Monthly Archives: September 2015

Stemen: Continue progress in higher ed

State Board of Higher Education member Greg Stemen

State Board of Higher Education member Greg Stemen

One of the newest members appointed to the State Board of Higher Education is a graduate of the system and is hoping that he can help the more positive aspects of the state’s colleges and universities show through.

Greg Stemen grew up on a farm about 17 miles northwest of LaMoure. While his entry into college life came with two quarters at Moorhead State, it was Valley City State University where he found his path through education. That path took him through completion of his Math Education degree with a coaching minor and got him started on a track of collegiate instruction.

“Initially, I wanted to become a college basketball coach. Once I was fortunate enough to achieve that goal, the college atmosphere and environment grew on me. I realized that ‘time’ was truly the formative years of college students’ lives and considered myself fortunate to have some impact on those students,” Stemen said, adding that his time there prompted his work toward an advanced degree.

“I realized that in order to continue to progress in the ranks of college coaching a Master’s Degree was necessary,” he noted. “Initially, I pursued it out of necessity, but the appreciation of the value of the ‘college experience’ was what inspired me to complete the degree.”

Stemen currently works as the President of the LaMoure location of the First State Bank of North Dakota, where he’s worked since starting in 2011 as branch manager. During that time he’s never lost sight of the value of higher education, or its meaning to him.

“I took additional interest in the workings and decision-making of the university,” Stemen said. “I chaired search committees and took part in faculty organizational meetings. I didn’t always agree with the mainstream campus thinking, but gained valuable perspective, experience, and insight.”

He noted that although higher education has been viewed at times with a sharply critical eye, there are positives that will probably always be overshadowed by any difficulties affecting it.

“Realizing there was going to be two openings and with my experience and background, I decided to seek the input of a few close friends and fellow professionals,” he said about his path toward being appointed to the Board. “They all expressed support and most importantly, my employer, First State Bank of North Dakota, was very supportive. Once I had input and put my own thought into it, I had no hesitation to pursue the opportunity to serve a state and system that I think are the best in the country.”

He felt his background in both education and finance would be complementary to the other Board members’ expertise.

“Balancing a budget and spending within our means are important priorities to me,” he said. “The most important things we can do to accomplish those things, are to use wise financial analysis and improve efficiencies wherever possible from a systemwide standpoint. These things can and should be done without compromising the educational product we provide to our students… they are and always will be our focus.”

Stemen added that the biggest challenges facing higher education are increasing federal regulation, constantly increasing costs, and the growing number of competitive options facing the normal on-campus post-secondary degree. He noted that clear decision-making is the mark of a strong governing body.

“Recognizing, facing and addressing the challenges that come our way is an incredibly interesting portion of being part of the Board,” Stemen said. “Anyone in a leadership position who is caught off guard by adversity shouldn’t be in a leadership position. It’s our job to adapt to, predict, and overcome obstacles to the success of our system.”

Board selects new DSU president

Thomas M. Mitzel, Ph.D., was named the new president of Dickinson State University by the State Board of Higher Education.

Thomas M. Mitzel, Ph.D., was named the new president of Dickinson State University by the State Board of Higher Education.

The State Board of Higher Education today named Thomas M. Mitzel, Ph.D., as the next president of Dickinson State University, Dickinson, North Dakota. Mitzel currently serves as the dean of faculty and vice president of academic affairs, Trinity College, Connecticut.

Originally from Aberdeen, South Dakota, and an alumnus of Northern State University, Mitzel said he is excited to get back to the Midwest.

“In my time on campus, I have been impressed with the enthusiasm of the campus community and the passion for student success. I am honored to have been selected as the next president of DSU. I believe that together we can help DSU build upon its solid curriculum and financial platform while reaching toward a bright future,” said Mitzel.

“The Board is pleased to appoint a collaborative leader like Dr. Mitzel to serve as the president of DSU,” said Board Chair Kathleen Neset. “He has a dedication to students and the community of Dickinson. His past experiences and his outlook make him the right fit to lead the university now and into the future.”

Board member Kari Reichert chaired the presidential search committee that screened applicants, interviewed semifinalists, and forwarded its recommended finalist for the position to the Board.
“The President Search Committee worked hard and deserves recognition for its work, and I’d like to thank Dr. Ozbun for his work as interim president during this time of transition,” said Neset. “The committee was impressed by Dr. Mitzel’s commitment to higher education and I expect he will do an excellent job leading the university.”

Mitzel has served as the vice president for academic affairs at Trinity College since 2013.

Prior to his time at Trinity College, Mitzel spent nearly two years as dean of the School of Sciences and interim director of the Wild Basin Creative Research Center at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. Before that, he served three years as an associate academic dean and chemistry professor at Trinity.

