Monthly Archives: June 2014

Apples to apples comparisons in higher ed funding

Critics of increased funding for higher education in North Dakota are fond of adding numbers together and creating charts that create false pictures of where money is going and then declaring, “These are the facts.” The truth is these exaggerated visuals are not the facts because critics are not comparing apples to apples.

 One-time funding is not the same as ongoing funding

Because of the booming economy in North Dakota and the resulting positive position of the state’s finances, the Governor and Legislature last session approved generous one-time funding for capital improvements for many state agencies. For higher education, that one-time state appropriation for capital projects was $178 million.  As a result of this appropriation, approximately $24-30 million of deferred maintenance across the System will be addressed. Numerous projects were on hold for lack of funding over the course of many years, some for decades.

Base vs One Time Appropriations Chart

Capital improvements will benefit students

For example, the current School of Medicine and Health Sciences Building at the University of North Dakota is overcrowded, inefficient and far away from the main campus. To address this issue, the new, more collaborative SMHS building is being constructed to better accommodate the enrollment growth associated with full implementation of the school’s Healthcare Workforce Initiative.

Old Main at North Dakota State College of Science – a registered historic building and community icon – was a top priority for repairs due to code and deferred maintenance issues during the 2011-2013 biennium, but was not funded until 2013-2015. After nearly 50 years of no renovations to Steven’s Hall, Williston State College was given funding in the 2011 special session to renovate the building. However, funding still fell short due to inflationary factors impacting western North Dakota projects and was unable to complete the project until more funding  was approved last session.

The rest of the one-time capital funding will go to build new facilities at our institutions that support the university system’s long-term goals for attracting and retaining students and each was also approved by the Legislature. This includes the North Dakota State University STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Classroom and Laboratory Building, which will house much needed laboratory and classroom space that will provide students with the state-of-the-art STEM technology and infrastructure needed to help them compete in the workforce.

Per student appropriation growth reflects state’s success

In 2005, North Dakota ranked near the very bottom — 44th in state appropriations per full-time equivalent student at $5,825/FTE student. By 2013, North Dakota ranked 17th in the same category at $6,561/FTE student. These appropriations support faculty and staff salaries, utility bills, supplies, materials, technology and equipment.

The change in rank is somewhat deceiving. The main reason it changed so much is because in recent years most other states have been experiencing shortfalls in their revenues and had to cut or stabilize their education budget. During the same time period, North Dakota’s economy has been booming, and it is wisely choosing to invest in education.

Educational Appropriations per FTE Change by State 08-13

Between 2008 and 2013, every state, except for Illinois, North Dakota and Wyoming, cut their educational appropriations. The United States average change was -23 percent during that time period, with New Hampshire making the most drastic decrease of 50.7 percent.

All sectors of North Dakota’s budget have grown, but the percentage allocated to higher education has gone down from a high of 22.1 percent to 13.2 percent, as the state’s growth has increased the need for funding of transportation infrastructure and human services programs, to name a few.

Preparing for the 2018 bubble

As young people fill the abundant job openings in the state, they are either bringing their families or getting married and starting families. The impact of increased enrollment is already being seen around the state as new elementary and secondary schools are springing up everywhere. In approximately four years, that increase in students will begin to impact higher education.

13-14 Number of Actual-Projected Public High School Graduates in North Dakota

The State of North Dakota and the North Dakota University System are putting plans in place to prepare financially for those future students. The adoption last session of a higher education funding formula based on student credit hours completed will help make base funding requests more predictable, and the development of a systemwide master plan will also help identify and prioritize maintenance and capital projects. With good planning and wise use of the fruits of North Dakota’s flourishing economy, our students will reap the benefits of having quality education that prepares them for good jobs close to home.


Extra-credit question: The funding for higher education has increased in order to:

T  Provide one-time funding for capital projects such as deferred maintenance and approved buildings.

F  Spend a lot more money to educate only a few more students.

T  Ensure that North Dakota is prepared for anticipated enrollment increases.

T  Provide programs to prepare students to fill North Dakota’s workforce needs.


Big accomplishments deserve our thanks


State Board of Higher Ed President Diederich

A column by Board Chair Kirsten Diederich

I would like to publicly thank the three members of the State Board of Higher Education who will be participating in their final Board meeting this week: Duaine Espegard, Dr. Douglas C. Munski and Devin Hoffarth. Your commitment to higher education deserves our thanks, and we appreciate your dedication to the State and the North Dakota University System.

This is also the time of year when the university system does performance reviews, and I think it is appropriate to give a “shout-out” to the leaders of our institutions and share some of the highlights of their year.

