Monthly Archives: January 2017

Mayville State University campus successes – January

MaSU hosts inservice activities for area K-12 teachers and administrators

The Mayville Area Teacher Center sponsored a professional development event at MaSU on Jan. 16. Keynote speakers Debbie Silver and Bob Upgren, sponsored by the RRVEC, shared stories, techniques, and ideas for the 260 K-12 educators and administrators from eight area schools who attended. Members of a mental health panel discussed the dangers of opioids.


MaSU writing center is important component in student success

The MaSU writing center provides trained staff who look at individual assignments, working with students one-one-one. The center is directed by Dr. Erin Lord Kunz, who is assisted by student staff members who come from diverse educational backgrounds and specialize in looking at writing from all academic disciplines. Statistics show the center was well-used by students in the fall semester.


Rhonda Nelson, MaSU assistant professor of business, graduates from women’s leadership program

Rhonda Nelson was among 17 graduates of the 2016 Center for Technology & Business (CTB) Greater Fargo Area Women’s Leadership Program. The six-month program is dedicated to building a culture of women empowering women in North Dakota, with the goal of increasing skills in personal leadership, professional leadership, community leadership, and health leadership.

Minot State University campus successes – January

MSU and LRSC partner to offer new degree

Representatives from Minot State University, Lake Region State College and the North Dakota School for the Deaf/Resource Center for Deaf/Hard of Hearing signed a Memorandum of Understanding Nov. 18. A Bush Foundation Grant with a match from the Higher Ed Challenge Fund will assist in the development of a program to increase access for deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals.
An innovative “2+2” program enables students to complete an Associate of Applied Science degree in American Sign Language and interpreting studies with LRSC and then transfer to Minot State to complete the Bachelor of Applied Science degree in interpreting and sign language studies.


NDUS awards minigrants for training related to veterans’ education

Andy Heitkamp, Veterans Center director, and Rebecca Ringham, registrar, received North Dakota University System minigrants on behalf of the Midwest Higher Education Compact through the state’s participation in the Multistate Collaborative for Military Credit with funding from the Lumina Foundation and USA Funds.
Ringham organized a statewide training on options available to NDUS institutions in managing the educational benefits of veterans, service members and their families. Heitkamp coordinated training for faculty, administrators and others involved in the evaluation of military training and experiences for the award of credit toward a degree.


Walter Piehl artwork honors Gov. Burgum’s inauguration

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum and First Lady Kathryn Helgass Burgum commissioned Walter Piehl, North Dakota visual artist and Minot State University art professor, in December to commemorate his inauguration with a painting. Piehl created a mixed media artwork recognizing the state and its history.

An old North Dakota map from MSU’s Division of Social Science was combined with reproductions of George Catlin and Karl Bodmer paintings to create a collage background. With his expressionistic painting style, Piehl painted a sole American bison over the top of the collage background.

The couple had a giclee (ink jet) print made in a limited edition of the painting. The prints were given to Burgum’s friends at inaugural events. Piehl received artist proofs of the print, and he presented one to MSU President Steven Shirley.

North Dakota State University campus successes – January

NDSU School of Nursing named Center of Excellence

The NDSU School of Nursing has been named a primary Cadet Command Nursing Center of Excellence by the Army ROTC program. The designation was awarded based on quality indicators, such as exam pass rates, accreditation, cumulative GPAs at graduation and classroom versus clinical experience. It means students in the NDSU program are given priority for nursing scholarships from the U.S. Army Cadet Command.


Competition challenges graduate students to communicate research

The NDSU Graduate School is scheduled to host the third annual Three Minute Thesis Competition Feb. 1. Graduate students from a variety of disciplines explain the goals and value of their research in terms relevant to government officials, media, future employers and funding organizations. They have three minutes to make their case.


Writing competition recognizes work of student writers

Students from across the university are submitting academic, professional, creative and foreign language writing to the W-Challenge writing competition. The competition is one of the ways NDSU recognizes and celebrates the breadth and quality of writing produced by undergraduates as they develop communication skills for their lives and careers.

University of North Dakota campus successes – January

UND Accepts Invitations to Join The Summit League, Missouri Valley Football Conference

The University of North Dakota has accepted an invitation to join The Summit League beginning with the 2018-19 academic year and the Missouri Valley Football Conference beginning with the 2020-2021 academic year.  “This is an important move for UND Athletics and for our fans,” said UND President Mark Kennedy said. “We have appreciated our time in the Big Sky Conference and we thank our friends in that conference for their hospitality and the opportunity to have competed against some excellent teams.  But we are excited to renew long-treasured rivalries in joining many of our former conference companions in The Summit League and the Missouri Valley Football Conference.  We look forward to competitions that are closer to home, which will allow our fans to attend more away games, and we look forward to hosting our long-time rivals and their fans in Grand Forks.”


