From the Dean

This past Wednesday evening, I attended a reception hosted by the UND John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences at the annual week-long gathering of aviation enthusiasts at the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) annual meeting called AirVenture but known colloquially by the Wisconsin town where it is held—Oshkosh. Some 600,000 AirVenture attendees go to educational forums, aviation vendor displays, and the afternoon airshow. During my comments to the UND Aerospace gathering, I (as interim president) brought greetings from UND. What impressed me most was the large turnout of UND graduates and supporters from around the country (and the world, for that matter), and how passionate they are about UND. Their enthusiasm for the Odegard School is as passionate as we are fortunate enough to see at the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences (SMHS). And in addition to students, graduates and supporters, representatives from a wide variety of aviation companies also were in attendance.

The warm greeting I got from the assembled crowd made me feel most welcome. Sure, I am a fellow pilot, but the sense of welcome and camaraderie extended beyond that. This reminded me of a recent conversation I had prior to accepting the position of interim president at UND. It was a telephone conversation with a former fellow medical school dean who took a new job overseeing a large university’s health enterprise only to be asked recently to oversee the non-medical campus as well. When I asked him for his advice regarding UND and the proposed analogous dual role for me, he has very supportive and urged me to accept the dual positions. Why? The major factor from his standpoint and experience was the ability to find new linkages and formulate novel alliances between the medical and non-medical campuses.

So I’m excited as we think about new ways to move UND forward. Some of that forward movement will occur as we continue to execute the One UND Strategic Plan. But other forward movement will occur as we forge new and innovative programs and initiatives that draw on strengths from across the University—at the SMHS but also with the SMHS working in conjunction with one or more of the other schools and colleges at UND. As we see more and more of such collaboration, we will become an even more dynamic and strong One UND.

Joshua Wynne, MD, MBA, MPH

Interim President and Vice President for Health Affairs, UND
Dean, UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences