Board reviews annual system, campus budgets

Board reviews annual system, campus budgets

The State Board of Higher Education reviewed budget items at its regular monthly meeting this week.

Chancellor Hagerott and Vice Chancellor of Administrative Affairs David Krebsbach provided an update on the recent budget meeting with the Office of Management and Budget. Hagerott noted that it was a very productive three days of meetings. All 11 campuses briefed their budgets in person. Hagerott noted that work was moving forward on inflation relief.

Krebsbach said the meetings went well. Participants reviewed the needs-based budget and requests for additional funding. He noted that institutional presidents were received well and found support for the board-approved budget. Individual items such as scholarships and grants were combed over in detail to discover intent and purpose.

Director of Institutional Data Jen Weber, Ph.D., gave the Board the Census Data report, which detailed enrollment trends. Weber had last reported to the Board after the initial census report and was back to detail additional information that was discovered. Weber said that the university system served three types of students: those seeking a degree, those not seeking a degree, and those seeking personal development. She noted that if the university system were a city, it would be the second largest in the state; students alone would make it the third largest.

Weber noted that 80 percent of the students were either from North Dakota or Minnesota. She then detailed the graduate students and those in continuing education. Weber was also able to break down the number of students at each campus on a state-breakdown. Weber then explained the current enrollment trends against historical and economical comparisons.

Board Vice Chair Tim Mihalick brought forward the Budget and Finance committee business, which included ratification of Chancellor Mark Hagerott’s approval of $2,899,596 and $2,250,000, respectively, transfer of the NDUS System Office Tier II and Tier IIII capital building fund appropriation line to the NDSU capital building fund appropriation line.

Board member Nick Hacker brought forward the Audit committee agenda, which included an update on the Fiscal Year 2023 Internal Audit Plan. Hacker said that he didn’t expect any action in the next two months but there should be an update in the new year. He said there continued to be one opening in the audit team but were having trouble filling the position given available budget.

Board member Dr. John Warford brought forward the Academic and Student Affairs committee agenda. Warford noted that he had attended the Main Street Summit, which was a governor’s initiative focused on economic and community well-being. He noted that academic and student affairs was the conduit for new programs to come into being, and that the university system was the prime conduit for creation of workforce in the state.

Board Chair Dr. Casey Ryan and Board member Danita Bye respectively brought forward the Research and Governance committee agendas. Ryan noted that the last meeting included discussion on an update on the Chips and Science Act of 2022, an update on research throughout the university system, and heard from Valley Prosperity Partners to discuss the upcoming legislative session. Ryan noted that in continuing to move forward there were many exciting developments in the research side of things. Bye noted that in regard to Governance, it was important to take a critical and strategic look at programs that drive the workforce and those that don’t cash flow.

Board member Kevin Black said that in line with the governor’s initiative to cut red tape and noted that he would like to see a task force set up to look into cutting red tape regarding business processes, with the option to look at things such as admissions and enrollment in the future. Ryan noted that North Dakota State University had already started looking into such topics, which set the stage for other campuses to follow.

Mihalick then provided an update from the NDUS Foundation. He noted that foundation priorities could be expanded to include expansion of medicine to rural areas. That would add to the current priorities of agriculture, nursing, and unmanned aerial systems.

Student member of the Board Sadie Hanson brought forward an update from the North Dakota Student Association. Faculty Adviser to the Board Lisa Montplaisir, Ph.D., brought forward an update from the Council of College Faculty, noting that the faculty was discussing representation, academic calendars and information surrounding potential data breaches. Staff Adviser to the Board Michael Linnell brought forward an update from Staff Senate, including mental health issues and policies, and recruiting and retention.

Additionally, the Board held the first reading of Policy 306.1 (Compliance Charter) and set the next meeting for December 8.