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SBHE opposing 'change in tenure' bill

Dr. Lisa Montplaisir,
State Board of Higher Education
NDDOT - Photo Archive
Dr. Lisa Montplaisir,

The state Board of Higher Education is now on-record opposing a “change in tenure” bill that would allow Dickinson State University and Bismarck State College to make changes in policy, making it easier to get rid of tenured faculty.

Instead, the Board is suggesting a study of the issue, that would involve the Board and Legislators.

The bill — HB 1446 — was introduced by House Majority Leader Mike Lefor (R-Dickinson). It passed the House 66 to 27, and will now be considered by the Senate.

Board member Nick Hacker suggested the study. He told the Board he believes in North Dakota’s “Right to Work” law.

"We have tenure over her in higher ed, that treats employees — in particular, state employees — differently than how other state employees are treated," Hacker said. "I understand a lot of the reasons. I'm not against tenure — that's not the point. But I do think there should be more engagement about this than purely just the board."

Dr. Lisa Montplaisir is the faculty advisor to the Board. She said there already is a process laid out for faculty review – and if things aren’t going well, the faculty member would receive a notice, and an improvement plan is supposed to be in place for the next year.

"Our concern is that, there seems to be a breakdown in the process, if we're jumping to the conclusion that faculty are not meeting their expectations," Montplaisier told the Board. "But that's never been in a review process. Or maybe there's a breakdown at those administrative levels. That is the crux of where some of the conversation needs to happen."

The Board vote was unanimous – 8 to zero. The Council of College Faculties also submitted a resolution opposing HB 1446.

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