Monthly Archives: November 2014

Daring to stand together: Maximizing the strengths of a unified system

State Board of Higher Ed President Diederich

A column by Board Chair Kirsten Diederich

This Thursday will be the first regular meeting of the State Board of Higher Education since the November election. We are grateful that the citizens of North Dakota soundly defeated Measure 3, showing their support for our current higher education governance system and our students.

While some things had to wait until after the election, such as hiring our next Chancellor, the Board has firmly set a path for the future of the North Dakota University System with its new strategic plan, the NDUS Edge. Our next few meetings will help clear the way for the plan’s four important goals. I think North Dakotans will be pleased with the results they will see during the next five years.

During the planning process, we talked with many constituents, and one of the messages that came through loud and clear was the importance of our colleges and universities working collaboratively together to ensure efficiency. One business leader stated it this way, “Eleven campuses working cooperatively within one system to provide access to quality education for residents and non-residents – that’s opportunity.” The Board identified Goal #4 in our strategic plan as “Maximize the strengths of a unified system.” As Board Chair, I am committed to doing everything I can to make that happen.

There are many ways to do this in a university system, and our strategies reflect the full spectrum. Some approaches involve academic collaboration, such as our innovative Dakota Nursing Program; others involve sharing services, such as information technology through Core Technology Services; and another strategy addresses collaborating in research opportunities, similar to the partnership already launched in testing unmanned aerial systems.

Building on these current initiatives and empowered by the Board’s philosophy discussed during the strategic planning process, President Dean Bresciani of North Dakota State University volunteered to chair a task force that is investigating the possibilities of shared services for payroll across the system. The system office and other campuses have also stepped up to assist Williston State College as it suffers from high employee turnover related to the oil boom demand for workers in that part of the state. Each of these examples involves maximizing strengths wherever feasible and in innovative ways.

Now that this efficiency philosophy has been firmly implanted in the new strategic plan, it will be much easier for the Board to give clear direction to the chancellor and to campuses, when needed, on this issue. And, I believe our constituents will see that we are indeed seizing this opportunity to work together as a unified system to provide access to quality education for our students.

HLC Board confirms advisory team’s recommendation

HLC Logo

The Higher Learning Commission’s Board of Trustees met Oct. 30, and this week advised Interim Chancellor Larry C. Skogen about the Board’s decision regarding a complaint filed in April 2013.

HLC sent an advisory team in April 2014 for a visit focusing on four criteria for accreditation. The team’s report was favorable overall, stating that the system should be commended for the diligent work it had done since the time of the complaint to “ensure that the system was functioning in compliance with good practices in governance and the requirements of the Commission.” The team recommended follow up on one criterion related to goal setting, self-evaluation and systematic planning.

“As expected, the HLC Board agreed with the advisory team’s conclusions and is recommending a final report and a focused visit on our progress on that criterion before the end of 2015,” said Skogen. “Since the team’s visit this past spring, we have launched our new strategic plan, have established goals and strategies for the system through 2020, and the Board has engaged in diligent self-evaluation, analysis of best practices for governing boards and in-depth training. We look forward to demonstrating our success on this criterion.”

ImageNow initiative offers a way to streamline processes and manage secure, digital records across NDUS


What began as five campus projects has expanded to include all 11 North Dakota University System institutions as part of a State Board of Higher Education initiative to maximize efficiencies. ImageNow is a document imaging system that allows users to import paper or digital documents through scanning or file/print options. In short, ImageNow takes the hard copy file cabinet and places it on a digital server. At the start, five campuses had their own licenses for ImageNow. This initiative brings all those instances and the remaining institutions under one roof to allow for simpler transfer of student records between institutions, increased data security and additional functionality, among other things.

