CHADRON – Dr. Jim Powell, Chadron State College’s Vice President for Academic Affairs, announced Friday he plans to retire in June 2024. Powell has worked as an administrator at the college since 2015.

“Choosing to work at such a student-centered and remarkable institution like Chadron State College has been a career highlight for me,” Powell said. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with fantastic colleagues who care deeply for students and their success. It was easy to come into work every day and I will truly miss this place and its people. We have accomplished a lot, but I’m eager to see what happens in the future because the potential for great things is there.”

Powell has been the top academic administrator at CSC since 2020. He was on the job for about eight weeks when the college decided to pivot to remote instruction during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Powell was instrumental in helping facilitate the change in course delivery and he’s continued to innovate. He has supported the development of new programs, including nutrition and dietetics, a master’s degree in athletic training, and new focus areas for the MBA.

“Dr. Powell has been a force for good at Chadron State College and he understands the changing landscape of higher education really well,” said President Ron K. Patterson. “He has provided a steady hand for the academic operation at CSC, led us through accreditation cycles with grace and humor, and he has helped position this college for continued success. I commend him for all he has accomplished, and I wish him well in retirement.”

Powell helped shepherd the institution through its successful four-year affirmation review through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), worked to establish the college’s Quality Initiative for HLC, and assisted with programmatic accreditation. He was also heavily involved with strategic planning and he chaired many committees on campus.  

“I had the amazing chance to work with a lot of talented people,” Powell said. “CSC truly is a teaching institution first, and its faculty are second to none. I am also appreciative of the staff I worked with because everyone truly had a passion for making CSC a better place to work and live.”

Prior to being named the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Powell was the Dean of Professional Studies and Applied Sciences from 2015 to 2020. Powell, who received both his bachelor’s degree in English Education and his master’s in Linguistics with a specialization in Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages from Ball State University, began his teaching career as a middle school teacher in Indiana. He earned a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from Arizona State University and worked as an Assistant Professor at Ball State in Muncie, Indiana, for 13 years.

After Ball State, Powell worked at the University of Alaska-Anchorage for six years as Professor and Chair of Teaching and Learning before becoming a Professor and Director of the School of Education at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan. He worked at Ferris State for three years before joining CSC’s administration.

Powell and his wife Karla, have two adult sons and four grandchildren.

Patterson said a national search for Powell’s replacement will begin in early 2024.

CSC and UNL announce 3+1 Ag Education program 

CHADRON – During the summer of 2023, an existing agreement between Chadron State College and the University of Nebraska Lincoln was revised so students seeking an Ag Education degree can attend three years at CSC and then transfer to UNL for the final year.

Interim Dean of Curriculum, Accreditation, and the School of Professional Studies and Applied Sciences Dr. Grant Sasse said START Office Director Chris Singpiel and START Adviser Josee Sayaloune helped update the course listings in the program guide. Sayaloune also created new advising templates to provide students interested in Ag Education with an idea of what the 3+1 program might look like for them. She said students are advised based on the program guide that is available on UNL’s website.

CSC student Erica Brown said the program has several benefits, including lower costs and close connections with CSC faculty for three years.

“It also allows western Nebraska students to study Ag Education without having to be six-plus hours away from home. Coming from northeastern Nebraska, which is predominantly row crop production, I did not have any prior knowledge about the rangeland management side of the agricultural industry. This program allows me and other students to learn about the primary sector in western Nebraska. While I do not know where I want to end up teaching, I do know that I have a strong desire to stay in Nebraska and strengthen Nebraska Ag and FFA,” Brown said.

CSC student Sydney Linse is excited about her plans to teach Agriculture Education in a rural Nebraska community.

“The three plus one program has allowed me to work toward my Agriculture Education degree without having to go to UNL all four years. I believe this program is a unique experience and will help meet the current shortage of Agriculture educators. This program has been a great opportunity and has allowed me to make connections with current agriculture educators in the western part of the state,” Linse said.