While at Northern State University, he participated on the track and field team and received a Bachelor of Science in chemistry. Mitzel then earned his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Boston College and was a postdoctoral fellow at The Ohio State University.

Mitzel will take over as the 12th president of DSU no later than Jan. 4, 2016. He will succeed Dr. D.C. Coston who retired in February 2015. Dr. Jim Ozbun is currently serving as interim president.

NDUS Open Textbook Institute steps toward new resources

An upcoming event packs a lot of potential into a relatively short timeframe. The Open Textbook Institute at Valley City State University Oct. 6-8 will bring faculty, staff, librarians and technologists together from throughout the state. Attendees will hear from experts Dave Ernst, Ph. D. and Sarah Cohen on the topic of Open Educational Resources (OER) and the collection of free, adaptable, openly-licensed textbooks at the University of Minnesota Open Textbook Library.

Tanya Spilovoy, Ed.D., director of distance education and state authorization for the North Dakota University System, has been a top proponent of OER in the state for the past two years. Her research and efforts helped shape lawmakers’ perspectives on the topic during the last legislative session. Spilovoy expanded her knowledge base at the University of Minnesota’s Open Textbook Network Summer Institute earlier this year. Set to speak at the upcoming event, Spilovoy notes that OER provides an exciting opportunity for N.D.

“Open textbooks have the potential to lower certain costs for NDUS students while giving faculty more control of their course content,” Spilovoy said. “There is increasing evidence showing that the use of open textbooks results in student outcomes that are equal to or better than commercial textbooks.”

The university system has joined the University of Minnesota Open Textbook Network, which consists of more than 75 institutions including Purdue, University of Arizona, the Ohio State University, Oregon State University, Cal Poly, and others. The Open Textbook Library at the U-M houses a collection of free textbooks that are both openly-licensed and peer-reviewed. Through the utilization of open textbooks, University of Minnesota faculty have saved more than $500,000 in textbook costs for students.

Next week’s Open Textbook Institute is focused on high-enrollment courses with high-cost textbooks to facilitate the largest impact. Spilovoy noted that it is exciting to see so many stakeholders working together to try and reduce the cost of attendance for students.

“In a pilot study conducted at Lake Region State College, Biology 111 Instructor Michelle Murphy replaced a $166.39 textbook with an open textbook she authored, saving $2,828.63 for the 17 students enrolled in the course,” she said. “The numbers say it all.”

The NDUS is providing the training and associated resources to institutions so they are able to have the tools necessary to take ownership of the project in the long-term. The 64th Legislative Assembly appropriated $110,000 to fund the project; Spilovoy is conducting research to show how it will positively impact students. The effort is in line with N.D. House Concurrent Resolutions from the 2013 session and will provide the tools for institutions to create their own foundations to implement free, openly-licensed textbooks and resources.

“Faculty assess the quality and efficacy of instructional resources for their courses,” Spilovoy said, adding that academic freedom was a high priority for many professors. “Faculty that choose OER have the opportunity to review, adopt, modify and author instructional materials. It gives faculty the opportunity to customize their course content.”

A breakdown of the seminar follows.

The Tuesday, Oct. 6 workshop will equip campus leaders to start their own OER campus initiative. This workshop is recommended for librarians, technologists and general education faculty leaders. The Campus Leaders Workshop addresses two areas: affordability in higher education and open as part of the solution to the affordability crisis. Workshop attendees will focus on how open resources can address the financial challenges of students and increase academic success. Participants will learn what open textbooks are, where they can find them, and how they can lead an initiative at a campus level.

The Wednesday, Oct. 7 workshop will guide faculty leaders in the review of materials and open textbook adoption process. It is recommended for faculty who teach courses using textbooks comparable to those found in the Open Textbook Library at

The Faculty Development Workshop addresses two areas: affordability in higher education and open as part of the solution to the affordability crisis. Workshop attendees will focus on how open resources can address the financial challenges of students and increase academic success. Participants will learn what open textbooks are, where they can find them, and what benefits they can bring to their classroom and their students. Faculty will be asked to engage with open textbooks by writing a brief review using an easy rubric that contributes to a peer-reviewed, credible online library of open textbooks (

The Thursday, Oct. 8 workshop will discuss technology, instructional design and integration of OER. It is recommended for distance education leaders and instructional designers. The Distance Education Workshop addresses two areas: affordability in higher education and open education as part of the solution to the affordability crisis. Workshop attendees will focus on understanding what open textbooks are, technology integration, faculty support and compliance.

Watch the Q & A with Spilovoy below for more information:


Enrollment holding steady throughout state

BSC, LRSC, NDSCS, MaSU, UND, VCSU and WSC all show increases

Seven colleges and universities throughout the North Dakota University System have shown growth for the fall 2015 semester. Bismarck State College, Lake Region State College, Mayville State University, North Dakota State College of Science, University of North Dakota, Valley City State University and Williston State College all showed increased enrollment over previous years according to the most recently-reported numbers.