UND Aerobatic Team wins 9th Consecutive Championship; UND Students take 1st and 2nd Place in Individual Awards

For the ninth consecutive year, the University of North Dakota Aerobatic Team has won the International Aerobatic Club (IAC) Collegiate National Championship Team Award.  Additionally, UND students captured four of the top five spots—including first and second place—for pilots competing for the Individual Collegiate Champion Awards.  Patrick Mills ranked 1st, James Jacobson finished 2nd in his first season, and Alexander Volberding and Christiaan Schrimpf placed 4th and 5th, respectively, overall among collegiate pilots flying in the Sportsman category or higher.


UND’s Seames named as Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors

The University of North Dakota’s Wayne Seames was recently elected as a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).  Seames, a Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering, is North Dakota’s first NAI fellow.  He was nominated by Michael Moore, associate vice president for intellectual property commercialization & economic development.  In his selection announcement, Paul Sanberg, NAI President stated, “The NAI Fellows Selection Committee has chosen Dr. Seames for induction as he has demonstrated a highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating outstanding inventions that have the potential to make a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and welfare of society. Congratulations on this great achievement and recognition as a truly prolific academic inventor.”

Valley City State University Campus Successes – January

VCSU online programs earn U.S. News recognition

Valley City State University’s online graduate education and bachelor’s degree programs have earned national recognition in the 2017 U.S. News Best Online Program rankings. In the Best Online Graduate Education Program rankings, VCSU is ranked 47th of 275 schools evaluated. VCSU offers two online master’s degree programs in education—the Master of Education (M.Ed.) program and the Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) program. In the 2017 Best Online Bachelor’s Program rankings, VCSU is ranked 148th of 306 evaluated schools. Online bachelor’s degree programs at VCSU include business education, business process integration management, career and technical education, communication, English education, history education, music, and technology education.


Wirth named to Prairie Business ‘40 Under 40’ list

Jamie Wirth, Ph.D., director of the Great Plains STEM Education Center at Valley City State University, was named to Prairie Business magazine’s December 2016 “40 Under 40” list, which recognizes 40 of the top business professionals under the age of 40 in the Dakotas and western Minnesota. Wirth, also an assistant professor of mathematics at VCSU, has directed the efforts of the Great Plains STEM Education Center (GPSEC) since January 2015. GPSEC offers professional development workshops for teachers and STEM activities for K-12 students and parents, along with curriculum support for STEM educators.


VCSU Science Department begins seminar series

Sam Keasler, Ph.D., VCSU assistant professor of chemistry, spoke on “Computer Simulation of Atmospheric Aerosol Formation” on Friday, Jan. 27 in Rhoades Science Center. Keasler talked about his work with a series of computer simulations which help identify conditions that promote aerosol formation. These simulations have shown that the presence of charged particles, particularly negatively charged particles, makes the formation of aerosols substantially more favorable. The presentation was the first session in the VCSU Science Department’s new seminar series, highlighting research accomplishments by VCSU science students and faculty, and by external speakers from around the region.

Williston State College Campus Successes – January

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Just when you think its not possible for Regional and Williams County Graduate (WCG) Scholarship recipients to receive anything else, the Williston State College Foundation provides another scholarship to offset the expense of housing.

For the next three years beginning Fall 2017, students attending WSC as part of the Regional or WCG Scholarship can apply for the Regional County Housing Scholarship to receive $1,000 per semester to live in Frontier Hall.


Pumping Unit Donated to TrainND

XTO Energy, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, has donated a pumping unit to TrainND-Northwest to expand its instructional capabilities. Sandblasted and painted, the pumping unit now housed in the high bay of TrainND’s facility is part of a smaller version of a working field site.


Bakken U Scholarships Awarded at WSC

This fall, the WSC Foundation generously donated five $1,000 scholarships to displaced or current oil field workers/spouses as part of the NDUS Bakken U Scholarship Program.

Strengthening education through collaboration

Neset Bio 2016America is a country of individualists. It’s in our national character, our national spirit, and is encoded in our founding documents. Even such notions as the “pursuit of happiness” point to an individualistic outlook that our country, states and people have wholly embraced. It’s not without purpose or value.

But there are times in life, and business, and academia when it’s important to build on the individual’s work in a way that strengthens it further. We can see it in our households when mom, dad and the kids all pitch in on housework. We do it through teams with mixed skill sets that combine those skills for a common goal. We see it through interagency cooperation and private/public partnerships.

It’s collaboration, and it often results in a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. And it’s been a watchword at the State Board of Higher Education and the North Dakota University System for some time now.

