Spring 2016 is quickly moving forward, and as always there’s a charge in the air that speaks of excitement, success and change. Soon, thousands of graduates will walk across stages throughout North Dakota’s public colleges and universities, having earned their way through long hours of work and study. Those graduating seniors will be taking the final steps on a path they each envisioned for themselves years ago, with the available resources this state, our university system and the respective campuses envisioned – and made available – for them.
Soon after, those passionate about education will meet to discuss the future of it in North Dakota for a summit called Envision 2030. I will be joined by other members of the State Board of Higher Education, the Chancellor and representatives of the North Dakota University System, Gov. Jack Dalrymple, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, Rep. Mark Sanford, many other legislators, students and educators, as well as business and community leaders, who will take the day to focus on what education will look like in the year 2030.
Many processes and procedures are in place now to provide as many pathways to success as possible for our current and incoming students. During our panel discussion and breakout sessions we will take what we know now, compare it to demographic, economic and programmatic trends, all in an effort to build an inclusive, stimulating environment for those who will be studying within it.
While the graduating high school senior class of 2030 is today only in Kindergarten, there’s no time like the present to put plans in motion. I’m confident that with the multitude of perspectives that will be present during the Envision 2030 workshop, we will become aware of not just how we should be doing things, but also, why.
As a member of the State Board of Higher Education, I believe the best representation that we have for our entire university system is people who work hard and then move on to success. It’s vital for us on the Board to shape that system for the betterment of our future and those students of today who will become the workers and leaders of tomorrow.
A panel on demographics will be led by Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley and take into account challenges and opportunities in our state. A working lunch to help chart the course for 2030 will focus on attainment and offer participants a chance at brainstorming with others on the topic.
During the Envision 2030 event, we’re aiming to take on many facets of how and where those future students and leaders will be asked to take charge. Breakout sessions will be held on subjects relating to student needs and workforce needs. On the student needs side of things, the sessions will cover such topics as physical/mental health, counseling, advising, attainment, student expectations, the classroom of 2030, diversity, and liberal arts and humanities. Workforce topics will include agriculture, energy, healthcare, manufacturing, and technology – cornerstones of our state’s economy and those industries likely to continue to have the most need well into the future.