Monthly Archives: January 2019

Morton: Supporting a needs-based budget

Recently I had the opportunity to speak with our legislators during a committee hearing on our budget. As you may know, the State Board of Higher Education voted unanimously to support a needs-based budget to fund higher education in North Dakota. There are many reasons why, but mostly we wanted to be able to offer support to our system of faculty, staff and students. Here were some of those reasons.

We have been adapting and improving the course of higher education through partnerships with our campuses, industry leaders, students, and government leaders as the Board worked hard to Envision the path to 2030. We are embracing disruptive technology at several of our campuses, such as cybersecurity at NDSU, MISU and BSC, and unmanned aviation systems at UND.h

For our students – transferability is number one in the nation; as a system, we place our priority on students, and we continue to focus on their career needs and personal pathways. (CoOp), We want to see them through to their ultimate success as good citizens.

The SBHE has approved BSC to move toward a polytechnic model to meet the changing needs of students and the workforce adaptation necessary for changing careers. DSU is now prototyping a dual mission model, so that they can provide some technical degrees that are essential in the west.

While it is true that nationally the numbers of prospective high school graduates are going down, North Dakota’s numbers are projected to increase, according to a 2017 Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) study. Most western states are projected to decrease or stay the same, but ND is expected to see an increase by 24% by 2024.

Our priorities (what we are doing well):

The NDUS is currently reviewing 175 military courses that could potentially be utilized in transfer to fulfill general education requirements. Normally military courses and/or training would likely have been considered elective credit or not accepted at all prior to this undertaking.

The State Board is requesting a 4% pay raise for faculty and staff – because there has been a lack of pay incentives in the previous biennium simultaneously with significant staffing reductions. We are in a national battle for talent. We would support a pay increase and a continuation of current health and retirement benefits to recruit and retain top quality faculty and staff.

We are also focusing on shared services to create greater efficiencies by consolidating payroll to fewer campuses. Core Technology Service is our ultimate shared service, allowing us to take advantage of economies of scale, and consolidate our technology services and learning management system among all 11 campuses.

Research is a major focus of the Board, and Innovation is a priority.

Research Excellence and Innovation was recently added as a major pillar in the State Board’s strategy. With Legislative support, an emerging technologies working group provided focus for state and industry efforts and investments to help North Dakota adapt to the accelerated pace of new technology developments. NDUS will encourage more campus collaborative programs and EPSCOR funding/under-graduate research with Tribal Colleges.

The SBHE is committed to adapting at speed and scale to changing fiscal realities, student needs, and business workforce markets across our large state.

Hagerott: Working together through Legislative Session

In the past two years the university system has seen significant gains in several areas, many of which wouldn’t have been possible without legislative support. Had that support been absent, the foundation for further collaboration among our 11 colleges and universities, or with other state agencies, just would not have been possible. I want to thank the legislature for its work with higher education, and to highlight several of higher education’s key accomplishments.

We’ve seen improvements, such as two of our five community colleges are ranked in the top 25 in the nation for graduation rates, one of our research universities is among the top nationally for its online program innovations, and all our campuses are consistently adapting – adaptations which not only give students the opportunity to find more success, but that created an economic impact that totaled $5.2 billion during the 2017 fiscal year. Two of our campuses are innovating further. BSC and DSU are taking action toward the expanded models of becoming a Polytechnic and Dual Mission, respectively. Other high points related to Academic and Student Affairs include:

  • Telemedicine;
  • NDUS Transcript Exchange;
  • Support for open educational resources;
  • Revised program approval process; more final authorization culminating at a lower level;
  • Access to an NDUS common application for admission via the K-12 education portal.

In terms of cost savings, our system has put in place additional measures to encourage more efficiencies from the system office through the campus level of operations. The budget reductions in ’17-19 resulted in a reduction of staff and faculty positions by approximately 700. The needs-based budget I and the board are advocating for would provide more stability to our campuses, by our workforce and by the most important resource of all – our students. Other, more technology-focused shared services include widespread standardization across Campus Solutions, Finance and HR, consolidated payroll processing, our Learning Management System – Blackboard, our collaboration suite – Microsoft Office 365, and most critical to student privacy – our Security Ecosystem. Our work continues with trying to leverage predictive analytics to improve student outcomes.  We will be focusing our efforts in this area by using the ND State Longitudinal Data System (NDSLDS) in the future. We continue to support student success through the use of intervention solutions (Starfish) that help campus based student support personnel and faculty to work effectively with students.

