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Ryan talks second term on the Board of Higher Education, and boosting research

State Board of Higher Education member Casey Ryan is serving his first term on the Board.

That term expires at the end of June, 2021. He’s eligible for a second term.

Does he want to stay on the Board?

"Right now, the answer is yes," Ryan said in an interview.

Ryan chairs the Board’s Research and Governance Subcommittee – a role he enjoys.

"It was set up to bring NDSU and UND closer together, and then work with the other 9 institutions, to promote research within the state," Ryan said.

Ryan also said he expected more pushback from UND and NDSU. But he said the vice-presidents for research have been working well together – and they’re knocking down barriers.

"If we could bring the two research universities functioning together, we would move from institutions having 13,000 to 14,000 students, to a combined effort that is about 28,000 students," Ryan said. "And when you have that big a number, you can start competing for bigger research grants, and be competitive with larger institutions around the country."

Ryan said he has a larger goal in mind.

"An ideal goal would be to make research at the colleges and universities the third leg of the stool of the North Dakota economy," Ryan said. "The other two being agriculture and energy."

Ryan said it is a very exciting time.

"I think the opportunity is huge," Ryan said.

Ryan said there will be an effort toward that goal in the 2021 Legislature.

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