Dave Clark, Bismarck State College

Of all things NDUS institutions must be, being responsive to business and industry needs is among the most important. Your partnership with the Dakota Prairie Refinery to accelerate training for refinery process operators is an excellent example of such responsiveness. You can be justly proud of this accomplishment, as it solidifies your “reputation as the National Energy Center of Excellence.” Our compliments to all involved.

Dr. Ken Grosz, Dakota College at Bottineau

DCB has extended its two-year nursing program to Valley City State, where it also has been managing all the remedial classes for VCSU students.

Dr. D.C. Coston, Dickinson State University

In July 2012 the Higher Learning Commission placed DSU “on notice.” The subsequent removal from “on notice” status to fully accredited in October 2013 is a testament to your leadership and your institution’s ability to overcome adversity.

Dr. Doug Darling, Lake Region State College

Venturing into the new areas of precision agriculture and holding a ribbon cutting at a new precision agriculture education facility ensures your institution is addressing the growing workforce needs of our state.

Dr. Gary Hagen, Mayville State University

Not that many years ago, Mayville State was looking at dilapidated facilities, growing debt, unmanageable heating issues, stagnated student numbers, and low employee morale. With a Herculean effort, you’ve overcome each and every challenge. Your self-funded redeveloped heating plant is now saving $.5 million a year; your enrollments are at all-time highs; physical plant across campus is enhanced through renovations, new construction, and demolition; employee morale has soared; and rather than being mired in debt, you now have a cash reserve.

Dr. David Fuller, Minot State University

Strengthening one’s advising, mentoring and counseling services appears to have a tremendous effect on the ability to increase both retention and graduation rates, so your focus on those services through your Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning will undoubtedly have a positive effect on those rates.

Dr. John Richman, North Dakota State College of Science

Your responsiveness to business and industry has become legendary. The multiple capital projects you’ve undertaken and completed – to include demolition of dangerous and unused space – are indicative of your restructuring of the physical requirements for NDSCS. Additionally, your restructuring of campus student services, in a variety of ways, demonstrates that you are working well with your leadership team to ensure that NDSCS is best positioned to meet the workforce education and training needs of this state.

Dr. Dean Bresciani, North Dakota State University

This has been a year of continued growth in scholarship and research, with an 11 percent increase in productivity that puts you ahead of all the research institutions in our region. Rankings relative to technology and intellectual property licensing (13 of 58 and 6 of 22, respectively) are direct evidence of success.

Participation in the statewide designation as one of only six Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) testing sites in the nation is a commendable accomplishment.

The potential inherent in the new Global Institute for Food Security is exciting, and who can forget the Three-peat for Bison Football.

Dr. Robert Kelley, University of North Dakota

Congratulations on your successful “Spirit of North Dakota” campaign. Exceeding your $300 million goal by $25 million is laudable. This permanent endowment will provide excellent support for your students, faculty, staff, programming and other commitments.

Participation in the statewide designation as one of only six Unmanned Aircraft System testing sites in the nation is exciting and your emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and energy-related activities will ensure that your institution remains relevant to the needs of our vibrant, growing state economy.

Dr. Steve Shirley, Valley City State University

Great Plains STEM education Center at VCSU is the right idea for our times and our state. Partnerships that have ensued with industry, business, K-12 and other institutions of higher learning demonstrate the interest and importance of this initiative. You’ve partnered with the ND Council on the Arts to ensure that the liberal arts are not forgotten in the drive to ensure students are receiving adequate education in the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics. Congratulations on your accomplishment in completing the renovation of the Rhoades Science Center.

Dr. Ray Nadolny, Williston State College

You have been incredibly resourceful in meeting the workforce needs of a booming sector of our state. Not only have you developed new in-demand credit bearing programs, but also your leadership in TrainND Northwest Quadrant is laudable. A newly expanded TrainND facility will help you meet needs even more efficiently and effectively.

Dr. Larry C. Skogen, Interim Chancellor, NDUS

Last but not least, I would like to thank Dr. Skogen for his dedication to the system and for his insight and advice this past year. Dr. Skogen, you certainly have not been a “lame-duck” leader, as critics suggested could happen with someone in an interim position. You took on an incredibly challenging situation, and the university system office and our institutions have benefited from your honest and transparent leadership. You’ve filled key positions with experienced leaders; overseen an unprecedented visit from the Higher Learning Commission; and through multiple communication efforts, you’ve worked tirelessly to build bridges both within and outside the university system. You’ve helped the Board revamp its meetings to not only make them more efficient but also, through technology, make them more accessible and transparent to the public. You’ve helped us jumpstart our strategic planning process and ensure that Board members are getting the orientation and training needed to carry out our responsibilities to the system and to the State.

