At its Sept. 25 meeting, the State Board of Higher Education will appoint an interim chancellor for the North Dakota University System. That chancellor’s contract will run through June 2015. Dr. Larry C. Skogen, current president of Bismarck State College, has been serving as acting chancellor since June.
With the assistance of the Association of Community College Trustees, the Board has conducted an extensive search to fill the position. Six candidates were interviewed via videoconference on Sept. 6, and the field was narrowed to three finalists. One withdrew his name from consideration. The two remaining finalists, Dr. Skogen and Shane Goettle, J.D., were interviewed in person on Sept. 16 in Bismarck.
Goettle, former Commissioner of the North Dakota Department of Commerce, said, “The goal of the North Dakota University System (NDUS) should be, in main, to graduate students prepared for 21st Century jobs, with an emphasis on the kinds of jobs produced within the North Dakota and regional economy. The modern workforce is also dynamic and in constant change. In that environment, we serve our students best when we impart to them not only knowledge, but also the ability to use that knowledge to critically evaluate their environments and innovate within them. Topping all this off by cultivating opportunities to appreciate and participate in culture and the arts should give our NDUS students the well-rounded and dynamic education they deserve and need to thrive.
Dr. Skogen pointed to collaboration, common definitions, data-driven decisions and measurable outcomes as four strategies to put in place to move the system forward in raising its level of excellence in education. He said the university system needs to maintain a stronger focus on students. “We sometimes lose sight of the fact that we are doing everything, making every decision for the sake of the students,” he said. “They are the most important stakeholder, and we have to keep that in focus.”