‘Rebirth’ for higher education

Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 1:24 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - College enrollment is expected to take its biggest hit in a decade.

According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, enrollment dropped 3.5% nationwide last spring. Now, schools are trying to get students to sign up for classes and take them on campus.

Students are one month away from going back to school, and for many it may be the first time in two years they see something resemble their original settings.

There are plenty of changes coming to higher education, and they’re not just COVID. As University of North Dakota president Andrew Armacost travels the state, he’s working to reconnect the UND community back to the campus in Grand Forks.

Recent years have seen a revolving door of Presidents, five in the last six years, as well as votes of no confidence against high-ranking faculty.

“One of the main things is to rebuild that sense of stability and a strong sense of community that I think UND is known for, and to make sure that faculty and staff feel like their voices are heard on campus,” said Armacost. It’s not just the faculty and alumni on Armacost’s mind.

UND, like all other universities, are rebuilding their campuses. Some more literally than others.

“Very few student organizations were able to survive what COVID did because people can’t really focus on their extra curriculars when they’re trying to just focus purely on survival and hopefully maintaining a good academic standard,” said UND Student Body President Kaelan Reedy.

While students try to re-ignite their clubs, administrators are pushing for a face-to-face education at pre-pandemic levels.

But, many students prefer the hybrid model, and those learning styles are being negotiated with professors to be made permanent options.

While UND wraps up their transition, their friendly foes to the south are just starting theirs. North Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani recently announced he will be retiring at the end of 2022.

According to the State Board of Higher Education, NDSU’s search will cost NDSU up to $100,000.

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