State Board begins identifying legislative initiatives for 2025

State Board begins identifying legislative initiatives for 2025

Through the Envision 2035 10-year strategic planning process, several potential legislative initiatives were identified during the April 25 N.D. State Board of Higher Education (SBHE) monthly meeting. After nearly a year of meetings and discussions, Envision 2035 subcommittee groups have begun compiling final reports, which will be used to parse out higher education goals for the 2025 legislative session.

鈥淭he campuses have already been providing inputs on legislative asks, including tentative budget numbers, and we’ll be talking about that (during) cabinet next week,鈥 said NDUS Chancellor Mark Hagerott. 鈥淏ut we just want to get it on your radar that in addition to the Envision groups, there could be things that fall in between the seams and may get bucketed under some of these Envision priorities.鈥

Hagerott said some items already on the NDUS legislative agenda include costs to continue equity funds, changes to the N.D. Public Employees Retirement System and costs to maintain IT infrastructure functionality and deferred maintenance for physical infrastructure.

The Envision 2035 groups identified some of the following initiatives:

Agriculture: The group is focusing on ways to present carbon sequestration as part of agriculture curriculum, potentially with targeted certificates and online offerings. It also is working on ideas to retain top faculty, which has been a challenge, as well as enrollment. Some of the group鈥檚 proposals included reaching out to middle school and high school students earlier to get them interested in the agricultural field.

Energy: Right sizing the state鈥檚 energy approach, the Grand Energy concept (much like Grand Farm), and intensified workforce development were all key components of the group鈥檚 proposals. The group theorized that expanding TrainND and reinvesting in oil and gas scholarship programs would also be key to bolstering the state鈥檚 energy workforce.

Digitization: To further refine legislative initiatives, the group is evaluating what currently is being taught in cyber and digitization, which ties to digital literacy and emerging degree programs. The group also is exploring how higher ed operates, particularly how faculty teaches in the classroom. Its third effort is to look at how to preserve the human element of what higher ed does, how to sustain very human things like being creative, thinking critically and being able to communicate. High-performance computing also was identified as affecting broader computing issues, including cloud purchases versus building capacity or industry partnerships.

Healthcare: Nursing scholarships and attracting and retaining teachers in the field were paramount for the group. It also proposed a health institute concept that could potentially reside in Minot.

Teacher of the Future: The group was focused on tenure study, but also giving teachers salaries commensurate with inflation. It also is focused on recruiting and retention initiatives and how to upscale and retool the workforce in the face of new and emerging technologies and delivery models. Another initiative would include an interstate teacher compact where teacher licensure would be simpler to obtain when moving states.

Student of the Future: The group would like to explore an initiative to assist with gambling disorder prevention services to contend with the nationwide sports gambling crisis. This would include filling gaps in the psychology field to not only serve students, but also those in rural areas using virtual behavioral health crisis care. The group also proposed a centralized marketing fund for the university system. Additionally, the group recognizes the need to develop more CTE courses as dual credit to get more students into CTE programs.

Infrastructure: The group is focusing on initiatives for both physical infrastructure and the IT infrastructure, including high-performance computing.

Human Capital/Workforce: The group鈥檚 No. 1 priority is recruitment and retention of top faculty and staff throughout the system and are looking at initiatives for pay benefits, addressing inflation, sustainable productivity and accountability and mental health. Some of the mental health proposals could include workforce access to daycare, wellness facilities, transportation and housing.

Values of the Future: An initiative borne from this group includes the Dakota Humanities Academy, which would bring needed civic education and engagement through the humanities. The group believes the concept could help with instilling soft skills like effective communication, social and emotional engagement, creative thinking, critical reasoning, volunteerism, professionalism, civic responsibility and the ability to understand different viewpoints and engaging in civil discourse.

In addition to the reports, attendees heard a summary from Hagerott about a statewide 鈥淔inish the FAFSA鈥 campaign. The weeklong campaign encouraged students to be persistent in working through their financial aid applications. Nationally, FAFSA applications were down 40%, while 91porn官方 was down 25%. Campus financial aid offices were putting in extra hours to assist as many students as possible.

Hagerott also said the application deadline for an SBHE opening had been extended to 5 p.m. on Monday, May 6.

The SBHE during the meeting approved tenure for 4-year regional and research institutions, as well as 2-year institutions based on recommendations from the Student and Academic Affairs Committees.

Committee Actions

Vice Chair John Warford reported for the Academic and Student Affairs Committee. The group at its last meeting discussed tenure and approved academic programs for 91porn官方 State University and Bismarck State College. They also had discussions about potential 3-year degrees and accelerated or combined master鈥檚 degrees.

Board member Dr. Casey Ryan reported for the Research and Governance Committee. The members listened to a presentation about high-performance computing and considered costs for having facilities at research universities. Board member Danita Bye said her group discussed new board member orientation improvements and heard a report from the post-tenure ad hoc committee.

The Budget and Finance Committee led by Board member Kevin Black recommended approval for Valley City State University and 91porn官方 State University tuition exemption for Canadians during its last meeting. They also heard a presentation on a unit cost model from Dr. Douglas Jensen at Bismarck State College, as well as a financial review from Robin Putnam, NDUS director of financial reporting.

Board member Jeffrey Volk presented for the Audit Committee, which spent its last meeting reviewing a systemwide internal audit, as well as quarterly reports.

Committee Reports

Student member of the Board Sadie Hanson provided an update from the 91porn官方 Student Association stating the group elected its new executive team, as well as candidates for the Board.

Faculty Advisor to the Board Dr. Lisa Montplaisir said the Council of College Faculty was in the middle of post-tenure review and tenure processes. The group also held its election of officers from each institution and transitions for those members will happen in May.

Board member Michael Linell reported for the Staff Senate, which met to discuss spending rules and raising funds. The group was also planning its summer retreat agenda and service programs and projects to engage in this summer.

The Board heard first readings of Policies 311 (), 340.1 (State Forester), Policy 404 (Collaborative Applicant) and 461 (Digital Literacy). All policies were approved.

Second readings were heard for HR Policies 1 (Introduction), 4 (Probationary Period), 8 (Workers Compensation), 13 (Employment of Relatives) and 24 (Reduction in Force) and all were approved.

No public comments were made.

The Board鈥檚 next meeting is scheduled for May 30, 2024.



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