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NDSU seeks chief of staff for president's cabinet

FARGO--The president of North Dakota State University will soon have a chief of staff, which is possibly a first for a public university in this state.


FARGO-The president of North Dakota State University will soon have a chief of staff, which is possibly a first for a public university in this state.

The chief of staff will report to President Dean Bresciani and "relieve the president from administrative duties so he can focus on other priorities," university spokeswoman Sadie Rudolph said in an email. The position was posted online Tuesday.

Rudolph said the job was modeled after the chancellor's chief of staff, a role held by Murray Sagsveen. But the system's colleges and universities don't typically employ their own chiefs of staff.

"That's not to say they couldn't or shouldn't, but I don't know of any that exists," said University of North Dakota spokesman Peter Johnson.

Dave Wahlberg, spokesman for Minnesota State University Moorhead, said MSUM doesn't have a chief of staff, but many colleges do.


"It's pretty common now," he said. "I don't know if it's in half the universities or anything like that, but it's certainly a position I've seen at other universities."

Rudolph echoed that, saying the position was "a very common role for major research universities in our" tier of the Carnegie college classification system.

That tier includes the University of Minnesota, which has employed a chief of staff for "a very long time," said Amy Phenix, who currently holds the position.

Phenix said all Big Ten schools have chiefs of staff, and she noted the role has existed in government for a long time.

"That's why you see it more frequently in public universities," she said.

The job description states that the NDSU chief of staff will represent the president at meetings, review administrative data, coordinate communications, monitor staff assignments, work with the State Board of Higher Education and system office, and advise the president on policy, compliance and "a breadth of university matters."

Salary will depend on the applicant's experience, the job posting said.

Phenix's duties are similar to those listed on the NDSU job description. She oversees communication on the president's behalf, advises on policy issues and works closely with the board of regents. She also oversees employment concerns of the president's direct reports, and several departments, including athletics, report directly to her.


"I'm really the president's right-hand person in terms of advanced strategic development and the development of his work plan," she said.

Phenix echoed Rudolph that the position's purpose is to relieve a university president of administrative duties.

"He kind of sets the agenda and is the face of the instItution, and I help execute it behind the scenes," she said.

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