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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Earlier this month, Mayville State University President Gary Hagen told the North Dakota Board of Higher Education that the fire suppression sprinkler system in Old Main urgently needs repairs. Chairwoman Kathleen Neset asked if it was an immediate safety concern.
From the time interim UND President Ed Schafer announced a hiring freeze of sorts and the time he finalized the budget reductions, 34 people were hired at the university. In a campuswide message Feb. 9, Schafer said vice presidents would continue to have hiring authority in their respective areas but "any searches or recruitment efforts now in process are frozen until they can be reviewed to ensure they align with key priorities."
A farewell reception for interim UND President Ed Schafer and his wife Nancy will be held at 4:30 p.m., June 15, according to the university's online newsletter. Schafer's term at UND ends June 30. He will be succeeded by Mark Kennedy, a former U.S. representative from Minnesota the State Board of Higher Education selected to serve as the university's president. Schafer, a former North Dakota governor, has led UND since mid-January. The reception will be held in the Gransberg Community room of the Gorecki Alumni Center where appetizers and refreshments will be served.
Curtis J. Phillips couldn't figure out why the women he saw in Wal-Mart were donating carts full of merchandise to the community of Fort McMurray, Alta. Having fled the town as an evacuee days prior in the wake of a massive fire, Phillips asked if they were part of a charity group or perhaps knew someone from the area, but the women said they were simply trying to help. "It was just five moms, and I just fell to the floor and cried," he said.
Several professors and researchers with wide-ranging areas of study and expertise are collaborating to learn more about disease and how cells respond to it. A group of five professors were recently awarded a $10.7 million Center for Excellence in Host-Pathogen Interactions grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Each one is delving into a specific part of how infections work with an emphasis on the predispositions of the host.
University officials said the future of some of UND's older buildings still is uncertain. A master plan filed with the North Dakota University System Office this spring identified roughly 12 buildings slated for closure as UND's new medical complex opens, leaving the old School of Medicine and Health Sciences building available for various campus units to move into.
Interim UND President Ed Schafer said there is "nothing nefarious" about how long it is taking to appoint a new dean at the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences. A search committee recommended hiring the school's associate dean of academics, Paul Lindseth, earlier this month. Schafer said he was disappointed the search committee only forwarded one candidate but will make a decision before longtime aerospace Dean Bruce Smith retires June 30, the same day Schafer's tenure as president ends.
BISMARCK—UND will move forward with campus renovation projects regardless of whether the North Dakota Legislature funds them. Interim UND President Ed Schafer requested $20 million for boiler and steam plant upgrades and $17 million for classroom renovations in O'Kelly and Merrifield Halls. During a four-hour State Board of Higher Education meeting Tuesday, Schafer said the university has budgeted enough to start paying for part of the projects internally at.
The State Board of Higher Education will be reviewing an annual technology vulnerability assessment at a meeting Tuesday. A report compiled by the state auditor's office found the North Dakota University System had improved "a great deal" in one year, decreasing overall external vulnerabilities by 28 percent. Internal audit findings in vulnerabilities, however, are 12 percent worse than 2014.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Reinvestment Fund is supporting health care officials, educators and community leaders in Grand Forks who will work to address the risk of developing radon-induced lung cancer by creating an education program for children. The goal is to raise awareness of the cancer-causing gas so more people will test for it and mitigate the problem if levels are too high, UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences professor Gary Schwartz said.