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Dakota Download Governor Burgum's Weekly Update - November 18, 2018

Task Force for Higher Education Governance votes to advance three-board governance model

Members of the Task Force for Higher Education Governance formed by Gov. Doug Burgum a year ago voted Tuesday to advance the concept of a three-board governance model for the state’s 11 public colleges and universities as an improvement to the current single-board model.

Under the recommended model, one board would govern the state’s nine regional and community institutions: Bismarck State College, Dakota College at Bottineau, Dickinson State University, Lake Region State College, Mayville State University, Minot State University, the North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton, Valley City State University and Williston State College. Each of the state’s two research universities – North Dakota State University and the University of North Dakota – would have its own governing board.

“This diverse and talented Task Force conducted a diligent and thoughtful review of the challenges facing our current single-board system of governance, as well as investigating models used by other states, to identify a model that would support the most nimble, effective and accountable higher education system in a highly dynamic, increasingly competitive environment,” Burgum said after the group’s final meeting.

North Dakota’s current governance structure for higher education has remained largely unchanged since being adopted by voters in 1938, and any changes to it would require voter approval of a constitutional amendment, which the Legislature could place on the ballot through a concurrent resolution.

The current structure consists of a State Board of Higher Education with eight voting members appointed by the governor.

Sanford highlights opportunities for value-added agriculture

Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford on Tuesday welcomed attendees of the Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites (CB2) Industry Advisory Board Meeting at NDSU. More than 50 attendees representing both industry and higher education spent two days in Fargo working to identify areas of collaboration and partnership.

Sanford provided updates on the state's efforts to grow value-added agriculture and the opportunity to further diversify North Dakota's economy.

CB2 is a National Science Foundation Industry & University Cooperative Research Center that focuses on developing high-value biobased products from agricultural and forestry feedstocks. It is a collaborative effort by the Biopolymers & Biocomposites Research Team at Iowa State University, the Composite Materials and Engineering Center at Washington State University, and industry members to conduct commercially relevant research.

Burgum, Dohrmann welcome home soldier

Gov. Doug Burgum joined Maj. Gen. Alan Dohrmann and other leadership from the North Dakota National Guard on Wednesday to help welcome back PFC Anthony Moore to Bismarck. Also present were Moore's parents, sister and nephew.

Moore is a soldier in the North Dakota Army National Guard’s 191st Military Police Company and was one of 15 returning home after an almost yearlong mission in Afghanistan. The soldiers comprise about half of the unit’s deployed members. The remaining soldiers will return sometime next month.

Members of the 191st Military Police Company provided protective service detail and secure transportation to Resolute Support Headquarters staff while assigned to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Afghanistan. The soldiers hail from 20 communities across North Dakota, Minnesota and South Dakota.

Photo courtesy: Mike McCleary, Bismarck Tribune

First Lady joins USDA discussion on addiction, behavioral health

First Lady Kathryn Helgaas Burgum on Thursday joined a roundtable discussion focused on drug and alcohol addiction hosted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development in Bismarck.

Helgaas Burgum updated attendees on progress to combat addiction at the state level and shared her perspective as someone in long-term recovery.

Other participants in the discussion included Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler, Indian Affairs Commission Executive Director Scott Davis, USDA Rural Development State Director Clare Carlson and representatives from the North Dakota Department of Human Services.

Tribal college presidents talk workforce solutions

Gov. Burgum, Lt. Gov. Sanford and First Lady Helgaas Burgum hosted presidents from four of the state's tribal college for a meeting Wednesday at the Capitol.

The group collaborated on ways tribal colleges can help alleviate the state's massive workforce shortage. Current estimates place the number of open jobs in North Dakota at nearly 30,000.

Participating in the meeting were presidents from Sitting Bull College, Cankdeska Cikana Community College, Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College and Turtle Mountain Community College.

Burgum, Sanford and Helgaas Burgum pictured with JRCC Warden Chad Pringle and Deputy Warden Connie Hackman.

State Hospital and JRCC host administration officials

On Monday, Gov. Burgum, First Lady Helgaas Burgum and Lt. Gov. Sanford visited the North Dakota State Hospital and James River Correctional Center in Jamestown.

At the State Hospital, they toured the inpatient treatment facilities on the campus, including the Tompkins Rehabilitation and Correctional Center, which provides residential addiction treatment services for adults in the criminal justice system.

During the visit to the James River Correctional Center, they discussed how the facility is providing a safe environment for residents and preparing them to successfully reenter the community.

Burgum and Sanford have named behavioral health and addiction as one of their five strategic initiatives.

Bold change needed for higher education governance

When North Dakotans voted 80 years ago to create a single board to govern the state’s public colleges and universities, the world was still being introduced to the ballpoint pen. Oil had recently been discovered in Saudi Arabia. Non-stick Teflon had just been invented. And Superman made his first comic book appearance.

Few could have predicted a five-fold increase in enrollment at North Dakota’s state-funded colleges and universities, from just under 8,000 students in 1938 to over 45,000 students today, or that the number of institutions would increase and their missions and offerings would expand and evolve so extensively.

Yet, eight decades later, our state’s higher education governance model remains largely unchanged.

While the current one-board system with eight voting members has served past needs of our state and its citizens, the time is now for the state to take courageous action and transform our system into a national leader by increasing accountability and allowing institutions to be more nimble, flexible and responsive to competitive forces and workforce demands.

Just over a year ago, by executive order we created the 15-member Task Force for Higher Education Governance. On Tuesday, after 10 months of thoughtful review of the challenges facing our current one-board system, and investigating models used by other states, this diverse and talented task force – representing the interests of students, faculty, administrators, the business community and all three branches of state government – arrived at unanimous consensus that a new governance structure is needed for the state of North Dakota.

The task force had the courage and vision to seek bold change. With their vote Tuesday, members recommended pursuing legislative and citizen support to adopt a three-board governance structure – one board for the state’s nine community and regional institutions, and one for each of the state’s two research institutions.

With increased bandwidth, these boards would work more directly with institutions and enhance accountability of their leadership. And they would be better able to focus more deeply on the institutions’ individual missions, challenges and opportunities.

Student populations would be balanced between the boards. Currently, 40 percent of the system’s 45,882 students attend the nine community and regional institutions, 30 percent attend North Dakota State University and 30 percent attend the University of North Dakota. Faculty numbers would be split evenly in thirds between the three boards.

Successful features of the current system would be retained. For example, the task force recommends requiring all institutions to maintain common course numbering, the transferability of credits, a funding formula based on credit production and shared technology services as a prerequisite to receiving any state funds.

To help foster collaboration between the campuses, the task force also recommends creating an advisory committee comprised of the chairs of each of the three boards, plus a second appointed member from the community and regional institutions board.

In addition, the task force recommends transforming the current North Dakota University System office into an office of higher education shared services with a higher education administrator. This team, along with the advisory committee, would work collaboratively across the three boards and all 11 institutions to maintain effective shared services and a team approach to solving workforce challenges in the state.

Changing the current governance model will require voter approval of a constitutional amendment, which the Legislature could place on the ballot through a concurrent resolution.

The time for change is now. Powerful underlying economic and technological forces are challenging the very essence of the current business model for higher education delivery. Our institutions deserve, and our state needs, a governance model that enables all of our institutions and students to reach their fullest potential.

The above op-ed by Gov. Burgum appeared in the Sunday, Nov. 18, edition of The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.

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