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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Feedback on UND's next president collected through recent online surveys was overwhelmingly positive, but some faculty and staff said they were concerned he isn't the right fit for the university. The anonymous surveys obtained by the Herald and used by the Presidential Search Committee members to narrow down the pool to three finalists showed Mark Kennedy, the candidate the State Board of Higher Education selected for the job earlier this week, was widely praised by those who met him, though some had reservations about his attitude and lack experience in academia.
Mark Johnson compared the boilers inside UND's steam plant to teapots that create steam used to heat buildings. But UND's seven boilers are 42 years old, on average. The newest two were installed more than two decades ago and the oldest is a whopping 64-years-old. "Those teapots are way beyond their useful life," said Johnson, UND's facilities director of operations and maintenance.
Despite what was said at a State Board of Higher Education meeting, Chairwoman Kathleen Neset released a statement Thursday to clarify the board will support the decision to suspend UND's Music Therapy Program. At a SBHE meeting Tuesday, UND students and the program director explained the importance of music therapy. Neset said during the meeting the board would ask UND's administration to reconsider the suspension of the program.
Despite taking on another administrative role at UND, Grant McGimpsey will not receive a pay increase. McGimpsey, who has been UND's vice president for research and economic development for less than a year, is also serving as dean of the School of Graduate Studies. In an email, UND spokesman Peter Johnson said McGimpsey will remain at $250,000 annually, excluding benefits. McGimpsey's dual role is part of the university's $9.5 million budget reduction for the 2015-17 budget.
UND's spring enrollment is down from the fall semester, which has happened every year for more than two decades. Final numbers on the school's online dashboard shows enrollment decreased 4.5 percent percent from fall to 14,277 students, which is less than one percent higher than last spring's enrollment of 14,244 students. UND spokesman Peter Johnson said enrollment always decreases in the spring partially because of those who graduate in December. Almost 1,000 students were eligible to participate in the 2015 winter commencement, according to a UND news release.
Lori Reesor, the UND vice president for student affairs, is one of three finalists for a similar position at Illinois State University. Reesor is a finalist for the vice president of the Division of Student Affairs position at ISU, according to a news release on the school's website. This is the third known position for which Reesor has been a finalist in recent months, as she was also under consideration for positions in administration at Iowa State University and the University of Florida. Both positions have been filled by other candidates.
A UND administrator will serve in a dual role in light of budget cuts. Vice President for Research and Economic Development Grant McGimpsey has been named vice president and graduate dean, according to a post on the school's online newsletter confirmed by UND spokesman Peter Johnson. Interim President Ed Schafer announced in early February all hiring would cease pending approval to ensure any new hires align with the university's priorities because $9.5 million must be trimmed from the 2015-17 budget.
The State Board of Higher Education will ask UND administration to reconsider the suspension of its music therapy program in light of budget cuts. UND students Jenna Tullius and Melea Hoeffner addressed the board at a meeting Tuesday and asked them to intervene with the suspension of the program while about 15 music students and supporters stood silently in the back of the room. SBHE Chairwoman Kathleen Neset responded by saying she would do as the students asked. "We would ask administration to take this under advisement," she said.
During his interview with the State Board of Higher Education Tuesday for the job of UND president, Mark Kennedy joked that he loves spending time in coffee shops meeting people so much he was thinking about writing a book on the subject. "That is my approach," he said. "You'll be sick and tired of seeing me because I will be spending very little time in my office, and I won't just be on my campus, I'll be around the state."
Immediately after pulling into his driveway, UND Interim President Ed Schafer walked over to greet a group of about 30 students holding a protest near his home on campus Monday evening. The group was there during a State Board of Higher Education social to protest the suspension of the UND Music Therapy Program, something event organizer Melea Hoeffner said had been done based on incomplete information. "We just think that cutting the UND Music Therapy Program is going to be detrimental to the entire music department," she said as those at the rally played music behind her.