Our Envision 2030 effort, which has gathered feedback and built consensus meeting-by-meeting, has brought forward several recommendations. They are:

  • A four percent salary increase for faculty and staff;
  • Exploration of a funding stabilization mechanism for higher education in the state;
  • Expanded online programming that increases access to high quality programs already in place to adult and geographically-isolated students;
  • Increased support for research universities to innovate and encourage industry partnership;
  • Establish a privacy advisory group to advise the State Board on issues surrounding big data and privacy;
  • Continued collaboration with other state agencies and their education-related missions.

Beyond those achievements, NDUS has overseen the inclusion of Student Achievement Measure (SAM) data to convey graduation and retention statistics, which clearly highlight a nearly 73% success retention and completion rate. We’ve partnered with the Office of Management and Budget to align our procurement processes with the state. And, as noted in our report to the Interim Legislative Higher Education Committee and corroborated by a recent N.D. Auditor’s Office report, Open Educational Resources have resulted in substantial savings for our students. Additionally, the State Higher Education Executive Officer Association (SHEEO) used NDUS as a positive example in a report issued last year on best practices in higher education financial reporting.

As TECH ND testified before the Senate Education Committee last week, the state is facing a time of unprecedented change. As you know, change brings with it an equally unprecedented opportunity for the state and our public higher education system to become leaders within emerging industries. The NDUS is well-positioned to help fill the need for this expected growth, which represents a much higher rate than the average national demand.

[Originally offered as testimony in support of HB 1003.]

Board reviews legislation, considers revamped structure

The State Board of Higher Education held its first meeting of the year this week, touching on several topics ranging from several updated policies to committee reports and more. Of particular importance was information regarding the 66th Legislative Session. Chief Financial Officer Tammy Dolan provided the Board with an update on the current legislative session, including an overview of current bills being considered that may have an impact on higher education.

Additionally, the Board took up discussion regarding proposed changes to the way it governs.

Board member Casey Ryan provided the Governance Committee report, which included Chancellor’s Cabinet Survey and Committee Tier Proposal. Ryan noted that overall, the governance committee was pleased with the results of the cabinet survey. Significant discussion followed on the Tier proposal, including talk of how many members would be included in order to create the best working committee, as well as brief discussion to whether or not it would be possible to add more members to the Board itself.

Board Member Kathleen Neset noted that if reform were necessary it wouldn’t amount to a complete overhaul of the system.

“The higher education system continues to evolve and change, rapidly,” Neset stated. “In order for us to stay nimble and quick enough, and in order for us to stay relevant, we really have to stay up to those standards.”

Neset added that the Board could continue being proactive and consider changes within a six-month timeframe, which could allow it to lay the groundwork for any changes now rather than wait for a public referendum. Ultimately, the Board decided to bring the topic up for more formal discussion when it holds its next face-to-face meeting.

After the Department of Education issued the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Title IX, Eric Olson and Chris Pieske presented on the proposed changes at the December Board meeting. After the Board instructed Chancellor Mark Hagerott and staff to seek feedback from stakeholders and relevant education-focused groups, a group led by Director of Student Affairs Katie Fitzsimmons, Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs Lisa Johnson, Chris Pieske, and Eric Olson consulted with neighboring states, the American Council on Education, the NDUS Title IX task force, and Chancellor’s cabinet for feedback. Based on that feedback, the group prepared draft comments for review by the chancellor’s cabinet and Board. However, no final comments were recommended for submission to the Dept. of Education, while recognizing the importance of the issues presented. Hagerott noted that he plans to informally convey the concerns set forth in the comments to WICHE and MHEC. The comment period remains open until Jan. 30, and interested individuals, groups, or campuses are able to submit any comments before that date.

The board also held first readings for Policies 307.1 (Institutional Organization Notice and Approval), 404.1 (Distance Education Program Approval), Policy 331 (Approval of College and University Constitutions by the Board), 340.1 (State Forester), 350.2 (Work Force Training Boards), 1205.1 (State Longitudinal Data System), 901 (Campus Planning and Facilities), 902.0 (Definitions), 902.1 (Construction Process-Legislative Approval), 902.3 (Requests for Construction, Renovation & Remodeling; Change Orders; Changes in Project Scope or Size), 902.12 (Building Names), 902.5 (Construction Process), 903 (Sale, Removal, or Alteration of Buildings), 1910.2 (Use of State Vehicle); and the second readings of Policies 409 (Degrees Offered) and 440 (Enrollment Reporting).

