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Published November 19, 2013, 08:03 PM

UND president notes past success, future challenges in annual address

By the end of UND President Robert Kelley’s half-hour speech Tuesday afternoon, he summed up what much of his state of the university address was about. “It’s clear that we have a great deal of work to do,” he said.

By: John Hageman, Grand Forks Herald

By the end of UND President Robert Kelley’s half-hour speech Tuesday afternoon, he summed up what much of his state of the university address was about.

“It’s clear that we have a great deal of work to do,” he said.

In his annual speech, given at the Memorial Union during a meeting of the University Council, Kelley highlighted recent successes and noted challenges the institution faces in the future.

Among those challenges is a new funding model the North Dakota Legislature passed for higher education institutions that is based on completed student credit hours. The system also rewards institutions for students making progress toward graduation, Kelley said.

“So it’s clear that not only is UND’s funding dependent on the success of its students, but it also challenges all of us to achieve these goals while continuously increasing the quality of education being provided at (UND),” Kelley said.

Kelley highlighted the work of the Strategic Enrollment Management Committee, which, among other projects, is working to streamline the process of completing requirements for graduation. He also demonstrated an “iDashboard,” or a series of charts that helps administrators analyze student enrollment trends and progress toward graduation.

“UND is taking a very fresh look at everything we do to ensure student success,” Kelley said.

Kelley, who became UND’s president in 2008, said the university has been affected by a downturn in research grant funding. To improve its performance in research and economic development, Kelley directed Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Tom DiLorenzo to lead an effort to “define and prioritize our initiatives, degrees, certificates and programs that have greatest immediate impact on UND’s research enterprise.”

Successes

Kelley also spent much of the speech highlighting previous successes.

He said a recent accreditation visit by the Higher Learning Commission was successful, although a final report won’t come until spring.

Kelley also mentioned the Gorecki Alumni Center receiving a platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, the groundbreaking of the Athletics High Performance Center, and the Legislature’s approval for a $122 million building for the School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

“North Dakota is in excellent financial shape and so is the university,” Kelley said. “We are able to provide outstanding education opportunities and services for all of our students, thanks to a thoughtful dedicated, forward-looking faculty and staff.”

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