That collaboration can come into being in different ways, for students, faculty, staff, and for the colleges and universities themselves. For students, it can manifest through study partners and classroom groups that allow a teamwork ideal to flourish in what could be a first major way in their young lives. For faculty or staff, it can come about through campus working groups for localized projects or through systemwide councils that aim to implement, or improve, policy on behalf of all. For our colleges and universities it can look like one of the dozens of memorandums of understanding or agreements which allow resources to be shared to deliver cross-campus programs.

All of those significantly aid our individual efforts, because they prove that through teamwork, anything can be accomplished. Individual efforts are vital to individual success, yet more collaborative efforts aid us all in ways that strengthen our campuses, system and state.

Which is one reason we on the Board looked forward to working with the Interim Legislative Higher Education Committee between the regular 64th and 65th Legislative Sessions. Taking that opportunity afforded us a unique chance at working closely with our state lawmakers on how – and at times, why – our higher education system needed to go forward.

I personally believe that those opportunities helped build trust between the two bodies, and I’m looking forward to a continued, open collaboration now that session is in full swing at the North Dakota State Capitol.

That collaborative element has also been thriving through initiatives like Bakken U and Envision 2030. Both began as ideas from the system level which are now moving forward thanks to teamwork. For the former, that’s come about through brainstorming and partnerships among our five western colleges and universities. For the latter, it involves ongoing discussions with legislators and Advisory Teams of public and private stakeholder groups throughout the state.

In gathering together diverse perspectives in focused efforts, I believe we can solve any challenge. When we do face these challenges, then it won’t just be the teams who are responsible for any success, but the individuals who are creditable for the hard work.

That, I think, represents the best part of collaboration: it allows us to highlight our individual strengths in new, team-driven ways, which nearly always serves to make us stronger as system, and a state.

Board hears tenure feedback

State Board of Higher Education reviews policy on termination notification


A policy that would affect reporting requirements for employee termination generated significant comment when the State Board of Higher Education met last week.

Policy 605.3, which deals with nonrenewal, termination or dismissal of faculty, generated extensive public comment from faculty who had connected to the meeting via Interactive Video Network. The policy change was proposed in order to offer campuses more flexibility over personnel decisions in advance of further potential budget cuts. Currently, tenured faculty are given one-year notice in the case of termination. The policy change would modify that to a minimum of 90-days.

Chancellor Mark Hagerott began the conversation by acknowledging that the faculty are a precious resource for numerous reasons, and the discussion to implement the potential change had not been undertaken lightly.

“Faculty are the bedrock of the university system,” he said, noting that financial pressures facing the system amounted to a budget crisis that is likely the largest shock to higher education in the state since the 30s. He noted that is the reason for the accelerated policy change. “This is just a tool to shift to a higher level of flexibility for colleges. If, for the financial stability of an institution a program has to be terminated, then it needs the flexibility to adjust quickly.”

Hagerott emphasized that the 90-day notification period was a minimum, and campuses had latitude in how to use it.

Board Chair Kathleen Neset echoed Hagerott’s sentiment about faculty being vital to campus success, and opened discussion for faculty to speak their concerns. Each campus’ representation told personal and professional stories about what this change would mean for them. Among the concerns most prevalent were how the proposed 90-day termination notification window was a radical departure from the current one-year notice. Many faculty noted that such a change would detract from faculty recruiting efforts, which would lower the quality of instruction over time. Additionally, many faculty members noted how moving to a 90-day reporting requirement would be disruptive to the 12-month hiring cycle standard to higher education.

Nick Archuleta, president of North Dakota United, spoke on strong opposition to the policy revision. He said it would have dire and unintended consequences that would hollow the workforce in the state.

Board faculty adviser Ernst Pijning said that for faculty, the most important thing is to preserve the institutions of higher education and to meet the needs of students. He said the potential change was “bad policy, because it will not help to retain and recruit faculty on the long term, and therefore discontinue important academic programs and research.”

Board Member Kevin Melicher stated that it would be important to evaluate personnel costs, as they made up a large percentage of expenditures, although he wasn’t sure this policy was the best way forward.

Board Member Greg Stemen said he sympathized with faculty, and understood that this was a change that could make it hard for many. He stated that the policy was not a reflection of how the system or the Board viewed faculty, and if changed the 90-day allowable timeframe wouldn’t necessarily become the new standard.

“We’re in a position where all things have to be on the table,” he said. “It would be great to have viable alternatives, rather than just say that it’s unacceptable.”

Board Member Mike Ness said faculty was the lifeblood of the system, and that while the budget situation was dire, any policy implemented needed to be done right.

Board Member Kari Reichert noted that student success was the ultimate goal of everyone within the university system, and was facilitated by faculty.

Student Member Nick Evans said from a student perspective, the implications could be disastrous for faculty and students. He said he was not completely opposed to hearing options, but the policy could be considered a sweeping policy change and should be considered a last resort.