Hagerott brought forward the approval of tenure for Valley City State University President Alan LaFave, which was unanimously approved under a recent policy providing tenure to presidents who had previously earned tenure in other institutions..

Olsen also spoke on the ratification of contracts for Dickinson State University President Tom Mitzel, Mayville State University President Brian Van Horn, and President LaFave. All found unanimous approval.

Hagerott provided his report, which included an update to University of North Dakota President Mark Kennedy’s mid-term review. The review was not directly brought up at the meeting, due to schedule conflicts that had kept the review from being finalized.

Vice Chancellor of Strategy and Strategic Engagement Phil Wisecup gave the likely final update on Lumina Foundation Grant. The grant had been received by NDUS to create a plan communicating how higher education in North Dakota would increase attainment toward the Board’s stated goal of 65 percent by 2025.

North Dakota Student Association President Jared Melville provided an update, noting that about 80 students recently attended the state student summit. He noted that the general assembly approved a resolution that encouraged NDUS to approve a common application, created a diversity outreach plan, had concerns about proposed changes to Title IX, and approved a resolution in support of the Board asking for its needs-based budget and corresponding increase of four percent for faculty salaries.

Council of College Faculty President Debora Dragseth noted in her report that CCF was concerned with proposed changes to Title IX; named its three legislative priorities as salary increases, opposing cuts to funding and keeping current benefits for faculty; and noted that CCF had concerns about procedures being moved internally and not public-facing might raise questions of transparency.

Board staff adviser Andy Wakeford provided an update on behalf of North Dakota State Staff Senate, noting that DSU was working on an “Above and Beyond” award for staff; NDSCS staff had conducted a food drive; NDSU staff did a focused donation drive; VCSU would be doing a clothing/supply swap; and staff throughout the system was working on other ways to keep morale up with a “Caught You” award that catches employees while they’re working and recognizes them for that work.

Among the consent agenda’s recommendations were organizational changes under the Academic and Student Affairs Committee for the Department of Computer Science at North Dakota State University to be transitioned from the College of Science and Mathematics to the College of Engineering; and for the Bachelor of Arts degrees in Economics and Computer Science at University of North Dakota to be moved from the College of Arts & Sciences respectively to the College of Business and Public Administration, and the College of Engineering and Mines. All were approved.

Among the consent agenda’s recommendations for the Budget and Finance Committee were authorizations for an $80 million capital project for UND to address deferred maintenance on the university’s core campus; an approval for Lake Region State College to transfer of $67,707.09 from operations to the capital assets; and authorization for Dickinson State University to sell the Strom Building.

The next regular Board meeting is scheduled for Feb. 26.

Media Coverage Summary – Jan. 25

The following is a roundup of news on North Dakota University System’s 11 public colleges and universities for the week ending Friday, Jan. 25


Bismarck State College
Energy Generation Conference set for Jan. 29-31

Dakota College at Bottineau
Looking Forward

Dickinson State University
At the heart of it: Passion drives more than teaching for DSU professo
Video: New Student Tailgat
Blue Hawk SupporterJanuary 2019
DSU Theatre presents Little Shop Of Horrors opening Feb. 28
Film festival at DSU encourages community to connect with Spanish and Latin American cultures

Lake Region State College
Travel with the president this June
February is Career and Technical Education month

Mayville State University
Taylor Shamp grateful for Mayville experiences
MaSU’s Glitz & Glam Gala to feature fabulous items

Minot State University
Art department to offer Ceramics Open Studio
Western Plains Opera presents ‘Into the Woods’ at Ann Nicole nelson Hall
Schaffer: Perfect eclipse gives us ‘Super Blood Wolf Moon’

North Dakota State College of Science
NDSCS Announces Fall 2018 Graduates
Give Kids a Smile returns to NDSCS Feb. 1
NDSCS Announces Fall 2018 President’s Honor List
6th Street Eatery now open for Spring Semester

North Dakota State University
UND and NDSU marching band pillows are a hot — and nostalgic — commodity
NDSU Master of Public Health Offers Food Safety Degree Specialization
Mobile museum to visit Pelican Rapids
Inaugural deanship established for NDSU’s College of Business
NDSU French Film Festival scheduled 
Graduate student honored by national student affairs group
Inspiring Teacher: Julia Bowsher, associate professor of biological sciences
Precision Agriculture from an eagle eye view
Happy at work? ‘People Project’ looks to boost mental health among Fargo-Moorhead workers
More than 100 student organizations take part in NDSU Spring Involvement Expo
NDSU Extension 4-H programming piques youth interest in STEM
Susan Keller to be honored as NDSU Little I Agriculturalist of the Year
This is what a mentorship program gives students
Innovation Challenge Pitch Night to showcase student ideas
Master of Public Health program offers new food safety degree
NDSU to host regional National History Day competition
Inspiring Teacher: Chad Ulven, associate chair and professor of mechanical engineering 
NDSU professor appointed Duin Endowed Fellow 
Regional Scholastic Art and Writing Award recipients announced
Cyber Security Conference set for March 14 