Bismarck State College kept its place as the third largest college in the system with a reported student body of 4,078, an increase of two percent over the same time last year.
According to the college, enrollment of part-time students increased a total of five percent, which reflected the 27 percent spike in students considered early entry/dual credit.


Dakota College at Bottineau has seen a slight decrease in its student body since last year.
According to the most recent numbers, the official count for fall 2015 semester is 692 students, down from 753 last year at the same time – a decrease of about seven percent. College officials noted that about 200 students were enrolled in developmental courses, which help students prepare for college-level classes but that do not count toward enrollment numbers.


Dickinson State University indicated a fall 2015 enrollment that had dropped 11 percent to 1,317 students although other metrics have increased for the university.
According to the university report, those positive metrics showed that full-time students have increased eight percent from last year, and that for the first time in three years the freshman class is larger than the senior class.



Lake Region State College showed a slight increase over last year’s full-time enrollment numbers of 530 with a fall semester of 535 full-time students. According to the college report, total enrollment was 1,918, with a majority group of 1,383 being considered part-time students. That number decreased from last year.


Mayville State University has grown for the fourth straight year, with 1,110 students enrolled this semester. That number is a record high and a 47-percent increase in the student body since 2001. This year’s student body is a total of 29 more than last year.
University officials noted that the growth could spur further development in on-campus housing solutions.


Minot State University saw a slight decrease in official enrollment numbers since last year, although the census report indicated one positive change – first-year students enrolling at the university increased.
According to the university report, there were 3,348 students enrolled this year, down 1.8 percent overall from 3,410 last year. Officials noted that recruitment efforts resulting in the first-year group increasing in size had slowed the decline in student enrollment caused by the 2011 flooding.


North Dakota State College of Science has shown a student body of more than 3,000 for the fifth consecutive year. Additionally, its Fargo location has reported a 42-percent increase over the same time last year.
According to the campus report, NDSCS has 3,123 students enrolled in four groups: Wahpeton, Fargo, on-line and early entry. That’s up from 3,033 last year.


North Dakota State University indicated steady enrollment numbers for the fall 2015 semester, including the third-largest group of first-year, degree-seeking students in school history at 2,552. The number of degree-seeking graduate students also hit a record high with a 4.5 percent increase in doctoral students. Total enrollment is 14,516, down 1.6 percent from last year’s 14,747.


The University of North Dakota has registered its third largest enrollment in UND’s history, increasing its official fall headcount to 14,951 students, up from 14,906 at this time last year.
In addition, UND recruited its most academically prepared freshman class ever, as measured by average high school grade point averages (GPA) and ACT scores. UND’s new freshman class has an average GPA of 3.42 – the highest in the university’s history (up from 3.4 last year and 3.33 in 2012) and an average ACT score of 23.9 – also the highest in UND’s history (up from 23.8 last year and 23.5 three years ago).


Valley City State University set a record high enrollment for fall 2015 with a total student body headcount of 1,422. The previous record was hit in 2011 when the college had an enrollment of 1,384.
According to university officials, that record also corresponded to a record class of graduates this past spring.


Williston State College increased its enrollment for the second straight year with an increase of more than 17 percent from last year’s headcount with a total of 1,038 students enrolled for fall 2015.
College officials credit the increase to the school’s dual-credit program and the Williams County Scholarship, which was awarded to 344 students, or about one-third of the total student body. Freshman enrollment also increased by 26 percent over the previous year.

Campus Tours

This month, Chancellor Mark Hagerott completed the last scheduled stops on his “Listen and Learn” tour at NDUS colleges and universities. During those visits he was able to tour Dakota College at Bottineau, Lake Region State College, Mayville State University, North Dakota State College of Science, North Dakota State University, University of North Dakota and Valley City State University.

At DCB, Hagerott listens to representatives from the student senate.

At DCB, Hagerott listens to representatives from the student senate.

Hagerott heard much on the nursing program at LRSC.

Hagerott heard much on the nursing program at LRSC.

Among the tour stops at MaSU was the physical plant facility.

Among the tour stops at MaSU was the physical plant facility.

At MiSU, the chancellor spoke to the Board of Regents on his vision for the system. There he heard about the Regents' support for the Grow ND program.

At MiSU, the chancellor spoke to the Board of Regents on his vision for the system. There he heard about the Regents’ support for the Grow ND program.

Hagerott, President John Richman and others participate in the ribbon-cutting at NDSCS' Old Main.

Hagerott, President John Richman and others participate in the ribbon-cutting at NDSCS’ Old Main.

President Dean Bresciani provided updates to Hagerott on NDSU's student programs.

President Dean Bresciani provided updates to Hagerott on NDSU’s student programs.

