A Message from the Chancellor – Nov. 9, 2016

November 9, 2016


Hello! I’m Chancellor Mark Hagerott with the North Dakota University System. Today I’d like to talk about an initiative that’s recently showing good progress, called Envision 2030.

I would like to take a second to explain this. Envision 2030 is a longer-term effort at looking at strategies that lead to higher education for children now entering pre-school and will be coming into the university system in 2030. We’re dealing today with urgent issues from a tightening budget to a changing economy to the Legislative Session about to start and a new governor coming in. There really is a lot of pressure to deal with it day-to-day. We’re doing that, and it’s important to every now and then take a long-term view. That’s what this is about.

This initiative began with a summit in May, where leaders from throughout our state gathered to discuss direction and goals for higher education. Among the many topics discussed were expanding shared services, offering more collaborative choices and creating more opportunities for student success. Nine breakout sessions included Agriculture, Diversity, Energy, Health Care, Liberal Arts & Humanities, Manufacturing, Technology, Tomorrow’s Student and The Whole Student. We will also have a panel looking at Law education. Stakeholders and constituent groups looked at the intersections of academia, workforce and student life and came away with some substantive recommendations.

That goal-review process continued this fall, and became the Pillars upon which the Envision 2030 initiative will grow. Over the past two months the second stage of these discussions was held in Pillar meetings at many of our campuses. These talks added to the inclusivity of the overall initiative, and gave interested faculty, staff and students the opportunity to engage on the topic or topics that were most important to them. Now, we’re reaching out to hear more ideas across all the themes, and will provide a more detailed report in late November.

Although the hours of discussion resulted in goals too numerous to mention in one video, I would like to touch on some to provide a better idea of our direction and the process so far. For instance, one goal suggested under the Diversity Pillar was to “Redefine the term traditional student, and the delivery methods based on available metrics,” which could aid student success. Under the Liberal Arts & Humanities Pillar, one sample goal suggested was to “Increase attention to the need for well-rounded, educated citizens,” which would allow our graduates to be more responsive to changing workforce needs and responsive to a changing world. Under Technology, one suggested goal is to “Increase tech-based programming at colleges and universities,” especially if you think about the technological transformation going on in the world, which is very important. This itself would heighten collaborative efforts and shared services. And under The Whole Student Pillar topic, one goal discussed was to “Invest in Student Affairs programs regarding mental health and substance abuse,” which could lead to healthier campuses and a more solid foundation on which students can build their own success.

Again, these are just a few of the goals that our diverse group of Envisioners has suggested. As time goes on, the State Board of Higher Education and the university system will determine exactly how to prioritize achieve these realistically beginning now and continuing in the long-term.

With the conclusion of our final scheduled meeting at Minot State University last week, we now enter into a review process that looks over the goals and determines cross-topic themes. The next Pillar topic conversations will include our legislators, who will be coming to Bismarck in the new year, for a chance to adjust, modify and move forward with goals with their input. Those conversations will again resume at some places across our campuses and bring in experts in their respective fields, to include business leaders to better inform the effort as we scope down to the recommendations. My hope is that they will be even more inclusive to the many perspectives that already exist on these topics within our state. Doing so will be a proactive step forward for higher education in North Dakota.