The beauty of digitized records is not only in the newfound storage space, but in the increased capabilities offered by the system.  ImageNow gives users the ability to search and categorize documents, control access through security groups and automate workflows. It takes you one step closer to having paperless processes. Similar to the real life filing cabinet, documents on ImageNow are split into file folders by identifying characteristics like specific student or employee. Each file folder is then assigned identifying information similar to what would be listed on the folder tab.  Each document within the folder is assigned a document type (FERPA, W4, etc.) and other information like a records retention date or effective date. Security groups are then based on document type or where the file is located ensuring confidentiality and data security. Now, instead of having to walk across campus to view a hard copy of a student record, campus staff are able to request access to the secure, digital version without leaving their desk. This functionality is even more helpful when you consider collaborative students or programs that are hosted off campus such as the Lake Region State College courses offered on the Grand Forks Air Force Base.

“This is an important initiative because of the efficiencies that can be gained not only in infrastructure and software licensing, but in human resources, as well,” said Madhavi Marasinghe, sponsor and NDUS director of enterprise services. “The ability to streamline our daily processes and sharing of knowledge is a huge benefit.”

As of this month, the University of North Dakota and Mayville State University are fully on board, and Bismarck State College is in the final stages of implementation. Williston State College, Lake Region State College, Valley City State University, North Dakota State College of Science, Minot State University, Dakota College at Bottineau, North Dakota State University and Dickinson State University will follow within the next couple years. Currently, NDUS has 1,234 active ImageNow users. This number has doubled since the system-wide instance was implemented in May 2014.

“One of the great things about centralizing is that the campuses which don’t have the ability to fully utilize ImageNow themselves can now leverage the CTS team for a small fee,” said Janna Kruckenberg, lead business application administrator and ImageNow team lead.

The ImageNow initiative is led by a team of Core Technology Services (CTS) staff. The ImageNow team includes Amanda Kuzel, document imaging specialist; Chad Gratton, senior applications analyst; Erica White, document imaging specialist; Ericka Westphal, applications analyst; Greg Frederick, project manager; Kruckenberg and Marasinghe. A steering committee is also being developed and will be made up of representatives from each campus.

First annual North Dakota College Application Week kicks off with college application completion event in Minot

ND College Application Week2

This week marks the first annual North Dakota College Application Week as part of the American College Application Campaign (ACAC).  The North Dakota University System signed on as a member of the campaign in 2014. The ACAC is a national effort to increase the number of first-generation and low-income students pursuing a college degree by helping high school seniors navigate the complex college admissions process and ensuring they apply to at least one postsecondary institution.

“North Dakota is proud to be a member of this important campaign to increase higher education participation,” said Interim Chancellor Larry C. Skogen. “Thank you to Magic City Campus for volunteering as the pilot site during our first annual North Dakota College Application Week. We are looking forward to taking this initiative statewide in 2015.”

Magic City Campus in Minot, N.D. will host North Dakota’s pilot ACAC event, entitled Magic City Campus Commits to the Future, Wednesday, Nov. 19. During this event, students will be guided through the application process from start to finish by trained volunteers. Participating students are able to apply to any public, private or tribal colleges, universities or trade schools in which they are interested.

“This is an exciting opportunity to make a difference in students’ lives, especially seniors who may find it difficult to navigate the college admissions process and students from first-generation, low-income families,” said Brenda Zastoupil, NDUS Director of Financial Aid. “By hosting this event during the school day, we are able to reach more students and help them take the first step in committing to their future.”

This statewide initiative is led by a steering committee made up of stakeholders from all sectors of education including representatives from NDUS, Bank of North Dakota, Valley City State University, Minot High School and the Department of Public Instruction. Additionally, there is a site committee in charge of the day-of organization comprised of Magic City Campus students and staff.

For more information about the national American College Application Campaign, visit


Predictive Analytics Reporting: Using technology to help students succeed

With over 40,000 students with their own experiences and education, it can be difficult to believe there are any commonalities among them. However, at the core, every person is just a person, every student just a student. And, every one of them with the same goal – get a valuable higher education. To help North Dakota students succeed, the North Dakota University System has requested funding for Predictive Analytics Reporting (PAR). The PAR framework uses national comparative data to alert faculty and staff to behaviors that may need monitoring and provide them with the tools to intervene productively, if needed.

