Board focuses on research

Board focuses on research

The State Board of Higher Education focused on research when it met at Dickinson State University for its September meeting.

Chancellor Mark Hagerott said that with thanks to U.S. Senator John Hoeven, a five-state consortium had including North Dakota had entered a memorandum of understanding to conduct research. He said that the developments were “truly paradigm shifting.” The consortium would allow federal research funding to come to the Midwest.

Hagerott said the consortium was already yielding benefits. He added that the U.S. Chips and Science Act would create industry by bringing semiconductor and digital companies back to the U.S. Meetings with other agency heads would help bring the business side of things into the consortium. He noted that one challenge had been to create a fair and equitable governance structure, but in the end, each state would have one vote.

Board Chair Dr. Casey Ryan added that the research in N.D. stood at about $300 million, and this consortium held the potential to bring that up to $1 billion. Such an opportunity could strengthen the economy and stabilize it against recessionary periods.

Director of Institutional Research Jen Weber, Ph.D., gave a briefing on the fall semester census data, and showed through data how there were more students at times than other systems. She noted that dual credit was up “significantly,” which showed that there were more K-12 students enrolling. Looking at students, most were from the region although there were a large number of Minnesota students.


Board policy

Board Vice Chair Tim Mihalick brought forward the Budget and Finance committee business, which included an authorization request from University of North Dakota to raise $86.5 million to raze, renovate, and construct new facilities to address deferred maintenance and to modernize College of Engineering & Mines buildings associated with UND’s capital project request for its science, engineering, and national security corridor. An additional request for $3.9 million in general funds for the Northern Crops Institute was heard. Both were approved.

Board member Dr. John Warford brought forward the Academic and Student Affairs committee agenda, which focused on tenure. Currently, North Dakota is the only state that doesn’t have a policy on tenure. Warford encouraged the educational force to encourage workers.

Ryan and Board member Danita Bye brought forward the Research and Governance committee agenda, which focused on Board priorities. Ryan noted that the major item was EPSCoR and that it had been moved under the vice president of research at North Dakota State University. Bye noted how the committee was tracking information including processes and procedures.

Board member Nick Hacker brought forward the Audit committee agenda, which included consistent meetings throughout the summer, including external audits.

UND request approval of the attached resolution authorizing University of North Dakota Alumni Association & Foundation (UNDAAF) to issue not more than $30 million in lease revenue bonds on behalf of North Dakota University System (NDUS) to finance upgrades to EERC’s primary electrical distribution system and the construction (replacement) of EERC’s advanced materials processing facility. Further request approval of the construction project from the 68th North Dakota Legislative Assembly.

Student member of the Board Sadie Hanson provided an update from the North Dakota Student Association, which included logistical and recruiting issues. Additionally, she visited all 11 institutions.

Faculty advisor to the Board Lisa Montplaisir, Ph.D., provided an update from the Council of College Faculty, which included faculty working on retention and recruitment, high-impact practices, and other opportunities.

Staff advisor to the Board Michael Linnell provided an update from the N.D. Staff Senate, which included an update on tuition waiver policies and workforce morale.

The Board entered executive session to receive a Security/Penetration Test briefing from Vice Chancellor of Information Technology Darin King and to address other matters related to NDUS cybersecurity and other security plans.

It also held the reading of Policy 1200.1 (Consolidated IT Services) and approved the 2023 meeting schedule. The Board heard from Hagerott about his goals for the new year based on the Board’s guidance.