Eric Murphy, president of the Council of College Faculty, said a compromise going forward could be a 180-day notice. He said most faculty realized that if financial exigency occurred, that would be a dire situation.

The original motion was amended to allow the formation of a hybrid committee consisting of those sitting on the Academic Affairs Committee and Budget and Finance Committee to address the topic in more detail before the second reading next month.

Next in the meeting, the Board also reviewed core course admission standards for North Dakota State University and University of North Dakota. Ness noted that the concern educators had run into was that at the high school level, students were unable to fit Career and Tech education or arts-related courses into their schedules because of strict core course admissions requirements at NDSU and UND. Proposed changes would include reversing the ramp-up of the core requirements, or allowing a CTE course to count toward the requirements.

Numerous budget and finance recommendations were reviewed as well. The first was from Minot State University on a renovation project in the Gordon B. Olson Library, increased authority for completion of the bubble project, and increased authority for the Facility Building. Additionally, the Board approved three recommendations from NDSU, including authorizing a fundraising campaign for a seed cleaning facility, renovation of lavatories, and reconstruction of parking lots.

Academic and Student Affairs Committee recommendations heard by the Board included the following new programs: a minor in food science and technology at NDSU, an undergraduate certificate in diversity and inclusion and UND, and a minor in film studies at MiSU. Program terminations included a minor in coaching at NDSU, both a bachelor of science and bachelor of arts in German education at NDSU, and a minor in speech communication education at NDSU. One other item was both an organizational and name change, moving the B.A. in geology from the College of Arts and Science to a B.S. in earth science at the College of Engineering and Mines. All recommendations were approved.

The Board also held the first readings of Policy 302.5 (governance committee of SBHE); as well as the second readings of Policy 402.9 (admission policies – new international students) and Policy 407.0 (reverse transfer). All were approved.

Chief of Staff Lisa Feldner then gave the Board an update on legislative items that involved education or higher education currently under legislative review.

The next Board meeting is scheduled to take place Feb. 23 at Bismarck State College.

Working together for the good of all students

To maximize the strengths of a system, the State Board of Higher Education has prioritized strategies that tie into system-wide task forces that have been working hard to see collaboration and shared services a reality in order to meet affordability goals. Shared services bring the Board’s commitment to financial responsibility to fruition.


Academic collaboration

Some of those steps have already been put in place through efforts like collaborative learning and the implementation of Predictive Analytic Reporting. Other ideas will be implemented through time as we continue conversations through the Envision 2030 initiative.

During the strategic planning process, business leaders wanted to focus on being fast and flexible in the delivery of our educational offerings, which is vital for both the students and changing needs of the workforce. The institutions of the North Dakota University System have committee to deliver methods that provide the classes students want, when and where they need them. Through the use of distance technology, NDUS schools are able to share faculty expertise with each other and the communities of North Dakota. Our institutions pay attention to the job needs of communities and collaborate to deliver in high demand areas, such as nursing. With more collaborative efforts on the horizon, that number will allow more students to access our academic programs than ever before.


Meeting workforce needs

A recent implementation of collaborative programing in the fall of 2015 will help address workforce needs. Bismarck State College and North Dakota State College of Science launched a Pharmacy Tech program partnership to help deliver valuable job training to interested students. The program includes face-to-face general education classes at BSC combined with video format for NDSCS classes. The collaborative program includes classroom time, laboratory time and practical experience that has resulted in a 100-percent placement rate.

One of the tools that was implemented to aid student success system wide was through Predictive Analytics Reporting. In its 2015-17 budget, the Board included funds to help move PAR forward as a way to predict and guide student success. This powerful, data-driven tool has become essential for progressing NDUS toward its goals of increased retention and graduation rates. PAR is a multi-institutional data mining collaborative that brings together two-year, four-year, public, proprietary, traditional and progressive institutions to identify common points of student loss and to find effective practices that improve student retention in U.S. higher education.


Technical collaboration

Further efforts have been made to increase technical collaboration. Core Technology Services, the organization within the university system that provides IT services for the system, has elevated collaboration to create efficiencies of process and standardized data systems throughout the 11 colleges and universities.

One notable milestone in collaboration and accountability was the creation of the strategic plan’s “NDUS Dashboards,” which serve as public repositories for data related to higher education in North Dakota. The Dashboards were launched to replace a yearly, static document on accountability measures with a far more dynamic, analytics tool online. Now anyone can look up the most current information through Dashboards.