UND Randy Eken, left, explains the new UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences to Chancellor Mark Hagerott, middle, and UND Vice President for Health Affairs and Dean Joshua Wynne, right.

UND Randy Eken, left, explains the new UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences to Chancellor Mark Hagerott, middle, and UND Vice President for Health Affairs and Dean Joshua Wynne, right.

The chancellor heard from staff, students and faculty at all colleges and universities, including his visit above to VSCU.

The chancellor heard from staff, students and faculty at all colleges and universities, including his visit above to VSCU.

NDUS students get access to ‘Read&Write’

After some testing took place at a few college and university campuses throughout North Dakota, a new support software option has been made available to all campuses within the university system.

Core Technology Services implemented the roll-out of the Read&Write software to coincide with the start of the Fall 2015 semester for the system’s more than 47,000 students. The $600 literacy and study software has been made available to students for free and it aids reading, writing, studying and researching. Documentation of the software notes that it is perfect for coursework support, helping in writing dissertations and regular student communication. Toolbar features offer services like Text-to-Speech, a picture dictionary, word prediction, digital highlighters and spell checking.

Pam Nielsen, procurement officer for CTS, said the software was available to all departments and campuses, not just for students, but also for faculty and staff. So far, Lake Region State College, North Dakota State University, Minot State University and the University of North Dakota have been the biggest users of the product.

“I believe the most important reason for implementing a software such as Read&Write is to help those student who struggle with reading, writing and comprehension,” Nielsen said. “These are the three most important skills a student needs in college.”

Although Read&Write could be utilized by anyone, it was specifically designed to aid those students who struggled with reading or writing, those with learning disabilities, English-as-a-Second-Language learners, first-generation college students, and adult learners who had to balance full-time jobs and families along with coursework.

Thousands of students have been able to access the software so far, as its cross-platform availability makes it an ideal solution for many needs. Students can use it at their desk, at their laptop, or load the software onto their tablet or phone to listen on-the-go.

According to Nielsen, another reason for implementation was to improve retention rates at the universities.

“A large percentage of these students do not know how or are reluctant to ask for help,” Nielsen said. “This often leads to students struggling and dropping out, which means lower retention and graduation rates.”

The system-wide rollout of the software was prompted to ensure that all students with disabilities were getting the same benefits, no matter what campus they attended. Read&Write literacy software is available for Windows and Mac-based desktop PCs, iPad and Android. Students should contact their local campus help desk to download the software.

Bismarck State College campus successes – August 2015

BSC presents symposium on the 1960s
“The ‘60s: Turmoil and Transformation” takes place Nov. 3-5 at BSC. Speakers include Pulitzer Prize winner Lawrence Wright, author Rick Perlstein on Nixon, journalist Andrew Chaikin on the space race, and documentary producer Lynn Novick and military historian Geoffrey Wawro on the Vietnam War. Entertainers include Bob Eubanks of “The Newlywed Game” and the New Christy Minstrels.


Holkup named outstanding adult instructor
Mark Holkup, associate professor of farm management education at Bismarck State College, received the 2015 Outstanding Adult Instructor Award from the North Dakota Association of Agricultural Educators.


BSC programs, faculty earn career and technical education awards
The North Dakota Association of Career and Technical Education named Associate Professor Vickie Volk as the Post-Secondary Teacher of the Year. BSC also earned Director’s Awards for Excellence from NDACTE in the areas of Business Education and Information Technology Education.

Dakota College at Bottineau campus successes – August 2015

Active shooter drill held

Dakota College at Bottineau along with Bottineau County Emergency Services coordinated a simulation that featured a lone gunman rampaging on campus two weeks before the student population arrived on campus. The exercise provided the campus and emergency response access to capabilities, plans, policies and procedures if such an event were to happen.


New face on campus

Jerry Migler, Ph.D., will begin his Campus Dean duties at Dakota College at Bottineau Sept 8.  Although familiar to the DCB Campus as a former student and instructor, he most recently served as vice president of academic affairs for Colorado Community College System. He brings a good background in the career and academic programs in 13 state community colleges as well as career and technical programs in more than 160 school districts and six other post-secondary institutions.


Nursing program offered at Minot

In collaboration with Minot State University and Trinity Health, Dakota College at Bottineau started a practical nursing program and associate degree nursing program in Minot during Fall 2015. Collectively, these two programs will provide nursing education and training to 14 students (five PN students and eight ADN students). Graduates from these programs will help Minot and the surrounding region address the critical shortage of nurses.

Dickinson State University campus successes – August 2015

Accreditation of Dickinson State University affirmed

Dickinson State University received a formal notification Aug. 5 that the Institutional Actions Council of the Higher Learning Commission has continued its accreditation of the institution with the next Reaffirmation of Accreditation in 2024-25. At its meeting July 27 the IAC took action to continue the accreditation of DSU with the HLC and in conjunction with this action, required interim monitoring. The monitoring will include a visit in year four focused on general education assessment, enrollment management, retention, and program integrity.


