Guest Post: What We Have Learned From Dickinson State University

NDUS Chancellor William Goetz at Dickinson State University Feb. 10, 2012

One of the most important issues confronting our State’s next Governor is performance of a critical review of North Dakota’s higher education system. Over the last dozen years the people and the legislature have lost control of this most important institution. It is time we address this lack of attention, failed oversight and loss of any rational management of our college and university system.

The recent Performance Audit of Dickinson State University has provided the outline of the steps that must be taken to reform higher education in North Dakota. The problems at Dickinson State University are unfortunately not unique to that institution. In one form or another proper review, management and oversight of each of our colleges’ and universities’ must be instituted.

There is nothing as important to a harmonious and prosperous society as the effectiveness and integrity of our public education system. Exemplary and fastidious management must be brought to bear. I pledge as Governor to undertake this long neglected responsibility. I will personally, actively and aggressively take the steps needed to make this institution accountable to those of us who provide the resources to underwrite them.

A strong system that teaches and promotes the values of our community and provides the talents necessary for a productive and civil society is of paramount importance. As such this institution needs to serve as an example of integrity, responsibility and management excellence.

The lack of oversight and accountability of our higher education must end now. It’s time we begin the journey that can and will make North Dakota’s higher education system the envy of the Nation.

North Dakota’s higher education system must be measured by its excellence as a demanding academic institution not its enrollment. The purpose of education is to educate. As Governor I shall move us forward with that as our goal.

Paul Sorum is a Republican candidate for Governor. He can be followed at, and on Facebook and Twitter.

Paul Sorum is a businessman and former Republican candidate for governor of North Dakota.

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  • ec99

    Promises beyond your reach as governor.  You may suggest change, but that’s about it.  But you may want to start by making membership to the SBHE an elected postition, and eliminate the patronage appointments.  Also, get rid of the idea that each member represents a campus.  This has led to enormous duplication on campuses, with the smaller schools having vastly inferior offerings.  Then push to get rid of the 7 or 8 little campuses which are little more than glorified high schools.  Dump administrative bloat…all those 6-figure empty suits who sit in their offices and twiddle their thumbs.

    • Rick Olson

      Unfortunately, this gets back into the constitutional protection of the 11 colleges and universities in North Dakota.  Each institution is constitutionally enshrined, meaning, that nary a campus can be closed down by legislative action, board of higher education action, or either of the two.  It would take a constitutional amendment to remove the 11 colleges and universities from the constitution, which of course requires a vote of the people at an election. 

      Similar measures have been considered numerous times in the past; and all failed at the ballot box.  Naturally, the people that live in one of the cities which host one of the state’s colleges and universities will generally be opposed to shutting down “their” institution — therefore they’ll scream the loudest. 

      Undoubtedly, the administrators, faculty members, students, staff members and alumni of an institution that is being targeted will fight tooth and nail to keep it open. 

      This is the proverbial situation of “darned if we do, and darned if we don’t.”  I totally agree that the higher education system is totally bloated and is beyond repair.  I agree that the Board of Higher Education must go from political patronage appointments by the governor to elected positions; similar to the University of Nebraska Board of Regents is.

      There are eight “Regents” or members of Nebraska’s board.  Each represents a district.  The state is split up into eight board of regents districts, and each regent is elected on a nonpartisan (no party label) ballot to I believe a six year term.  A regent serves at the pleasure of the people of Nebraska and may be removed from office for cause through the legislative impeachment process. 

      Since Nebraska only has a single-chamber Legislature, if the Unicameral as it is called votes to impeach an officeholder, then the articles of impeachment are presented to the Nebraska Supreme Court for trial.  If no fewer than five of the seven justices votes to uphold any one article that the Legislature has filed against an officeholder, then said officeholder stands convicted and is immediately removed from office.

      • ec99

        Oh, I’m well aware of the strictures involved in clossing a campus.  You’re fighting 3 things:  the Constitution, the fact campuses only exist for economic impact, and that change never comes to ND.  That’s why I see this guy’s pronouncement as just more political hot air.

