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Published March 28, 2012, 11:38 AM

DSU President Says Audit Issues Being Worked On

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Dickinson State University is taking numerous steps to address academic integrity issues recently identified by state auditors, the school's president said.

By: Associated Press,

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Dickinson State University is taking numerous steps to address academic integrity issues recently identified by state auditors, the school's president said.

D.C. Coston on Tuesday told state lawmakers that changes include new leaders, including the school's registrar, vice president of academic affairs and three department chairs. The school's enrollment, financial aid and marketing efforts have been reorganized, he said, and a task force is reviewing tuition, fees and waivers. The university also is studying its spending, Coston said.

"We're already seeing a dramatic improvement in a number of areas," Coston told members of the Legislative Audit and Fiscal Review Committee.

Coston became president in January after his predecessor, Richard McCallum, was fired over inflated enrollment figures. Problems that have been publicly identified since include the awarding of hundreds of degrees to Chinese students who didn't earn them, the awarding of questionable scholarships and tuition waivers, and questionable spending on social events.

Coston said the university is "taking very seriously" the recommendations in the report by the North Dakota state auditor's office. Some problem areas will be addressed quickly but others will take more time, he said. The university plans to develop a timeline and provide regular reports, at the request of the state university system chancellor, Bill Goetz, Coston said.

Gordy Smith, an audit manager at the state auditor's office, also said it also is typical for his office to do a follow up 1½ to 2 years after an audit to see what progress was made in addressing the recommendations.

Legislators expressed concerns that similar problems might exist at the state's other colleges and universities. Goetz said Dickinson State's audit will be given to each campus president and time will be spent at this week's Cabinet meeting discussing it. The university system would like to add more internal auditors and a compliance officer, he said.


Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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