Pemberton invited to participate in roundtable event in NYC

Dickinson State University Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Cynthia Pemberton, has been invited by the American Council of Education and the TIAA-CREF Institute to participate in a national roundtable discussion concerning college affordability and pedagogical innovation. This event will bring together a group of higher education scholars, administrators and practitioners to discuss the topic of “Financial Data in Higher Education: Setting the Groundwork for Sustainability and Innovation.”


TR Center to publish images from Arizona Historical Society

The Theodore Roosevelt Center at Dickinson State University is publishing online images from the Arizona Historical Society. Materials in this collection include correspondence from Gutzon Borglum regarding the creation of Mount Rushmore, letters examining national politics, and items relating to the history of the Rough Riders. Letters in the collection highlight the value Roosevelt and his family placed on developing and preserving relationships.

Lake Region State College campus successes – August 2015

Precision Ag students make an impact

Students of the Precision Ag Club at Lake Region State College have spent the past spring and summer months planting and tending to a garden with the goal to donate the harvested produce to the Hope Center in Devils Lake. The Hope Center food pantry serves the needs of the Devils Lake Community. Early this spring, Winfield Ag Solutions and Land O’Lakes Foundation supported the club to purchase supplies to grow a variety of produce that would eventually be donated to the Hope Center.


Peace officers graduate

Two successful summer academies graduated more than 40 future police offers to the North Dakota law enforcement workforce. Students participated in summer academies in Grand Forks (a partnership between LRSC and Grand Forks area law enforcement) and Fargo (a partnership between LRSC and Fargo area law enforcement).  The Fargo summer academy has run since 2002 and the Grand Forks academy since 2010.

Mayville State University campus successes – August 2015

MaSU hosts open house at Dakota College at Bottineau

MaSU hosted an open house at Dakota College at Bottineau in August. The purpose was to highlight several educational opportunities offered by MaSU to students who wish to remain in the Bottineau area, while earning bachelor’s degrees. A recently developed memorandum of understanding between MaSU and DCB paves the way for a smooth transition.


MaSU named a “Best in the Midwest” college

MaSU is one of the best colleges in the Midwest according to The Princeton Review. The well-known education services company lists MaSU among its “Best in the Midwest” recommended schools in its “2016 Best Colleges: Region by Region” website feature. MaSU was selected for the list primarily in recognition of excellent academics.


MaSU SEA hosting Literacy Day for area children

The MaSU Student Education Association is hosting a Literacy Day for area elementary school-age children on Sept. 19. Children and their parents are invited to attend the event. The younger children who attend will explore with Pete the Cat, while the older children will learn about historic Medora, N.D.

Minot State University campus successes – August 2015

New leader welcomed to Western Plains Opera
Mark McQuade, associate professor of music, assumed leadership of Western Plains Opera, one of Minot State University’s premier arts organizations, this summer. A gifted musician, McQuade will direct as well as produce Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” in Ann Nicole Nelson Hall on Sept. 11 at 7:30 p.m. and Sept. 13 at 3 p.m.

WPO has built an established opera tradition within the region, beginning with “The Student Prince” in 1976. After leading WPO for 21 years, Kenneth Bowles, music professor, stepped down but remains chair of the MSU Division of Music. WPO also sponsors musicals and concerts of the Western Plains Children’s Chorus.


Business programs receive specialized accreditation

The International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education board of commissioners recently reaffirmed accreditation of business programs offered by Minot State University’s College of Business. IACBE granted accreditation to MSU’s business programs with no notes and one observation, a rare achievement.

The business programs in the following degrees are accredited by IACBE: Master of Science in information systems, Master of Science in management and Bachelor of Science with majors in accounting, energy economics and finance, finance, international business, management, management information systems and marketing. Accreditation represents a continuing relationship between an institution and its accrediting organization. The College of Business’ accreditation is valid for a maximum of seven years, through July 2022.

North Dakota State College of Science campus successes – August 2015

New partnership adds Mopar CAP LOCAL program option at NDSCS

Representatives from NDSCS, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3) recently announced a new partnership resulting in the addition of a Mopar CAP LOCAL program option to the NDSCS Automotive Technology department. Thanks to the College’s membership with NC3, NDSCS will be one of the first 11 colleges to offer this exclusive training.


Bang appointed National Council for Workforce Education President

NDSCS Dean of Technologies and Services Barbara Bang was recently named President of the National Council for Workforce Education (NCWE). In this capacity, Bang will also serve as a representative for the Commission on Economic and Workforce Development for the American Association of Community Colleges. Her 1-year term as NCWE President began on July 1, 2015.