We have a very good team in place, and as I start my second year as Board Chair, I am enthusiastic about what the future holds for the NDUS, its faculty and staff members at all of our institutions, and the students who are entrusting us with their education.

Planning for the Future: NDUS Hosts #StudentSpk Twitter Chat

The State Board of Higher Education is undertaking a new strategic planning process. The Board will meet for a retreat July 30-31 to set the direction for the future of the University System through the new strategic plan. Connie Sprynczynatyk, director of strategic planning, has been facilitating discussions and meeting one-on-one with stakeholders across the state to gather input to better inform the strategic planning process. She’s hosted over 100 meetings so far with campus presidents and leadership, student leaders, faculty and staff senate leaders, business people, legislators and others. A faculty/staff survey to gather more widespread feedback is currently in the works, as well.

Most recently, the NDUS hosted a Twitter Chat to gather input from students. The chat ran from 4 p.m. – 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 19 and was hosted by the official NDUS Twitter account – @NDUnivSystem. The chat gathered some great input on the priorities of North Dakota students, and the NDUS office is looking into hosting similar events in the future. The report below includes the questions asked and answer highlights.

Potential Issues Related to Accreditation Regarding Constitutional Measure 3

NDUS Chief of Staff Murray Sagsveen

NDUS Chief of Staff Murray Sagsveen

During the May 29 Board meeting, NDUS Chief of Staff Murray Sagsveen presented a memorandum to the Board entitled “Potential Constitutional Measure 3 Issues Related to Accreditation.” As Sagsveen writes, the memorandum was not intended to address “whether the NDUS could be better governed by a full-time three-member commission instead of an eight-member citizen governing board.” Instead, the purpose was to inform the board of the potential effects this measure could have on the accreditation of all NDUS institutions. What follows is a summary of the memorandum and his presentation.


Accreditation is a status conferred by national and regional accrediting bodies to ensure educational excellence and financial integrity of higher education institutions and programs. Title IV requires all institutions that offer federal financial aid programs such as Pell grants, Perkins loans, work-study, federal subsidized and unsubsidized loans, and Parent and Graduate PLUS loan programs, be accredited by a recognized accrediting agency. NDUS students benefited from $270,544,051 in disbursements from these programs during the 2012-2013 academic year.

The cornerstone accrediting agency for all NDUS institutions is the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), so the majority of concerns expressed in Sagsveen’s presentation are related to HLC requirements. However, separate schools and programs at NDUS institutions are also accredited by other agencies such as Diesel Technology, Nursing or Law, for example. Accreditation reviews may also be needed by those accrediting agencies in the case of a governance change.

Higher Learning Commission Requirements

The HLC requires that accredited institutions be governed by an autonomous board in order that it “might make decisions in the best interest of the institution(s) and to assure its integrity.” (HLC Core Components 2.C) The HLC has previously submitted concerns to Legislative Council questioning both the initial and final versions of HCR 3047, the legislation which initiated Measure 3.

HLC guidelines also state that all governance changes must be approved prior to implementation as to not impede accreditation. This presents a potential problem as an approving vote on Measure 3 in the November election will trigger a rapid series of events. Transition legislation and the appointment and confirmation of the commission appointees must be accomplished during the 2015 legislative session. Once the transition legislation passes and is signed by the governor, which may not be until near session end (April 29), the NDUS will complete an application to the HLC for a change in governance. After that application is filed, the HLC must complete a site visit and report to the HLC president, the HLC president must submit a recommendation to the HLC board, and the HLC board must then act on the NDUS application at their June 2015 meeting in order to meet the implementation deadline of July 2015.

What Happens if the Governance Change is Not Approved?

Failure to obtain approval of the governance change prior to July 1, 2015, could trigger action such as placing all NDUS institutions “on notice” or “probation” – and could result in the loss of accreditation of all NDUS institutions. If the HLC sanctions the institutions within the NDUS, the institutions would be at great risk (e.g. loss of students, loss of grants, loss of reputation, etc.) until corrective action could be taken. However, the necessary corrective action and timeliness of that action could depend on whether the HLC focuses on the constitutional amendment, the transitional legislation, or both. Any issues regarding the transitional legislation could not be addressed until January 2017, unless the governor calls a special session and appropriate corrective legislation is enacted. Any issues regarding the constitutional amendment could be corrected only if the Legislative Assembly, in the 2017 session or earlier special session, adopts another resolution to place an appropriate constitutional measure on the ballot and then only if the voters approved the measure during the election.

