Envision 2035 study groups share progress with SBHE

Envision 2035 study groups share progress with SBHE

The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education heard reports from several Envision 2035 study group representatives at its February meeting. The groups’ findings will guide the North Dakota University System’s (NDUS) strategic planning process as it prepares for the future of higher education in the state.

The reports were preceded by a presentation from Jerry Rostad, NDUS vice chancellor of strategy and strategic engagement, which provided a summary of a planned strategy review with Gov. Doug Burgum in March. Inputs from the Envision 2035 process will further shape the Governor’s strategy review, ultimately identifying higher education initiatives for next year’s legislative session.

“If you remember, he (Gov. Burgum) explicitly wants to know what the SBHE is doing about automation and artificial intelligence,” said NDUS Chancellor Mark Hagerott. “What are we doing about transformative things, truly changing things? I think with the Envision work you all are doing, we’re going to have several things going forward.”

Summaries from the Envision 2035 study groups included:

Agriculture – Some of the aspirations identified by the group included getting more students interested in the agricultural industry and preparing them for careers in a dynamic and rapidly changing sector. It was also important for the group that students are encouraged to be adaptive and lifelong learners upon graduation.

Energy – The group stressed the importance of developing a comprehensive energy approach by focusing not just on oil and gas, but also on hydrogen, coal, wind, solar and water. There also was discussion about expanding TrainND to western North Dakota, particularly in Minot and Dickinson. The group also promoted Grand Energy and the need to invest in automation, robotics and AI for the workforce.

Digitization –Teaching and preparing students for a changing digital landscape so they can enter the workforce ready to make substantial contributions for the state was a primary focus for the group. Also, building AI infrastructure, reflecting on what it is to be human, nurturing creativity, critical thinking and communication were core topics for discussion brought forward by the group.

Healthcare – The group encouraged a focus on building more scholarships and finding ways to attract students into the healthcare field, get them to stay in the field and enhance experiential training by building on public/private partnerships.

Teacher of the Future – The group recognizes veteran teachers in schools/districts as key resources in helping identify needs, such as mentoring, professional development and re-training.

Student of the Future – The group has distributed a survey that has been sent out with 500 respondents, so far, to gain analysis about student sentiment on campuses regarding dual credit. Some other topic areas that were addressed that tie to students’ overall well-being were the offering of telehealth services, facing dangers related to sports gambling and recreational marijuana, providing student health insurance and expanding scholarship opportunities to meet workforce demands. The group also encouraged increased collaboration between campuses for seamless transfer of NDUS students.

Infrastructure of the Future – The group focused on IT modernization and sustainment, as well as an investment in hardware, software/apps and personnel. It also wanted to focus on partnerships, including connecting with the Digitization Group to develop curriculum design and digital literacy for students, faculty and staff.

Human Capital/Workforce of the Future – The group continues to meet to gather additional data and refine reports.

Values of the Future – Two subcommittees were involved in the work for the Values of the Future Group: Dakota Humanities Academy and Dakota Professional Model. The committees identified civic education as a potential requirement for students, leading to an engagement certificate. They also identified effective communication, creative thinking, volunteerism, professional integrity and civic responsibility as attributes graduates should have.

The SBHE also received a brief from Lisa Johnson, NDUS vice chancellor for academic and student affairs, about an initiative called Complete College America (CCA). The group is a national advocate for increasing college completion rates and closing institutional performance gaps by working with systems to promote policies that improve student success.

By belonging to the consortia, North Dakota would establish higher education completion goals, one of which is elevating the number of adults with some sort of post-secondary credential. North Dakota currently sits at 55% and through CCA, would set a goal for 65%

“I think we’re on a good trajectory with all of the certificate programs we offer, but we would also be committing to put a team together to work on data communication, implementing, developing a plan, and providing annual data, which is easy to do through our Core Technology Services,” Johnson said.

The SBHE took a unanimous vote in support of the initiative and to send a letter to the governor for his approval.
Earlier in the meeting, the SBHE approved developmental leave for Chancellor Hagerott. The chancellor will use the time to prepare a syllabus for an AI course, as well as to complete a book on technological change.

Additional SBHE Business, Reports

Student Member Sadie Hanson reported on the most recent North Dakota Student Association meeting. The group heard from a guest speaker from Job Service ND. They also a passed resolution in support of extending NDUS president contracts to 3 years, as well as a resolution in support of the continuation of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Dr. Lisa Montplaisir reported for the Council of College Faculties. The group continues to discuss AI initiatives on campus and attend the monthly NDUS AI Forums. They’ve also made some bylaw changes to advance to the SBHE and will have its election of officers in March. Additionally, they have spent time discussing a post-tenure review document and have shared it with campuses for feedback from faculty senates.

The Board heard first readings of Policies 512 (Student Drivers and Use of State Vehicles by Student Groups), 807.1 (Mobile Phones and Other Mobile Computing Devices; Restrictions on Use of State Phones) and 810.1 (Appropriated Funds Reserve). All policies were approved.

Second readings were heard for Policies 303.1 (SBHE Meetings and Agendas), 504 (Resident Tuition Law and Guidelines), 507 (Student Publications), 510 (Rights of Students Called to Active Military Service), 602.2 (Report on Faculty Appointments), 701.2 (Developmental Leave), Policy 705.1 (Executive Compensation), 803.1 (Purchasing), 803.4 (Purchasing Cards), 806.3 (Moving Expenses) and all were approved.

No public comments were made.

The Board’s next meeting is scheduled for March 27, 2024.

— 30 –