DS View: Exceptional

EXCEPTIONAL: UND continues to strive to set the bar higher than the rest.


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If you’ve ever attended an event where UND President Robert Kelley has taken the stage, then you’re all too familiar with the word “exceptional.”

However, what most students are not familiar with is just what that word means in the context of this university and this university’s mission.

Exceptional UND is an initiative that’s been around since 2010. The program focuses on five key areas — enriching the student experience, gathering, collaborating, expanding UND’s Presence and enhancing quality of life — all with the intention of enhancing UND’s mission, vision and tradition.

Tuesday, students, faculty, staff and other community members gathered in the Memorial Union Ballroom for a relaunch of the Exceptional UND program — kicking off new logos for the five key priorities in collaboration with preparations being done for the Higher Learning Commission’s re-accreditation visit in October. We, The Dakota Student editorial board, feel the rows of full chairs at Tuesday’s event are proof that Exceptional UND is already making a difference on our campus.

As students who often times struggle to get to class five days a week, have to drag ourselves to work and who, in general, shrug at informational presentations, the full house Tuesday is a strange exception to the typical apathetic attendance at such events.

And when people show up to such events, it is inevitable that they will become players — although with varying levels of intensity — in the program’s story. We at The Dakota Student urge each of you reading this also to engage in Exceptional UND and the university’s re-accreditation process.

As students and members of the UND community, your voices matter. Your thoughts and opinions are critical for shaping the school’s next steps into the future and your input will help ensure the success of future students.

Speaking up is easy. Take some time and read the HLC self-study executive summary. This summary is the result of three years of hard work and input by individuals throughout the university community. It evaluates where we are as a university, where we have opportunities to improve and where we can go.

Also, take some time to learn about Exceptional UND’s five strategic priorities, and think about how they play out in your own life. You can even take it to the next level by participating in a photo contest hosted by the university.

Finally, be engaged during the HLC visit Oct. 28 to 30. This is your chance to share your thoughts, influence change on campus and help craft UND’s future.

We encourage you all to get involved and be exceptional.