Sydney Mook / Forum News Service
GRAND FORKS -- The University of North Dakota’s relationship with NASA was brought to the forefront on Wednesday, Sept. 4, with a visit from the agency’s top leader. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, alongside Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., spent time touring UND’s space-related facilities, including its Mars habitat. The two also participated in a town hall discussion with UND students, faculty and staff. UND has a strong research relationship with NASA.
GRAND FORKS — As the University of North Dakota Presidential Search Committee continues to mull who will become the next leader of the state’s flagship university, many in North Dakota want internal candidates to be considered for the position. State Board of Higher Education member Dan Traynor has brought up the idea of succession planning multiple times in recent months.
A fleet of robots flies overhead. A driverless car takes someone to the grocery store. A computer system can do a person's taxes from just a picture of a tax form. It all sounds like another sequel to “Back to the Future,” but it’s not. Automation and easily accessible information has had a drastic effect on everyday life, and now national economists and state leaders say it’s affecting jobs. How the workforce is educated, and reeducated, in the years to come will be key for reducing the impact of automation.
GRAND FORKS — The UND Alumni Association and Foundation has raised a record $67.7 million during its latest fiscal year, which ended June 30. The record is nearly twice the amount brought in the previous year. The previous record was $49.9 million set in fiscal year 2011. The endowment now sits at $284.8 million. Of that $67.7 million, $12.2 million has been committed for scholarships and $34.2 million has been committed for program, faculty and priority needs, according to the foundation.
The North Dakota University System has spent more than $400,000 with Washington, D.C.-based AGB Search over the past eight years. Of the seven searches conducted by AGB, three of the leaders hired have left the university system in that time, including former University of North Dakota President Mark Kennedy. AGB Search will be used once again as the NDUS prepares to replace Kennedy, who now is the president of the University of Colorado system. The NDUS plans to spend $57,000 with AGB for the search, less than it spent on the search that brought Kennedy to UND.
The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education’s research committee, chaired by SBHE member Casey Ryan, met for the first time Wednesday, July 31. The research committee is made up of three State Board members, the presidents from the University of North Dakota and North Dakota State University, the universities' two vice presidents for research and a faculty member from UND and NDSU. Additionally, the NDUS chancellor, vice chancellor of academic affairs and a representative from the nine other NDUS institutions round out the committee. Industry leaders also will play a role.
GRAND FORKS — Grand Forks’ Grand Sky will be one of the first companies in the world to fly a long-endurance drone produced by Northrop Grumman. The drone, known as Firebird, is an optionally piloted intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft system that can fly anywhere in the country for about 30 hours while performing multiple missions at the same time. Grand Sky is one of the first commercial companies to purchase the aircraft, which has typically been only utilized by government agencies.
GRAND FORKS — A higher education crisis is coming, according to Jeff Holm, the University of North Dakota’s vice provost for online education and strategic planning. As enrollments dip across most colleges and high school graduation rates level out, there may be fewer students going to college in the coming years, which will likely lead to the closure of campuses across the country. Holm predicts 2026 will be a tipping point for schools.
GRAND FORKS — The contract for University of North Dakota interim president Joshua Wynne has been finalized and includes no extra money for Wynne’s presidential duties. Wynne, who is vice president for health affairs and dean of the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences, is already the state’s top paid public employee, making around $695,000 a year. Wynne began his presidential duties on Monday, June 17, as former President Mark Kennedy departed for a job as president of the University of Colorado System.
GRAND FORKS — Employees across the University of North Dakota campus can expect a small pay increase this year, regardless if their position is funded through state appropriated money. Last month, the North Dakota Legislature approved the North Dakota University System’s needs-based budget. In addition to funding for UND and other NDUS institutions, the budget also includes a mandated, minimum pay increase of $120 per month in the first year of the biennium.