Shared services as a unified system

Academic collaboration is a constant focus across the system. Numerous memoranda-of-understandings have placed dozens of formal agreements in place. For instance, Dickinson State University and Minot State University each provide bachelor degree opportunities for Bismarck State College students. Similar agreements exist between North Dakota State College of Science and North Dakota State University, and between Mayville State University and University of North Dakota. Other offerings, like the Dakota Nursing Program, create an academic training consortium where nurse faculty at one institution can help train nursing students at another. New collaborative programs are announced each semester, all with one common goal in mind – to deliver the programs that students need, when and where they need them.

In addition to the strategic look the Board takes of the long-term of higher education in North Dakota, the Chancellor’s Cabinet has undertaken six studies on the topics of Governance, Cost Containment, Mission, Tuition and Fees, Shared Services, and Retention, which will seek out new ways to streamline the system.


System-wide initiatives: PAR (predictive analytics reporting), Starfish, StageNET, PeopleSoft, Campus Connection, Tegrity, iDashboards, Community College marketing awareness, Title IX training, Fraud training, SPOL, Arts & Humanities summit, AppliTrack, THD (housing software), CoCo (student discipline software), Notifind, Imagenow.

Examples of North Dakota institutions working together to meet the goal of collaboration and shared services:

  1. The TREND (Training for Regional Energy in ND) grant that is administered by Bismarck State College (BSC) and connects two ND University System campuses along with three tribal colleges. This is a U.S. Department of Labor grant that includes BSC, Williston State College (WSC), Turtle Mountain Community College (TMCC), Sitting Bull College (SBC), and Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College (NHSC).
  2. Mayville State University (MaSU) has a full-time employee housed on the Lake Region State College (LRSC) campus for partnership-degree delivery in teacher education and business.
  3. The Launch! Program in Grand Forks between LRSC and University of North Dakota (UND) for students who are not immediately admitted to UND, but can start by enrolling through LRSC and taking a combination of LRSC and UND courses.
  4. INBRE (IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence): UND and North Dakota State University (NDSU) work with predominantly undergraduate institutions and tribal colleges to initiate competitive, sustainable research programs and increase the number of students in ND who are prepared to pursue advanced education in the biomedical sciences.
  5. Northern Information Technology Consortium (WSC, LRSC, TMCC, Dakota College at Bottineau, Minot State University). The purpose of NITC is to provide collaborative, cross-listed IT courses in an effort to maintain IT program viability and increase efficiency of a historically high-cost program.
  6. Dakota Nursing Program (BSC, LRSC, DCB, WSC). Courses are delivered face-to-face and via IVN to provide one-year and two-year nursing options in the following communities through the doctor of nursing program: Bismarck, Harvey, Hazen, Devils Lake, Grand Forks, Mayville, Williston, New Town, Bottineau, Minot, Rugby and Valley City.
  7. The recently launched consortium for mental health services between WSC, LRSC, and DCB will provide more cost-efficient coverage and utilize IVN.

Workforce Advisory Council Releases Needs and Gaps Report

The North Dakota Workforce Education Advisory Council (WEAC) has released a new report assessing workforce development needs and gaps across the state. The report was prepared for the State Board of Higher Education, North Dakota University System, North Dakota Department of Public Instruction and the State Legislature. It identifies current workforce education needs and gaps for industries identified as economic drivers of North Dakota’s economy in the future, including energy, health care, manufacturing and technology. The report also identifies educational-based recommendations for addressing those needs.

Mark Anderson, WEAC chairman, said the report utilized both primary and secondary research to analyze the intersecting needs of business and industry and the state education system.

“This report, which was researched and compiled by consulting firm FHI 360, through a generous grant by Hess Corporation, includes cross-cutting and industry-specific data on workforce needs and gaps across the state,” Anderson said. “The report includes observations and recommendations that can be referenced by the State Board of Higher Education, North Dakota University System and Department of Public Instruction to improve workforce readiness in North Dakota.”

Chancellor Mark Hagerott said the report could help to inform educational initiatives moving forward.

“Any time we can work with business and industry to analyze trends and determine workforce needs from an educational perspective, we should look at that option,” Hagerott said. “As trades become more skilled and people retool their skillsets, education must be ready to help that.”

The report is available at under the “WEAC Assessment” link.

