Andrew Haffner covers county, health 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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BISMARCK—UND President Mark Kennedy suggested Monday that North Dakota lawmakers should consider raising tuition rates for state residents before issuing any further budget cuts to higher education. Kennedy testified as part of a UND delegation joined by leaders from across the North Dakota University System sent to address a division of the House Appropriations Committee in advance of a March 9 state budgetary forecast.
The leaders of UND's colleges and support units have finalized and submitted draft plans to cut their budgets by 12 percent in expectation of widespread reductions to state-funded entities. As an institution, UND is currently anticipating an appropriated fund reduction of $32 million over the upcoming 2017-19 biennium. The North Dakota University System as a whole is currently anticipating an appropriated fund reduction of about 20 percent from its level at the onset of the 2015-17 budgetary period.
UND has launched an early initiative to rejuvenate its main corridor. The project, which is now under the guidance of the recently assembled Coulee to Columbia Committee, would include three major renovation projects along the stretch of University Avenue spanning the English Coulee and Columbia Road. Upon completion, the overhaul as currently planned would draw renovations totaling an approximate $189 million—to be funded mainly by private donations and possibly a student fee increase—for Memorial Union, Gamble Hall and the Chester Fritz Library.
UND will not be reducing the 12-month notification period currently given to tenured faculty before dismissal, according to a Tuesday message from university leaders.
Hesham El-Rewini, dean of the UND College of Engineering and Mines, has been selected as one of three finalists for the position of provost and senior vice president at Texas Tech University. According to student media and a posting from the university president's office, El-Rewini will be in Lubbock, Texas, for a March 8-10 campus visit and interview process. During that time, he'll be meeting with institutional stakeholders, presenting his vision for the university and sitting for a public question and answer session.
The academic career of UND history professor Gordon Iseminger, 84, might finally be winding down, and he's not happy about it. The Chester Fritz distinguished professor has spent more than 50 years teaching and researching at the university, during which time he focused largely on European history before turning an eye to more local studies of North Dakota's past. Those studies will continue, he said, though most likely they will not conclude in his campus office.
Grand Forks server Peggy Adams has a lot of socks. So many, in fact, they've become a key part of her professional identity and the source of her nickname—Socks. Adams has made a career at El Roco, and after nearly 36 years at the north-end bar, she's become as much a fixture of the place as the bar top itself. She's also amassed a collection of outlandish socks — at current count, 250 pairs and growing.
The State Board of Higher Education approved a policy change Thursday which would cut down the required timeline for dismissing tenured faculty in the North Dakota University System. Discussion of the change during the board's monthly meeting hinged on themes of dire straits for state appropriations and rapid change in the context of an increasingly technology-driven economy. Opponents of the policy shift warn that reducing the timeline is perceived as a shot at tenure itself, an issue they say could hurt NDUS recruitment efforts and employee morale.
UND stakeholders gathered Wednesday for the first of a weekly series of campus forums to discuss the impact of campuswide budget cuts. Discussion through the afternoon forum, which drew several dozen attendees for an extended session with UND Provost Tom DiLorenzo, was aimed at clarifying the means by which university administration intended to meet a $16 million budget reduction while establishing new areas of strategic focus. At certain points, there was little mincing of words.
UND is creating an integrated center to combine multiple areas of unmanned aerial systems expertise on campus. According to a news release, university President Mark Kennedy has forwarded a plan to establish a UND Institute for Unmanned and Autonomous Research. Such an institute would work with UAS functions such as physical flying and testing as well as data capture and management. It would also focus on developing national UAS policy and fostering new innovations in the field.