Monthly Archives: January 2015

Diederich deserves our thanks

A column by Temporary Board Chair Terry Hjelmstad

A column by Temporary Board Chair Terry Hjelmstad

I would like to publicly thank Dr. Kirsten Diederich for her service on the State Board of Higher Education. She served on the Board for four-and-a-half years and for a year-and-a-half as Chair. Under her leadership, the Board came together as a team, despite many challenges, to do the right thing for our students.

Dr. Diederich dedicated countless hours to the Board, and her experience in higher education was definitely a plus. She accomplished a great deal during her tenure, especially the development of a new vision, mission and strategic plan for the North Dakota University System.

However, when it became apparent to her that she may not be confirmed for a second term, she decided to step down, rather than be the center of controversy. It was a personal decision that we, of course, deeply respect. It shows what type of servant leader she is – always trying to keep the focus on what’s really important – our students.

A search has already begun to fill the Board position left open by Dr. Diederich’s resignation. Interested candidates may get more information here. The deadline is Jan. 30. In accordance with Board policy, as Vice Chairman of the Board, I am now serving as Temporary Chairman. At this week’s Board meeting, the Board will elect its next Chair.

Creating the NDUS Edge {VIDEO}

This year, the NDUS ushered in a bold, new strategic plan – The NDUS Edge – set by the State Board of Higher Education. Building on previous successes and embracing workforce needs, this new plan is designed to give North Dakota students the edge they need to succeed in college and beyond. Check out this new video for an animated look at where we’ve been and where we’re headed in the next five years.

North Dakota University System: Education is Our Future from ND University System on Vimeo.

Morton opens presentations to appropriations committee

Don Morton, Member, State Board of Higher Education

Don Morton, Member, State Board of Higher Education

On Jan. 19, Don Morton, member of the State Board of Higher Education and Chair of the Board’s Budget and Finance Committee, kicked off the week’s presentations on higher education. He opened by thanking the Legislative Assembly for their past support and expressed the Board’s intention to work collaboratively with them to do what is best for higher education.

“The people who serve on the Board believe in higher education in North Dakota,” Morton said. “We are committed to providing the best possible education for our students at a fair and reasonable cost. We continually strive to bring more rigor and focus on budget transparency to our process, as well as budget accountability, and metrics that support financial performance.”

Morton talked about the Board’s new mission, vision and five-year plan for the North Dakota University System, the NDUS Edge, which Interim Chancellor Skogen addressed in detail after Morton’s opening remarks. “Our appropriation requests support our strategic direction,” he said. He then highlighted the main points:

  • Best value
  • Relevant, timely programs
  • Student success
  • Unified system

Best Value – Morton asked legislators to support the funding to provide tuition freezes, so that NDUS can remain competitive in our region and attract more students to fill jobs in the state, and open educational resources, so that NDUS can help students save money on textbooks.

Relevant, Timely programs – Morton asked legislators to support NDUS workforce and healthcare provider training, as well as research efforts.

Student Success – Morton asked legislators to support tools and programs that will help NDUS retain students through early intervention and appropriate guidance and counseling.

Unified System – Morton asked legislators to support our efforts to be more efficient through enhancing our IT systems and our collaborative programs as well as cleaning up deferred maintenance so that NDUS buildings are in shape for the influx of students we expect by 2018.

“Certainly those are only the highlights,” Morton said. “If you remember these things: Best Value, Relevant Programs, Student Success and Unified System over the next few days – you will see the continuing theme that runs through our strategic priorities and budget requests.”

Interim Chancellor presents NDUS priorities to House Appropriations Committee

On Monday, Jan. 19, Interim Chancellor Skogen gave an overview to the House Appropriations Committee of the North Dakota University System’s strategic priorities for the 2015-17 legislative session. Skogen built the information around the State Board of Higher Education’s five-year plan and connected it to current state demographics and projections, as well as national trends in higher education.

The system’s top legislative priorities are:

  • Student safety/security,
  • Student success,
  • Affordability,
  • Capital requests and deferred maintenance,
  • Funding model support, and
  • Workforce needs.

Skogen summarized the Board’s budget request and compared it to the 2015-2017 Executive budget recommendation.