        • RCND

          I think he will do something about the problem. He is the only candidate with enough balls to address it openly, and that is more than the other two bozos have done

          • Camsaure


          • ec99

            He really can’t do something.  He can’t unilaterally declare anything.  He could suggest…or push.  But the legislature won’t move, anymore than they’ll move on the pharmacy law.

          • RCND

            So what is your solution? And no one said he would act unilateral. But again he is doing more than the others by simply saying he will make the effort to do something

          • ec99

            Sadly, there is no solution. He can say what he wants to; it’s all campaign rhetoric.  The problem is, as I said above, that the changes necessary to make higher ed something more than a laughing stock and spender of money are not palatable to the powers that be, nor the populace.

          • RCND

            Well, I guess I’ll back a candidate who is willing to try rather than throw up their arms and say “there is nothing we can do”…. or “I am too much of a chicken$h!+ to make the effort”. That is the difference between a leader and a politican

          • ec99

            Could be.  But don’t get your hopes up.  Sorum won’t win.

          • RCND

            I guess only time will tell. First test is this Saturday

          • ec99

            Yes.  But I’d be hardpressed to believe the incumbant won’t be on the ballot.

          • RCND

            Dulgrumble isn’t an incumbent

      • Ratbite

        What happened to the college in Ellendale?? & I do not mean Trinity Bible Institute.

        • Roy_Bean

          The former UND-Ellendale is now Trinity Bible College.  When UND pulled out the free market provided a private college that was looking for a relatively inexpensive campus.  Isn’t it something how that free market thing works?

          • Dakotacyr

            with access to government school loans

        • Rick Olson

          Actually, when the state college in Ellendale, N.D. closed its doors, the North Dakota District Council of the Assemblies of God in North Dakota bought the closed facility and reopened it as the Trinity Bible College that it is today.  Trinity is one of a couple dozen Assemblies of God-recognized, supported Bible colleges and universities that are located across the country. 

  • $8194357– Shared using Google Toolbar

    Ever wonder why Congress seems so willing to help bail out the financial industry? Well, a 60 Minutes report on Sunday says that lawmakers purchased stock in companies while involved in debates on Capitol Hill about bills that would affect those companies.Conflict of interest? Just a teensy-weensy little one. But it’s apparently completely legal.”Insider trading on the stock market. If you are a member of Congress, those laws are deemed not to apply,” says Peter Schweizer, a fellow at the Hoover Institution, a conservative think tank at Stanford University in the 60 Minutes piece. “The fact is, if you sit on a healthcare committee and you know that Medicare, for example, is– is considering not reimbursing for a certain drug that’s market moving information. And if you can trade stock on– off of that information and do so legally, that’s a great profit making opportunity. And that sort of behavior goes on.”California Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the former house speaker, and her husband invested in eight initial public stock offerings in 2008. The Pelosi’s, for example, bought 5,000 shares in VISA at $44 a share, while a bill that could have hurt the company was under review in the House. The stock jumped to $64 a share–an increase in value for Pelosi of $100,000.Likewise, current House speaker John Boehner bought health insurance stock while debating the merits of Obama care.Both Boehner and Pelosi denied wrongdoing.
    End Quote:
    How bad is the corruption in DC and government on a whole?
    Pretty dang bad and the UN makes most levels look like choir boys and girls, huh?

    Lets see:
    You set a steering commitee focus group agenda..
    From “commitee” comes “pre determined outcome for “legislation”.
    Un-Constituional powers not granted DC creates “regulatory over reach” (at taxpayer expense)..
    You then funnel no risk IRS taxpayer “tribute” to finance agenda and pre positioned “assets”…..
    And they been doin it since?…1913?

    In Liberty and Faith,

  • Dakotacyr

    What a bunch of platitudes but nothing substantial.  Not one specific way is mentioned.  All he says is proper review, management, oversight and accountability.  

    But he does not say how he will institute proper review, management, oversight and accountability as governor.  

    Do you want to try again? 

    • Camsaure

      So, you admit that there is a problem needing to be solved with the SBHE? The metro cowboy Taylor is just fine with the way things are.

      • Dakotacyr

        I didn’t say there wasn’t, but it doesn’t require a dismantling of the SBHE.  Where’s his plan?