North Dakota State College of Science is in the top 2 percent of America’s two-year colleges, President Dr. John Richman estimated Tuesday, Sept. 25.
Richman, giving the annual State of the College Address, cited recent high rankings from both Forbes and The Chronicle of Higher Education. In September, Forbes placed NDSCS at No. 14 in a list of the top 25 two-year trade schools. The Chronicle, in its 2018 Almanac of Higher Education, ranked NDSCS at No. 15 of 762 institutions.
“Thank you for what you do and more importantly, thank you for how you’re doing it,” Richman said.
NDSCS has long had a culture of continuous improvement, Richman continued. The next step is reaching that top 1 percent of schools. There are challenges, but also means of monitoring and correction.
“Let’s talk audits,” Richman said. “The University System has internal auditors. The state has its own auditors. Most recently, we had an external audit. All the reports say we are operating very, very well and that is a tribute to you. You’re doing what you need to do and how you need to do it to remain in compliance.”
While NDSCS currently has 2,957 enrolled students, the campus is proud to announce that with the addition of non-credit programs, the number of people being educated is as high as 4,143.
Richman also pointed to the Alumni/Foundation’s endowment reaching more than $17 million. Its total portfolio, he continued, is fast reaching $25 million.
Businesses are aiding NDSCS’ mission through providing entrusted equipment. It’s not NDSCS’ own equipment, but has been donated and updated by those businesses.
“We received over $10 million in entrusted equipment last year,” Richman said. “Those companies don’t give us (funds and equipment) unless they value what we give them in return.”
Another source of NDSCS’ pride is its outreach to high school students.
“We finally built a bridge over the Red River,” Richman said. “Fifteen Breckenridge High School students are coming to our campus and earning college credits. It’s thanks to our manufacturing and welding staff. We’ve finally busted that river down. We were able to get Minnesota students coming here while they’re in high school.”
On Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019, the North Dakota Legislature begins its 66th session. Richman said he is optimistic higher education will be a priority for leaders.
“I am hearing from the executive branch, from several legislators, that one of their priorities is pay raises,” he continued.
North Dakota’s government is realizing the state cannot maintain a workforce without appropriate salary compensation, Richman added. On the other hand, they could mandate that colleges give pay increases but not provide the funds.
Richman also affirmed his support for both the current production-based funding model and North Dakota Workforce Development Council.
“I believe that the Workforce Development Council is going to advocate for two-year colleges,” Richman said. “That’s one reason I’m optimistic. I’m also optimistic because I believe Gov. Burgum’s going to listen. He’s going to set the priorities that are going to help the state of North Dakota reduce its workforce issues.”
Richman’s address came as NDSCS observes this year’s homecoming. Distinguished alumni and students will be honored at ceremonies throughout the week, including the coronation of a homecoming king and queen.
The college’s football game, pitting the Wildcats against the Spartans of Minnesota State Community and Technical College, is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29. The game will take place at Earl “Skip” Bute Alumni Stadium, at 919 14th Ave. N. in Wahpeton.
NDSCS will hold its homecoming parade along Dakota Avenue, Wahpeton, beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday.
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