It is impossible to predict how many students may choose not to attend a NDUS institution or transfer to a different institution outside the system as a result of HLC sanctions. However, even a 10 percent decrease in enrollment is estimated to cause $150 million revenue loss in the next biennium.

“All indications are that loss of accreditation, or even the HLC’s imposition of sanctions – could substantially harm the eleven institutions in the University System and the nearly 50,000 students who are attending those institutions,” Sagsveen writes.

The complete memorandum is available online here, and a copy of the official ballot language for Measure 3 can be found here.


Dalrymple Appoints McEwen to State Board of Higher Education

Gov. Jack Dalrymple has appointed North Dakota State University (NDSU) graduate student Christopher McEwen to serve as the student member of the State Board of Higher Education. The appointment is effective July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2015. McEwen will replace current student member Devin Hoffarth whose one-year term expires June 30.

“Chris brings to the State Board of Higher Education a unique perspective as a graduate student who has also served as a graduate teaching assistant,” Dalrymple said. “His broad experience in student government and campus life will also be valuable in the board’s decision-making processes.”

McEwen is a native of Minot, N.D. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in statistics and psychology from NDSU in 2010 and is pursuing a master’s degree in statistics.

McEwen has served in NDSU’s student government as a senator and executive cabinet member. He is president of the university’s Graduate Student Association and the Graduate Student Council. McEwen also has served in several leadership roles in the North Dakota Student Association.

McEwen’s community involvement includes serving as a board member for the Red River Valley Asperger-Autism Network and Great Rides Bike Share.

In making the appointment, Dalrymple also commended out-going student board member Devin Hoffarth for his service to North Dakota’s university system.

The State Board of Higher Education consists of seven citizen members who are appointed by the governor to serve four-year terms and one student appointed to serve a one-year term. The board sets policy for the North Dakota University System and is the governing body for the state’s 11 publicly supported colleges and universities. 

UND breaks ground for new School of Medicine and Health Sciences building


A rendering of the new School of Medicine and Health Sciences building at UND.

A rendering of the new School of Medicine and Health Sciences building at UND.

The University of North Dakota broke ground for the new $122 million School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) building Thursday, June 12, 3 p.m.  Taking part in the groundbreaking with UND President Robert Kelley and UND Vice President for Health Affairs and Dean of the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences Joshua Wynne were North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple, Sen. Ray Holmberg, Sen. Ray Erbele, Sen. Judy Lee, Mayor Michael Brown, and CEO of Altru Health Systems and Chair of the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences Advisory Committee Dave Molmen.

The facility, which is being constructed on the southwest corner of the intersection of North Columbia Road and Gateway Drive, will be the new home for the SMHS. The 325,000-gross-square-foot facility will incorporate, for the first time under one roof, all of the School’s departments, some of which have had to be housed in separate locations on the Grand Forks campus for lack of space at the current SMHS headquarters.

“This is an exciting and critical time in the history of the University of North Dakota’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences,” said UND President Robert Kelley. “This new building will be a significant factor in our ability to help educate the health care workforce necessary for the health and vibrancy of North Dakota’s growing population.”

“The new facility will educate the health professionals and biomedical scientists the state needs to provide health care and improve the health of North Dakotans for generations to come.” – Joshua Wynne, UND vice president for health affairs and dean of UND SMHS

The new building also will allow the School to fully implement its Health Care Workforce Initiative, a four-pronged plan to help address North Dakota’s health care workforce needs now and in the future by reducing disease burden, retaining more of the School’s graduates for practice in North Dakota, training more practitioners and improving the efficiency of the state’s health care delivery system.

“The new School of Medicine and Health Sciences building will reap major benefits for the people of the state,” said Joshua Wynne, M.D., M.B.A., M.P.H., UND vice president for health affairs and dean of the UND SMHS. “The new facility will educate the health professionals and biomedical scientists the state needs to provide health care and improve the health of North Dakotans for generations to come.”

A rendering of the interior of the new building.

A rendering of the interior of the new building.

The project was made possible thanks to a $122.45 million allocation — spread over two biennia — from the 2013 State Legislature (plus a reserve of $1.55 million held by the State Board of Higher Education).

The new building was designed by JLG Architects, a noted regional and national firm based in Grand Forks, in partnership with the internationally recognized firms of Perkins+Will and Steinberg Architects. The architectural designers are collaborating with PCL Construction Services, a national, employee-owned firm based in Minneapolis, which was chosen by UND to provide construction manager at risk services for the SMHS project.

