DSU interim president namedAn interim president for Dickinson State University was named and board members decided to continue with procedures to dismiss Dr. Richard McCallum as the school’s president during the State Board of Higher Education meeting Monday.
An interim president for Dickinson State University was named and board members decided to continue with procedures to dismiss Dr. Richard McCallum as the school’s president during the State Board of Higher Education meeting Monday.
D.C. Coston, North Dakota State University’s vice president for agriculture and university extension, is DSU’s interim president.
North Dakota University System Chancellor William Goetz first asked McCallum to resign Aug. 3 due to allegations that 180 students were enrolled at DSU without their knowledge or consent in fall 2010 under McCallum’s direction.
After McCallum refused to resign, Goetz sent him a letter stating he intended to dismiss him.
The SBHE was in executive session for most of Monday’s meeting, so the public could not listen to members’ discussion about DSU.
When the board reconvened publicly, members voted to approve a performance audit at DSU pursuant to a cost estimate.
“In light of the issues at Dickinson State, it has been a situation where issues continue to evolve and it is my recommendation that … steps be taken to conduct a performance audit,” Goetz said.
SBHE Vice President Duaine Espegard inquired about what would be reviewed.
“Bill, in relationship to this issue, which is termination, what would be the purpose of a special performance audit now, at this time, when there’s other audits that will be going on?” he asked.
Goetz said financial questions prevail after the audit that uncovered the inflated enrollment.
“This would not be, as I see it, anything that would be extensive, but would be very focused on primarily the issues that we have already talked about as well as several financial issues,” Goetz said.
McCallum intends to fight for his position and requested a hearing Wednesday to address the pending allegations. The SBHE voted to pursue the hearing.
However, a hearing officer will be appointed, so the SBHE will not attend the hearing. Instead they will review information gathered from it to decide whether to follow through with the termination, officials said.
A date for the hearing has not been set.
NDUS released a memo Monday dated Aug. 9 from the U.S. Department of Education regarding DSU enrollment.
The memo states Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System surveys must be accurate and asks for a description and status update of the situation within 30 days.
Despite issues at DSU, Coston said he is happy to be acting president.
“Certainly I don’t know all the details. … I’m confident that all of us working together can do the things that are important to the future of Dickinson State University,” Coston said. “I have deep respect for the institution, for the people there and I’m excited to get there and begin to work with folks as we try to serve the students and help build the institution.”
This will be the first time he will serve as a university president. He has been a vice president at NDSU for six years.
“D.C. Coston has the leadership skills and professional expertise needed to guide Dickinson State University through this transition,” Goetz said in a press release. “He will work closely with the university’s senior leadership team, faculty, staff and students.”
Coston does not intend to be a permanent president at DSU.
“At this point the expectation is until ultimately a permanent president is chosen,” he said.
Coston will take a leave of absence from NDSU to serve as acting president of DSU, pending further board action. He will earn an annual salary of $205,320.
Prior to joining NDSU in 2005, Coston was employed at Clemson (S.C.) University, Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., and Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Okla.
Messages left for SBHE board members and McCallum were not immediately returned.