University of North Dakota
Antarctic dedication
Animal antics
Cool technology
Rural health in the spotlight
Dreamers in action

Valley City State University
Presenting to the House
Fall 2018 honor rolls released
VCSU online programs nationally ranked by U.S. News

Williston State College
The WSC Adult Learning Center

North Dakota University System
Students save millions through WICHE

Western students saved $417+ million through WICHE tuition-savings programs in 2018-19

500 North Dakotans saved $2.7 million; N.D. WUE schools filled 2,029 seats with out-of-state students


BOULDER—America’s largest interstate higher education tuition-savings programs set records in 2018-19 for students enrolled and dollars saved. More than $417.7 million was saved by 42,579 students on three programs managed by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) across its 16 member states and territories, the agency announced today.

The most popular of WICHE’s three Student Access Programs, the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE), saw 40,487 students save $380.5 million this year on nonresident tuition at public associate’s or bachelor’s degree programs in the Western U.S. Through WUE, students enroll in one of 162 participating colleges or universities outside their home state and pay no more than 150 percent of that institution’s resident rate. Since nonresident tuition can cost 300 percent (or more) of resident rates, the WUE discount saves students more than $9,300 a year on average.

WICHE’s two other tuition-discount programs also served nearly 2,100 students in 2018-19. The Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP) enabled 1,478 students to pay resident tuition at out-of-state graduate programs. The Professional Student Exchange Program (PSEP)—in which Western states subsidize tuition for residents pursuing veterinary medicine, optometry, dentistry, and several other high-need health degrees in other states—helped 614 students affordably pursue those degrees and (as 67 percent of students do) return home to fill provider gaps.

In North Dakota specifically, 500 N.D. residents saved $2.7 million on out-of-state tuition through these programs; a summary of Student Access Program 2018-19 data related to North Dakota is attached to this release. “WICHE’s tuition-savings programs broaden the affordable higher education options for our residents—helping them graduate with less debt and ultimately strengthening our workforce,” said N.D. State Sen. Ray Holmberg, chair of the WICHE commission. “These programs also help our colleges and universities draw students from other Western states, which fills revenue-producing seats, diversifies their campuses and bolsters bottom lines for institutions and communities.”

These interstate tuition-savings programs are a key way WICHE serves Western states, students and institutions. WICHE was established by states and approved by Congress in 1953 to facilitate partnerships and resource-sharing between Western states, many of which lacked the breadth of higher education programs available in more densely populated states, yet had a need to affordably educate residents to meet diverse workforce needs.

The Western population has quadrupled since WICHE’s founding, but many states still lack programs in key fields. Meanwhile, student debt, mobility, and tuition costs keep increasing. Such factors have led to 20 percent growth in Student Access Program enrollment and 42 percent growth in Student Access Program tuition savings these past five years.

A comprehensive Student Access Programs: By the Numbers report, with detailed data and state-by-state dashboards of student and institutional participation, is now available at

[Originally published by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE).]

Media Coverage Summary – Jan. 11

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


Bismarck State College
BSC Alumni Association and OLLI@BSC offer Vietnam trip info sessions on Jan. 17 and 18
BSC recognizes Fall 2018 graduates
BSC announces President’s Honor Roll for Fall 2018

Dakota College at Bottineau
Looking Forward

Dickinson State University
Hawk’s Perch – December 2018
School of Business & Entrepreneurship at DSU earns highest level of reaccreditation
Fall 2018 President’s List
Fall 2018 Dean’s List

Lake Region State College
New study shows University System economic impact

Mayville State University

Minot State University
MSU Life Committee kicks off spring semester with variety of events
NASA’s Pinnick to speak at Minot State
Minot State Development Foundation receives Edson & Margaret Larson Foundation grant to support Veterans Entrepreneurship Training Program

North Dakota State College of Science
Daily News: NDSCS prepares for semester, Legislative Assembly
“Give Kids a Smile” event returns to NDSCS