The new building is anticipated to be completed by July 2016.

Construction updates, including a live webcam with time-lapse video, are available at .



Board experiences oil boom firsthand


Before last month’s Board meeting, the State Board of Higher Education had the opportunity to see the oil boom firsthand. Board member Kathleen Neset hosted the meeting at her company, Neset Consulting’s headquarters outside Tioga, North Dakota. Thanks to Neset and the Hess Corporation, the Board members and NDUS staff were able to participate in a “Follow the Barrel” tour prior to their meeting.

“Our time at the drilling rig was such a unique opportunity,” said Board member Grant Shaft. “I felt privileged to see something like that up close, especially since I don’t have a lot of experience with the drilling activity.”

The tour took the group to the EN-Ortloff B05 Drilling Site, the Tioga Gas Plant and the Tioga Rail Terminal. While in Tioga, the Board and NDUS staff stayed at the Capital Lodge crew camp to get the full Bakken experience.

“In recent years we have had to address some special needs on our western campuses related to the oil boom. And, until you’re actually out there and seeing the effects it can be hard to fully understand,” said Shaft.

The opportunity to experience what it’s like in an oil-impacted community and see how the industry works firsthand was invaluable to the Board, and can provide context for decisions going forward. As the oil industry continues to grow, higher education and our state are encountering some challenges, but feeling the benefits as well. One such benefit is the ability for the state to invest more in higher education.

“We have a unique opportunity to plug our students into the state, make them proud members of our state and keep them in North Dakota,” said Shaft.

Special thanks to Hess Corporation, Capital Lodge, Kathleen Neset and everyone at Neset Consulting for providing this unforgettable experience.

Alumni Spotlight: UND Grad Generously Gives Back


Linda (Olson) Pancrantz, ’76, grew up in Grand Forks and earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from UND, graduating with honors. She also attended Executive Development programs at the JL Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University.

Today, Pancratz is Chairman and CEO of Mountain Capital, LLC, an investment company, after spending much of her professional life in telecommunications. She held a number of senior management positions with US West before moving to the UK in 1995 to manage a business the company acquired. Two years later, she participated in a management buyout of TDL Infomedia Limited. Under her leadership, a subsidiary, Thomson Directories Limited, was recognized as one of the “Times Top 100 Companies in the UK” and received the “Investors in People Award.” When the business was later sold to an Italian company, she stayed on as Chairman and CEO until she retired. She also served on a variety of company boards in the UK, France, Belgium and Italy.

“We thought we were moving to the UK for a couple of years and ended up buying the business and staying for 12 ½ years,” Pancratz said. “It was an incredible experience living and working abroad, being involved in a number of businesses across Europe and creating some new ones.”

Pancratz has given her time and talents to many community organizations over the years, including Junior Achievement and the American Cancer Society. She is President of the ELM Family Foundation and serves on the Board of Trustees of the Vail Mountain School. She has served on the UND Alumni Association and Foundation Board of Directors, was chair of the UND Foundation Board and co-chaired the National Campaign Steering Committee for North Dakota Spirit | The Campaign for UND. The campaign raised $324 million.

“UND is a very special place,” Pancratz told UND graduates as the Winter Commencement speaker in 2007. “A place where an ordinary person like me, a girl from Grand Forks, can get an extraordinary education, an education that is priceless and transformational, an education that changes opportunities and changes lives.”

Pancratz and her late husband, Mark, ’77, have loyally and generously invested in UND. Their gifts include establishing the Pancratz Career Development Center at the College of Business and Public Administration.

“One of the primary ways that students and parents measure the success of their education and the return on investment is based on the jobs that they secure after graduation. So, we wanted to create a ‘Career Development Center’ within the College of Business and Public Administration focused on adding value for our students throughout their careers by providing career guidance and coaching, connecting them with mentors and helping them seize internships. Ultimately, it is about supporting the initial job search as well as providing ongoing support for our alumni to facilitate their career advancement.”

Pancratz lives in Colorado with her daughter, Elizabeth.

This article first appeared in the UND Alumni Review in Fall 2013. 

BSC names 646 students to spring honor roll

BSC names 646 students to spring honor roll

BSC named 646 students to the spring semester 2014 President’s Honor Roll. The average credit hours carried by students was up slightly this spring. Students must maintain at least a 3.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale while enrolled in at least 12 semester hours of classes.

Hess Corporation donates pump training unit

The Hess Corporation donated a miniature working model pumping unit to BSC for display in the National Energy Center of Excellence (NECE). The unit will be used to promote the Petroleum Production Technology program and to assist with in-house training.