This past year, the University of North Dakota served as the pilot program in North Dakota for the use of PAR to help students succeed. What UND discovered is that PAR is much more than a technology program. It is a cultural tool. During a presentation to the State Board of Higher Education last month, Tom DiLorenzo, UND provost and vice president for academic affairs, described their experience as a true partnership between academic affairs, student affairs and finance/operations creating a culture of vision, strategic decisions and accountability.

PAR Culture

“UND was a great case study for the PAR Framework and they confirmed that this could be successful across the system,” said Lisa Feldner, NDUS vice chancellor of information technology and institutional research. “By leveraging technology and mining our data, NDUS will be able to make informed decisions and maximize the student experience at our institutions.”

PAR is a massive data analysis effort using multi-institutional data and predictive analytics to identify drivers related to loss and momentum and to inform student loss prevention. By assigning students anonymous identifiers, PAR is able to determine trends across the United States while the student’s institution maintains their secure personal records. PAR data inputs include: student demographics and descriptive information, course catalog, student course information, student academic progress, student financial information, lookup tables for specific information, and other potential inputs like placement test results, intervention measures and information from the Statewide Longitudinal Data System (SLDS).

Typically, the key indicators of student success and factors in national ranking are retention and graduation rates. By embracing a philosophy of enrollment management and leveraging the PAR framework to make informed decisions regarding student success systems, institutions are able to more accurately improve those indicators.

PAR Scalable to NDUS

If budget funding is approved, the PAR framework will be implemented across the university system. System-wide data will ensure greater service to North Dakota students fulfilling the Board’s strategic plan and creating the NDUS Edge students need to succeed.

Online Education: Going the distance for NDUS students

Tanya Spilovoy, NDUS Director of Distance Education and State Authorization

Tanya Spilovoy, NDUS Director of Distance Education and State Authorization

Distance and online education is one of the fastest growing sectors of higher education. According to The 2013 Survey of Online Learning conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group, over 7.1 million students nationwide were taking at least one online course during the fall 2012 term, an increase of 411,000 students from the previous year. Thirty-three percent of all US higher education students are taking at least one online course.

Aligned with national trends, the North Dakota University System has also experienced growth in distance education.  The NDUS fall enrollment report showed a 7.9% increase in distance education (online and Interactive Video Network) headcount enrollment from Fall 2012 to Fall 2013, and 43.7 percent of students were enrolled in at least one online course that year. Online courses provide opportunities for working, parenting, or location-bound students to access the same high-quality education delivered face-to-face at campuses.

The State Board of Higher Education’s new strategic plan, The NDUS Edge, recognizes that North Dakota students are looking for more versatile educational options. Distance education plays a role in achieving multiple plan goals including “Provide programs people want, where and when they need them” and “Maximize the strengths of the unified system.”

Recently, Tanya Spilovoy, NDUS director of distance education and state authorization, attended the 20th Annual Online Learning Consortium and participated in the Institute for Engaged Leadership in Online Learning to tap into the latest strategies for online student success, leadership and emerging technologies. Hot topics in online learning include open educational resources, Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) standards which save students money on licensing costs, online exam proctoring, adaptive learning, instructional design, and online course quality review standards. Building on her dissertation research regarding student retention in the online environment, Spilovoy is able to work with distance education leaders at all 11 NDUS campuses to share best practices, stay current on state and federal regulations, and share new research and technology.

“Increasing the skilled workforce in North Dakota is an important priority for the system and our state. Online education breaks down the barriers to higher education and allows more students access to education than ever before,” said Spilovoy. “By keeping abreast of the newest developments in online learning, we are able to tailor online courses to boost student understanding and help equip them to succeed.”

NDUS students are able to take online courses from any NDUS institution as a collaborative student, and transfer that coursework into their respective program of study. The NDUS system office and institutions are working together to give students access and meet their goals with distance education.

For more information about distance and online education, contact Spilovoy at or at 701.224.2498.