Media Coverage Summary – Friday, Jan. 27

The following is a roundup of news on North Dakota University System’s 11 public colleges and universities for the week ending Friday, Jan. 27


Bismarck State College
Conversation at BSC explores Indian conflicts of the American West
Nominations sought for employee excellence awards

Dakota College at Bottineau
Photography Scholarship Contest for High School Seniors

Dickinson State University
Two DSU professors receive SBHE Faculty Commendation Awards
Bohn and Wagoner named TRHLP Student Assistant Directors
DSU alumna published in Journal of Physical Chemistry

Lake Region State College
Students participate in theatre arts festival

Mayville State University
A new era in Comets football begins with the hiring of head coach Sean Thom
Community members invited to meet the Mayville State coachesSupport the RN-to-BSN online nursing program on Giving Hearts Day, Thursday, Feb. 9

Minot State University
Walter Piehl artwork honors Governor Burgum’s inauguration
CoB students compete side by side with Canadians
Technology Day showcases students of all ages

North Dakota State College of Science
NDSCS Students Named to North Dakota All-Collegiate Men’s Choir

North Dakota State University
Innovation Challenge Showcase set for Jan. 30
NDSU receives $200,000 College Completion Grant from Great Lakes
Caring for the caregivers: ND study finds challenges in helping elderly stay at home

University of North Dakota
Coulee to Columbia
‘In it together’ — UND responds to opioid crisis
Varied voices, common ground
School of Medicine & Health Sciences researcher: TBI matters
From China to Mainstreet

Valley City State University
VCSU releases fall semester honor rolls

Williston State College
The Bill of Rights and You

North Dakota University System
SPOL implementation moving forward
Final Challenge Funds for 2015-17 awarded

SPOL implementation moving forward

Systemwide use of Strategic Planning Online to aid planning process

A toolkit introduced to the North Dakota University System’s 11 public colleges and universities last year has taken a few steps forward already.

According to Ryan Jockers, institutional and strategic analytics coordinator at the system office, the cloud-based planning software was purchased in 2015 after the launch of the State Board of Higher Education’s strategic plan. The software was determined to be the best fit to further SBHE goals for the system, as well as track metrics of success. Additionally, the software helps address prior concerns on documenting of evidence related to increased performance of operations.

At its core, the software aids collaboration and sharing of certain services.

Jockers said that each campus has equal access to SPOL and its many applications due to the system-level investment. At the local level, access is designated by departmental responsibility.

“The actual positions may look different from institution to institution, but typically it would be individuals already involved with Strategic Planning, Assessment, Budget, or Accreditation,” Jockers said. “SPOL doesn’t generate the content, it provides a framework for continuous improvement and seamlessly links all facets of planning. Campus level individuals already working on these four categories now have a comprehensive solution to do it all in one place.”

The type of data entered might differ from position to position, but it all remains relevant to long-term needs. Institutional strategic plans, president’s goals, course and program assessment and accreditation standards were examples provided that give campuses and the system a “big picture view” from which to discern local or statewide trends and improvements. Jockers noted that it also allowed for “a comprehensive view of planning and alignment within the entire NDUS at the click of a button.”

So far, the initial reception to the software has been good, although Jockers stated that any software package of this scope could be overwhelming at first.

“Many institutions are beginning to see the value for their internal use,” he said. “More specifically, our team has been able to show the value of the product within the NDUS context which has attracted the attention of specific disciplines for program level work.”

He added that one early success was that of the University of North Dakota’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS), which is already making an effort to place its M.D. accreditation process in SPOL. He noted that representatives there are considering expanding their use to the accreditation processes of their health science programs as well.

Kenneth Ruit, Ph.D., associate dean of educational administration and faculty affairs at UND SMHS, is working closely with the SPOL implementation there.

Ruit said that SPOL implementation at SMHS was prompted to help the school monitor and maintain accreditation standards. After steps were taken to reach compliance with certain standards, it became clear to SMHS representatives that a system of continuous quality improvement would benefit the school for the future. He noted that such a process would need to allow for the continual addressing of key questions on meeting accreditation standards, as well as building an ongoing “evidence file” that would provide proof of compliance to the accrediting agency, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education.

“As we investigated the Accreditation module of SPOL, we realized it was structured in a way that would allow us to be able to do exactly that…and by doing so, establish content templates, timelines and workflows that would facilitate ongoing attention to all accreditation standards,” Ruit said. He noted that of all aspects of SPOL, the Accreditation module would likely be the most useful early on. “Prioritizing goals that emerge from that process and establishing action steps to be taken to reach those goals can certainly inform strategic goals for the school. In addition, other health sciences programs at the school  have begun to investigate the utility of SPOL for similar purposes, which could also inform future strategic paths forward for the educational mission of the school.”

Ruit said he expected the implementation to offer advantages into the future, as SPOL would serve as a repository for all documents associated with accreditation and planning. He noted that beyond the Accreditation module, the school could find use in the Assessment module as it related to curriculum.

“Exploiting the ability of the Assessment and Accreditation modules to establish meaningful linkages between assessment outcomes and curricular improvement efforts would be of great advantage,” he added.

The software has found many uses elsewhere. According to Jockers, other colleges and systems that employ the strategic planning software include Maricopa Community College District (265,000 students and 11,000 employees), Florida State University, Spokane Community College System, Florida Community Colleges System, and Dallas Community College System.

