After the State Board of Higher Education unanimously voted Dr. Mark Hagerott in as the new lead for higher education, he has accepted the role of the new chancellor of the North Dakota University System.
The announcement concludes a months-long process that saw more than 20 candidates vying for the position. It has included Listening Meetings, the assistance of a Search Advisory Team of key stakeholders and coordination by a professional higher education search firm. The announcement was the culmination of an extensive search process that led to final candidate interviews at Bismarck State College Thursday, April 30.
“This unanimous decision highlights our commitment to higher education in the state of North Dakota,” said Dr. Terry Hjelmstad, SBHE Board Chair. “We’ve worked hard to ensure the process was open and transparent to the public. The Board’s vote today shows confidence in what Hagerott could do for the stability and adaptability of the system.”
“I am honored to be here and to be your chancellor choice from a field of very qualified candidates. It’s been a pleasure as everyone here has been kind and professional,” Hagerott said. “You have a great system framework and I thank you for putting your faith in me and allowing me the opportunity to take the system forward into the future.”
Monsignor James Shea said the selection of a new chancellor would serve to create a new day for higher education. Shea, a member of the Search Advisory Team, said in recent months external conversations had been more about budgets and policies than students. Hagerott had spoken about all three.
“Students are who we serve and their good is at the center of everything,” Shea said. “We’ve got three good candidates here who could focus the conversation in their own way. I wonder if the one who expressed the most concern for students wasn’t Dr. Hagerott. It’s a new day and to focus on students is important. I believe Dr. Hagerott can do that.”
Hagerott has held several academic leadership positions over the past seven years at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, where he currently serves as the senior civilian and deputy director of the new Center for Cyber Security Studies. With a full career in the U.S. Navy, he has held leadership roles to include dean of humanities and social sciences, special assistant to the provost, chair of the admissions board, and leadership of senior faculty senate committees pertaining to assessment and accreditation. Hagerott is originally from North Dakota and still has family connections to the area.
“My background is fourth-generation family farm in North Dakota. My great-grandfather settled there, and it’s something I hold dear,” Hagerott stated. “My dad, at 80 years of age, is still farming, and I come back from time to time to help him out.”
He spent the first part of his career in engineering and technology, and then 10 years ago switched to higher education. Hagerott has been studying and writing about the evolution of technology during that time. His qualifications include several years of experience both in the military and civilian world and revolve around integration and collaboration.
“Communication flow and transparency will enhance the collaboration between the universities and stakeholders,” Hagerott said. “I am personally committed to the students and other stakeholders of our beautiful state, committed to help each of the member colleges and universities achieve greater success. One of the great benefits of the NDUS is its diversity – academically, geographically, and variable size of student body.”
Hagerott believes that the NDUS needs to be positioned for a changing future.
“It’s a time of wonderful opportunity,” he noted. “What I see is continuous demands, and we need to give our workforce a strong foundation of knowledge through higher education so that they can teach us in the future,” he added. “We need to look at our education programs and give our faculty the resources to continue to advance technology as well as support the arts and humanities through adaptive education.”
Hagerott stated that the state’s enduring assets were its people, their knowledge and the land that were the sustainable research that would ensure success in the years to come.
Hagerott’s duties will formally begin July 1, 2015. His contract includes a salary of $372,000 per year, standard benefits package and $15,000 in moving expenses. Dr. Larry C. Skogen has served as interim chancellor since June 2013. He will return to his position as president of Bismarck State College.