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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Interim UND President Ed Schafer assured faculty in attendance at a forum Thursday the process of finding solutions to address the school's budget deficit depends on priorities they help set. UND must trim $9.5 million from its budget while its School of Medicine and Health Sciences must reduce its own by $3.1 million after the governor ordered state agencies to slash budgets in response to a forecasted state revenue shortfall.
Cindy Juntunen will become interim dean of the UND College of Education and Human Development Monday. Juntunen is a professor who has been at UND since 1994 and in the past has served as the college's associate dean for research and graduate education. She is expected to serve as interim dean through June 30, 2017, according to a post on the UND online newsletter, and a search for a permanent dean will take place during the 2016-17 school year.
Work is progressing on several budget-related initiatives at UND. At a forum Wednesday attended by about 30 people, UND Provost Thomas DiLorenzo said the school's new incentive-based budget model continues to be studied and implemented. The new system is the culmination of work that began when UND launched a study in response to a 2013 visit from the Higher Learning Commission, according to Herald archives.
UND will cut operating expenses to cope with a $12.6 million budget reduction that must happen after the state's revenue forecast was lower than expected. A preliminary plan submitted to the North Dakota University System office early this week stated the school must cut 4 percent of its appropriated funds for the ongoing 2015-17 biennium, but tuition and fees will not be increased. Essential student services, campus safety and deferred maintenance funding won't see cuts, nor will "high priority programs."
A federal assistance program for university students is celebrating its 50th anniversary at UND this week. TRIO, named for its original three branches, now encompasses five programs at UND aimed at helping first-generation, low-income students who attend and graduate from college. Director Derek Sporbert said there are many TRIO programs at universities across the United States, but UND's program has more branches than most and is federally funded to serve 2,627 people annually. He also said he believes UND's TRIO program is one of the oldest in the nation.
Morgan Olsen started working as executive vice president, treasurer and chief financial officer at Arizona State University mere months before the Great Recession in 2008, which meant the school had to reinvent its budget. "Our focus the entire time was to make sure we were looking at student success with that laser focus, that everything we were doing was to ensure we didn't have a negative impact on the student experience," Olsen said. As a candidate for UND's presidency presenting at a forum Tuesday, Olsen said his focus at UND would be the same.
Stacey Borboa-Peterson started working as the interim director of Multicultural Student Services at UND Monday. She is replacing Malika Carter, who left UND after working as the multicultural director for about three years. UND Associate Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Sandra Mitchell said Borboa-Peterson will serve as the interim director until June or a permanent replacement is hired, but a search hasn't commenced yet. "I think she's going to be a great addition," Mitchell said.
Despite a slowdown in the oil and gas industry, those at UND's College of Engineering and Mines aren't worried. Almost one year ago, the Herald reported those in the Petroleum Engineering Department weren't concerned about the oil market. The industry has yet to bounce back, and Chairman Vamegh Rasouli said academia has continued to build, waiting for when prices inevitably improve. "This cyclic nature of oil prices is very common," he said. "This is nothing new to us."
No one was injured when a van caught fire Tuesday evening in Columbia Heights trailer court in Grand Forks.
UND students will pay more next fall for room and board as the university attempts to accumulate funds for dorm improvements and renovations. The Association of Residence Halls passed two resolutions in early February to increase residence hall rates by 8 percent and meal plans by 4 percent. Connie Frazier, executive director of housing and dining at UND, said Interim President Ed Schafer approved the change recently. The increase will go into effect this coming fall.