Getting to Know … Dr. Lisa Karch

Lisa Karch, Ph.D., North Dakota State College of Science’s Wahpeton's new vice president for instruction.

Lisa Karch, Ph.D., is a new person on North Dakota State College of Science’s Wahpeton campus. Dr. Karch assumed the vice president for instruction position on Oct. 4, 2021. As she got accustomed to her new surroundings, Karch told Daily News more about the job and herself.

What does a vice president for instruction do?

It includes being responsible for all academic functions of the college, technology support and infrastructure, and non-credit workforce education and training, NDSCS stated.

Okay, let’s hear that from Dr. Karch herself …

“Within instructional affairs, I’m handing all of the academic programming, both the credit-bearing and non-credit programs. I’m also involved with workforce affairs. There’s TrainND and the apprenticeship and SkillsUSA opportunities, too. We’re leading up to our Career Innovation Center opening in south Fargo, so I’ll be involved in the curriculum development for our partner K-12 districts and students. … The idea of instruction is becoming more inclusive of all of the programs that we offer, both the credit and the non-credit and the awesome things going on in Fargo.”

How is Karch liking her new job?

“It feels great. It really feels energizing, very positive. It’s the people. The phenomenal people that make NDSCS what it is. That’s what drew me to apply for this position in the first place.”

What brought you to Wahpeton?

Karch is from Brooten, Minnesota, where she grew up on a beef cattle, corn and soybean farm. Her parents both attended Alexandra Technical & Community College. Karch herself hopes to successfully recruit one of her nephews into attending NDSCS. “When I came for my on-campus interview, it felt like home, with my farming background and my mom and dad having gone to Alexandria. I went around campus, met the people and it felt comfortable.”

A journey from Brooten to Wahpeton included some stops

Over the years, Karch has been educated at Concordia College — Moorhead, North Dakota State University and Minnesota State University Moorhead. Her experience included counseling high school, then elementary, students.

How did she know she wanted a career like she has now?

“Helping students as they explored career exploration and social-emotional wellness — working with the students, parents and families is what I think really drove me to this current position. Those chapters in my life of being a school counselor, working with K-12 students and families around career exploration, were so important. After I was a school counselor, I went to work for MSUM, being there for the last 12 years. I was able to get to know and have professional relationships with a lot of school counselors, principals and superintendents in the Red River Valley.”

Taking the vice president position “brought everything together”

“It’s an opportunity to serve, and there are so many opportunities in our Red River Valley region. Including the workforce piece made this the perfect position. I want to be a part of NDSCS and part of the NDSCS community and Wahpeton area.”

What does Karch hope she’ll provide for students and others?

“I want to bring out the best in them, to empower them, to advocate and support them for them, so they can do their job in supporting, teaching and learning. I’m all about supporting others and advocating for them, adding value to the strengths they already had.”

She’s a mother

Her kids include Josie, 11, a sixth grader; Kinsey, 9, a fourth grader; and Cody, 7, a second grader. Being both a mom and a member of the education field has allowed Karch to learn more about different styles of learning and efforts to cater to them.

She likes to relax

The Karch family’s fun includes going to the lake for water skiing and tubing, plus other outdoor activities like biking and hiking. “Relaxing? I relax with my kids. They’re only young once and it goes fast.”

For Lisa Karch, Ph.D., it’s a matter of opportunities

“It’s phenomenal. There are so many opportunities for everyone. I think about the businesses coming into the area. It’s a great moment right now, for anyone looking for leadership opportunities, to look at the Red River Valley. … I want families to know that they have this gem, NDSCS, in their backyards. We’re here for all people.”

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