I think the State Board of Higher Ed got it wrong concerning Dr. Dean Bresciani. Quote from evaluation: “I am concerned however that the research position has been eroding over the last several years.” Fact: The State Board of Higher Ed forgot to mention that in 2010 there were still earmarks supplied by our congressional delegation totaling $38 million. Our delegation was especially good at getting more than our fair share of those earmarks for North Dakota State University. If you take those out, NDSU has grown research expenditures by $67 million since 2010.
Total research expenditures for 2020 were $155.6 million, about 45 million more than the other research university in the state. NDSU is still in the top 100 public research universities in the county and a highly classified Carnegie fellow despite changing the metrics in mid-stream. They are in the top 21% of all the research universities in the country. No other research university in North Dakota is in those metrics.
NDSU just completed the In Our Hands Campaign of $400 million goal, which is now approaching $430 million pledged, committed, and in the bank. Supporters do not donate to the university if they have a problem with the leadership. Supporters of NDSU obviously enjoyed the leadership of President Bresciani and were willing to commit over $430 million dollars.
To my knowledge that is the largest campaign by any university in the state. The campaign finished their goal ahead of schedule by a year, despite being in the middle of the pandemic. NDSU’s endowment fund is over $300 million and is the fastest growing endowment in the state.
The Composite Financial Index has risen from 1.2 in 2010 to 4.6 in 2020, the highest ranking in the state and a wide margin over the other research university whose number is 2.8. Deferred maintenance has gone down from $326 million in 2010 to $162 million in 2021. Administrative costs at NDSU are 3.7% while the whole NDUS average is 11%.
NDSU’s Standard and Poor’s Index has risen from A+ to AA- since 2010. All this with declining help from the state government. Yet the State Board of Higher Ed writes about finances “my concern would be the effectiveness of traditional approaches “
NDSU has the largest freshman in person class in the state (2,218 in 2019-20), 546 more than the next largest in the state. They also lead the state in in full time face-to-face students, about 2.000 more than the next university in the state.
Furthermore, 94% of NDSU grads have a job when they graduate, and 78% of the grads are employed in North Dakota. In fact, 41% of the graduates from Minnesota are employed in North Dakota. They are entering the workforce and tax base at twice the rate of average North Dakotans. That means a huge payoff to North Dakota, and I think would be a goal we should be shooting for.
To me these are clear indications that we need to change the system we have in place.
Keith Peltier is CEO and resident Proseed.
This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.