Chuck Staben says he would spend his first 100 days of his presidency meeting with constituents across the state if he is chosen as UND’s next leader.
Staben, former president at the University of Idaho, met with students, staff and community members on campus on Thursday, Nov. 14. He spoke on a wide array of topics, ranging from his interactions with students to how long he envisions staying at UND, if he is appointed.
Staben, one of two experienced presidents in the candidate pool, parted ways with his state board of higher education earlier this year. The parties came to a mutual decision last year that the 2018-19 school year would be his final year at the helm of the Moscow, Idaho, university.
Throughout all of the meetings Thursday, Staben was asked about his career aspirations and how long he envisions he would stay at UND. Staben said he is looking for his last “really good job” and would imagine he would work for about seven more years before retiring.
The topic has been a popular discussion point during all of the candidate forums thus far as UND’s campus has dealt with turnover in leadership in recent years. Former President Mark Kennedy left UND earlier this year for the University of Colorado after nearly three years in Grand Forks. Kennedy also applied for a position at the University of Central Florida during his first 20 months at the school.
Staben, who was provost at the University of South Dakota for five years, was criticized in Idaho for applying for a job at the University of New Mexico while still president of his institution. Staben addressed the controversy multiple times during his visits Thursday. He said the decision was, in part, due to encouragement from members of his state board of education.
“I’m not a jumper. I am a finisher,” Staben said during the community meeting.
Staben also addressed another controversy during his tenure at the University of Idaho. While president, Staben made the decision to move the University of Idaho’s football team from the Football Bowl Subdivision, where teams such as Alabama play, to the Football Championship Subdivision, where teams like UND play. The decision also involved moving Idaho into the Big Sky Conference. It was a decision met with backlash.
Staben said he learned from the situation.
“There's a lot of passion behind it,” he said of the reaction to the decision. “I think we could have done a little better job of diffusing at least some of that passion with a little bit more directed and persistent communications.”
The staff also asked Staben what he would want to accomplish in his first 100 days, and also his first year, as president of UND.
Staben said he would want to spend his first 100 days on campus meeting with constituents across the state and on campus to better understand the community .
“That is an important part of the first 100 days,” said Staben, adding he also would spend time looking at other issues, such as budget and state laws.
In his first year, Staben said he hopes the campus would have made progress in areas including student success, retention and enrollment.
Friday, candidate David Rosowsky will meet with students, staff and community members.