Base Funding

The base funding request for major programs and initiatives contained 13 items including:

  • 24/7 campus security coverage ($2.4 million SBHE request, fully funded in Executive budget)
  • Expanded security and fully-funded systemwide technology services through Core Technology Services ($4.5 million SBHE request, $0.7 million in Executive budget)
  • Systemwide implementation of Predictive Analytics Reporting (PAR) and Starfish/Hobsons retention software ($1.9 million SBHE request, $1.7 million in Executive budget)

Student affordability

To support student affordability, the Board’s budget request included $9.5 million for a tuition freeze at all 11 campuses. The Executive budget recommendation included $2.8 million for a tuition freeze at only the two-year colleges. The SBHE request and the Executive budget recommendation both included increased funding for state scholarships and grants.

One-time funding

On top of the base funding request, the Board’s budget request included 10 items for one-time funding, such as:

  • Campus security upgrades ($8.3 million SBHE request, $6 million in Executive budget)
  • WSC oil impact stabilization ($2.5 million SBHE request, not funded in Executive budget)
  • PAR and Starfish/Hobson retention software ($181,500 SBHE request, fully funded in Executive budget)
  • Open educational resources ($500,000 SBHE request, $220,000 in Executive budget)


The Board’s budget also includes one-time funding requests for capital projects. These projects are driven by five priorities:

  • Protect health and safety of students, faculty and staff;
  • Manage deferred maintenance backlog;
  • Address capital needs that ensure continuation of accreditation;
  • Flood recovery and protection; and
  • Strategic initiatives.

The top-ranked projects are:

  • VCSU heating plant replacement ($14,289,000 SBHE request, fully funded in Executive budget – removes $12,426,504 deferred maintenance)
  • Replace BSC major campus infrastructure ($1,575,000 SBHE request, fully funded in Executive budget – removes $1,200,000 deferred maintenance)
  • NDSU Sudro Hall addition for accreditation purposes ($32,700,000 SBHE request, not funded in Executive budget)


After reviewing the items included in the budget request, Skogen returned to the top priorities for NDUS during the session: focusing on student success, security and affordability; addressing deferred maintenance; tweaking the funding model, and ensuring NDUS has the means to produce the graduates the state needs to supply an educated, well-prepared workforce . NDUS can and should be a magnet that attracts people to our state and keeps them here, he said.

NDUS launches search for the next chancellor

The search for the next chancellor of the North Dakota University System is officially underway. The application deadline is March 17, with the successful candidate starting on or about July 1, 2015.

“We are excited to launch this process and are looking forward to finding an inspiring, resilient leader who can guide the university system into the future,” said Terry Hjelmstad, temporary chair of the State Board of Higher Education. “With increasing workforce needs and a predicted enrollment boom by 2018, we’re looking for a visionary chancellor who can seize these unprecedented opportunities and take the higher education system to the next level.”

The North Dakota University System contracted with AGB Search to assist with the process. The applications will be reviewed by the Chancellor Search Advisory Committee and the State Board of Higher Education.

Dr. Larry C. Skogen has served as interim chancellor since June 2013. He will return to his position as president of Bismarck State College on July 1, 2015.

A website dedicated to the chancellor search and detailing the job qualifications has been set up at Nominations and applications should be submitted to Mobile-friendly website makes choosing a college easier than ever

This time last year, the North Dakota University System (NDUS) launched, a website dedicated to helping students find the North Dakota college or university that clicks with them. This year, the site got some tweaks and additional functionality to make it even simpler for students and parents to use. Using cutting edge technology, meets students where they already are – online – and provides them with interactive tools to make choosing a college easier.

NDChoose Screen Shot 2015

Designed using parallax scrolling techniques, takes students and their parents from making the choice to go to college all the way through securing housing once they’re enrolled.

“This site offers a simple way for students and parents to learn more about what our colleges and universities have to offer,” said Interim Chancellor Larry C. Skogen. “By making this information interactive and easily accessible online, we are able to provide a valuable addition to the recruiting tools already available to our institutions.”

The home page includes information on the advantages of pursuing higher education and the opportunities available to students in North Dakota. Click the ‘Programs’ tab on to see a full program listing of all the degrees offered by NDUS colleges and universities with direct links to the institutions that offer the desired program. Online programs are denoted by an ‘Available Online’ banner.

By clicking the ‘Colleges’ tab on the top, visitors are taken to pages highlighting each of the NDUS’s 11 colleges and universities. Each page serves as a snapshot of the college experience at these institutions complete with campus statistics, testimonials, videos and direct contact information for admissions, housing, financial aid and more. To streamline the process even more, just click the ‘Apply Online’ button on each college page to be directed straight to their online application or choose ‘Academic Programs’ for a full listing of the programs that institution offers.