North Dakota State University
North Dakota State football wins record seventh FCS championship over Eastern Washington
The McFeely Mess: NDSU’s Thomas Ambrosio on whether 2019 parallels 1914
NDSU School of Nursing named 78th best in the country
NDSU corn silage meeting set for Jan. 31
2019 NDSU Soybean Production Meetings set
Inspiring Teacher: Elizabeth Hilliard, associate professor and dietetics program coordinator
Football student-athlete wins NCAA Elite 90 Award
NDSU student receives study abroad scholarship
New Precision Ag Major Offered at NDSU
NDSU offers updated crop compare program
19th Annual MonDak Pulse Day Scheduled for Feb. 7th in Williston
Cattle carefully choreographed to spell out NDSU
NDSU’s Gold Star Band keeping Marlin in Frisco thoughts
NDSU fans give bison football players send-off to Frisco
NDSU plant sciences faculty amaze 6th graders with experiments

University of North Dakota
UAS first in North Dakota
Couple posthumously gifts $1M for Harold Hamm School of Geology & Geological Engineering
Embrace change and adapt
Weather wizards in the making
Big day for ‘Big Data’

Valley City State University
VCSU alumna starts scholarship endowment for softball and volleyball

Williston State College
3rd Annual WSC Arizona Gathering Scheduled

North Dakota University System
New study estimates NDUS economic impact at $5.3 billion for Fiscal Year 2017

New study estimates NDUS economic impact at $5.3 billion for Fiscal Year 2017

The economic impact of the North Dakota University System (NDUS) and its students on the state has risen to an estimated $5.3 billion for Fiscal Year 2017, according to a recent report by North Dakota State University’s Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics. The economic impacts include both direct and secondary expenditures.

“As the report illustrates, higher education is vital to North Dakota’s economy,” said NDUS Chancellor Mark Hagerott. “Higher education invests in knowledge and promoting the overall growth of knowledge for young people and adult learners. Higher education directly influences these learners as well as the workplaces that hire these workers. We work toward the betterment of the entire state.”

Titled Economic Impact of the North Dakota University System, the FY 2017 report is similar to studies conducted in reports ranging back to Fiscal Year 1999. Report authors Dean A. Bangsund, research scientist, Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economic; and Nancy Hodur, director, Center for Social Research at North Dakota State University, use the North Dakota Input-Output Model to estimate economic impact. At the end of the report is an abbreviated economic impact analysis for each of the 11 campuses in the state and the NDUS office.

“Essentially, the state’s 11 University System colleges, universities, and supporting centers and facilities act as centers for local and regional economic development,” the authors concluded. “They help provide the state with an educated workforce ready to meet the challenges of an ever- changing work environment. They provide outreach and continuing education programs for the state’s residents and businesses. In addition to providing education, the state’s universities and colleges create and support jobs and employment opportunities through research, extension, and teaching activities. All these important services and products provide economic benefits, which enhance local and state economies.”

Key measures of the economic impact of the North Dakota University System in FY 2017 include:

  • Direct economic impacts (expenditures) by the NDUS have grown from $533 million in FY1999 to $1.4 billion in FY2017, an increase of 163 percent
  • Direct economic impacts have increased by $421 million from FY2009 to FY2017 (43 percent), and decreased by $210 million from FY2015 to FY2017 (13 percent)
  • Non-general fund revenues are an important source of funding for the NDUS, providing about 70 percent of the total until recently, when the ratio dropped to 66 percent in FY2015 and 67 percent in FY2017
  • Total NDUS economic impacts (direct and secondary) were $1.6 billion in FY1999, $2.9 billion in FY2009, and $4.1 billion in FY2017
  • Direct expenditures created total business activity of $4.1 billion including $1 billion in retail trade activity, and $1.6 billion in economy-wide personal income
  • University system in-state expenditures and subsequent secondary business activity was estimated to generate $132 million in state tax collections.  Of that total, $83 million would be from sales and use taxes and about $38 million were for individual and corporate income taxes.
  • Direct employment by the NDUS was 10,741 FTE jobs on FY2017
  • Enrollment at the NDUS’s 11 colleges and universities was 37,397 FTE students for Fall Semester 2017
  • NDUS student living expenses were estimated to be $455 million for FY2017
  • Economic impact of student living expenses resulted in $1.1 billion in total business activity, highlighted by $511 million in additional retail trade activity and $275 million in economy-wide personal income
  • Combined NDUS and student spending was nearly $1.9 billion in FY2017, creating a total economic impact of $5.3 billion