NDSU President Richard A. Hanson is calling for the university to take a "pause" as it examines budget issues before filling open positions. He made that observation during a forum Dec. 18 in the Memorial Union Century Theater.
More than 300 faculty, staff and students crowded into the theater to hear Hanson's comments on a temporary hiring freeze announced in a Dec. 16 e-mail to campus.
"There is no deficit right now, but there will be if we are not careful. We need to slow down - we need to calibrate and understand where things are," Hanson said, noting he expects the hiring freeze to be lifted in February or March.
Hanson said NDSU temporarily will not fill about 75 percent of current open positions. He said he has asked university vice presidents to submit rankings of "mission critical" positions. In addition, the presidential professional development grant program for faculty and staff has been suspended.
Hanson said organizations that see substantial growth sometimes produce second order effects. "There are unanticipated outcomes that happen because we are growing fast. It is appropriate at certain points in that trajectory for us to pause, take a breath and examine," he said.
Hanson said the administration's communications regarding the budgetary matters need to be clear and open. He plans to hold additional forums in the months ahead to keep the campus community informed.
"With transparency comes responsibility. I want you to be very aware that everyone of you is responsible for being a good citizen of this learning community," Hanson told the attendees. "We want to do things right over the next four to five months, so that we are able to provide a transition for this university to the next strategic element, which is the new president and new vision."
Hanson, who took questions from the audience during the forum, said, "This is about moving the institution forward. We are in the midst of a transition, a very significant transition. My job is to help manage that transition. Part of that is to make sure that what we hand forward is accurate and workable. I want to slow things down for just a moment to take a look at these things."