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Committee backs 3 percent raise for most University System presidents

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Committee backs 3 percent raise for most University System presidents
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BISMARCK — A State Board of Higher Education committee recommended across-the-board pay increases of 3 percent for most university presidents in the North Dakota University System.


The exception to the rule is Williston State College President Raymond Nadolny, who will receive a 5 percent pay increase for the 2015 fiscal year because of inflation in that part of the state.

The committee decided against Interim Chancellor Larry Skogen’s proposal to give North Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani a 4 percent raise in 2015 and a 3.57 percent raise in 2016, which Skogen based on NDSU’s classification as a school with the highest level of research activity possible according to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Dickinson State University President D.C. Coston would receive a 3 percent raise.

Committee member Grant Shaft was vocally against promising the NDSU president a $25,785 salary increase over the course of two years.

“This request, even though I understand the logic behind it, comes pretty quickly after where we as a board felt comfortable we had raised salaries to where they needed to be,” he said. “For me, although again I recognize what the chancellor is intending to do ... I’m not comfortable with the 4 percent and I’m also not comfortable with locking in the second year.”


Bresciani received a 4 percent salary increase last year, and University of North Dakota President Robert Kelley received a 3 percent increase.

“If we have it at 3 percent right now, we could obviously revisit it next year,” Shaft said. “I’m not necessarily opposed to revisiting any of the institutions as it becomes necessary.”

Skogen based his proposal on Carnegie’s classifications, which were published most recently in 2010 and once before that in 2005. As a result, the committee based its decision on the assumption that Carnegie would therefore provide new information to work with in 2015.

However, Carnegie’s associate vice president of public affairs, Gay Clyburn, said the group would not be publishing new classifications in 2015.

“It would probably be the year after that,” she said. “We’re going through some transition, and I’m sure we won’t make that deadline.”

Renovation funds

The committee also approved Skogen’s capital project and deferred maintenance proposal with some minor tweaks.

The State Board of Higher Education will now consider spending $204.9 million on capital projects, such as demolishing and constructing a new Dunbar Hall II at NDSU and constructing a new heating plant at Valley City State University.

This will alleviate $49 million worth of deferred maintenance for University System institutions. An external consultant indicated University System facilities need $800 million in repairs.

About $20 million in one-time funding will also go toward the deferred maintenance.

At the request of NDSU Vice President for Finance and Administration Bruce Bollinger, the school now has an additional $27.9 million request added to Skogen’s original $177 request allocated for repairs that jeopardize accreditation.

If the state board approves the committee’s recommendation, UND will receive $10 million of a $40 million request for funds that will be used for repurposing the School of Medicine and Health Science’s building, among other space utilization projects on campus, according to Alice Brekke, UND vice president for finance and operations.

The medical school’s new building is under construction.

Brekke said UND is working with architectural firms to find out how to best use space in the old Med School, Theatre Arts building, Chester Fritz Auditorium and clinical service spaces. She said the university hopes to have concrete ideas about how to move forward by mid-December.

Skogen said UND also will receive $62 million through legislative action that was promised last year for the completion of the new medical school building.

Anna Burleson
Anna Burleson is the higher education reporter for The Grand Forks Herald. She is a 2013 graduate of the University of South Dakota's Mass Communication program and is originally from Watertown, S.D. Contact Burleson with story ideas or tips by either phone, email or Twitter, all of which are listed below. More examples of her work can be found at
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