NDSCS announces summer President’s Honor List

The North Dakota State College of Science has named eight students to its summer semester 2015 President’s Honor List. The Honor List recognizes students who have achieved grade point averages of 3.5 or higher while taking at least 12 credit hours.

North Dakota State University campus successes – August 2015

Student innovators invited to the White House

Three NDSU student innovators were invited to the first-ever White House Demo Day on August 4. Andy Dalman, Jordan Brummond and Drew Spooner had the opportunity to talk about their innovation successes at the national event that recognized and encouraged young innovators.


MBA program increases access

NDSU has updated its Master of Business Administration program to meet the changing needs of companies and working professionals. In addition, as an extension of the Bakken U initiative and an illustration of the initiative’s practicality, the program is using teleconferencing technology that makes it possible for students anywhere to participate in classes held in Fargo.


New learning center focuses on student success in math

NDSU’s new Math Emporium Learning Center focuses on student success in math. It is designed to accommodate different learning styles and to give students structured practice and feedback. It provides a higher level of personalized instruction than traditional lecture formats and helps students develop study skills that are transferrable to other courses.

University of North Dakota campus successes – August 2015

UND’s Okerlund named tops in advising

The University of North Dakota Student Involvement & Leadership Coordinator Kristi Okerlund received “The Excellence in Advising Award” at the National Mortar Board Conference on Aug. 1 in Phoenix for going above and beyond in her work with UND’s Mortar Board Chapter and the organization as a whole.


UND business programs ranked nationally

The University of North Dakota College of Business & Public Administration was just named one of the best places overall to receive a Masters of Business Administration degree in a recent Top-50 ranking. This followed another recent ranking that put UND’s online MBA program at No. 1 for affordability.


UND graduates first Doctor of Nursing Practice students

The first six students to receive the University of North Dakota’s Doctor of Nursing Practice degree graduated in August. The achievement is significant in helping the state address a shortage of health care delivery professionals — advanced practice nurses, physicians, nurses, and aides — among many others.

Valley City State University campus successes – August 2015

Wintch joins VCSU as VP of business affairs

Wesley Wintch has joined the VCSU administrative team as vice president of business affairs (VPBA). As VPBA, Wintch will direct the university’s efforts in financial management and reporting, budgeting, campus planning, facilities and risk management, safety and security, human resources and payroll, and grants and contracts. Wintch comes to Valley City from Avalon Hills Health Care Programs in Logan, Utah, where he served as controller and senior business director. He holds an MBA from Brigham Young University.


Da Vinha attends political research conference in Montreal

Luis da Vinha, VCSU assistant professor of geography and political science, attended the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) General Conference 2015 held in Montreal, Canada, Aug. 26–29. Da Vinha presented a paper, “The Carter Administration’s Emergent Policy in the Middle East: Assessing Foreign Policy Change through an Emergent Change Approach,” and chaired the panel on interstate and intrastate conflicts.


President Mason to be inaugurated Oct. 1

Tisa Mason will be inaugurated as Valley City State University’s 13th president on Thursday, Oct. 1, at 3 p.m. in W.E. Osmon Fieldhouse on the VCSU campus. The inauguration coincides with VCSU’s homecoming, as well as the university’s 125th anniversary celebration.

Williston State College campus successes – August 2015

Enrollment Surge

WSC is experiencing a significant enrollment surge. FTE/Headcount has increased 41.6 percent and 38.8 percent respectively YTD.  Enrollment growth is a result of the Williams County Scholarship (~20 percent) and the economic slowdown (~10 percent).



Williston Parks and Recreation District has partnered with Williston State College to provide the Tetons with an on-campus fastpitch softball field by the 2016 season. This is the second time this year that WPRD has stepped up to provide WSC a new home for the Tetons. Earlier this year, WPRD offered the Raymond Center as the home for the 2015-2016 hockey season.


Historical Reenactments

Dr. Raymond Nadolny, WSC President will participate as a period piece re-enactor when Fort Union hosts its Last Bell Tour during Living History Weekend over Labor Day Weekend, September 5-7.

Richard Stenberg, Associate Professor of History & Political Science at WSC has again written the reenactment script. Stenberg has been a Park Ranger at Fort Union in his summers for over twenty seasons.

Looking forward

Neset mugshotThe 2015/2016 academic year has begun, and we at the State Board of Higher Education are excited about the opportunity it will bring for students throughout our system.

Earlier this year, our new Chancellor, Mark Hagerott, was selected to take the helm of the North Dakota University System. Dr. Hagerott comes to us with an extensive background of leadership and academic background, as well as an open mind for the work that will need to be done moving forward.

