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Minot State University Announces New Center to Assist North Dakota Communities

Posted on 11/24/2010

Federal funding for a new research and service center at Minot State is now in place, as are two new co-directors for the center.

Minot State University President David Fuller recently announced the funding of the Great Plains Center for Community Research and Service. The initial year of funding is set at $950,000.

Building on best practices and focusing on the special needs of rural North Dakota and the Great Plains, the GPCCRS will support public and nonprofit agencies within the region through focused research assistance, program assessment and evaluation, survey development and analysis, and collaborative problem-solving activities. The goal of the GPCCRS is to strengthen communities while enhancing the university's distinctive mission and role by raising its educational standards and impacting student learning.

"GPCCRS will give students and faculty an unprecedented level of support and opportunity to collaborate successfully with community leaders throughout the region of northwest North Dakota, tackling real-world problems and achieving significant goals," said Paul Markel, GPCCRS co-director.

Leading the new Great Plains Center for Community Research and Service will be Markel, professor of psychology and Neil Scharpe, research associate for the North Dakota Center for Persons with Disabilities. Markel will concentrate his efforts on faculty and students and Scharpe will provide local communities with a forum to address issues they believe are most pressing.

The Center will encompass two major components: a research function to conduct undergraduate, graduate and faculty research focused on issues and problems associated with the local area and the larger area of the Northern Great Plains; and a development function to
disseminate information and offer grant writing support, engage students in community research and other civic learning activities focused on growth of the local place.

The Center will offer local communities the chance to address self-identified issues by engaging faculty and students in researching the problem, collaborating on a method to address the problem and implementing a solution. It will offer faculty support to accomplish meaningful research on issues that truly affect the local area and contribute to the understanding of the challenges facing the Great Plains.

MSU's core values are incorporated in all levels of this Center. By engaging students and supporting communities, the mission of the GPCCRS to strengthen the quality of life in rural communities is accomplished.

The Center is located in Memorial Hall on the Minot State University campus. For more information, contact Markel at 701-858-4296 or Scharpe at 701-858-3596.

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