Interim Higher Ed Committee meets

August 25, 2017

Chancellor, institutions provide update to legislators

The Interim Legislative Higher Education Committee met this week for its annual post-session meeting with representatives from the North Dakota University System.

Following an afternoon session where the legislators heard from Joe Garcia, president of the Western Interstate Council for Higher Education and a tour of Bismarck State College, the committee reconvened to learn details on systemwide objectives and campus goals.

Chancellor Mark Hagerott provided the first presentation of the morning, noting goals that had been met in the past two years. He also touched on the goals as set in the system’s five-year strategic plan, the metrics therein and what had been modified in the past two years. Hagerott also spoke briefly on the 10 focus areas, or “Pillars” of the Envision 2030 initiative before speaking to the five task forces that had been put together in response to a legislatively-mandated study.

Legislators offered a host of questions on the strategies, ranging from attainment to intervention to retention and more.

University of North Dakota President Mark Kennedy spoke next, offering lawmakers the opportunity to view details on UND’s strategic plan. Included in his report were measures to put in place by 2022, included two experiential opportunities in every degree such as writing intensive courses, undergrad research and study abroad opportunities. Kennedy noted that he wanted to increase UND’s AASCU comparison among flagship universities, increase four-year graduation rate from 28 percent to 34 percent, increase credit hours by 10 percent by higher growth online and graduate programs, increase internal and external funding by $120 million, participate in credit hour / graduate rate improvement, and increase engagement of credit hours by servicemembers, veterans and their families.

Valley City State University President Tisa Mason followed suit, offering insights into her campus and its goals. She began by noting that the strategic planning processes had included several analyses, town hall meetings and other consensus-building. Mason offered how the university was growing to meet the meets of North Dakota and beyond. This included expanded methods and metrics for intervention; providing distinctive learning opportunities; implementing co-curricular activities to positively impact the learning and growth of students; and increasing efficiencies through innovation, collaboration, streamlining and reallocation.

Bismarck State College President Larry C. Skogen presented on how the two-year community college was moving forward next. He touched on how BSC had offered opportunities for cost savings, including promoting OERs and textbook rentals; fully developing cybersecurity and computer networking programs; increasing retention and completion; increasing the availability of reverse transfer options.