Mark demonstrated that openness early on by meeting with North Dakota’s senators and representatives to listen and learn about their respective concerns on topics affecting higher education in our great state. He continued that directive by meeting with business and community leaders, and with higher education stakeholders throughout our state. Sitting down with other members of leadership before making any decisions shows that he’s willing to include all perspectives in his decision-making process.

His first day came on the heels of four new members coming on to the Board. Nick Hacker, Brett Johnson, Mike Ness and Greg Stemen bring a wealth of experience and have shown a deep understanding about higher education. I have every confidence that they will bring their respective outlooks from the public and private sector to bear to make decisions that benefit the system and all its stakeholders.

This also comes at a time when I’ve taken on the role of Chair. I’m grateful for the opportunity and will say that relevant discussions and thoughtful decision-making will mark the way forward for all leadership within higher education, whether members of leadership are new to their roles or come with an experienced background in higher education. Either way, we all want to be part of the Board and play a role in charting the future of higher education in North Dakota.

There are challenges facing the system. While there are a few times each year where we can take the time to celebrate our successes – commencement ceremonies, scholarship and fellowship announcements, new program offerings or high achievement from students and staff – it’s important to take note of where we could improve, and how. That’s important to me in the private sector, and it has to be important to us in public service, as well. After all, if you’re not offering something that stands out in a world full of options, those you serve will go elsewhere.

Some of those challenges in the past have revolved around audit tracking, the sharing of services and keeping communications as open as possible. We feel that our efforts have resulted in great strides forward so far, even as we’ve noted how much further we could go.

Those of us who’ve been on the Board for a bit and those who are new to it, as well as Chancellor Hagerott, are all aware that it is our duty to keep proceedings as open as possible, especially when decisions are being made. That will certainly ring true in the near future with searches ongoing for Dickinson State University and University of North Dakota presidents. But, clarity and accessibility of communication isn’t just reserved for major decisions, but for all topics that affect our system, our stakeholders, and most importantly, our students.

I’m looking forward to what the future will bring, not just in the expected celebrations that we hold each academic year, but in meeting the challenges we face as a system and its governing Board. And I know I speak for the other Board members when I say they look forward to meeting these challenges, too.

Energizing the System

Mark Hagerott - North Dakota University System Chancellor

Mark Hagerott – North Dakota University System Chancellor

Fall semester is fully back in swing at all of North Dakota’s 11 colleges and universities, and I’d like to take the time to say, “Welcome!” Welcome to all our new freshmen. Welcome to our international students and those who’ve transferred here from out-of-state, or from private schools. And welcome back to all our thousands of returning students! The 2015/2016 school year holds promise for us all.

The North Dakota University System and State Board of Higher Education have been working through the summer break to ensure that our system is running smoothly and efficiently so that all our students are given the best education possible. We’ve also been working on some tasks that seek to make the system more inclusive, at the same time that we’re working to make sure it adheres to the highest standards set for higher education.

One larger, immediate strategic task is in facilitating educational opportunities for workers who face a slowed economy in the western part of the state, and in finalizing details for the upcoming visit from the Higher Learning Commission. It requires diligence on our part, and when successfully completed, will mean great things for the system and for the state.

The task is an initiative that we’re referring to as “Bakken U” and is focused on the five colleges and universities in the west. Bismarck State College, Dakota College at Bottineau, Dickinson State University, Minot State University and Williston State College are all focal points for this initiative, as they’ve been greatly affected by the oil boom and hold the likeliest educational opportunities for oil patch workers finding themselves looking for just that.

So it’s an exciting and energizing time.

Additionally, our teams within the system have been working toward implementing many standardized processes, beginning the long conversation about re-energizing our hard work to increase freshmen retention, and creating more options or opportunities for the sharing of services among campuses. That’s not to mention the two presidential searches that are ongoing at opposite ends of the state at DSU and the University of North Dakota.

As part of my listening tours around the state, I’ve had a great opportunity to hear from community leaders already. In particular, my takeaways from those listening sessions have allowed me to learn that state leaders want the system to work in cooperation with the legislature and with the business community, want to see increases in efficiency and want students to graduate faster and with less debt. Additionally, they’d like to see more graduates to help fill the tens of thousands of open positions, and for them to stay in the state for the long haul.

I feel fortunate to have heard numerous perspectives so far from the many stakeholders of our system – from lawmakers to business leaders to the students themselves – and I reflect on those perspectives often in the process of finalizing decisions on behalf of our system. I’m looking forward to learning more in my upcoming visits to the campuses, and to once again see the excitement and energy of our college and universities back in action for their Fall semesters.

CTS aims for exponential management with P3/M

Planning, Procurement and Project Management helps standardization process

In an effort to create a smoother, more efficient and ultimately cost effective experience for all stakeholders, North Dakota University System has put in place numerous projects in the past year to ensure the most standardized system possible. With many projects falling into the realm of Core Technology Services, project managers needed to be brought in to hold oversight over broad and sometimes overlapping initiatives.

