Unleashing the Potential of Higher Education in our State

September 11, 2014

A column by Board Chair Kirsten Diederich

Just over a month ago, the State Board of Higher Education, presidents of our institutions and senior system staff gathered to create the 2015-2020 strategic plan for the North Dakota University System.

We came together and successfully developed a new, student-centered vision for the future of higher education in our state. Please watch the video above, which captures the highlights of that day. It was an exciting, inspirational, memorable meeting.

This important event came after months of research and input from business, community and government leaders and stakeholder groups as well as students, faculty and staff. It also came after nearly two years of consideration of the merits of a plan called Pathways to Student Success.

During the next few weeks, the staff is fleshing out the direction that the Board set. We will review and approve it on October 2 and share it broadly. I believe the people of North Dakota will be excited about the plan. Our discussions included statements like “unleashing potential,” “inspiring our future,” “programs people want where and when they need them,” ” delivering degrees that are the best value in the nation,” “maximizing the strengths of a unified system,” and of course “ensuring student success.”

This is something much bigger than admissions requirements and graduation rates that are part of the Pathways plan. Those are benchmarks that will likely be included in the plan in the appropriate places and formats and will help us reach our larger goals.

Rather this is a bold, visionary plan that will help shape the future of our state. We have listened to all of our constituents and set a direction that we believe will fulfill their hopes and dreams for what higher education could look like by 2020. As someone said at our meeting, “This is North Dakota’s moment.” Your board is seizing this incredible moment in our history and shaping it to create the best opportunities possible for our students and our state.