To maximize the strengths of a system, the State Board of Higher Education has prioritized strategies that tie into system-wide task forces that have been working hard to see collaboration and shared services a reality in order to meet affordability goals. Shared services bring the Board’s commitment to financial responsibility to fruition.
Some of those steps have already been put in place through efforts like collaborative learning and the implementation of Predictive Analytic Reporting. Other ideas will be implemented through time as we continue conversations through the Envision 2030 initiative.
During the strategic planning process, business leaders wanted to focus on being fast and flexible in the delivery of our educational offerings, which is vital for both the students and changing needs of the workforce. The institutions of the North Dakota University System have committee to deliver methods that provide the classes students want, when and where they need them. Through the use of distance technology, NDUS schools are able to share faculty expertise with each other and the communities of North Dakota. Our institutions pay attention to the job needs of communities and collaborate to deliver in high demand areas, such as nursing. With more collaborative efforts on the horizon, that number will allow more students to access our academic programs than ever before.
Meeting workforce needs
A recent implementation of collaborative programing in the fall of 2015 will help address workforce needs. Bismarck State College and North Dakota State College of Science launched a Pharmacy Tech program partnership to help deliver valuable job training to interested students. The program includes face-to-face general education classes at BSC combined with video format for NDSCS classes. The collaborative program includes classroom time, laboratory time and practical experience that has resulted in a 100-percent placement rate.
One of the tools that was implemented to aid student success system wide was through Predictive Analytics Reporting. In its 2015-17 budget, the Board included funds to help move PAR forward as a way to predict and guide student success. This powerful, data-driven tool has become essential for progressing NDUS toward its goals of increased retention and graduation rates. PAR is a multi-institutional data mining collaborative that brings together two-year, four-year, public, proprietary, traditional and progressive institutions to identify common points of student loss and to find effective practices that improve student retention in U.S. higher education.
Further efforts have been made to increase technical collaboration. Core Technology Services, the organization within the university system that provides IT services for the system, has elevated collaboration to create efficiencies of process and standardized data systems throughout the 11 colleges and universities.
One notable milestone in collaboration and accountability was the creation of the strategic plan’s “NDUS Dashboards,” which serve as public repositories for data related to higher education in North Dakota. The Dashboards were launched to replace a yearly, static document on accountability measures with a far more dynamic, analytics tool online. Now anyone can look up the most current information through Dashboards.
Shared services as a unified system
Academic collaboration is a constant focus across the system. Numerous memoranda-of-understandings have placed dozens of formal agreements in place. For instance, Dickinson State University and Minot State University each provide bachelor degree opportunities for Bismarck State College students. Similar agreements exist between North Dakota State College of Science and North Dakota State University, and between Mayville State University and University of North Dakota. Other offerings, like the Dakota Nursing Program, create an academic training consortium where nurse faculty at one institution can help train nursing students at another. New collaborative programs are announced each semester, all with one common goal in mind – to deliver the programs that students need, when and where they need them.
In addition to the strategic look the Board takes of the long-term of higher education in North Dakota, the Chancellor’s Cabinet has undertaken six studies on the topics of Governance, Cost Containment, Mission, Tuition and Fees, Shared Services, and Retention, which will seek out new ways to streamline the system.
System-wide initiatives: PAR (predictive analytics reporting), Starfish, StageNET, PeopleSoft, Campus Connection, Tegrity, iDashboards, Community College marketing awareness, Title IX training, Fraud training, SPOL, Arts & Humanities summit, AppliTrack, THD (housing software), CoCo (student discipline software), Notifind, Imagenow.
Examples of North Dakota institutions working together to meet the goal of collaboration and shared services:
- The TREND (Training for Regional Energy in ND) grant that is administered by Bismarck State College (BSC) and connects two ND University System campuses along with three tribal colleges. This is a U.S. Department of Labor grant that includes BSC, Williston State College (WSC), Turtle Mountain Community College (TMCC), Sitting Bull College (SBC), and Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College (NHSC).
- Mayville State University (MaSU) has a full-time employee housed on the Lake Region State College (LRSC) campus for partnership-degree delivery in teacher education and business.
- The Launch! Program in Grand Forks between LRSC and University of North Dakota (UND) for students who are not immediately admitted to UND, but can start by enrolling through LRSC and taking a combination of LRSC and UND courses.
- INBRE (IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence): UND and North Dakota State University (NDSU) work with predominantly undergraduate institutions and tribal colleges to initiate competitive, sustainable research programs and increase the number of students in ND who are prepared to pursue advanced education in the biomedical sciences.
- Northern Information Technology Consortium (WSC, LRSC, TMCC, Dakota College at Bottineau, Minot State University). The purpose of NITC is to provide collaborative, cross-listed IT courses in an effort to maintain IT program viability and increase efficiency of a historically high-cost program.
- Dakota Nursing Program (BSC, LRSC, DCB, WSC). Courses are delivered face-to-face and via IVN to provide one-year and two-year nursing options in the following communities through the doctor of nursing program: Bismarck, Harvey, Hazen, Devils Lake, Grand Forks, Mayville, Williston, New Town, Bottineau, Minot, Rugby and Valley City.
- The recently launched consortium for mental health services between WSC, LRSC, and DCB will provide more cost-efficient coverage and utilize IVN.