In came Dirk Huggett, the associate director of P3/M, who’s been doing project management since ’99. Huggett first worked with the state of North Dakota providing large project oversight and performing special projects. That experience made him the right choice to oversee projects at CTS.

According to him, in the last year there were eight major strategic projects to accomplish, with five completed so far. More tasks remain on the operational outlook.

“There were 21 large projects that were tactical or operational in nature and many of these consisted of multiple sub-projects,” Huggett said. “We completed nine of the projects while others have part of the sub-projects completed. In many cases, enterprise system installation of projects requires us to implement the system first and then sub-projects may consist of onboarding each institution.”

Other shorter-term projects were also underway, everything from installation of updates to modifications and patches that happen regularly throughout the year. With different projects come different missions and scopes. All eight strategic projects held system-wide implications, as did 19 of the operational projects. The remaining two of those were specific to the University of North Dakota.

Depending on the project, teams can range from a few to all-hands-on-deck. “The ImageNow migration team is three CTS staff, one consultant with some additional support staff, and 2-3 campus staff,” Huggett said. “The consolidation project will need hundreds of staff across CTS and all campuses.”

The three looming major tasks to complete will address functional consolidation, data inconsistencies and predictive analytics reporting.

According to Huggett, the first was a standardization of sorts required by the legislature. Within the next two years, CTS will analyze its systems to determine which will be migrated to the NDUS/CTS data center and which will stay on individual campuses. Huggett says the project was underway with Williston State College.

The second project, which deals with data inconsistencies, was also legislatively mandated, requiring all campuses to utilize a consistent policy for certain data elements, he said. That process involves about one year for planning and policy changes and one year to implement technical changes.

The last project has begun to move forward with a signed contract with Predictive Analytic Reporting Framework, which will aim to provide insight pertaining to student success.. The framework has been in place for more than a year at UND, and PAR will provide the System’s institutions with “the ability to analyze existing de-identified student record data using descriptive, inferential, and predictive analyses to create benchmarks, institutional predictive models and to connect student success interventions to predictor behaviors.” Huggett added that the information we collect from this type of analysis will help drive informed institutional decisions and direction to better serve our students.

Each of those major strategic projects can help fit the State Board of Higher Education’s long-term vision of standardization. Some efforts to standardize things are well underway, with centralized systems for finance, human resources and some student services in place. Other efforts, like centralized or standardized IT solutions, made a lot of sense for a state with a large geographical area and small population.

“Centralized and/or standard IT systems is the only way we can afford to ensure all of our campuses are competitive,” Huggett said. “One important factor for our students is the ability to take courses from other campuses, no matter what campus they are based out of. It is important to try and give those collaborative students as seamless of an experience as much as possible.”

Further consolidation for some IT systems, as mandated by the legislature, will increase that standardization. With such a large scope of projects to pursue, details could vary wildly throughout each process of standardization. One example Huggett provided was in the current roll-out of the time and labor module for the PeopleSoft system.

“CTS has a team of business and program analysts working with members of the campus user groups,” he said. “Our steering committee includes a member of a research institution, a four-year campus and a two-year campus. These individuals will determine what business process are going to be adopted by the institutions to promote data consistency and reporting accuracy as these modules are rolled out.

“We plan to use a similar structure for the data inconsistencies project,” he continued. “We already have a great user group base to build upon. I believe we will ultimately see some form of Enterprise Architecture process to help coordinate standardizations. This is going to be an on-going process. Since a new IT product will fit someone’s business need, we will want a process where we can look at that product and see if the need is unique or if other campuses have a similar need. If the need is applicable across multiple campuses, we need to be able to quickly pull a team of subject matter experts together to identify the right product that will fit everyone’s needs.”

He added that standardization would ultimately provide consistency to all students throughout the system, in a cost-effective manner.

To put all that in place requires a standardized tool, or set of tools. For all CTS employees, that is the Work Management System, a tool used to coordinate all work throughout the organization. According to Huggett, it contains a project management module for teams to manage project tasks on both enterprise and operational projects and, a “ticket” system to manage break/fix issues and work requests.

“These are tied together with a resource management module to assign staff to the tasks,” he said. “The system also allows us to track time for projects and tasks. This will provide CTS with data to determine where we have resource constraints, manage the project portfolio, and provide better data on the true cost of each of our systems and projects.

“Our ultimate goal is to improve our service to campuses and the students,” he concluded. “We also want to provide clear justification for the cost of our services. An additional goal is to, over time, get a more accurate determination of the time it takes to implement projects of a similar nature and to position projects in the portfolio based on available resources to complete a project.

A side benefit is knowing that when a high priority project needs to be fit into the portfolio, what impacts that will have on projects either already in progress or planned to be implemented during the new project’s anticipated timeframe.”