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NDSU gathering input for how to strategize budget cuts

NDSU President Dr. David Cook speaks to reporters.
D. Webster
NDSU President Dr. David Cook speaks to reporters.

President David Cook says merging its colleges and academic programs is one option being looked at.

The President of North Dakota State University says plans for making up a projected budget shortfall may include merging or consolidating its colleges and programs.

Last month Dr. David Cook revealed that due to declining enrollment, NDSU was projected to be short $10.5 million over the next three years. He says he put Interim Provost David Bertolini in charge of leading the school’s transformation going forward, and today Bertolini sent an email to NDSU employees outlining how that transformation may look.

Cook says they’re still looking for feedback, but one idea is reducing NDSU’s seven academic colleges and their deans, and consolidate them down to five or even four. And while Cook says the process will be disruptive, he is optimistic for the future.

"I anticipated we would have a lot of hard work to do - I think higher ed nationally is at a point where we need to be pivoting and thinking about our role as a workforce driver and economic driver. I don't know all the specifics - but certainly, when you step into these jobs, you're going to have hard work to do. It's hard work, but it's also exciting because you can start to see how you're transforming an institution. And I think it's something that will have a generational impact."

Cook says ideas and feedback will continue to be sought throughout the end of the year, and a plan with a path forward will emerge in January.