Board looks to the future

Board looks to the future

The State Board of Higher Education held its recent annual strategic retreat in Bismarck, hosting a virtual guest that kicked off an afternoon of strategic thinking.

“This was the most disruptive year and now there’s an opportunity to see what’s changed and how we can move forward,” said Board Chairman Nick Hacker.

Futurist Bryan Alexander, Ph.D., joined the Board via Microsoft Teams to offer his presentation on the future of higher education and the many scenarios the sector could potentially face. Alexander spoke about the pandemic’s effects on higher education, but also disparities in higher education around the world given differences in local population and available services.

Additionally, Alexander shared research on how macroeconomic changes had impacted higher education from without, while students’ changing program needs had shifted higher education from within.

Following that presentation, Public Affairs Manager Chris Erickson provided an overview of the Envision 2030 initiative, which began in 2016 and moved forward as a consensus-building effort and opportunity to forecast changing trends.

Institutional Researcher Ellie Shockley, Ph.D., then provided an overview of the systemwide surveys that had been undertaken as part of the ongoing strategic planning process. The surveys in 2020 and 2021 had been sent to all faculty, staff and students, and gauged attitudes and priorities across a range of subjects such as COVID-19, mental health, and financial aid.

The Board then reviewed policies regarding the mission, vision and core values, as well as infographics that mapped out objectives and metrics under the Board’s current five strategic goals.

Later in the afternoon, Vice Chancellor of Strategy and Strategic Engagement Jerry Rostad and Director of Institutional Research Jen Weber, Ph.D., led three breakout groups to discuss potential changes to the mission, vision, core values, and goals. Feedback from those groups was brought forward into the next day’s meeting, and will later be reviewed by the Governance and Research committee.