Andrew Haffner covers higher education and general assignment stories for the Grand Forks Herald. He attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where he studied journalism, political science and international studies. He previously worked at the Dickinson Press.
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While sagging public pensions in states like Illinois now resemble earth-bound, budgetary comets, North Dakota pension plans aren't likely to sink anytime soon. At least, that's the goal behind a set of legislative changes now being weighed to head off future disruption to one of the state's largest pension funds, the North Dakota Public Employees Retiree System—NDPERS, for short—which could otherwise run dry in decades to come.
East Grand Forks schools might still be in session, but the district's board is already looking to next year—and the four that come after that. A pair of education consultants tasked with sketching out the district's five-year strategic plan met Thursday evening with Schools Board members to present a full timeline of the work ahead, laying out a process that extends well into next year.
Some North Dakota higher education leaders have begun calling for urgency in fighting a potential continuation of budget cuts to public campuses. Casey Ryan, a member of the State Board of Higher Education, described the prospect of deeper cuts as "incongruent" with the state's goal of improving the higher education system, particularly the research institutions at UND and North Dakota State University.
Erik Hanson has been in the UND Student Body since he was a freshman. Now preparing to enter his fifth year on campus, he's still eager to begin. That's because Hanson was elected earlier this month to serve as the next president of the student government, a one-year term that starts with his May 2 inauguration at the last Student Senate meeting of the academic year.
Terrorists. Child-killers. Bloody-handed puppeteers. The National Rifle Association and its members have been called unflattering names in the months after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting as proponents of gun control have leveled their sights on the nation's most prominent Second Amendment advocacy group. Locally, members of the NRA say it's unfair and misguided. Phillip Lee, a young father from McIntosh, Minn., takes issue when people believe the NRA advocates violence.
A day after his budget guidelines hinted at future cuts to higher education, Gov. Doug Burgum described part of his vision for the state university system as one of increasingly flexible campuses operating in a more decentralized environment. "There's lots of things happening in higher ed that require attention, in terms of the business models, the competition, roles of research," Burgum, a former tech executive who has promised to reinvent government, said Thursday.
Another dean at UND is looking for work elsewhere. Debbie Storrs, dean of the UND College of Arts and Sciences, announced Thursday to faculty and staff of the college—the single largest at the university—that she would be interviewing next week for a provost position at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga.
A day after his budget guidelines hinted at future cuts to higher education, Gov. Doug Burgum described part of his vision for the state university system as one of increasingly flexible campuses operating in a more decentralized environment. “There’s lots of things happening in higher ed that require attention, in terms of the business models, the competition, roles of research,” Burgum, a former tech executive who has promised to reinvent government, said Thursday.
UND has partnered with education giant Pearson to promote some online programs over at least the next decade, a move that has pleased school leaders while leaving some faculty wary. The university struck a deal in mid-March to push two master's-level courses starting next year with Pearson, a company that, among other things, prints textbooks and handles digital coursework as an online program manager, or OPM. School leaders hope the deal will give UND an edge as the campus extends its reach for online-only students.
The governor's early budget guidelines could mean a higher education cut of more than $50 million, deepening reductions handed down last spring to the North Dakota University System. Tammy Dolan, NDUS chief financial officer and a vice chancellor, said the 10 percent cut recommended Wednesday by Gov. Doug Burgum "will have a significant impact" on the state's 11 colleges and universities.