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SUBJECT: 100s: Introduction EFFECTIVE: September 26, 2012
Section: 100.6 Authority and Responsibility of the State Board of Higher Education

  1. The State Board of Higher Education (Board) was established by an initiated measure approved by the voters in 1938 (now article VIII, section 6 of the state constitution). Article VIII, section 6 states the Board "shall have the control and administration of" all of the state institutions established in the state constitution at that time and "such other state institutions of higher education as may hereafter be established." Further, the Board "shall have full authority over the institutions under its control" and "full authority to organize or reorganize within constitutional and statutory limitations, the work of each institution under its control, and do each and everything necessary and proper for the efficient and economic administration of said state educational institutions." The Board shall appoint a commissioner of higher education as its "chief executive officer." In 1990, the Board established a unified system of higher education, with its Commissioner/Chancellor as the system's chief executive officer. Later, the state legislature enacted North Dakota Century Code 15-10-01.3, which states:

    The institutions of higher education under the control of the state board of higher education are a unified system of higher education, as established by the board, and are designated as the North Dakota University System.

  2. Holding the North Dakota University System (NDUS) in its trust, the Board:

    1. Ensures the NDUS achieves the purposes of its mission and goals;

    2. Ensures the NDUS is properly led and managed;

    3. Maintains the quality of academic programs;

    4. Provides responsible policies and procedures for proper governance;

    5. Safeguards NDUS assets;

    6. Honors the mission and integrity of each institution and its people;

    7. Serves as a catalyst to create more efficient and effective programs and services through partnership and resource sharing;

    8. Maintains student affordability;

    9. Represents the institutions to the public and vice versa, assisting where appropriate in the understanding of each other's needs;

    10. Ensures effective stewardship of its financial, physical, and intellectual assets;

    11. Achieves cost savings due to economies of scale, where appropriate;

    12. Secures cooperative and planning advantages;

    13. Shapes, supports, and achieves complementary institution missions;

    14. Ensures excellence in programs, faculty, and students;

    15. Minimizes unnecessary duplication through cooperative endeavors;

    16. Gains public and legislative support for the system through unified efforts; and

    17. Shields institutions from direct political and other outside interference.

  3. In fulfilling its Mission and Vision, the Board will govern the institutions in the NDUS in accordance with the North Dakota Constitution and state statutes and will be guided by the Belief Statements and Core Values adopted by the Board. The people of North Dakota created the Board through the state constitution to ensure the institutions and their employees were protected from political interference. Recognizing the legitimacy and importance of such protection and believing each institution properly retains substantial responsibility for its own affairs, the Board and the system honor the integrity of each institution and its people. The Board will provide the leadership and governing environment necessary to maximize the opportunities for the NDUS colleges and universities to be successful in fulfilling their individual missions and enhancing the economic and social vitality of North Dakota.

  4. The state constitution provides the Board with broad powers and specifies the Board retains any powers it does not specifically delegate to the institutions. The Board has adopted the following guiding principles regarding the responsibility of the Board, as stewards of the system, and the institutions.

    1. Board approval for new or discontinued programs and organizational units ensures the overall pattern of service to the state is coherent and efficient.

    2. Board review of institutional and program quality ensures the institutions provide positive educational experiences and seek continually to improve. Academic program quality and faculty quality determinations are made by faculty peers and campus administrators. The Board's responsibility is to support, provide oversight, and hold the institutions accountable for results.

    3. Board budget guidelines and final approval of budget requests promote equity and appropriate investment of state resources throughout the system.

    4. Board priority-setting of facility requests promotes facilities funding on the basis of statewide need.

    5. On matters that involve major costs for equipment or facilities which could be shared effectively among campuses, such as computing and telecommunications, the Board expects and will help facilitate such sharing.

    6. The Board sets system priorities regarding all requests of the legislature and executive branch. Those representing the institutions are not to undermine those priorities.

    7. The Board is the appointing authority for institution presidents and has final authority concerning contract terms. The Board shall exercise this authority in consultation with the Chancellor and has delegated to the Chancellor authority to conduct searches and recommend a candidate and contract terms to the Board.

    8. The Board delegates substantial authority and responsibility to each institution's president through the Chancellor, as defined in Board policy, and holds each accountable for performance.

    9. The Board shall have access to information about students, programs, faculty, staff, and finances of each campus to carry out its responsibilities.

    10. The Chancellor shall bring to the Board's attention any difficulties in the application of any of the above responsibilities that threaten to impede institutional effectiveness or efficiency. The Board is committed to free and fair inquiry and just resolution of such difficulties.

    11. General education courses and programs are central to the mission of all NDUS institutions and overlap among institutions is expected and necessary. However, the Board will continue to guard against unnecessary program duplication and collaborative delivery will be encouraged where the quality of the program can be maintained and the total cost of delivery can be reduced.

    12. Professional, technical, vocational, and graduate courses and programs require institutional and Board judgments regarding their number and missions.

    13. The Board retains authority for naming academic units (college, school, department, center and institute), professorship and endowed chairs, and physical structures.

  5. Within the framework of the NDUS is a division of labor between the Chancellor and the services operating at each institution. In addition to a strong Board and Chancellor, achieving the advantages and purposes of a multi-institution NDUS require the energies, leadership, and talent of equally strong presidents who are dedicated to the mission and goals of their respective institution. While the principal role of the Board and Chancellor lie in policy, overall direction, and planning, the leadership demanded of the presidents is primarily focused on implementation and direct operational control. As a general rule, system-level services exist only when there is a strong rationale justifying cost efficiencies and unnecessary duplication of functions. These include academic policy, planning, and quality assessment; capital planning and construction; budgeting; human resources policy and compliance; institutional research; risk management; auditing; legal services; information technology systems and services shared among the institutions; and legislative and community relations.

  6. The Chancellor is the chief executive officer of the Board and NDUS and exercises such powers as are necessary for Board and NDUS governance and functions. Chancellor duties and responsibilities are delegated in Policy 304.1 and other Board policies or directives.

  7. A president is the chief executive officer of the institution and a member of the Chancellor's executive staff. The presidents report to and are responsible to the Chancellor. The presidents are the chief executive officers of their respective institution. This designation includes the right and responsibility to manage the institution within the overall policies and directives issued by the Chancellor and Board. Presidents' duties and responsibilities are delegated in Policy 305.1 and other Board policies or Board or Chancellor directives.

New Policy. SBHE Minutes, March 30, 2001.
Amendment SBHE Minutes, April 15, 2004.
Amendment SBHE Minutes, September 26, 2012
Bismarck State CollegeDakota College at BottineauDickinson State UniversityLake Region State CollegeMayville State UniversityMinot State UniversityNorth Dakota State College of ScienceNorth Dakota State UniversityUniversity of North DakotaValley City State UniversityWilliston State College
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