Year-end reflections

I recently posted a video blog to YouTube that included my reflections about transitions I’ve experienced in 2022 as well as my thoughts about change that is on the horizon for North Dakota State University and the College of Human Sciences and Education.  I’d like to share an update about these changes to ensure that I am communicating with as many people as possible in as many forms as possible.

The university is in the process of making two major changes. 

First, we are adopting a new budget model that will provide funding to colleges based on student enrollment and student credit hours. This will ensure a greater sense of accountability because programs that are successful at recruiting and retaining students will receive resources that reward their efforts. This model will incentivize good teaching, which is one of the pillars of our land grant university. Many programs in our college successfully generate student credit hours and have substantial enrollment so I expect us to do very well, but this budget model will have a profound impact on some programs in our college that have low enrollment.

The second change – referred to as NDSU Transform – is associated with reorganizing colleges at NDSU to respond to declining enrollment. We have significantly fewer students on campus, so we are reviewing options to reduce the number of colleges from seven to four or five. Reorganizing can help us save money by reducing administrative costs with the number of deans and create efficiencies. Part of that reorganization will include eliminating programs that have low enrollment. Several options were provided and feedback about those options were collected by the Provost’s Office. The President and Interim Provost anticipate creating a single option that includes program elimination; this option will be presented in mid-January and has been referred to as the “January Plan.”

One of those plans, suggested by external consultants who reviewed college structures a few years ago, included merging the College of Human Sciences and Education with the College of Health Professions.  This plan would put all programs with the two colleges together, but there is some concern about fit for some of our programs in such a college. We have programs that emphasis design, so should they be moved to the School of Art, Architecture, and Design? Should our programs that are more business oriented be moved to a College of Business? What should we do with the School of Education? Some faculty members in the School of Education have told me that they want to remain with a merged college and others advocate for moving to a different one.  We will process feedback received from individuals and programs to develop one plan for a reorganized college structure that will be distributed for further feedback.

Regardless of the final form, it is clear that change is coming. There will be fewer programs, colleges, and colleagues. 

Our college has demonstrated that it is adaptable, so I am confident that some version of our college will live on and remain a strong unit on campus.

Take care,

Dr. Ron Werner-Wilson, Dean

College of Human Sciences and Education

Phone:  701-231-8211


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