BSC scrub camp

This week kids ages 7-12 became health care professionals during the 2014 BSC Scrub Camp. Mini doctors and nurses cared for newborns, tended to patients with wounds and worked in operating rooms. Campers were assisted by BSC nursing students. Tech camp and and ag academy also are offered to community kids this summer.

DCB Enhances Horticulture Center

College Enhances Horticulture Center

Dakota College will begin construction this summer on a wash/pack facility that will complement its Entrepreneurial Center for Horticulture. The wash/pack facility will help deliver an important part of the center’s mission which is to demonstrate value added production and growing techniques. It supplements the seven high tunnel greenhouses that were constructed two years ago as learning and applied research facilities for the Entrepreneurial Center.

Faculty and Staff Recognized

At its annual faculty and staff recognition luncheon, Dakota College recognized those whose job performance adds value to the college experience for students and the campus community. This year Ms. Keri Keith, marketing and management instructor and honors program coordinator, received the DCB faculty award for excellence. Dakota College’s library director, Hattie Albertson, received the college’s staff excellence award, and Madison Junker, DCB’s retention counselor, received the Dakota College excellence in advising award.

Career Readiness Event Hosted by DCB

The DCB campus hosted a college and career readiness fair for middle school children on May 10. The event was organized and sponsored by the North Central Education Cooperative, one of the state’s rural education consortiums, that is headquartered at DCB. Approximately 400 children from ten schools were in attendance to interact and learn from 40 to 50 exhibitors from business, industry, and higher education.

95 Percent of DSU Grads in ND Employed in Oil-Impacted Counties

Old Field Impact

Located in the epicenter of North Dakota’s energy development, DSU alumni are continuing to anchor their communities through many contributions, including energy-related initiatives. According to DSU graduate exit survey information from consecutive academic years 2011 through the fall of 2013, nearly three quarters or 74 percent of DSU graduates are working in North Dakota. Of the 74 percent of respondents working in North Dakota, the vast majority — 95 percent — are employed in oil-impacted counties. The survey also showed 23 percent of graduates working in the state are employed in areas directly related to energy development.

Medora Musical

DSU is proud to have one of its own in this summer’s Medora Musical. Damon Fichter is one of 20 cast members performing nearly 100 shows at the famed outdoor theater in Medora. Born and raised in Dickinson, Fichter has watched the Medora Musical since he was a child and is pursuing a Bachelor of Music at DSU, where he is also a part of the Theodore Roosevelt Honors Leadership Program.

City of Dickinson backs new TR Presidential Library at DSU

A new Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library at DSU took a solid step forward Monday with a $3 million commitment from the city of Dickinson and a promise of $5 million more, should the North Dakota Legislative Assembly increases its funding. The Dickinson City Commission voted unanimously Monday to award $3 million to the Theodore Roosevelt Center at DSU, which is facilitating the presidential library project. In addition, the resolution provides for another $5 million if the North Dakota State Legislature appropriates more funding on top of $12 million already earmarked for the project.

LRSC receives Otto Bremer Foundation grant

LRSC receives Otto Bremer Foundation grant

A $250,000 grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation will enhance nursing education at Lake Region State College.

Funds from the award will support “Upwards with Learning Labs for Life” that will enable LRSC to provide accessible, timely, and appropriate clinical educational opportunities for healthcare students and workers in northeast North Dakota.

Practical nurse program expands

The Dakota Nursing Program at Lake Region State College is expanding its practical nurse program to Grand Forks.

Classes will start this August and will be held at Achieve Therapy and Fitness, 1425 South Columbia Rd. The program reaches students with a combination of face-to-face lab/clinical classes and video networking at sites across the state to educate future nurses.

Grand opening of alumni and leadership center held at Mayville State

Grand opening of alumni and leadership center held at Mayville State

The Edson and Margaret Larson Alumni and Leadership Center at MaSU officially opened June 20 with a formal program and celebration. The Larson Center, formerly known as Northwest Hall, was built in 1911 as an infirmary for sick students. The building has served a number of purposes, including the college president’s home and student housing. Now the brick structure has been completely renovated to serve as an alumni and leadership center and home for the MSU Foundation offices.

MaSU celebrates 125th anniversary during Alumni Days

MaSU’s 125th anniversary was celebrated during the annual Alumni Days activities June 20 and 21. Highlights of the celebration included an all-class reunion, recognition of the 2014 Distinguished Alumni and Distinguished Service Award recipients, and musical entertainment provided by MaSU’s nationally recognized jazz musicians from the 60s and 70s.