Jockers concluded that the NDUS was ready to help facilitate local campus success, training opportunities were available, and that he was personally available for questions, concerns, or demonstrations.

Ultimately, NDUS hopes that SPOL implementation will help create a comprehensive strategic planning portrait of the entire system for the SBHE, act as a vehicle for dynamic decision making, and provide institutions with a mechanism for continuous improvement and strategic planning that can assist with institutional alignment and efficient resource allocation.

Final Challenge Funds for 2015-17 awarded

Nine of the North Dakota University System’s 11 public colleges and universities were awarded funding by the North Dakota Higher Education Challenge Grant Committee this week.

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, Valley City State University, and Williston State College received a total of more than $1.2 million in funding through a process set up in 2013 by the N.D. Legislature.

The hearing effectively closes the biennium’s awards, which totaled more than $22.1 million designated by the legislature as matching funds. Under the grant process, the Challenge Fund Grant Review Committee awards one dollar in matching grants for every two dollars of non-state, non-federal funding raised by the institutional foundations. The awards must meet needs within four categories: education infrastructure, endowed chairs, scholarships and technology.

Chancellor Mark Hagerott said the funding was vital for the colleges and represented both forward thinking on behalf of the legislature, and the value of public-private collaboration.

“These funds directly help our campuses and serve as an investment in our students,” he said. “All the funding will ultimately help the schools move forward with scholarships, endowments, and other potential projects outlined in the Challenge Fund categories.”

The latest round of awards was as follows:

Bismarck State College: $245, 406.69.

Dakota College at Bottineau: $177,074.71.

Dickinson State University: $100,997.69.

Lake Region State College: $294,475.74.

Mayville State University: $125,804.93.

Minot State University: $212,454.50.

North Dakota State College of Science: $50,005.38.

Valley City State University: $36,666.24.

Williston State College: $2,097.51.

Last year, numerous Challenge Fund hearings were held that awarded funding to the system’s 11 public colleges and universities. For more information, check out the previous grants story posted here.

Media Coverage Summary – Jan. 20

The following is a roundup of news on North Dakota University System’s 11 public colleges and universities for the week ending Friday, Jan. 13


Bismarck State College
BSC announces President’s Honor Roll for Fall 2016
Mystician adviser recognized by College Media Association
Energy Generation Conference set for Jan. 24-26

Dakota College at Bottineau
DCB – One of the 2017 Most Affordable Online Colleges

Dickinson State University
DSU alumna receives ND Department of Agriculture award
Dickinson State to hold next “Courageous Conversation” Jan. 30
Montana native awarded DSU’s Energizing Education Scholarship

Lake Region State College
First Lego League competition held in Devils Lake
Find out about career and technical programs Feb. 7
Johnnie Candle receives Honorary Lifetime Membership from the National Professional Anglers Association

Mayville State University
Visit magnificent Italy with your Mayville State friends!
The Dueling Pianos Party is coming to Mayville State!
Traill County-Mayville State alumni and friends luncheon is February 14

Minot State University
Martin Luther King Jr. writing contest
MSU project delayed
Minot city planner to speak at Democracy Cafe

North Dakota State College of Science
NDSCS Students Named to North Dakota All-Collegiate Men’s Choir
Bruneau named Outstanding Citizen by Chamber
NDSCS announces fall President’s Honor List

North Dakota State University
Baroque Festival concerts scheduled
American Indian nursing documentary accepted into international film festivals
NDSU Graduate School to host competition that challenges students to communicate the importance of research

University of North Dakota
Bubs on Bubba, Bubba on Bubs
‘Picking the president’ — an electoral divide
Raiding the design world
High-impact humanities

Valley City State University
This week’s Hotline!

Williston State College
Beat the Heat Ice Fishing tournament back for third year
Zach Anderson Memorial Tournament returns to the Well

North Dakota University System
O.E.R. initiative noted as success

Media Coverage Summary – Jan. 13

The following is a roundup of news on North Dakota University System’s 11 public colleges and universities for the week ending Friday, Jan. 13


Bismarck State College
Energy Generation Conference set for Jan. 24-26
BSC announces President’s Honor Roll for Fall 2016

Dakota College at Bottineau
Baking for a Better Community

Dickinson State University
DSU alumna receives ND Department of Agriculture award
Montana native awarded DSU’s Energizing Education Scholarship

Lake Region State College
Spotlight on tutors

Mayville State University
The Dueling Pianos Party is coming to town!

