The State Board of Higher Education last week reviewed its leadership contracts, including the chancellor and presidents, in addition to hearing details on several budget requests for the 2019-2021 biennium.
The Board opened the meeting and entered executive session twice, initially to discuss a construction company’s claim concerning North Dakota State University’s A. Glenn Hill Center, and later to discuss appointment, re-appointment and new contract terms for NDUS leadership.
Following the first session, the Board moved to authorize North Dakota State University to move forward with mediations with a construction company for the A. Glenn Hill Center. Following the extensive second session, the Board reconvened to talk about contract renewals.
Immediately prior to the second executive session, the Board spoke about the chancellor’s contract. Board member Mike Ness stated that he held concerns regarding the Chancellor’s evaluation, noting it could be appropriate to delay his contract by six months. Ness touched on topics regarding system office surveys and ongoing administration process against NDUS by a former employee. Board member Kevin Melicher moved to approve the contract as proposed. Discussion commenced with Board member Nick Hacker asking if any further complaints had been made, or how long these types of complaints took to reach conclusion. Legal Counsel Nick Vaughn noted that as of the time of the meeting, no further complaints had reached his office. He added that to his knowledge, complaints with the EEOC could take anywhere from a few months to a few years to resolve, and it depended entirely on the EEOC’s handling of the respective complaint. Past Board Chair Kathleen Neset spoke strongly in favor of renewing the chancellor’s contract.
“I will say, of all the people I have worked with, I find Chancellor Hagerott to be one of the most coachable and responsive people towards constructive criticism,” Neset said. “We did take a year to go through a lot of changes with the Board and the Chancellor. I think progress was made, and it’s displayed in the recent evaluation.”
After discussion concluded, the Board voted 7-1 to approve Hagerott’s contract, with Ness the lone dissenting vote.
Following that discussion and the second executive session, the Board reconvened to publicly address the presidents’ contracts. As Dakota College at Bottineau Dean Jerry Migler is evaluated by Minot State University, Mayville State University President Brian Van Horn just started his initial contract and the permanent president has not yet been selected for Valley City State University, those institutions were not considered. Presidential contracts for Bismarck State College, Dickinson State University, Lake Region State College, Minot State University, North Dakota State University, Williston State College presidents were all renewed without public discussion. University of North Dakota President Mark Kennedy received a contract extension with a “mid-year” review that will become standard for new contract’s initial renewals. North Dakota State College of Science President John Richman’s contract renewal was tabled until September.
Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs/Chief Financial Officer Tammy Dolan gave the most substantial update of the annual meeting in which she provided in-depth details concerning the proposed 2019-2021 biennial budget requests. Presenting on those details for the better part of two hours, Dolan answered questions concerning the ins-and-outs of, and differences among, the 2019-2021 NDUS biennial budget; and the System Office, campus, Forest Service and capital projects’ budgets. Budgets for the NDSU Agricultural Research Station, Extension Service, Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, and Northern Crops Institute were also heard. Major considerations among the proposals was authorization for staff and faculty salary increases by a systemwide average of four percent. The Board voted to approve the needs-based budget.
Board member Nick Hacker brought up the Board’s Budget, Finance and Facilities Committee report, which included recommendations for Fiscal Year 2019 SBHE and NDUSO Annual Budgets; as well as recommended authorizations for Lake Region State College to transfer funding operations to capital assets for building repairs and the purchase of a storage shed; authorization for University of North Dakota to proceed with construction of High Performance Center’s seating and storage project; authorization for UND to proceed with repurposing of the J. Lloyd Stone House; authorization for UND to proceed with development toward a new central heating plant; authorization for an adjustment to the UND Tuition Model Plan; authorization for North Dakota State University to proceed with a mechanical improvements project; and authorization for NDSU to enter into a purchase and sales contract with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company for land near its campus. All found approval.
Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs Lisa Johnson reported to the Board on the Midwest Higher Education Cooperative’s Midwest Student Exchange Program. After Johnson provided a few details on the program, the Board unanimously voted to approve North Dakota University System’s renewal of the program. The Board also reviewed the annual recommendations for Tenure, and one new program recommendation for a graduation certificate in Computer Science Education at NDSU.
Neset provided the Board’s Governance Committee report, which included an update of the Board self-evaluation report.
Chancellor Hagerott’s regular report touched on the ongoing Envision 2030 initiative, an update on the legislatively-mandated task force work prompted by Senate Bill 2003, and staffing plans for NDUS. The Board also heard reports from North Dakota Student Association President Jared Melville, Council of College Faculty President Debora Dragseth, and North Dakota State Staff Senate Cole Krueger.
In other business, the Board held the first readings of Policies 302.2 (audit committee) and 806.3 (moving expenses), appointed members to Board committees, appointed a new member to the NDUS Foundation, and presented recognition plaques to outgoing Board members Melicher and Ness, and Nick Vaughn, the outgoing legal counsel.
The next regular Board meeting is scheduled for August 23, and is scheduled to take place over Interactive Video Network.