On Jan. 19, Don Morton, member of the State Board of Higher Education and Chair of the Board’s Budget and Finance Committee, kicked off the week’s presentations on higher education. He opened by thanking the Legislative Assembly for their past support and expressed the Board’s intention to work collaboratively with them to do what is best for higher education.
“The people who serve on the Board believe in higher education in North Dakota,” Morton said. “We are committed to providing the best possible education for our students at a fair and reasonable cost. We continually strive to bring more rigor and focus on budget transparency to our process, as well as budget accountability, and metrics that support financial performance.”
Morton talked about the Board’s new mission, vision and five-year plan for the North Dakota University System, the NDUS Edge, which Interim Chancellor Skogen addressed in detail after Morton’s opening remarks. “Our appropriation requests support our strategic direction,” he said. He then highlighted the main points:
- Best value
- Relevant, timely programs
- Student success
- Unified system
Best Value – Morton asked legislators to support the funding to provide tuition freezes, so that NDUS can remain competitive in our region and attract more students to fill jobs in the state, and open educational resources, so that NDUS can help students save money on textbooks.
Relevant, Timely programs – Morton asked legislators to support NDUS workforce and healthcare provider training, as well as research efforts.
Student Success – Morton asked legislators to support tools and programs that will help NDUS retain students through early intervention and appropriate guidance and counseling.
Unified System – Morton asked legislators to support our efforts to be more efficient through enhancing our IT systems and our collaborative programs as well as cleaning up deferred maintenance so that NDUS buildings are in shape for the influx of students we expect by 2018.
“Certainly those are only the highlights,” Morton said. “If you remember these things: Best Value, Relevant Programs, Student Success and Unified System over the next few days – you will see the continuing theme that runs through our strategic priorities and budget requests.”