Minot State University
Technology Day showcases students of all ages

North Dakota State College of Science
Commerce Awards Grant to North Dakota State College of Science for Workforce Training Program

North Dakota State University
Resolution Development Services Teams with NDSU Professor to Fight Obesity
Colorful paintings on Revland Gallery promote student artists
The Walsh Group Welcomes Thomas Haag as National Director of Aviation
Precision Ag Summit to focus on profitability
NDSU Extension strengthens programming to meet citizen needs
NDSU Extension service projects commodity prices for 2017
Leading infectious disease expert working to increase North Dakota’s immunization rates
NDSU Three Minute Thesis competition set for Feb. 1

University of North Dakota
More than ‘oil and soil’
UND: Talent pool generator for North Dakota
Revamp and repair
Meeting the challenge
UND: Building an Even Greater North Dakota

Valley City State University
VCSU online programs earn U.S. News recognition

Williston State College
Dean and President’s List Released for Fall 2016
Hockey to Host Military Appreciation Night

North Dakota University System
OER initiative noted as success

O.E.R. initiative noted as success

An initiative to promote Open Educational Resources (OER) throughout the North Dakota University System in 2015-2017 has proven successful.

The North Dakota Legislature generously appropriated $110,000 for the initiative, which was reduced to $107,250 by the 2016 allotment. Open Educational Resources are teaching, learning and research materials that have been released under licensing that allows their free use by others. These are not just digital versions of textbooks; they include course materials, learning modules, software and other items useful in teaching. Thanks to the efforts of Rep. Thomas Beadle, students throughout the system realized great savings already.

The appropriated funding was used for system-wide faculty training and workshops ($29,710) and institutional grant proposals ($77,540). The anticipated immediate savings to students on the $110,000 legislative investments will be between $1 million and $1.8 million.[1] Over the next three years, students will likely save over $3 million. The actual return on the investment will be several times higher, as the project has trained numerous faculty, and will increase the adoption rate of OER by North Dakota faculty.

North Dakota State College of Science: (Round 2) $9,910.50. Create two OER math courses.  First year minimum return on investment estimated at $18,109.

Mayville State University: (Round 1) $10,000. Workshops and training for faculty to develop 10 OER courses in 2016-2017. First year minimum return on investment estimated at $78,693.

University of North Dakota: (Round 1) $10,000. Develop seven OER courses: Intro to Sociology, Intro to Psychology, State and Local Government, Calculus, and Aviation Meteorology.  First year minimum return on investment estimate $572,806.

University of North Dakota: (Round 1) $7,000. Create an OER version of Elwyn B. Robinson’s History of North Dakota. Return on investment TBD.

University of North Dakota: (Round 2) $6,000. Create an OER English 130. First year minimum return on investment estimate $25,500.

University of North Dakota: (Round 2) $5,629. Create an OER Calculus III. First year minimum return on investment estimate $100,440.

University of North Dakota: (Round 2) $3,000. Create an OER Computer Science course. First year minimum return on investment estimate $14,591.

University of North Dakota: (Round 2) $6,000. Create an OER art history courses. First year minimum return on investment estimate $6562.

University of North Dakota: (Round 2) $10,000. Create an OER History of Applied Science and Technology. First year minimum return on investment estimate $25,500.

Valley City State University: (Round 1) $10,000. Develop 10 OER courses. First year minimum return on investment estimate $61,000.

According to NDUS Chief Financial Officer Tammy Dolan, the initiative proved to have a tremendous return-on-investment.

“A little more than $100,000 was invested, which created an overall savings of more than $1 million, a number that is sure to increase over time,” Dolan said.

[1] The minimum return on investment has been calculated as (Cost of Course Materials Replaced x No. of Students) ÷ 2.  This provides an estimate based on the assumption that ½ of the students in a course buy used books, share books, or do not buy the book.  It is likely that more than ½ of the students in a course purchase the book, and thus this method creates a very solid minimum return on investment estimate.

Media Coverage Summary – Jan. 6

The following is a roundup of news on North Dakota University System’s 11 public colleges and universities for the week ending Friday, Jan. 6


Bismarck State College
Blizzard Bluegrass concerts set for Jan. 13-14

Dakota College at Bottineau
Free Basic Sign Language Course Offered at Dakota College at Bottineau

Dickinson State University
Fall 2016 Dean’s List
Fall 2016 President’s List
Hawk’s Perch – January 2017

Lake Region State College
Spotlight on tutors
See us at the Lake Region Roundup

Mayville State University
Traill County/Mayville State luncheon in Mesa scheduled for February 14
NAIA and Mayville State committed to advancing character-driven athletics
There is much for which to be grateful at Mayville State

Minot State University
STEM for Girls

North Dakota State College of Science
NDSCS offers scholarships to Twin Town high schoolers

North Dakota State University
NDSU uses transportation grant to develop ways to make roads, bridges safer
NDSU Extension helps farm families plan healthcare

University of North Dakota
Oh, what a year!

Valley City State University
This week’s Hotline!

Williston State College
Student Made Trailers to be Raffled Off

North Dakota University System