Chancellor search process - Montana Tech

Chancellor Search Process - Montana Tech

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Dear Montana Tech Community:

I write this morning with a brief update on the progress of the Chancellor Search Advisory Committee.

Our deadline for priority consideration was January 18, and we are currently reviewing the 50+ applicants for the Chancellor position.

We will meet again as a whole committee in mid-February when we select 8-12 semi-finalists to interview at a neutral location.

From those interviews, we will identify 3-5 finalists who will visit campus in late March and early April.

We are still in the early stages of the review process, but there is a great sense of optimism and excitement as we move forward.

As always, you can feel free to reach out to me via email ( or by phone at 406-449-9129.

Warm regards,
Brock Tessman
Chair, Search Advisory Committee
Brock F. Tessman, Ph.D
Deputy Commissioner
Academics, Research, and Student Affairs
Montana University System


On behalf of the students, staff, faculty, administrators, alumni, and community members who comprise the Montana Technological University Chancellor Search Advisory Committee (SAC), I am proud to announce that we have fully launched our search for the next Chancellor of Montana Tech.

The leadership advertisement, university profile, and application instructions are posted online at a wide variety of locations, including the search website ( These documents reflect the deliberations and insights of the Search Advisory Committee, feedback we received during our listening sessions in early November, and a wide range of comments we received through our online survey and email address.

At this point my office, the Search Advisory Committee, and our AGB Search consultants are laser focused on generating a large, diverse, and highly qualified applicant pool for this tremendous opportunity. I strongly encourage others to join us in our efforts to raise awareness of, and interest in, this position.  Interested and qualified individuals can be directed to the search website reference above (, or to James H. McCormick (, 651-238-5188) and Janice S. Fitzgerald (, 717-580-0663) at AGB Search. Nominations and applications should be sent electronically (MS Word or PDF Format) to The deadline for primary consideration is January 18, 2019.

Thank you for your engagement in this important process. The next general search update will come after the initial application deadline has passed in January. In the meantime, please feel free to reach

out to me with general questions about the search or the search process.

Warm regards,
Brock Tessman, PhD
Chair, Montana Tech Search Advisory Committee
Deputy Commissioner for Academic, Research, and Student Affairs
Montana University System
(406) 449-9129


There is likely no more important decision for a university, and its home community, than selection of its next leader. This is certainly the case for an institution like Montana Technological University, which is entering an era of tremendous opportunity.

We are writing to let you know that the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education and the Montana University System Board of Regents are laser focused on launching a comprehensive national search for the next chancellor of Montana Technological University.

My office will assist Montana Tech in assembling a diverse search advisory committee within the next month. We will prioritize inclusion of a wide range of stakeholders from on and off the Tech campus, including students, staff, faculty, and leaders from the Butte community. The committee will include high-level representation from the University of Montana in Missoula, and will be chaired by Dr. Brock Tessman, MUS Deputy Commissioner for Academic, Research, and Student Affairs, with assistance from Amy Unsworth, who serves as the Executive Assistant to the Commissioner and the Board of Regents at OCHE.

We will enlist the help of a national search consultant to ensure the search advisory committee is prepared and supported in its task of vetting candidates and bringing finalists to campus for public interviews next spring. We anticipate the next chancellor will be selected by the end of the current academic year and ready to start immediately after Chancellor Blackketter’s retirement on July 1, 2019.

Our search process will be defined by quality and not speed; yet we recognize that there is no time to lose. Before the end of October, even as the search advisory committee is being finalized, Dr. Tessman will lead a number of on-campus listening sessions. A full slate of times and locations for these sessions will be announced in the next few days. It is essential for members of the university community and the public to participate in these sessions; they will play an important role in shaping the kinds of qualities and experiences we prioritize during the search, and thus will influence the selection of finalists that we will bring to Butte for campus interviews. Throughout this process, we encourage you to send comments and questions to us via email at

Montana Technological University is a gem of the Treasure State and the entire Montana University System is committed to the selection of a chancellor who is worthy of your great institution.


 Clayton T. Christian

Commissioner of Higher Education



In his eighth year as Chancellor of Montana Tech, Dr. Don Blackketter announced today his plans to retire effective July 1, 2019. “This experience has been a wonderful journey for both myself and Vicki. I want to thank you for the opportunity and privilege to serve as your Chancellor. This was a long thought-out decision. Vicki and I will be exploring possible options in retirement including travel, spending more time with our kids and grandkids, and settling into a new location next June.”

During Blackketter’s years at Montana Tech, he has seen a number of accomplishments focusing on people, place, and programs. A few notable accomplishments include: 
  • Remodel of the Health Sciences Building
  • Installation of Digger Turf on Bob Green Field
  • Completion of the Natural Resource Research Center
  • Design and construction of the Student Success Center/Living & Learning Center
  • Transferred the nursing program from the south campus to the north campus and transitioned the program from an ASN to a BSN
  • Received approval to make the mechanical and civil engineering options full degree programs
  • Launched Montana Tech’s first PhD program in Materials Science
  • Added a Natural Resource Management option to the Business & Information Technology Program
  • Received approval for Montana Tech to be designated a Special Focus University
  • Changed Montana Tech’s formal name to Montana Technological University
  • Saw extraordinary increases in our philanthropic support from friends, alumni, and industry
  • His wife Vicki has hosted four successful Purse Strings events supporting Safe Space of Butte
“I am grateful for the support I have received from Commissioner Christian, the Montana Board of Regents, the Montana Tech faculty, staff, students, and alumni,” noted Blackketter. “I pledge to work diligently the next nine months to complete the tasks at hand. I want to thank the faculty and staff who are the cornerstone of the University. Any Montana Tech accomplishment happens because of your incredible commitment and dedication.”

The Montana University System will launch a national search for the position as soon as possible.

Listening Sessions

Complete the Survey

Written comments may be submitted to:

Listening sessions were held November 1st and 2nd, 2018.

Leadership Advertisement

Download the document [PDF].

Campus Profile

Access a full screen version here.


November 1-2 Listening Sessions at Montana Tech
November 6 Search Advisory Committee appointed
November 13 Search Advisory Committee meets
November 26 Chancellor search launched
January 18 Deadline for applications (best consideration)
February 14 Search Advisory Committee meets
selection of semifinalists
March 14-15 Search Advisory Committee meets
Neutral site interviews with semifinalists
Finalists identified
March 25 Finalists scheduled for campus visits
April 9 Search Advisory Committee meets (AM)
Search Advisory Committee reports to Commissioner (PM)
Board/Commissioner discuss identification of Chancellor-elect
May TBD - Introduction of Chancellor-elect



AGB Search

Search Advisory Committee

  • Search Advisory Committee meeting: Tuesday 11/13 | 11:00am – 1:30pm | Montana Tech SUB, Kelley Stewart Room 
    1. Officially been “seated” and has received its charge from Deputy Commissioner Tessman.
    2. Discussed and begun to develop a definitive search timeline, leadership advertisement, and university profile.
    3. Made preparations to publicly launch the search for the next Montana Tech Chancellor on November 26, 2018.
Last Name First Name Role
Callantine Skye Community Member
Danielson Chris Faculty, CLSPS
Downey Jerry Faculty, School of Mines & Engineering
Granger Linda Faculty, Highlands College
Harbor Jon Provost, University of Montana
Hart Julie Faculty, School of Mines & Engineering
Hoffman Kaitlyne Student Member
Keane Jim Local Legislator
McClafferty Joe President, Montana Tech Foundation
MacLaughlin Mary Faculty, School of Mines & Engineering
Metesh John Director, Montana Bureau of Mines
Nystuen Bob Vice Chair, MUS Board of Regents
Risser Hilary Faculty, CLSPS
Southergill Patricia Staff Member, Research Office
Sparks Hannah Student Member
Tessman Brock Deputy Commissioner, OCHE
Trudnowski Dan Dean, School of Mines & Engineering
VanDaveer Karen Faculty, CLSPS
Vath Carrie Dean of Students
Vincent Josh Community Member
Young Laura Faculty, Highlands College

Dr. James McCormick

Dr. James McCormickJames H. McCormick is Chancellor Emeritus of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.  He began his term of office in July 2001, and concluded service to the system in 2011.  Before undertaking Minnesota leadership, Dr. McCormick was the founding chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, created July 1, 1983, and also holds the title Chancellor Emeritus there.  He was president of Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania from 1973 to 1983, and was a professor and administrator for Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania in the preceding eight years.