NDChoose Checklist for Admission is the most recent installment in the Project Vital Link campaign. Project Vital Link was launched by the State Board of Higher Education in November 2002 in an effort to attract more high school students to North Dakota University System colleges and universities. This initiative was developed to provide that “vital link” between high school and higher education for ND students in conjunction with campus recruiting efforts. All high school juniors and seniors in North Dakota, as well as high school counselors in North Dakota and surrounding states, receive a postcard directing them to this mobile- and tablet-friendly website. Supplemental print pieces are also sent to eighth graders and high school sophomores (and their counselors) with age appropriate content.

“It’s important to get students thinking about college, even before high school,” said Julie Kaspari, K-12 counselor at Milnor Public School in an interview last year. “That’s why I think this program, and the eighth-grade piece especially, is such a great resource for our students and our schools.”

The North Dakota University System is committed to helping students succeed in higher education and the workforce. offers an easy way for potential students to learn more about the opportunities available in North Dakota and make an informed choice regarding which college or university clicks with them.

Institutions present legislative priorities to House Appropriations Committee

During the week of January 19, all 11 NDUS institutions presented their budget priorities to the North Dakota Legislative House Appropriations Committee. Click the name of the institution below to view a short summary of those priorities.

Bismarck State College

Dakota College at Bottineau

Dickinson State University

Lake Region State College

Mayville State University

Minot State University

North Dakota State College of Science

North Dakota State University

University of North Dakota

Valley City State University

Williston State College

Bismarck State College Legislative Priorities

BSC has four top budget priorities:

  1. Supporting the governor’s funding model which will allow us to make the salary and benefit adjustments we need to be competitive in the current job market and move forward on key initiatives that align with the NDUS Edge and include:
    • Program prioritization
    • A new tuition model
    • Improved access to noncredit workforce training
    • Early alert system for student success
    • More partnerships with other institutions in the NDUS
  2. Keeping college affordable by freezing student tuition at two-year colleges
  3. Enhancing security and emergency preparedness on campus by adding 3 FTEs to ensure 24/7 security on campus
  4. Addressing our deferred maintenance and infrastructure needs which include the payoff of special assessments. Over the past several years, BSC has had to use its infrastructure allocations to pay Bismarck special assessments, deterring us from addressing other infrastructure needs on campus.

Dakota College at Bottineau Legislative Priorities

The preeminent budget priority for Dakota College at Bottineau is to realize the executive recommendation of providing 4 percent salary adjustments and meeting the cost increases for the health insurance plan. In an increasingly difficult environment in which to recruit qualified faculty and staff, it’s very important for the college to get closer to market salary ranges.

Also a priority is the funding in the executive budget for upgrading the Nelson Science Center to resolve the facility’s life safety issues. Another significant and critical priority for DCB is funding to increase campus safety and security with improvements such as 24/7 security personnel, key card access and door lock systems, and additional security cameras.

Dickinson State University Legislative Priorities

Dickinson State University (DSU) has submitted the following as high-level budget priorities:

  • As a number one priority, $750,000 in base funding for the continued operation of the Theodore Roosevelt Center at DSU. The Theodore Roosevelt Center has been funded by one-time appropriations during the 2007-2009, 2009-2011, 2011-2013, and 2013-2015 biennia.
  • $141,700 for one full-time mental health counselor. Operating costs associated with the position would come through internal reallocations.
  • DSU did not propose restoration of an Emergency and Continuance of Operations position; however, asked for $205,500 in addition to the $750,000 request for funding operation of the Theodore Roosevelt Center.
  • Authorization to renovate Woods Hall — one of only three residence halls at DSU — at a cost of $7.5 million. The renovation would mark the first overhaul of the building since it was built in 1965. The project calls for removing 8,000 square feet of asbestos from the facility and renovating 167 dorm rooms to suite-style units serving approximately 140 students.

Lake Region State College Legislative Priorities

Lake Region State College is focusing on immediate needs that the NDUS Master Plan recommends addressing. The pieces to address in this capital project request are immediate infrastructure needs such as switchgear replacement, window replacement, and other exterior improvements around the windows. These infrastructure project costs are too high for LRSC to address in its current extraordinary repairs appropriation.

