putting up new road signs counted as improving the institution, and how his vision of community was encouraging students to take on-line classes even from their dorms. He was a terrible president with no backbone and no vision beyond catering to some vague "economic vision" of the university as a mission. He will be missed by NO ONE (and although they won't admit it in public, even his so called cabinet is happy to see him go.

ec99 said...

"He was a terrible president"

Perhaps another way to judge Kupchella is by seeing what he has left his successor:

A $17 million parking ramo only administrators can afford to buy permits for. Lord knows how that will be paid off, and Twamley isn't saying.

A D I athletic program which will need $18 million a year to operate. Now if Athletics admit to that figure, you know it'll be closer to a total capital outlay of $25 million. Not to mention plans to expand and put a retractable roof on the old stadium and build an indoor practice field.

The lowest faculty salaries in the country, some 35% behind the national average. So, you can't recruit and you can't retain.

A student body whose increased enrollment was due to the fact Kupchella insisted that all who apply be admitted, whether they met standards or not. Talk to the faculty out there about the level of many students; but the could write a tuition check.

Deferred maintanence on buildings which will cost $10s of millions to catch up on.

A bloated administration.

Good luck President Kelley. You'll need it.

Anonymous said...

I do regret never seeing one of Kuppy's singer/songwriter guitar gigs at the coffeehauses

ec99 said...

"I do regret never seeing one of Kuppy's singer/songwriter guitar gigs at the coffeehauses"

You didn't miss anything. He sang nothing that wasn't limited to the chords C D G.

Anonymous said...

My favorite memory,
attending feast of nations and CKup giving his speech where he announces we are as far from an international border as one can get.... It was pretty interesting to see the looks on everyones faces.... Especially the entertainment which drove down from Canada....