The new president at the University of North Dakota says things are going well so far.
Mark Kennedy has been on board since July first. And he is starting at a time of constrained state spending, The university has had to deal with two allotments, and it's working on a 90 percent budget for the upcoming two year period.
"We of course would prefer not to be dealing with budget issues right now," Kennedy said. "But we're focused on turning to the future and talking about how we can make UND even more the economic engine, the opportunity engine, for the state of North Dakota."
Kennedy said UND – and the other colleges – have to make the case for public investment in higher education.
"That is, how having the premier flagship in the Northern Plains, and having a premier land-grant school with NDSU, how does that really make a better future for North Dakota? Kennedy said.
Kennedy said he has started a strategic planning process towards that end.He said that process will address key questions for UND as it looks toward the future.
"How do we be the chief opportunity engine for North Dakota?" Kennedy said. "I think we do that by being the premier flagship. But what does that mean? What do we focus on in terms of research? In terms of programs? How do we collaborate -- both within UND and with the other universities across the state of North Dakota, to better achieve that?"
Kennedy said the process will include students and faculty at UND.