MaSU STEM Education hosts numerous learning opportunities for teachers and students in June

Three programs that helped educate K-12 teachers and students in STEM topics were hosted by MaSU’s Stem Education in June. STEM Boot Camp is a three-day professional development program that introduces teachers to STEM and helps them implement the topics into their classrooms. The Educational Engineering Institute helps teachers find ways to incorporate engineering concepts into their lessons. STEM College for Kids for children in grades K-8 wrapped up three weeks of summer STEM activities at MaSU.

Minot Sertoma Club Pledges $100,000 to MiSU Foundation

Minot Sertoma Club pledges $100,000 to MiSU foundation

Continuing a tradition of supporting Minot State University speech and hearing efforts, Mylan Sand, Minot Sertoma Club president, presented $28,000 to Marv Semrau, MSU vice president for advancement. Minot Sertoma Club pledged $100,000 to the MSU Development Foundation to enhance the Minot Sertoma Club Scholarship fund and to fund equipment in the Department of Communication Disorders. The check is the first installment of that commitment.

Five at MiSU earn Achievement Awards

Three faculty members, Darren Dobrinski, Leisa Harmon and Vicki Michels, and two staff members, Tiffany Fylling and Evelyn Klimpel, receive MSU Board of Regents Achievement Awards for dedicated service to Minot State at MSU’s annual Employee Recognition and Retirement event.

MiSU student earns Capital One Academic All-District

Kowan O’Keefe becomes the first male student-athlete at Minot State to earn Capital One Academic All-District as he was named to the Men’s At-Large team. A 4.0 GPA student majoring in chemistry and biology, O’Keefe was fifth at the NSIC Championships.

NDSCS receives The College of Tomorrow Award

NDSCS holds Commencement Ceremony

The North Dakota State College of Science awarded degrees, diplomas and certificates to 710 Wahpeton, Fargo and online graduates this year from 17 states and three international countries. Commencement took place on Friday, May 16 in the Ed Werre Arena located in the Clair T. Blikre Activities Center.


NDSCS President appointed National Coalition of Certification Centers Chairman

NDSCS President John Richman has been named Chairman of the Board for the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3), a network of education providers and corporations that supports, advances and validates new and emerging technology skills in the transportation, aviation and energy industry sectors. Previously, he has served as both the Vice Chair and Trustee.


NDSCS receives The College of Tomorrow Award

NDSCS has received The College of Tomorrow award from the John Deere Company. The award, which was presented during the College’s John Deere Tech Advisory meeting, serves as a ranking system for the 16 colleges in the United States that offer a John Deere Tech program. NDSCS received the second highest ranking of Gold.

Groundbreaking ceremony held for NDSU STEM Building

Groundbreaking ceremony held for NDSU STEM Building

NDSU held a groundbreaking ceremony May 22 for the new STEM Classroom and Lab Building. The state-funded building will house classrooms, labs and study areas, with a focus on science, technology, engineering and math-related courses. The building is scheduled to be completed by spring 2016.


N.D. high school students participate in Governor’s School

High-achieving North Dakota high school students are spending six weeks at NDSU for Governor’s School. The state program challenges students in subjects such as agriculture, engineering, math and English and helps prepare them for college. Students work closely with NDSU faculty members who lead classes, discussions, field trips and other activities.


3 NDSU grads receive Fulbright scholarships

Three recent NDSU graduates were selected for prestigious Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Scholarships—the highest number NDSU has received in one cycle. Emily Grenz will be an instructor in Turkey, and Katherine Thoreson will teach in Belgium. Both women graduated in May 2014. Alumna Annie Erling Gofus will work in the Slovak Republic.

UND named one of the top 10 best online graduate business programs for veterans

UND breaks ground for new School of Medicine and Health Sciences building

The University of North Dakota broke ground for the new $122 million School of Medicine and Health Sciences building June 12.  The 325,000-gross-square-foot facility will incorporate, for the first time under one roof, all of the School’s departments, some of which have had to be housed in separate locations on the Grand Forks campus for lack of space at the current SMHS headquarters.  Taking part in the groundbreaking with UND President Robert Kelley and UND Vice President for Health Sciences and Dean of the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences Joshua Wynne were North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple, Sen. Ray Holmberg, Sen. Robert Erbele, Sen. Judy Lee, Mayor Michael Brown, and CEO of Altru Health Systems and Chair of the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences Advisory Committee Dave Molmen.


