Around a dozen people attended at locations across North Dakota for the first statewide tele-listening session to discuss possibilities for the next president of UND.

The UND Presidential Search Committee held concurrent meetings in a dozen locations Thursday night to garner more feedback for what North Dakotans would like to see in the next UND president. The session was done over interactive video with the main meeting controlled out of Grand Forks on the UND campus.

Though several sites were left unrepresented, including Fargo and Dickinson, people in Grand Forks, Bismarck, Bottineau, Williston and Devils Lake spoke about attributes important to them to move the university forward. This was the sixth listening session in recent months. The committee also had listening sessions for faculty, staff and community members in Grand Forks, Bismarck and Devils Lake.

In Bismarck, one person noted there needs to be a deeper connection between UND and the rest of the state, especially in North Dakota. The attendee said the next UND leader must have a relationship with legislators, both in rural areas and urban ones; the ideal candidate is one who will be able to build trust within the university community and outside it to help UND reach its potential.

The Bismarck attendee said one way to build a relationship with UND and the rest of the state is to build on programs that were previously out in western North Dakota and to build on ones that already may be there.

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“(It needs to be) something more substantial (than a meet-and-greet),” he said.

Across the sites, attendees noted relationship building will be key for the next president and that the next person in charge of UND will need to earn the support and respect of the Legislature.

In Bottineau, new search committee member Kellie Hall led discussions for the group. She said the next president needs to be “mindful, supportive and respectful” of people of all diverse populations. The person also needs to be a team builder and consider data and research. Hall, interim president of the Turtle Mountain Community College, was added to the search committee in August after former committee member Cynthia Lindquist, president of Cankdeska Cikana Community College, stepped down from the committee to focus her duties on the state's ethics committee.

The Williston group also noted the next president should be research-minded and should want to build on what UND already is doing.

In Grand Forks, participants said the next president should expand relationships with other universities, like North Dakota State. Also, the ideal president should have an international connection to connect students with universities around the world.

The Grand Forks group said while a Ph.D. may be preferred, the next president at least should have a master's degree.

The lone participant in Devils Lake said students should be at the forefront of the discussion. He noted it’s important to understand why students are attending UND and why they may transfer to or from the school.

More listening sessions for students, faculty and staff are being planned for the coming weeks.

The next permanent president of UND will take over for former UND President Mark Kennedy, who now is president of the University of Colorado system. Interim President Joshua Wynne has been in place since mid-June.

The deadline for nominations and applications for the position is Sunday, Sept. 15.