A new president has been selected for Dakota County Technical College and Inver Hills Community College.

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities board of trustees chose Michael Berndt for the role. He will begin immediately. Berndt has worked for Minnesota State for 20 years, and has held the role of interim president of DCTC and Inver Hills since 2018.

Berndt said his short-term goals as president mostly revolve around addressing the coronavirus pandemic and ensuring students are healthy and still able to continue their education. Looking toward his long-term initiatives, Berndt said he wants to improve diversity and inclusion in the colleges and improve retention rates.

Berndt served at Century College as vice president of academic affairs from 2014 to 2018. There, he supervised more than 60 liberal arts and career and technical programs, among other responsibilities.

He also was dean of Normandale Community College from 2008 to 2014. He previously taught English at Normandale and served as chairman of the department.

Berndt said he made the switch from faculty member to administrator to make changes that would help more students.

"In an administrative role, I could work on creating the kind of organizational conditions where we can have an even bigger impact on the kind of environment where really students are supported and engaged in their learning," he said.

Berndt holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Minnesota Morris, and a master's from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

Katrina Pross (katrina.pross@startribune.com) is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune.