Board talks contracts, budgets

Board talks contracts, budgets

The State Board of Higher Education held its last meeting for the 2022 fiscal year this week, and during the meeting the governing body talked extensively about executive contracts and budgets for the upcoming year.

Early in the meeting the Board moved into executive session to discuss North Dakota University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott’s contract. Later, the Board re-entered executive session to discuss the performance evaluations and compensation packages for the college and university presidents. Ultimately, the Board made separate motions on both the chancellor’s contract and the individual presidents’ contracts with the latter receiving between two and three percent raises.

Board Chair Dr. Casey Ryan noted that the session was the first that the chancellor had been invited to due to changes passed by the last legislative session. Ryan noted that Hagerott had provided visionary leadership during a difficult year. Board Vice Chair Tim Mihalick motioned to extend the chancellor’s contract for two years with a salary increase of 2.7 percent. The motion was unanimously approved. Hagerott thanked the Board and noted that his success was to be attributed to system office staff, the presidents, and the Board.

Vice Chancellor of Administrative Affairs and Chief Financial Officer David Krebsbach brought forward the 2023-2025 budget request, offering details into both the operational and capital budgets. Krebsbach presented details on general fund appropriations for previous years, noting that the total requested needs-based budget would be $680.1 million for the university system, which included system office, the institutions, the Forest Service, Core Technology Services, and financial aid and grants.

Krebsbach noted that optional systemwide initiatives included a five-and-five percent salary increase for each year of the biennium, a potential increase for the funding formula per credit hour, a behavioral health initiative that increased full-time and part-time employees, a veteran education training program, a systemwide marketing program, two Forest Service programs, increased funding for the N.D. Academic and CTE Scholarships, an N.D. works scholarship, and additional support for university system capital projects. He added that funding could also be made available for a Higher Education Stabilization Fund and a research funding stream. Capital funding requests for the biennium would total more than $157 million.

The Board also heard detailed budget requests from the Forest Service, NDSU Research & Extension Service budget request, and the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute.

Vice Chancellor of Strategy and Strategic Engagement Jerry Rostad updated the Board on the strategic plan, which included offering some details regarding updated outcomes and metrics under the strategic plan’s goals. The Board voted unanimously to accept the strategic plan as it was presented.

Florin Salajan, Ed.D., spoke to the Board about considering revisions to Article III, Section 1 of the North Dakota State University Faculty Senate Constitution, keeping the added ranks for faculty of practice, but excluding emeritus faculty from membership eligibility in the Faculty Senate. The Board ultimately voted in favor of the revisions.


Board business, policies

Mihalick brought forward the Budget and Finance committee agenda, which included retirement plan efficiencies, and authorizations for funding. Among the authorizations were for University of North Dakota to remodel Building 256 at an estimated cost of $2,500,000 to be funded with appropriated (carry-forward) funds; for interior remodeling at UND’s Carnegie Hall at an estimated cost of $3,800,000 to be funded with local funds; for remodeling at UND’s Swanson Hall at an estimated cost of $1,100,000 to be funded with local funds; for UND’s Alumni Association & Foundation to issue not more than $25 million in lease revenue bonds on behalf of North Dakota University System to finance upgrades to EERC’s primary electrical distribution system and the construction of EERC’s advanced materials processing facility; for UND to increase per credit tuition for the CRNA program from $925.07 per credit in FY 2022 to $1,025 per credit beginning in fiscal  year 2023; and for approval of UND’s financial terms and length of lease associated with UND Memorial Village P3 as outlined between UND and the UND Alumni Association & Foundation. Additionally, Mihalick also brought forward the fiscal year 2022 salary ranges for vice chancellors and senior offices.

Board member Nick Hacker brought forward the Audit committee agenda, including an update on the NDUS fiscal year 2023 Internal audit plan, and the Internal Audit and Compliance 2022 Annual Independence Confirmations.

Board member Dr. John Warford brought forward the Academic and Student Affairs committee agenda, which included state authorizations for both Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Park University.

Ryan and Board member Danita Bye respectively brought forward the Research and Governance committee agendas, including the Core Technology Services report and the strategic topics for Board action and legislative requests.

Bye also spoke to the Board about its annual self-assessment priorities. She noted that based on feedback there were three priorities: addressing committee structure and the meeting process; to have more face-to-face meetings; and to highlight student enrollment and faculty retention.

Student Advisor to the Board Gracie Lian provided an update on the North Dakota Student Association, noting that NDSA was prepping hard already in advance of the legislative session. They were currently working on scheduling for their upcoming year of meetings.

Faculty Advisor to the Board Elizabeth Legerski provided an update from the Council of College Faculty, offering thanks to everyone for their time and effort in creating a positive and supportive environment for students.

Staff Advisor to the Board Retha Mattern provided an update from the Staff Senate, noting that they held their annual retreat last week and new officers were elected.

NDSA President Christopher Scott then spoke during public comment, expressing gratitude for Lian’s service to the student government.

The Board also made its committee assignments for the upcoming year and discussed granting its committees to take final action in July and August. Ryan closed out the meeting by presenting recognition plaques to the outgoing Board members for their service to the university system, including recognizing retiring Dakota College at Bottineau President Jerry Migler for his years of service. The next meeting is scheduled at Dickinson State University in September.