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UND holds line on staff growth

The workforce at colleges across the country has grown by 28 percent from 2000 to 2012, 50 percent faster than it did in the ‘90s.

But that’s not necessarily true for UND.

The data, released by Delta Cost Project, were collected from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. Their definition of faculty varied from UND’s and therefore used a smaller pool of employees to calculate growth.

The American Federation of Teachers educational database, which also pulls data from IPEDS and helped publish the study, shows a growth of about 26 percent in the number of UND faculty employed 9 to 10 months out of the year from 2002 to 2012.

But UND’s numbers paint a different picture.

The overall number of benefited employees, which includes most people working at the college, has also been yo-yoing but decreasing overall after peaking at 2,981 employees in 1993. The number sits at 2,804 people as of Jan. 31.

The number of full-time benefited faculty members, such as professors and other instructors, also has gone up and down and currently sits at about 740 people, 26 percent lower than the most recent peak of 1,005 people in 2003.

Provost Thomas DiLorenzo said he has noticed the drop in numbers, but doesn’t see it affecting the university’s growth.

“We’re just simply doing more with less benefited employees,” he said. “It probably has to do with the strong work ethic of North Dakota. It’s really a part of the cultural environment; you kind of roll up your sleeves and get it done.”

A reason for the decrease in UND’s employees can be seen in Job Service North Dakota’s  statewide statistics, which show that while the positions may not be flourishing now, postsecondary job openings will show “average growth to near growth” by 2020.

But some positions, like postsecondary earth science, biology, and agriculture science instructors still have below-average growth predicted.

Even with fewer overall staff members, students continue to enroll at UND. The number of students enrolled each fall has continued to rise overall until reaching 15,143 in 2013.

“I’ve been really proud of the faculty and staff here in rising to the challenge,” DiLorenzo said.

Anna Burleson

Anna Burleson is the higher education reporter for The Grand Forks Herald. She is a 2013 graduate of the University of South Dakota's Mass Communication program and is originally from Watertown, S.D. Contact her with story ideas or tips by phone, email or Twitter, all of which are listed below. Examples of her work can be accessed here.

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