BSC hosts award winning theater troupe

BSC hosts award winning theater troupe

The Paper Birds Theater Company of Leeds, England performed and held workshops at BSC Nov. 5-7. Specialists in devised theater, their performance, “Thirsty, explores the binge drinking culture gripping the United Kingdom. The all-female collective specializes in visual and physical theater. The Paper Birds performed their acclaimed “In a Thousand Pieces,” at BSC in April 2013.

BSC nursing program hosts Scrub Camp

The Nursing program at BSC held a Scrub Camp Nov. 11, to help children age 7 to 12 learn about the profession of nursing. Children participated in nursing activities and games with members of the BSC Student Nurses Organization.

Energy resource added to ND student curriculum

An in-depth look at North Dakota’s energy resources has been added to the North Dakota Studies curriculum for 4th and 8th graders. The “Energy: Powered by North Dakota” curriculum is Web-based and was developed through a partnership between BSC’s Great Plains Energy Corridor and the ND EmPower Commission.

DCB’s Wash/Pack facility opened

DCB’s Wash/Pack Facility Opened

On November 3, Dakota College celebrated the completion of its Entrepreneurial Center for Horticulture’s (ECH) Wash/Pack facility with a grand opening. The facility is the final component in the construction phase of the ECH project and it complements the seven high tunnel greenhouses already built. The ECH is now fully equipped to carry out its mission of commercializing the vegetable production industry in North Dakota.

Technology training at DCB

Dakota College has scheduled eight sessions in December, January, and February for IT training opportunities for faculty and staff. These professional development activities are titled as follows: OneDrive for Business, IRespond Clickers, Office 2013 Lync Messenger, and Outlook Calendar.

LumberActs Begins in December

The DCB LumberActs will resume their improvisation performances on December 1, 10, and 17. These student players begin their second season with the captivating improv comedy they provided during the 2013-2014 academic year. The performances are a warm up for the Mystery Theater production scheduled for spring semester.

DSU CPA Experience receives top educational award

CPA Experience receives top educational award

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)  bestowed one of its top curriculum awards to DSU’s CPA Experience. Recognizing the program’s innovative teaching practices, the CPA Experience received the 2014 George Krull/Grant Thornton Teaching Innovation Award — one of only three accounting curriculum awards bestowed annually by the 127-year-old AICPA.  The organization is the world’s largest member association representing the accounting profession, with more than 400,000 members in 145 countries. DSU accounting faculty Ashley Stark, Scott Hanson and Amy Kass lead the accounting program in a stimulated office environment while encompassing 13 upper-level accounting classes throughout the academic year.

Nearly 200 students from three states attend Northern Great Plains Festival

Students from the Canadian border to Lemmon, South Dakota traveled to DSU’s 57th Annual Northern Plains Music Festival Nov. 7 – 8. Participants included 18 high schools from North and South Dakota as well as Montana. Joining DSU fine and performing arts faculty in running the event included guest artist Dr. Mitchell Lutch, director of bands at Central College in Iowa who led the honor band;  Stephen Versaeve, director of percussion studies at Montana State University who guided the  percussion ensemble; Dawn Hagerott, assistant professor of voice at Bismarck State College who headed the women’s choir. Also, Dean Jilek, conductor of the men’s chorus at the University of North Texas, led the mixed choir.

DSU recognizes 435 nontraditional students

D.C. Coston, president of DSU signed a proclamation recognizing 435 students during Nontraditional Student Week Nov. 2-8. Twenty-nine percent of DSU’s student population is 24 years of age or older. The university’s Students Other Than Average (SOTA) club participates in volunteer projects such as the Angel Tree, collecting nonperishable goods for Harvest Home, recycling aluminum cans for the Best Friends Mentoring Program, and hosting the Soup Kitchen. Currently, SOTA members are collecting new and gently-used clothing to donate to the emergency room at St. Joseph Hospital in Dickinson.

