Committing to a new spirit of cooperation

October 2, 2015

Kathy Neset, chair of the State Board of Higher Education

Kathy Neset, chair of the State Board of Higher Education

At our recent State Board of Higher Education meeting in Dickinson, I had the privilege to serve as the board chair. It was the epitome of looking toward a bright future as we had the honor to interview and then name the next DSU president, Dr. Thomas Mitzel.

We were pleased to appoint a collaborative leader like Dr. Mitzel as it is indicative of our future path. He has a dedication to students and the community of Dickinson and he has the passion to lead the university now and into the future. That relationship between the community, students and president is exactly what we need to build higher education on a strong foundation within each of our colleges and universities.

I’m also proud of the work that the Presidential Search Committee put into the process of finding the right fit for DSU. I thank each and every one of them for their time and commitment to the process. I am serving on University of North Dakota’s Search Committee, and I am excited to hear the input of the committee and the community to see how the applicants will best fit the needs of UND. I look forward to helping in that search and selecting candidates that the Board will interview.

With many new members on the SBHE, a fairly new chancellor and one search process ending and another beginning, this is an exciting time for higher education in our state. I look forward to a spirit of cooperation among all stakeholders to result in the success of all universities and most importantly, the success of students.

Our legislators are elected representatives of the state of North Dakota. They work very hard on our behalf. The SBHE is an appointed board and confirmed by the legislature and we work on behalf of the students, as do the colleges and universities. With our legislators and our Board working together, we will do good for the people of North Dakota.

Our Board has done great things in the past, but in all honesty, we’ve had some missteps as well. I look forward, as we work together with the Board, our Cabinet and our elected officials, to a new era of Board business furthering our great state. As we do that, this Board will gladly fade into the background and do our work behind the scenes because the headlines and the highlights belong to the students of North Dakota’s universities and colleges. I think we can agree to that as a Board and I look forward to heading in that direction.

At our recent SBHE Audit Committee meeting, we emphasized the importance of having an internal auditor at both the North Dakota University System office and at the institutions. Further discussion will take place about the direction that will ensure we fully understand and implement recent legislation regarding auditors.

The internal audit function is integral to the oversight and function of the system as a whole. Our goal is to follow legislative intent while making sure we are in compliance with all policies and regulations. It’s important to gather input with comprehensive direction from the State Auditor’s Office alongside all stakeholders to move forward and take the next steps in the process.

I look forward to a spirit of cooperation among all of us, as we commit to being on the same team. That team is for North Dakota students and their success means success for the state of North Dakota.