Andrew Haffner covers higher education and general assignment stories for the Grand Forks Herald. He attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where he studied journalism, political science and international studies. He previously worked at the Dickinson Press.
- Member for
- 2 years 9 months
Though its timeframe is uncertain, UND is exploring a major renovation of the Chester Fritz Library that could see an investment of about $21 million to bring the building into the digital era.
A blustery Tuesday brought overcast skies and scattered snowfall. But as far as temperatures go, the day was a break in the clouds. But the relief could be short-lived.
The first sign of trouble came not long after Mark Kennedy took office. The UND president marked his first day on the job July 1, 2016, assuming the top office at Twamley Hall after a monthslong search carried out by the State Board of Higher Education. His predecessor, interim UND President Ed Schafer, had manned the helm for the first of what would be two rounds of steep budget cuts to hit the flagship university and the North Dakota University System as a whole.
UND's purpose has always been rooted in education and research, but the university will soon have a new means of expressing that. A campus committee is now working through the process of writing a new mission statement for UND with the goal of reflecting the school's overarching strategic plan, a five-year document released last spring. According to a UND press release, the four-person committee, which was formed by university President Mark Kennedy, settled on an as-yet unreleased draft of the new statement earlier this month.
A former vice chancellor has supported allegations that North Dakota higher ed leader Mark Hagerott created a hostile workplace for staff, though his office showed relatively little turnover during a period of major cuts.
A labor complaint made against North Dakota University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott is set to be investigated by a federal agency.
Some of the tomorrow's plastics could be made from today's farm waste. Researchers at Mayville State University have been tinkering with wheat bran to make plastic polymers fit for industrial use. An MSU press release said the researchers are exploring alternative uses for bran, which is the hard outer layer of a cereal grain.
As budgets have contracted across the North Dakota University System, so too has the number of people employed at state institutions of higher education. Retiring UND spokesman Peter Johnson said the university takes an employment snapshot as of Nov. 1 of each fiscal year. In terms of a total headcount, the university has shed about 600 workers between now and fiscal year 2014, when the university had a total headcount of 6,321 employees. This November, at the start of fiscal year 2018, the university had a total count of 5,713 employees.
With all the pomp and circumstance befitting the occasion, UND students received their diplomas this week for winter commencement. UND President Mark Kennedy said Friday at the undergraduate ceremony in the Chester Fritz Auditorium that more than 850 total students were eligible for graduation this winter. Commencement was split into three ceremonies, the first of which was held Thursday for the university's graduate students. Undergraduates walked across the stage of the Fritz in two Friday afternoon events divided between academic colleges.
UND is exploring the possibility of forging a partnership with a major education brand to extend its online reach. University President Mark Kennedy said it could still be months before UND signs an agreement with education giant Pearson to serve as the school's online program manager, or OPM. But the move could give UND a path to extend its reach in the digital market.