Higher-ed governance task force begins its work

Jan 12, 2018

Gov. Doug Burgum (center); Sen. Joan Heackaman (D-New Rockford) and Board of Higher Education president Don Morton at the Higher Education Governance Task Force meeting at Bismarck State College.
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Governor’s Task Force on Higher Education Governance has begun its work.

It held its first meeting at Bismarck State College Friday (1/12/18).

In his opening comments, Gov. Doug Burgum said the mission is to look at the governance system – which dates back to the 1930s – and see if it can be tweaked or modified to meet the needs of 21st century students. Burgum also wanted to dispel some perceptions of what the task force will be doing.

"This is not about closing campuses," Burgum told the task force. "The mission of this group is how do we create a structure to allow our two-year, our four-year and our research universities to flourish in this new environment."

Larry Isaak is a former Chancellor of the North Dakota University System. He’s now the president of the Midwestern Higher Education Compact, and he was one of the guest speakers. Isaak said it’s good for states to take a look at these governance models every so often. And he said the issue is not about higher education. Rather...

"Are you going to have the educated and skilled workforce you will need to have a successful economy?" Isaak said in an interview. "Any conversations about higher education should be framed with, 'How are we going to use our higher education enterprise to insure we have that educated and skilled citizenry we're going to need?'"

The task force plans to meet monthly.