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Tenure for college presidents tabled by Board of Higher Education

The state Board of Higher Education has tabled any decision about granting tenure to college presidents, after the Council of College Faculties raised concerns in a letter to the Board.

Under the proposal, Board policy on tenure would be changed, so that if an out of state candidate for a college presidency is tenured, that could be transferred to the college, with Board approval.

University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott proposed the plan. He said it could be an attraction for out of state candidates for a presidency in North Dakota.

"This is an example of the Board finding barriers to recruiting quality people from the outside," Hagerott told the Board. "This will give the Board the option to give tenure, because the word is 'may.' My strong recommendation is that you would use this tool."

The Council of College Faculty recently voted against this policy change. Council President Debora Dragseth of Dickinson State University said faculty on all 11 campuses have concerns about this proposal, ranging from financial to collegiality.

"We don't see tenure as a 'perk,'" Dragseth told the Board. "We see it as very much a part of the University system process, that is earned over seven years."

Board member Casey Ryan moved to table the issue – pending more discussion with the faculty members.

"We need something that can respect both sides, but also doesn't lock us into creating adversity," Ryan said. "It may never show up. But if it does, it will be contentious at that point in time."

The Board voted 4 to 2 to table the issue.