Wayne State graduate hired as Dickinson State president
By Dale Wetzel
BISMARCK, N.D. (Dec. 5, 2007) -- Dickinson State University's new president said his interest in the job was whetted by the school's tradition of strong undergraduate education and its efforts to reach out to the world.
"The size and the programs together make the attraction for me," Richard McCallum said Wednesday in a telephone interview.
McCallum, 58, who currently is vice president for academic affairs at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, begins his new job March 31. Missouri Southern has about 5,800 students; Dickinson State has an enrollment of about 2,500.
McCallum was given a two-year contract that will pay him $165,000 annually. He succeeds Lee Vickers, who is retiring at year's end after serving more than eight years as Dickinson State's president.
The Board of Higher Education voted Wednesday to offer the job to McCallum after interviewing him and Bruce Speck, the provost and vice president for academic and student affairs at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tenn.
Board members were "very impressed by Dr. McCallum's vision for the future of Dickinson State University," said the board's president, John Q. Paulsen. "He understands the rich history of Dickinson State University and the importance of DSU to its students, the community, the region, and the state of North Dakota."
Dickinson State's opening is one of four the board had been seeking to fill. The presidents of the University of North Dakota, Valley City State University and Lake Region State College of Devils Lake also are retiring.
McCallum said he was impressed by Dickinson State's strong undergraduate education programs and its Global Awareness Initiative, which recruits international students and faculty and makes scholarships available to qualified students.
"As I moved through the interview process and got to meet some of the people, I began to realize that the people and the programs together are an outstanding combination," he said.
He sees himself as an innovator who likes to "bring new ideas into an organization in a participatory style."
McCallum is a native of Bloomfield, Neb., a community of about 1,100 people in northeastern Nebraska. He earned his bachelor's degree in education in 1971 from Wayne State College in Wayne, Neb., and his master's and doctoral degrees in education from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.
He has worked at universities in Nebraska, Missouri and Connecticut, according to his resume. For seven years, he was an administrator and outreach director at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pa.
During his first 100 days at Dickinson, he said, he plans to get to know people. "I mean not only the people here on campus, in terms of faculty, staff and students, but also getting to know the people within the community," he said.