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NDSU president finalists could be named next week, official says

Committee whittles down candidate pool for on-campus interviews.

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North Dakota State University campus glows in the early morning sunlight on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021. David Samson / The Forum
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MINNEAPOLIS — The names of finalists for the North Dakota State University presidential search could be released early next week, a state official told The Forum Friday, Jan. 7.

A search committee on Friday wrapped up interviews held over a three-day period at the InterContinental Hotel in Minneapolis. The committee did not disclose the number of candidates invited to the hotel connected to the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, nor did it say how many will be asked to come to NDSU between Jan. 24 and Feb. 4 for in-person interviews.

The committee plans to contact the applicants chosen for on-campus visits to see if they are still interested in the job, said Jerry Rostad, vice chancellor of strategy and strategic engagement for the North Dakota University System. It's possible finalists could be identified Monday or Tuesday, he added.

The interviews at the hotel are part of a monthslong process to find a replacement for NDSU President Dean Bresciani. The State Board of Higher Education asked Bresciani to step down by the end of this year, though he likely will have to hand over his duties to the next president sooner than that.

The board did not give a reason for ending Bresciani’s 12-year tenure as president, but the decision came shortly after a June evaluation criticized his hiring decisions, declining enrollment and the school’s “eroding” research position compared to other institutions across the country.

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NDSU regained its “very high research activity,” or "R1” status last year from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, a ranking it lost in 2015.

Bresciani’s replacement could take over as early as July 1, according to a tentative schedule for the search. The current president would stay at NDSU as a distinguished professor in the Human Sciences and Education College.

Most of the meetings held in Minneapolis were behind closed doors, as is allowed by North Dakota Century Code. A 2017 law prohibits governing agencies from releasing information on applicants for jobs until finalists are named.

The search committee must name at least three finalists if more than three people applied for the job.

The Forum has requested documents that could disclose the number of applicants, as well as how many were considered for the Minneapolis interviews. That request was denied.

“As soon as the search committee determines the finalists, the information will be provided to you without pause,” Rostad said in an email to The Forum this week.

The State Board of Higher Education will make the final decision on who will take over for Bresciani. That decision could come next month.

April Baumgarten joined The Forum in February 2019 as an investigative reporter. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, N.D., where her family raises Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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