New faculty bus tour continues across North Dakota
This year's route will take participants to places such as Fordville, Fort Totten, Rugby, Velva, Minot and Tioga
The 23rd annual bus tour for new faculty and administrators is making its way through communities in northern North Dakota.
Former UND President Tom Clifford introduced the three-day tour as a way to raise awareness about the importance of higher education as well as to acquaint the new faculty with their state of employment. It also allows new faculty to get a better understanding of where many of their students will come from.
"It's a wonderful public relations opportunity for the President and the University, but it's also designed to give our newest faculty members and administrators a good glimpse of what North Dakota is like," said Fred Wittmann, the tour coordinator and director of Ceremonies and University Events.
Alternating between southern and northern routes, the bus will be going north this year, stopping in communities such as Rugby, Minot and Tioga.
A day will be spent in Tioga near the oil fields, and will end with a get-together of local alumni and bus participants.
Debbie Storrs, the new dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, and Robert Hill, the new dean of the College of Education and Human Development, will be among approximately 30 faculty members on this year's tour along with the new provost, Thomas M. DiLorenzo, who also serves as vice president for academic affairs.
Unique to this tour will be the inclusion of some veteran faculty members, such as Melissa Gjellstad, assistant professor in the language department. Gjellstad will provide commentary for the tour, as she has in the past, as they travel through her hometown of Velva, N.D.
Since the beginning of the tour, whenever the bus passes through the Velva area, Jerry and Norma Effertz open up their home and provide a barbeque for participants.
"We sit around picnic tables and have a steak and can't help but leave feeling better connected," said Wittmann.
The tour will wrap up at Turtle River State Park, west of Grand Forks, where participants will enjoy a picnic and be able to mingle with family and friends including other new faculty members who were unable to attend the tour.
The following is a partial itinerary for the bus tour (subject to change):
Day 2 ― Tuesday, Aug. 20
- 7:15 a.m. ― Load Bus
- 7:30 a.m. ― Depart Minot
- 9 a.m. ― Arrive in New Town for Northrop Grumman Tour
- 10 a.m. ― Depart New Town
- 10:30 a.m. ― Arrive at Whiting Oil and Gas Company Facilities
- 1 p.m. ― Depart for Tioga
- 2 p.m. ― Arrive in Tioga for tour of Neset Consulting
- 5 p.m. ― Social & Community Dinner with Alumni and friends
- 7 p.m. ― Depart Tioga to return to Minot
- 9 p.m. ― Return to Comfort Inn & Suites in Minot
Day 3 ― Wednesday, Aug. 21
- 7:45 a.m. ― Depart Hotel
- 8 a.m. ― Tour Scandinavian Heritage Center in Minot
- 9:15 a.m. ― Depart Minot
- 10:30 a.m. ― Arrive in Rugby Area – Farm Tour
- Noon ― Rugby-Heart of America Medical Center
- 1:15 p.m. ― Depart Rugby
- 2:30 p.m. ― Arrive at Sully's Hill National Game Preserve for Tour
- 4 p.m. ― Depart Sully's Hill
- 5:15 p.m. ― Arrive at Turtle River State Park
- 5:30 p.m. ― Picnic for bus tour participants and guests
- 7 p.m. ― Depart Turtle River State Park
- 7:30 p.m. ― Arrive Grand Forks / UND
― David L. Dodds, media relations/writer and editor, University and Public Affairs, 777.5529, david.dodds@UND.edu.