BISMARCK — State audit reports released Wednesday, Aug. 7, found numerous issues at Bismarck State College and Dickinson State University when it comes to finances and documentation.
The audit found BSC didn't maintain required documentation for three faculty members who were granted tenure between July 2017 and June 2018, including letters of recommendation and curriculum vitae, which is a summary of education, qualifications and work experience.
BSC officials said they did keep the supporting documentation for granting tenure throughout the approval process of the State Board of Higher Education, which ultimately grants tenure approval. The documentation was "then returned to the faculty due to the size of the portfolio." School officials said they'll scan the documentation in the future.
The audit also found BSC didn't following Higher Education policies related to purchasing goods or services. In several instances, the school did not solicit informal quotes or proposals from more than one vendor, including six transactions totaling $76,497 related to separate printing jobs.
BSC officials said management was unclear on some matters of purchasing policy and that the school would follow up with additional faculty and staff training.
The college also didn't comply with travel meal reimbursement policies for about one-fourth of the 675 meal reimbursements during the audit period, according to the report. College officials said they're updating policy to provide clarification of allowable travel expenses.
Daniel Leingang, BSC vice president for academic affairs, on Wednesday said the school "has already taken corrective action in response to the findings in the report, and we're glad to do so."
"The auditor’s findings give us insight into our processes and provide the clarity that allows us to improve those processes to better serve our faculty in this instance, and students and other stakeholders in general," Leingang said.
A separate and unrelated audit that Gallion also released Wednesday detailed numerous problems at Dickinson State University, including that during fiscal year 2018 the school entered into a bookstore management contract that could cost the university revenue.
The university is in noncompliance with contract requirements set forth by the North Dakota University System. In its contract with Follett Higher Education Group for the bookstore, the university left out a provision required by NDUS that requires a performance review every two years on contracts that are longer than three years. DSU's contract with Follett is eight years and ends in 2025.
Such a provision could have helped DSU, as there seems to have been a misunderstanding about the commission it would receive.
"All of our contracts we have reviewed at the state level, so we had a lot of eyes on this contract. The thought, I think, from everybody was that this was cumulative, not annual," said DSU President Thomas Mitzel.
In addition to the bookstore findings, the audit found that not enough adjunct professors were receiving evaluations from their students. The audit team tested 15 adjunct faculty contracts and found that nine of them, or 60%, did not have the required evaluation of the instructors.
The university's adjunct faculty handbook requires them to be evaluated by their students every semester, with the exception of adjunct faculty who have had at least six continuous years of employment at DSU. For those faculty, the handbook allows for student evaluations every alternating semester.
The audit also found DSU was not recording retainage for capital projects in PeopleSoft, the university system's financial software; does not have a policy for identifying, documenting, monitoring and resolving nepotism issues and conflicts of interest; and did not properly procure commodities and services based on state and university policies.
Mitzel said the mistakes could likely be corrected in the future by more training.
Bismarck Tribune reporter Blair Emerson contributed to this report.