Mayville State University Legislative Priorities

MaSU is requesting funding adjustments which are included in the Executive Budget Recommendation. The governor’s funding model request reflects an adjustment for increased student credit hour production over the 2011-2013 total student credit hours produced, a total of $1,427,802. There is also an adjustment for rebalancing to bring the MaSU campus to the average of the top two highest funded campuses in the four-year tier group, $886,921. Taken together, the formula ultimately funds MaSU at $120.32 per student credit hour. MaSU FTE enrollment increased by 13% from the fall semester of 2011 to the fall of 2014.

MaSU is also looking to increase the campus security staffing by $405,500. This would provide three FTE positions for three eight-hour shifts to achieve coverage 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A request for an additional $154,494 for extraordinary repairs has been made, along with requests for two one-time expenditures: $228,285 to pay off special assessments, which would save the cost of interest charges, and campus security improvements of $435,000 for security camera upgrades, changes in door locks, and outdoor lighting improvements.

Minot State University Legislative Priorities

Capital Project (new construction) – Career and Technical Education building ($8,000,000)

Because of MiSU’s affiliation with Dakota College at Bottineau (DCB being a branch campus of MiSU), the two institutions are in a unique position to meet career and technical education and workforce training needs in Ward County (where no such facility currently exists). DCB is prepared to offer programs in areas such as health information, paramedic technology, medi­cal assisting, information technology, information management, business, caregiver services, and land management. The other two-year colleges in North Dakota would also be invited to offer in-demand one- and two-year CTE programs in this new facility. The project was prioritized and approved by the ND State Board of Higher Education and ranked #5 for systemwide program/accreditation priorities.


Deficiency Appropriation – 2010 rain event and 2011 flood ($2,000,579)

A rain event in 2010 caused overland flooding, resulting in damage to roads, landscaping, and parking lots on campus. Total restoration expense was $31,067. After FEMA reimbursements and state match, the remaining request is $27,965. In 2011, the Mouse River flood inundated the river valley in Minot. A clay dike along the entire southern border of campus protected buildings from all but minor water damage. However, damage to infrastructure systems (parking lots, sidewalks, access roads, curb/gutter, storm sewers, sanitary sewers, and utility tunnels) was significant. Total restoration expense was $2,220,959. After FEMA reimbursements, the remaining request is $1,972,614.

North Dakota State College of Science Legislative Priorities

During North Dakota State College of Science’s recent presentation to the House Education and Environment Appropriations Committee of the North Dakota Legislature, the College recommended funding to better meet the workforce shortage in the state of North Dakota.

To address the state’s workforce needs, President John Richman outlined the following ideas:

  • Offer competitive salaries and benefits to attract and retain qualified faculty and staff
  • Adjust the funding formula to better fund two-year colleges
  • Prioritize funding to address deferred maintenance issues
  • Funding to assist students with college affordability

North Dakota State University Legislative Priorities

NDSU presented its 2015-2017 biennial budget request to the House Appropriations – Education and Environment Division on Jan. 21. The total base budget request was $26,579,806 for costs to continue, facility infrastructure and maintenance, and the Governor’s funding model increase. The optional funding request total was $1,732,589 for campus security and emergency preparedness. The request included a full-time equivalent emergency manager position to develop and implement plans required under SBHE Policy 906 to facilitate emergency preparedness on campus. It also included one-time funding for security cameras, surveillance equipment, keyless card entry and locking systems, as well as one-time funding for 2015-2017 special assessments installment payments.

The major capital project requests were $45,900,000 to replace Dunbar and $59,000,000 for accreditation projects. Dunbar II is NDSU’s No. 1 capital project priority and the SBHE No. 2 life-safety list priority. A Sudro Hall addition to comply with the pharmacy program’s accreditation requirements is NDSU’s No. 2 capital project priority and the SBHE’s No. 1 program/accreditation priority. New construction to address engineering accreditation concerns is NDSU’s No. 3 capital project priority.

University of North Dakota Legislative Priorities

UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences Building – The University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences building is on budget and on time to open in Fall 2016.  The North Dakota University System is asking the North Dakota Legislature for $62 million to fund the second portion of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences building.  The 63rd Assembly of the North Dakota Legislature approved funding for the $122 million, four-story UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences building.  A fast fact, just to provide some perspective:  When completed, the new building will be 320,000 square feet, equivalent to just over 18 hockey rinks.

