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NDSU presidential search committee invites undisclosed number of candidates for interviews

The North Dakota University System declined to say ahead of the meeting how many people applied to replace President Dean Bresciani. The committee also didn't disclose how many applicants it would interview in Minneapolis next month.

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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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FARGO — A committee has narrowed the field of candidates as they help search for the next North Dakota State University president, but it did not disclose the number of applicants or how many were invited for the first round of interviews.

After discussing the applicants during a closed meeting for roughly four hours, the NDSU presidential search committee chose prospects to interview Jan. 5 through 7 in Minneapolis. Those interviews will also be held in executive session.

Top candidates are slated to be chosen at the end of the interviews in Minneapolis. They then will be invited for campus visits to meet with internal and external stakeholders next month and in early February, according to the tentative timeline.

The committee did not say during the meeting how many applicants were invited for interviews, and it did not name them, either. A North Dakota law passed in 2017 bans state agencies from disclosing the names of applicants or information that could be used to identify them unless they become finalists.

Committee co-chair Greg Lardy said in a phone interview with The Forum on Wednesday night that how many applied or how many were invited for interviews couldn’t be disclosed. However, he said he felt the committee received a “pretty good pool of candidates.”

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The North Dakota University System also declined to say how many applications it received ahead of the meeting, saying it would be premature to release those figures before the committee met to vet the applications.

Three or more finalists must be named, but they likely won’t be chosen until February, the tentative timeline said. The State Board of Education will interview the finalists before making a final decision in late February, according to the timeline.

In June, the board asked NDSU President Dean Bresciani to step down by the end of 2022. The board didn’t state specific reasons for asking Bresciani to resign, but the decision followed a critical evaluation that questioned his hiring decisions, mentioned declining enrollment numbers and claimed the university’s research position was “eroding.”

Bresciani likely will have to step down from the position sooner than anticipated. The tentative timeline lists a goal of his replacement taking office around July 1. Bresciani would be allowed to stay at NDSU as a distinguished professor in the College of Human Sciences and Education.

He has been the NDSU president since 2010.

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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