LRSC chemistry faculty presents at international conference

Chemistry faculty presents at international conference

LRSC chemistry faculty member Dr. Betsey Bannier recently served as a program committee chair and gave an invited talk at the International Conference on Distance Learning and Education event in Geneva, Switzerland. This is the first year she served as a committee chair. Her talk was titled, “Global Trends in Transnational Education” and her corresponding paper was published in the International Journal of Information and Education Technology (IJIET).

LRSC Foundation has successful auction

The Community College Foundation raised around $106,000 to support scholarships and special projects at the college during its annual Key Event auction Oct. 24.  The Foundation also raised another $27,000 with an Indian Motorcycle raffle that concluded during the Key Event.

MaSU named NAIA Champions of Character Five-Star Institution at silver level

MaSU named NAIA Champions of Character Five-Star Institution at silver level

MaSU received the 2013-2014 NAIA Champions of Character Five-Star Award at the silver level. Member institutions earn points in character training, conduct in competition, academic focus, character recognition, and character promotion. Student-athlete grade point averages also are a factor. Of the 168 institutions receiving the award, 60 were recognized at the silver level.

High percentage of Mayville State graduates find employment in North Dakota

A recent survey determined that 81% of 2013-2014 Mayville State graduates are employed in North Dakota. Based on a five-year average, more than 80% of teacher education graduates and 78% of non-teaching graduates found jobs in North Dakota. MaSU has held a 99% satisfactory placement rate for the past 10 years.

MaSU named to list of attractive, affordable college campuses

MaSU has been named by Affordable Schools to a list of 30 most attractive yet affordable college campuses. The website listing shows that there are opportunities for freshmen to enroll in college at “elegant campuses in gorgeous surroundings” while keeping costs low. The listing includes colleges and universities nationwide.

Swedish journalist discovers North Dakota at Minot State

Swedish journalist discovers North Dakota

Therese Larsson Hultin, chief foreign analyst at Svenska Dagbladet, one of Sweden’s top daily newspapers, visited the Minot region Oct. 26-30. Currently a 2014 Transatlantic Media Fellow with the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., Hultin investigated the Bakken oil patch and discussed media careers with high school and Minot State University students. The Minot Area Council for International Visitors developed local programming for her.

MiSU offers Northern Lights Film Series

With a grant from the North Dakota Humanities Council, Minot State University’s Department of Foreign Language rechristened its international film series, the Northern Lights Film Series. The grant allowed the department to screen films in the Global Lens Film Series, which is most often hosted at museums and art centers, according to Scott Sigel, assistant professor of Spanish. The film series was open to the community, allowing attendees to experience other points of view by seeing and discussing movies from many different countries and cultures.

Robert Hubbard inducted into MiSU Academic Hall of Fame

Robert Hubbard, professor of theatre and speech at Northwestern College, Orange City, Iowa, was inducted into Minot State University’s Academic Hall of Fame.

While a Minot State student, Hubbard participated actively as an actor, experimented in direction and developed his playwriting skills; he received a bachelor’s degree in communication arts and English in 1991. He continued on to complete master’s and doctoral degrees in theatre at Bowling Green State University, Ohio.

The MSU Faculty Senate chose Hubbard from faculty and community nominations to represent outstanding career achievements by MSU alumni.

NDSCS honors employee efforts with 2014 LIFE and Steeple awards

NDSCS honors employee efforts with 2014 LIFE and Steeple awards

NDSCS recently honored a number of employees with the annual LIFE and Steeple awards. The presentations were made in Wahpeton, N.D., to those involved with the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant, the Frosty Games and the Academic Advising Shared Drive.

Chancellor Larry Skogen speaks during NDSCS State of the College Address

NDSCS President Dr. John Richman recently presented the annual State of the College Address on the Wahpeton, N.D. campus. Kicking off the Address, Interim Chancellor Dr. Larry Skogen provided an update on the State of the NDUS. He also shared about the latest system news, population trends and how they will impact higher education, and the new NDUS Strategic Plan.

Renovations continue on historic Old Main

Renovations began on this iconic building during the spring of 2014. The restoration is part of a larger project, funded by the North Dakota State Legislature, which provided more than $8 million in the last biennium for this purpose. Upon completion in the summer of 2015, it will become the central hub for students housing Student Success/Career Services, the Academic Services Center, Academic Counseling and more.

NDSU EXPLORE showcases undergraduate research

NDSU EXPLORE showcases undergraduate research

Undergraduates showed their exemplary research projects at NDSU EXPLORE. The inaugural event recognized the breadth and quality of research and scholarly activity students are involved in outside the formal classroom. Students represented a multitude of disciplines, including English, engineering, chemistry, entomology, theater, animal sciences, architecture, physics and pharmacy.

NDSU joins Project Lead the Way in support of STEM education

NDSU is a new affiliate university of Project Lead the Way, the nation’s leading provider of K-12 science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs. The partnership will give North Dakota teachers more access to professional development and, as a result, give students greater exposure to and experience in STEM.

Program helps teachers improve writing instruction

NDSU recently became a National Writing Project site. The nationally recognized program provides professional development for local teachers at every level, kindergarten through college. It focuses on helping teachers increase writing skills of students to better prepare them for exams, such as the ACT, post-secondary education and the workforce.

UND president, others honored by NASPA

UND President, Others Honored by NASPA

University of North Dakota President Robert Kelley was awarded Presidential Excellence Award at the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) IV-West Conference Nov. 11-13.  Other UND folks honored included Lori Reesor, Vice President for Student Affairs, Deborah Worley, assistant professor of educational leadership, and Amanda Heubach, a graduate student.

UND Opens One-Stop Student Services Center

On Oct. 7, University of North Dakota administrators and student leaders cut the ribbon for the grand opening of the school’s new One-Stop Student Services Center, located on the main floor of the Memorial Union. One-Stop is a central information and services center focused on students’ every need.

UND Receives Award For Paperless Accounts Payable System

The University of North Dakota recently received the Central Association of College and Business Officers (CACUBO) “Best Practice Award” along with $2,500 for successfully implementing a paperless accounts payable system.

Tisa Mason named VCSU president

Tisa Mason named VCSU president

The State Board of Higher Education has appointed Tisa Mason, Ed.D., as VCSU’s next president. Mason comes to Valley City from Hays, Kan., where she served as vice president for student affairs at Fort Hays State University. Mason succeeds Steven Shirley, now Minot State president, in the VCSU presidency. She will begin her work at VCSU in mid-December 2014.

VCSU STEM exhibit featured at Heritage Center

The Ag Cab Lab of VCSU’s Great Plains STEM Education Center (GPSEC) is a featured exhibit in the Inspiration Gallery at the North Dakota Heritage Center in Bismarck. GPSEC’s David DeMuth, executive director, and Amanda Fickes, STEM and agriculture instructional designer, were on hand at the Heritage Center’s grand opening Sunday, Nov. 2, to introduce museum patrons to the tractor simulator.

VCSU group attends Minnesota SAP users-group conference

Twelve VCSU students attended the Minnesota Chapter ASUG (Americas’ SAP Users’ Group) Conference in Minneapolis, Minn., Nov. 6. The group was accompanied by Jamie Paurus, academic alliance coordinator for the computer systems and software engineering department, and Marcia Foss, career services director. VCSU is the leading university in several surrounding states participating in the SAP University Alliance program.

WSC Stevens Hall renovation nears completion

Stevens Hall renovation nears completion 

Stevens Hall Renovation almost complete, offices are starting to move in this week. Everyone is excited to move back into the new space after being in tight quarters for the last year.

WSC hosts mental health first aid training

WSC’s Mental Health Counselor is teaching a mental-health first-aid class for community members.

Admissions staff host registration session at Williston High School

Due to increased interest in WSC after our free tuition for Williams County graduates announcement, Williston High School asked enrollment services to come in and to help seniors with Fall registration. They assisted 38 high school seniors with submitting their applications, and they are heading back this week for another session.