UND School of Medicine and Healthcare Workforce Initiative – When the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Healthcare Workforce Initiative (HWI) is fully implemented in the 2017–2018 academic year, 64 additional medical students (16 per year), 90 health sciences students (30 per year), and 51 residents (post-MD degree trainees, with 17 per year added) will be educated.

In addition to the expansion of class sizes, the HWI utilizes a number of strategies to maximize success in increasing North Dakota’s healthcare workforce:

  • 80 percent of students accepted to the medical school are North Dakota residents, weighted toward those from rural areas
  • Tuition forgiveness for those who commit to practice primary care in a rural community
  • Increased longitudinal experiences in rural communities
  • Increased geriatrics and public health focus

UND Flight Operations Apron – The University of North Dakota has requested $16 million to replace the apron (the area used for maneuvering and parking aircraft) at the UND Flight Operations facility and airport.  This is a significant health and safety issue.  The apron has aged to the point where pieces of concrete are kicked up as the planes taxi.

UND College of Engineering & Mines Equipment Request – The growth in petroleum engineering – from four students to 285 – has stimulated a great need for more equipment and laboratory space in the University of North Dakota College of Engineering & Mines.  Currently, students are using simulated equipment – simulated through software and digital imagery – which does not provide students with the experience needed to be competitive.

The UND College of Engineering & Mines is requesting $500,000 from the State to purchase the equipment needed to help students be competitive.  Included in the budget request is funding for the top priorities, but the needs are even greater.

UND Security and Emergency Preparedness – The University of North Dakota has requested one-time funds of $1,054,000 for electronic door access, camera surveillance and 24-hour Op Center equipment and software.  Base funding has also been requested for a full-time emergency management position.

Valley City State University Legislative Priorities

Proposed VCSU Capital Projects

Valley City State University has urgent needs for two capital projects: to construct a new Communication and Fine Arts Building and to replace an outdated, inadequate Campus Heating Plant.

The new Communication and Fine Arts Building will replace Foss Music Hall, an impediment to permanent flood protection along the Sheyenne River. In addition to consolidating the art, theatre and music programs in one facility, the building will include the communication arts and the language and literature departments. By shuffling classrooms and offices, this will also allow for the razing of McCarthy Hall. Estimated at $25.8 million, the project will facilitate the installation of permanent flood protection along the river and allow VCSU to retire more than $7.7 million in deferred maintenance by razing both Foss and McCarthy halls.

VCSU’s heating plant needs to be replaced because outdated boilers in an inadequate facility threaten the university’s ability to provide heat to campus buildings. Installation of a new, energy-efficient boiler system will result in energy-cost savings, along with providing redundant fuel-source capabilities. Construction of a new heating plant is estimated at $14.3 million; the new plant will expand capacity to accommodate future campus growth and eliminate more than $12.4 million of deferred maintenance. Plans call for the removal of the existing facility and replacement with a new heating plant on the same physical footprint.

Top 20 Highlights of 2014

As the new year begins, we take a look back at the highlights from across the university system this past year. Click on a highlight to read more.

Top 20 Highlights of 2014 (in no particular order): 

  1. State Board of Higher Education designs a new strategic plan – The NDUS Edge.

  2. State Board launches search for a new chancellor with campus listening meetings

  3. Shirley named president of Minot State University

  4. NDUS launches public dashboards to track strategic plan progress, promote accountability

  5. NDSU research expenditures top $150 million a year, lead five-state area

  6. Tisa Mason named Valley City State University president

  7. Lake Region State College completes construction on Technical Education Center

  8. North Dakota University System economic impact rises to $4.8 billion 

  9. Williston State College Offers New Scholarship to Williams County High School Graduates (Businessweek article)

  10. State Board tours oil country

  11. UND breaks ground for $122 million School of Medicine and Health Sciences Building

  12. North Dakota the second state in the nation to join SARA, a national collaboration to streamline distance education

  13. NDSCS receives Top Marks for Graduation Rate

  14. CPA Experience at DSU receives profession’s top award (Video)

  15. State Board of Higher Education approves new admission standards

  16. Bismarck State College breaks ground on Communications and Creative Arts Center

  17. Higher Learning Commission gives Board a favorable review

  18. Mayville State University celebrates 125 years

  19. Board meetings are now webcast and live-tweeted

  20. Construction begins on Dakota College at Bottineau’s Entrepreneurial Center for Horticulture