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Published June 09, 2011, 03:39 PM

ND Chancellor Goetz Retiring in August 2012

William Goetz, who became chancellor of North Dakota's university system shortly after a power struggle forced the resignation of a predecessor, said Thursday he will retire in August 2012.

By: Dale Wetzel, Associated Press

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — William Goetz, who became chancellor of North Dakota's university system shortly after a power struggle forced the resignation of a predecessor, said Thursday he will retire in August 2012.

Goetz, 67, has been the system's top administrator for four years. He said Thursday the time was right for him to depart and that he wanted to give the state Board of Higher Education plenty of time to hire a successor.

"It'll be another challenging year, full of opportunity," Goetz said of his final months as chancellor. "I hope that upon the end of the term ... that I can leave this job feeling my role, my mission has been fulfilled, and I can go on and do other things."

North Dakota's university system includes six four-year universities, five two-year colleges and a two-year budget of more than $1 billion. The system enrolled more than 45,000 students last spring.

The system's college presidents report to Goetz, who answers to the Board of Higher Education.

A former Dickinson State University business professor and administrator, Goetz has served as an assistant Republican floor leader in both the North Dakota House and Senate.

He was chief of staff to former Republican Govs. Ed Schafer and John Hoeven, who is now a U.S. senator. Goetz was Gov. Hoeven's top aide when the board hired Goetz. He became chancellor in July 2007.

One of the accomplishments of his tenure, Goetz said Thursday, was a greatly improved working relationship among the system's presidents, in particular the heads of North Dakota's two largest colleges, the University of North Dakota and North Dakota State University.

"The fact that we can sit down as a team and work together, that was not true four years ago," Goetz said. "I hope that we've been able to set a tone here in this office ... and bring about a sense of teamwork, energy, collective energy, really a collective mission."

One of Goetz' predecessors, Robert Potts, left in August 2006 after the Board of Higher Education sided with then-NDSU President Joseph Chapman in a power struggle between the two men. Chapman had challenged Potts' supervisory authority over the university system's presidents.

Eddie Dunn, a system vice chancellor, held the top job temporarily for less than a year until Goetz took over.

Chapman and UND's president at the time, Charles Kupchella, have since left, and their replacements, NDSU's Dean Bresciani and UND President Robert Kelley, have fostered "a whole new relationship between NDSU and UND," Goetz said.

Before, "the situation was strained, to say the least, between the two presidents," Goetz said. "There was not any communication, virtually none whatsoever. There wasn't any synergy to have the campuses work together in a collaborative way. There was a little bit of that going on, but very little."

In his time left as chancellor, Goetz said he wanted to promote more collaboration among the system's teacher education programs.

"We have these regional universities involved in teacher education, but we're doing very little to work together," he said. "We already are looked at as a place to seek teachers by many other states. Let's capitalize on that. Let's create new opportunities in that area."

During his tenure, Goetz has unsuccessfully attempted to resolve a festering dispute over whether the University of North Dakota should keep its Fighting Sioux athletics nickname and an American Indian head logo.

Two years before Goetz became chancellor, the NCAA declared the name and logo hostile to American Indians. The Board of Higher Education eventually ordered the name and logo retired, only to be reversed by the North Dakota Legislature, which approved a bill this year requiring UND to keep both.

"The amount of time and energy and thought that has gone into this has been overwhelming, and has taken away from other issues that more time should be spent on," Goetz said. "I hope that steps are going to be taken where we can be expeditious about this, and get it taken care of."