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UND's annual bus tour aims to teach new faculty about North Dakota

More than 30 UND faculty and administrators will depart Grand Forks on Monday morning for a three-day bus tour across the state of North Dakota.

The trip is designed to acquaint the university's new faculty and administrators with the state and its landmarks, while also providing them with an opportunity to form connections with other people on campus and around the state, said Fred Wittmann, director of the office of ceremonies and university events.

The tour also gives new faculty a sense of where many of their students will come from, said Peter Johnson, a spokesman for the university. The hope is the participants will get an education about their new state, which they will be able to translate to the classroom.

While traveling, Johnson said, faculty from just about every academic area—whether that's energy, economics or a different discipline—can take things they see on the trip back to UND and share them with in the courses they teach.

"Anytime you move to a new state, it's a different environment, a different culture and a different landscape," Johnson said. "So to help people understand and get a better understanding of the state has many benefits."

Wittmann said the trip also allows people across the state to get to know UND's new faculty and for the communities the tour visits to get a better understanding of the university.

This year's tour, the 25th annual, will travel through the southern portion of the state, stopping at places, such as Mayville, Carrington, Washburn, Bismarck, Medora and nearby Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Bismarck-Mandan and Fargo-Moorhead. The tour alternates between a northern route and a southern route each year, with faculty able to participate in each if they choose.

New UND President Mark Kennedy and his wife, Debbie, will take part in the bus tour. Kennedy took over as the university's president July 1.

"For many of these individuals, it's their first real glimpse into North Dakota," Johnson said. "They may have come here to interview and many of them are just coming back to start moving to Grand Forks and really haven't touched any of the other parts of the state."

Wade Rupard

Wade Rupard is a reporter for The Grand Forks Herald. Rupard is a 2014 graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism and is originally from Normal, Ill. 

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