State higher ed board approves creation of new academic programs, cuts one

The creation of the programs, and the termination of one, show action on the part of individual campuses to create needed programs in the state, said North Dakota University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott.

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GRAND FORKS – Members of the North Dakota Board of Higher Education on Thursday, April 28, approved the creation of several educational programs at institutions across the state.

The creation of the programs, and the termination of one, show action on the part of individual campuses to create needed programs in the state, said North Dakota University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott. The programs range from health and sports-related to advanced technology. The issue of funding those programs, Hagerott said, still needs to be examined.

“This is just another example of the campuses adapting, not standing still,” said Hagerott. “There are programs oriented toward human health, (with) the whole epidemics of obesity, hypertension and drug abuse, but then there are also all these emerging advanced technologies.”

The policy faces another hurdle as the administration contests a separate Nov. 10 ruling by a federal judge in Texas deeming the program unlawful.

Hagerott noted that state funding is “backwards looking” and that it takes several years for a program to bring in revenue, which can put more strain on smaller regional colleges in the state. Colleges and universities may need to find funding by shutting down some programs, and by examining the “more traditional elements of status quo.”

Hagerott said campuses want to be adaptive and responsive to student needs, but additional funding may be needed to help get new programs up and running.


“It should be helpful to have some type of startup capital to even further accelerate the adaptations of these academic programs,” he said.

In total, board members improved the creation of 10 new academic programs. Bismarck State College has the bulk of these new programs with seven having been authorized. The programs include undergraduate certificates in applied design technology, clinical exercise science and an applied associate degree in artificial intelligence and machine learning, among others.

Dickinson State University was given the go ahead to create a bachelor’s degree in health education. Dakota College at Bottineau and Williston State College can now go ahead with undergraduate certificates in cybersecurity. The latter programs expand cybersecurity education in the state and were created collaboratively with other institutions.

UND had asked, and board members agreed, with eliminating a minor and bachelor of science in graphic design technology. Lisa Johnson, vice chancellor for academic and student affairs, noted there were no students enrolled in the graphic design course.

Board members also appointed four people to the State Board of Agricultural Research and Education. The SBARE is a statutory board that oversees budgeting and policy making for the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment station, and North Dakota State University Extension.

Appointed members are: Pam Gulleson, Julie Zikmund, John Nordgaard and Doug Bichler. They will serve four-year terms beginning on July 1.

Members also thanked NDSU President Dean Bresciani for his service at the school. At a June meeting last year, board members did not give Bresciani a two-year contract. He will leave his position in December, and take on a tenured professor position in health sciences and education. When asked for comment by Casey Ryan, chair of the board, Bresciani was brief:

“Thank you for the recognition,” he said.

Adam Kurtz is the community editor for the Grand Forks Herald. He covers higher education and other topics in Grand Forks County and the city.

Kurtz joined the Herald in July 2019. He covered business and county government topics before covering higher education and some military topics.

Tips and story ideas are welcome. Get in touch with him at, or DM at @ByAdamKurtz.

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