UND named one of the top 10 best online graduate business programs for veterans

The University of North Dakota online Master of Business Administration (MBA) program was recently ranked #9 by U.S. News & World Report in its 2014 Best Online Programs for Veterans.  According to, rankings are determined by affordability, accessibility, and reputation.  Other ranking criteria included institution certification for the G.I. Bill and membership in the Service members Opportunity Colleges (SOC) Consortium.  Earlier this year, U.S. News & World Report ranked UND’s College of Business & Public Administration in its top 50 online programs.


UND rocket  successfully flown in Utah, garners national attention

Frozen Fury, University of North Dakota’s rocket team, recently produced a successful flight in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Student Launch 2014, a NASA-sponsored national rocketry competition in Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah.  This year, NASA increased the research requirements related to the payload aboard competition rockets in addition to the usual four in-depth reports and presentations that it requires.  UND competed against 31 other universities across the nation for the chance to go to Utah and launch its rocket. As part of the competition, NASA had given the universities a specific deadline to launch their rockets and submit a full analyses of the results.  UND’s rocket soared 5,433 feet and came down with its two parachutes intact. And Frozen Fury’s on-board experiment successfully collected video footage of liquid movement in microgravity.

VCSU Professor receives Blackboard award for online course

Professor Burr receives Blackboard award for online course

Diane Burr, VCSU professor of health and physical education, was named a winner of a Blackboard Catalyst Award for Exemplary Course. Burr was recognized for her online Introduction to Physical Education course at VCSU. She will be honored at Blackboard’s annual user conference in Las Vegas, Nev., this July.

Teaching academy for faculty explores keys to success

Nineteen VCSU faculty members participated in the university’s annual Summer Teaching Academy on campus May 20–22. The theme this year was based on Maryellen Weimer’s “Learner-Centered Teaching: Five Key Changes to Practice.” Weimer’s book shows how to tie teaching and curriculum to the process and objectives of learning rather than to content delivery alone.

VCSU Concert Choir performs on European tour

The 26-voice VCSU Concert Choir performed five concerts on a tour of Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic May 22–31. The choir visited renowned music and cultural sites, including Neuschwanstein Castle, Mozart’s birthplace in Salzburg, Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna and historic Prague. The choir is directed by Christopher Redfearn, assistant professor and chair of the VCSU music department.


WSC Head Hockey Coach Position Available

Head Hockey Coach position available

Teton Athletics announces the opening of a national search to fill its vacant hockey head coach position.  The newly vacated position comes on the heels of back-to-back National Championships for the third year program.  The search looks to not only fill a highly touted position in the ranks of collegiate hockey, but one that has become synonymous as a pillar of the community in the city of Williston.  The national search will begin on Wednesday, June 11.

WSC largest Miss North Dakota donor

Williston State College was one of the largest donors to the Miss North Dakota pageant this year. The pageant was held the weekend of June 5 through June 7. WSC housed the contestants at Frontier Hall on campus, as well as hosted a Miss North Dakota awards breakfast on Saturday, June 7.

Students, we want to hear from you! NDUS to host #StudentSpk Twitter Chat

Twitter Chat FB photo

The State Board of Higher Education is creating a new strategic plan for the system and wants to know what students from North Dakota colleges and universities think! Get your voice heard during this unique opportunity to speak to the governing board of the North Dakota University System, and encourage your fellow students to participate. Topics will include balance between work and school, financial aid, Measure 3 and more.


What? #StudentSpk Twitter Chat hosted by @NDUnivSystem

When? Thursday, June 19 from 4 p.m. – 5 p.m. CDT

Why? In order to create the best strategic plan possible, it must be informed by all stakeholders including business and community leaders, faculty/staff and, of course, the student body.  That’s why we need to hear from you!

How do I participate? All you need to participate in the #StudentSpk Twitter Chat is a free twitter account. You can go to to sign up if you don’t already have an account. Once you have an account, follow these simple steps:

  1. Follow @NDUnivSystem for reminders and updates about the chat and the State Board of Higher Education.
  2. Share the information about this chat with your friends through your social media channels. They don’t want to miss this unique opportunity!
  3. When it’s time for the chat, type the hashtag, #StudentSpk, into the search bar and you’ll be able to follow and participate in the conversation.
  4. Respond to the host questions and those of your fellow participants. But, don’t forget to always include #StudentSpk in your responses so everyone following along can see them.
  5. To make it easier to follow the conversation and even slow down the pace of the tweets, you can open a free TweetChat account. Just go to, sign in with your twitter account, and select the hashtag you’d like to follow (#StudentSpk).
  6. Come back here – – after the chat for some highlights from the conversation.

We hope you’ll join us to provide your input on the future of higher education in North Dakota. Talk to you June 19!