Wade Rupard is a reporter for The Grand Forks Herald. Rupard is a 2014 graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism and is originally from Normal, Ill.
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The first step in what will be a monthslong process aimed at charting UND's future took place Thursday. What that future looks like will be explored by a committee through a strategic planning process, with initial discussions focusing on areas that could shape the school's strengths and provide criteria for measuring its success.
UND President Mark Kennedy announced Wednesday the group of people who will help lead the university through its strategic planning process. The committee, which will meet for the first time Thursday, is made up of the president's cabinet, deans from the university's schools, students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members. The group's goal is to identify the strengths of the university, build on those strengths and define a clear vision of how UND should set itself up for the future.
When the next legislative session begins, North Dakota University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott said he will ask lawmakers to limit the state's open records laws so applicants for college president jobs are only released when they become finalists. In a meeting with the Herald's editorial board Wednesday, Hagerott said he would like to see the law changed because it discourages good candidates from applying to be president.
Turtle Mountain Community College in Belcourt, N.D., was ranked among the most affordable community colleges in the country. The school ranked No. 20 in the nation for its affordability, according to a study done by WalletHub. The analysis compared 821 schools across 12 key metrics, ranging from the cost of in-state tuition and fees to student-faculty ratio to graduation rate.
In the eyes of DeAnna Carlson Zink, every donation to UND helps build a legacy. Throughout her UND State of the Foundation address, Carlson Zink, the CEO of the UND Alumni Association Foundation told those in attendance how donations help shape the lives of the students on campus. "What is the legacy you want to leave behind?" she asked those in attendance Tuesday at the Gorecki Alumni Center.
After about six months on the job, UND's ombudsman, Henok Elias, is no longer with the university in a move made to re-evaluate that position. Elias was let go from UND last week after his six-month probationary period expired, said Peter Johnson, a university spokesman. Now, school officials will look to tailor the position to what best fits its needs. "This is something we've been experimenting with," Johnson said. "It was a new position for us and we're still toying with the right approach and the right mix."
Most orientations on the first day of college are nearly the same: Students who don't know each other sit in a large auditorium while faculty members make announcements and introduce themselves. The UND Music Department tried something a little different Monday morning by organizing an "escape room" activity for incoming music majors. Instead of those traditional announcements and introductions, students and faculty worked beside each other to solve a puzzle of clues so they could "escape" the room.
As students within the North Dakota University System continue to take more online classes, schools within the system are working to enhance those courses. In a presentation to the North Dakota Legislature's Interim Higher Education Committee on Friday, Richard Rothaus, the university system's vice chancellor for academic and student affairs, outlined how the system is accommodating students who take non-traditional classes, such as those online.
The UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences has seen substantial increases in research funding in recent years, and its dean hopes that success continues through the end of the decade. Speaking to the North Dakota Legislature's Interim Higher Education Committee, Joshua Wynne, dean of the med school and vice president for health affairs, said the school has seen a 50 percent increase in sponsored research funding since 2009.
The future of the Chester Fritz Auditorium at UND is unclear, but a survey will help the university decide what to do with the venue. The 44-year-old building has $9.5 million in deferred maintenance needs, and its role on campus is under the microscope after it was identified it as a possible candidate for outsourcing, closure or significant restructuring during the university's first round of budget cuts completed earlier this year.