Dr. McCormick is a past chair of the Midwestern Higher Education Compact and served as a rotating chair of the Higher Education Advisory Council for the Minnesota Office of Higher Education.  He was the founding chair of the Minnesota P-20 Education Roundtable/Partnership and has held leadership roles with numerous organizations, including the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the National Association of System Heads, serving as national chair for the latter.  Dr. McCormick also was elected national chair of the State Higher Education Executive Officers; served on the SHEEO Executive Committee; and chaired its Federal Relations Committee.  He served on the Government and Public Affairs Commission for the American Council on Education and was a participant in the National Council of State Directors of Community Colleges, an affiliate of the American Association of Community Colleges.  In 2007, Dr. McCormick was part of the Department of Education's Negotiated Rulemaking Committee for accreditation, and in 2008, he accepted a rare second term of service with the Association of Governing Boards' Council of Presidents.  He also has served as a member of the William Mitchell School of Law board of trustees.

Dr. McCormick is recipient of several honors and recognitions, among them a citation for "model" leadership style in the publication, Shared Visions of Public Higher Education Governance.  In 2002, the honor of an Ojibwe name was given Dr. McCormick by the Fond du Lac Reservation in Cloquet, Minnesota.  The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties' prestigious Distinguished Friend of Higher Education Award was presented to McCormick in 2005.  Other noteworthy awards given him came from the Minnesota Association of School Administrators with the Distinguished Service Award; the Minnesota Minority Education Partnership's Ron McKinley All My Relations Award; and in 2011, he received Minnesota's American Indian Conference Award.

Dr. McCormick is a frequent speaker, particularly on issues addressing characteristics of leadership, governance, workforce development, higher education opportunity for the underserved and underrepresented, and the public higher education access mission in universities and community colleges.

Dr. McCormick is a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania.  He earned Master's and Doctoral degrees from the University of Pittsburgh. He has also completed post-doctoral study at Columbia University, the University of Michigan, and the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Ms. Janice Fitzgerald

Ms. Janice FitzgeraldJanice S. Fitzgerald has served as a Consultant with AGB Search since 2011. She served as Chief of Staff and Deputy Chancellor for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system from 2001 to 2011.  As a part of the senior policy team for the college and university system during that time, she worked closely with the system’s governing board, the chancellor, and college/university presidents on matters of policy, procedure and practice system-wide.  

Prior to joining the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, Ms. Fitzgerald was the founding public relations and communications director for the State System of Higher Education in Pennsylvania.  She left that office as the Executive Deputy for the system. Ms. Fitzgerald was director of public relations and publications at Cheyney University of Pennsylvania and an assistant professor of English there. She also taught at Villanova University and Carnegie-Mellon University and presented at numerous seminars, workshops, and conferences.  

Ms. Fitzgerald has been recognized for academic and community honors, and is included on Outstanding Young Women of America lists.  A recipient of a citation from the Chapel of the Four Chaplains, Philadelphia; and is a National Association for Equal Opportunity Alumnus of the Year awardee.  In addition, the Education Writers Association has selected her for the EWA and Johnson Foundation Wingspread Seminars in Racine, Wisconsin.  Ms. Fitzgerald also has been recognized for organizational and crisis management skills.

Ms. Fitzgerald currently works with the Association of Institutions of Jewish Studies.  As a founding member of the College and University Public Relations Association of Pennsylvania, she served as secretary and vice president of the group and helped establish the CUPRAP Minorities in Communications Scholarship.  She has held membership in the Modern Language Association, Public Relations Society of America, the National Association of Women in Education, the Barbara Pym Society and was a member of the state planning committee for the Pennsylvania American Council on Education-National Identification Program for Women.

Ms. Fitzgerald graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English from Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, received the Master of Education from Cheyney University and the Master of Arts from Villanova University.  Doctoral course work in rhetoric and composition was undertaken at Carnegie-Mellon University, and she completed the Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.