Burgum appoints members to newly created Task Force for Higher Education Governance

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Thursday, December 21, 2017 - 5:00pm

BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum today announced the members of a task force that will evaluate the governance structure for North Dakota’s higher education system and determine if improvement opportunities exist to better meet the state’s educational and workforce needs for the 21st century.

The 15-member Task Force for Higher Education Governance was created by executive order last month and consists of the governor as chair and 14 members appointed by the governor. Burgum appointed the members from a pool of more than 230 applicants.

We are incredibly grateful for the intense interest in serving on this Task Force, which demonstrates the passion North Dakotans feel toward their higher education system,” Burgum said. “This group represents a wide range of backgrounds and expertise that will ensure a thoughtful assessment of our nearly 80-year-old governance structure and whether the higher education system is operating at its full potential to prepare students for success in a world undergoing rapid technological disruption.”

The Task Force members are:

  • Gov. Burgum, who earned a bachelor’s degree from North Dakota State University and a master’s of business administration (MBA) from Stanford Graduate School of Business.
  • North Dakota Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerald VandeWalle, who under the state Constitution is a member of the State Board of Higher Education nominating committee. VandeWalle earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Dakota and a law degree from the UND School of Law.
  • State Board of Higher Education Chairman Don Morton, a retired Microsoft executive and former head coach of the North Dakota State University football team. Morton earned a bachelor’s degree from Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill., and a master’s degree in education from Western Illinois University.
  • State Sen. Brad Bekkedahl, a dentist from Williston and finance commissioner on the Williston City Commission since 1996. Bekkedahl earned bachelor’s degrees from the University of Jamestown and University of Minnesota and a doctor of dental surgery degree from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry.
  • State Sen. Joan Heckaman, a retired teacher from New Rockford. Heckaman earned a bachelor’s degree from Valley City State University and a master’s degree in special education from Minot State University (MSU).
  • State Rep. Mike Nathe, a funeral home owner from Bismarck and former chairman of the House Education Committee. Nathe earned a bachelor’s degree in mortuary science from the University of Minnesota.
  • State Rep. Shannon Roers Jones of Fargo, attorney for Roers Companies. Roers Jones earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of St. Benedict in Collegeville, Minn., an MBA from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., and a law degree from the UND School of Law.
  • Dr. Ellie Shockley, institutional research analyst at Bismarck State College and a former postdoctoral fellow at the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center. Shockley earned a bachelor’s degree from Duke University and master’s and doctoral degrees in social psychology from the University of Chicago.
  • Dr. Paul Markel, professor of psychology at MSU and former president of the Council of College Faculties. Markel earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Mary in Bismarck and master’s and doctoral degrees in psychology from the University of Colorado Boulder.
  • Dr. Angie Koppang, vice president of quality assurance for AdvancED, a nonprofit that conducts reviews of educational institutions and systems. Koppang earned an associate’s degree from BSC, a bachelor’s degree from the University of Mary and a master’s degree and doctoral degree in philosophy from UND.
  • Jonathan Sickler of Grand Forks, chief legal officer for AE2S, an environmental and civil engineering consulting firm. Sickler earned a bachelor’s degree from UND and a law degree from Harvard Law School.
  • Tim Flakoll, provost of Tri-College University in Fargo-Moorhead, current chairman of the Midwestern Higher Education Compact and a former state senator. Flakoll earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from NDSU and graduated from executive programs at Harvard Kennedy School of Executive Education and the University of Oxford in England.
  • Thomas Erickson, CEO of the Energy & Environmental Research Center at UND. Erickson earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemical engineering from UND.
  • Jeffry Volk, president and CEO of West Fargo-based Moore Engineering Inc. Volk earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from NDSU.

The Task Force has received broad support since Burgum announced it Nov. 7. The student senates at NDSU and UND recently passed resolutions supporting creation of the Task Force.

The governor is working with Task Force members to schedule the group’s first meeting in January. Thereafter, the Task Force will meet monthly or at the call of the chair. The group will provide recommendations for the Legislature to consider during its 2019 session.

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