State Board tables new tenure policy

October 25, 2018

Further action surrounding a policy up for its second reading by the State Board of Higher Education has been postponed following an in-depth discussion this week.

The second reading of Policy 605.1 (administrative tenure) had garnered discussion among Board members and faculty members throughout the North Dakota University System since being brought up earlier this year. Conversation commenced at the October Board meeting on who the policy would affect, with members noting that it would be for administrators who had previously been granted tenure.

Faculty Advisor to the Board Birgit Pruess noted that faculty held concerns over the financial impact the policy would have given the current budget outlook. She added that the policy could also negatively impact future faculty recruiting. Council of College Faculty President Debora Dragseth stated that current faculty members could be negatively affected due to potential financial burdens that would be put into place by the policy. Dragseth noted that the policy could result in an administrative position such as a former president being granted tenure, which could then be funded by money that would be better suited elsewhere such as for current faculty and programs. She added that tenure shouldn’t be thought of as a perk, as it was earned by faculty typically over seven years. The policy was ultimately tabled pending further Board review.

Discussion was also held on the Ray Richards Golf Course at University of North Dakota. Previously, the university had looked into the option of selling the property, which had been donated in the 1960s. After review by UND, the Board moved to table the discussion until the December meeting.

Director of Student Affairs Katie Fitzsimmons brought forward a program termination request from North Dakota State University for New Media and Web Design. As with all program termination requests, the recommendation was brought through the Academic Affairs Council. Fitzsimmons also brought forward Policy 403.1 that replaced former policies on program approval, termination and inactivation. According to Fitzsimmons, the recommendation as to collapse three policies into one to streamline future research and action. Both recommendations were unanimously approved.

In other business, the Board selected Nick Hacker as the new Board Vice Chair, heard updates from the two-year colleges, were provided with reports from Vice Chancellor of Strategy and Strategic Engagement James “Phil” Wisecup on system initiatives, and heard from Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs/Chief Financial Officer Tammy Dolan on preparations that system office was making in advance of the coming legislative session.

North Dakota Student Association President Jared Melville provided a report on his organization’s recent activities, including a resolution in support of NDUS’s multi-factor authentication initiative, the creation of a voting guide created for college students, and that NDSA would be meeting soon to set its strategic plan. Next, Dragseth provided a report on CCF activities and the council’s outlook. Staff Advisor to the Board Andy Wakeford then provided a report on behalf of the N.D. State Staff Senate, which included a task force that had been formed to survey staff members, and that staff was thankful for the half-day that would be provided off Christmas Eve.

The next Board meeting is scheduled to take place Thursday, Dec. 6 at Bismarck State College.