In an effort to keep up with social distancing guidelines, the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education will meet electronically on Thursday, March 26.

The board was originally set to have an in-person meeting in Bismarck this week, but changed plans amid the coronavirus outbreak.

As such, the board will be interviewing candidates for the Bismarck State College presidency via interactive video. Finalists for the position, Clark Harris Doug Jensen and Phil Klein, will be interviewed for an hour each over video.

The new president would likely take over this summer after current President Larry Skogen retires.

The meeting will be livestreamed beginning at 8:30 a.m.

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The board also will consider making Stephen Easton, who has been serving as interim president of Dickinson State University, the permanent president of the western North Dakota school.

The board will consider waiving certain board policies requiring a search and move straight to the interview process, according to its agenda. Easton has been serving as interim president since December.

Also on the agenda are potential tuition increases for select programs in the North Dakota University System. Last May, the board approved most institutions for a 3% to 4% tuition increase, as allowed by the North Dakota Legislature. Thursday, the board will consider increases for specific programs including the following:

  • UND Medical Laboratory Science for an additional 4.88% increase to “establish a consistent differentiated tuition across all MLS programs.”

  • North Dakota State University nursing program for an additional 3% increase to “generate additional resources to meet the demand for this program.”

  • NDSU is asking for a 4% increase in tuition for its pharmacy program to “generate additional resources to meet program accreditation standards.”

  • Mayville State will be asking to create a tuition rate for its new masters in nursing program, which is expected to receive accreditation this spring and start in fall 2020.

Tammy Dolan, vice chancellor for administrative affairs and chief financial officer at NDUS, said these potential changes have been brought forth since that May 2019 meeting and require approval from the board first.

The board also will consider waiving requirements related to standardized tests and admissions to schools across the system. The board will consider waiving the ACT/SAT test score requirement through fall 2020, as both ACT and the College Board, which administers the SAT, canceled their respective test dates in April and May due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Lisa Johnson, vice chancellor for student affairs at NDUS.