University presidents receive 3 percent raises from SBHE
BISMARCK -- Presidents at institutions overseen by the State Board of Higher Education were granted a 3 percent pay increase at a meeting Wednesday. The increases go into effect July 1 for fiscal year 2016 with University of North Dakota Presiden...
BISMARCK -- Presidents at institutions overseen by the State Board of Higher Education were granted a 3 percent pay increase at a meeting Wednesday.
The increases go into effect July 1 for fiscal year 2016 with University of North Dakota President Robert Kelley making $371,596 annually, but because of his impending retirement in January, he will only make about half of that. North Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani will make $354,568.
The board also approved its system office's biennial budget with a deficit of about $300,000, though there are several ways in which the board could address it moving forward, including a $1 million fund pool available to incoming Chancellor Mark Hagerott, $950,000 worth of carryover funds from the last biennium, retooling certain payment plans, or staff and operating reductions.
"We will get this resolved, but we just need a little bit more time," board member Don Morton said.
Hagerott attended the meeting and participated a few times, asking detailed questions about IT security.
Because of laws passed during the last legislative session, the North Dakota University System will lose its authority to hire its own attorneys, eliminating 13 jobs and giving that ability to the attorney general's office July 1.
Chief of Staff and Ethics Officer Murray Sagsveen said the AG's office has hired four attorneys who had been working for the system. The office released a job posting in May looking for six positions total to oversee NDUS and its 11 schools.
"It seems to be going well, given the time constraints we have," he said.
Plaques also were given out to Chairman Terry Hjelmstad, board member Grant Shaft, Staff Advisor Janice Hoffarth, student representative Chris McEwen and outgoing Interim Chancellor Larry Skogen in honor of their last SBHE meeting.
Shaft served two four-year terms, Hjelmstad served one term, and both served as board chairmen and vice chairmen during their time on the board.
"You have kept students first and foremost in this university system and you've done a great job serving our great state," board member and incoming Chairwoman Kathleen Neset said of Hjelmstad after praising Shaft.
Student representatives serve one-year terms, and McEwen will be replaced by UND student Brett Johnson.
The board approved a meeting schedule for the remainder of 2015 but also discussed possible future changes, with some pushing for more meetings via a video service such as Skype and some pushing for more thorough campus visits.
When asked for his thoughts, Kelley said he thought the board's biggest challenge was delving deeply into issues while being subject to criticism.
"I think the principal challenge is in trying to do business in the legislative and open records climate we have," he said.
The board also approved sending out a request for proposal to begin the search for UND's next leader, as Kelley announced earlier this month his decision to retire Jan. 14.
The search will cost between $80,000 and $100,000, and Skogen said incoming board member Nicholas Hacker is interested in serving on the search committee.
The other 10 university presidents from within the system had contracts approved to 2017, with the exception of Kelley and Dickinson State University President D.C. Coston because of their impending retirements.
Thanks to board approval, UND also will offer doctorate degrees in six specific areas of engineering, something Dean Hesham El-Rewini has been pushing for.
"I applaud them for taking that action because it's going to really serve UND well," Faculty Advisor Eric Murphy said to the board.
The SBHE also approved looking into changing its due process policy for students to comply with a new state law.
Representatives from NDUS also gave a security update after a data breach last year, saying organizational structure had greatly improved efficiency. Along with developing a strategic security plan, a safer password policy and monthly training for all IT staff has also been implemented.