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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Five college students have been named to the All-North Dakota Academic Team. Ulysses Jones and Alaina McKinnon of Lake Region State College in Devils Lake, Samantha Roth of Bismarck State College and Taylor Heinz and Jessica Mastel of the North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton, N.D., were selected and honored at an awards ceremony earlier this month.
As interim UND President Ed Schafer prepares to make final decision on how to cut $12.6 million from UND's budget, public feedback for proposed reductions have revealed many questions along with some support. Schafer's office accepted online feedback after budget proposals were made public last week. Those comments, obtained by the Herald through an open records request, show continuing opposition to eliminating the school's music therapy program as well as confusion and some anger.
Many at UND are questioning the process used to make budget cuts, ongoing budget and academic initiatives and the university's facilities master plan. At a public forum Monday, Provost Thomas Dilorenzo said it "isn't a fair statement" to say decisions regarding ongoing budget cuts handed down from the state were all based on university priorities. He blamed this on time constraints.
Bret Weber said he sees some similarities in the issues social workers deal with near Malmö University in Sweden and UND in Grand Forks. That's part of the reason Weber, a social work professor and Grand Forks city council member, spearheaded the creation of an exchange program between the two universities and their social work departments.
About a dozen buildings on UND's campus will be closed up and left empty in coming years because the university has more space than it needs. Some of the buildings are in poor condition. A 438-page master plan released this month states much of what needs to be done is contingent on the ability to obtain funding. Interim UND President Ed Schafer wrote in a campuswide memo that the funding most likely won't come from the state.
Details of proposed cuts have been emerging since UND announced a plan to reduce its budget, and documents released last week show planning has varied across the university. The Herald requested budget proposals from each of UND’s academic divisions -- its law, aerospace, engineering and business schools -- which showed they approached the cuts in very different ways, from a long presentation at the College of Engineering and Mines about priorities to a one-page short summary from the School of Graduate Studies.
Emotions ran high Wednesday at a public forum regarding UND budget cuts. Some people teared up when professor Michael Gallo talked about how music therapy, a program slated for suspension at UND, has had a positive impact on his wife of 33 years who suffers from Alzheimer's disease. It was a stark contrast to earlier in the meeting when Jolene Marsh, another UND employee, called out interim President Ed Schafer for earning more than $33,000 per month.
The English Coulee will see two additions that one student group hopes will clean the water and change how students think about the longtime staple of UND's landscape. UND junior Rachel Thorstenson said she was bothered as a first-year student by how her peers thought of the coulee, which snakes through UND's campus. "There's a lot of chairs and bikes and things people throw in there because it's a joke," she said. "People don't respect it, so we hope there's a change in mentality."
A Higher Education Commission review team will visit Mayville State University Monday and Tuesday. Vice President for Academic Affairs Keith Stenehjem said the visit is a normally scheduled visit for HLC accreditation, which is reviewed every 10 years. "It's all part of a regular cycle," he said. The HLC accredits universities throughout the Midwest. Both Mayville State and UND have been accredited by the association since the early 1900s, and UND's accreditation was most recently renewed in April 2014 after a site visit from an HLC team in 2013.
The president of the American Music Therapy Association says part of the reason UND is choosing to suspend its music therapy program is incorrect. In an April 16 letter to interim UND President Ed Schafer, the Herald and several other people affiliated with the university and music therapy, AMTA President Jennifer Geiger said while her organization was considering requiring a master's degree to practice, they are "far from coming to any decisions."