Campus Conversations Update

Message from President Cook

October 26, 2023

Dear Colleagues,

We are writing to follow up on the recent open forum and the Leadership Assembly last week.  We want to thank all who attended these meetings and spoke - particularly during the open forum. The honesty and constructive nature of the discussions are greatly appreciated. We look forward to building on these conversations and moving forward with our five priorities: R1, DEI, Well-Being, Land Grant, and Retention/Recruitment.

A few key takeaways we heard include:

  • The importance of appreciating the challenges of women and academic leadership at NDSU and how we must prioritize our efforts to improve this situation. One way to do this is to build on the great historical work of the ADVANCE FORWARD initiative, led by Dr. Bilen-Green, and to further its mission and values for women and underrepresented faculty.
  • We must continue our commitment and resolve to Shared Governance across faculty, staff, students, and administration.
  • The desire to collect feedback on the Provost re-organization to ensure we can successfully lead academic and student affairs under these challenging times.

With this email, we are continuing to seek feedback on three areas relating to the Provost reorganization:

  • The Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, Instruction and Retention,
  • The Senior Director for Access and Opportunity, and
  • The restructuring of Equity and Title IX, including creating an interdisciplinary advisory committee.

The proposed Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, Instruction, and Retention role is to develop and implement policies, programs, and initiatives that support the recruitment, development, and retention of a diverse and highly qualified faculty. The role improves faculty support around teaching, research, and service. This position will report to the Provost and be on the President's Cabinet. Following a suggestion from the Leadership Assembly discussion, we are sharing a draft position descriptionto encourage dialogue. 

The Senior Director for Access and Opportunity is based on a recommendation from the President’s Council on Diversity, Inclusion, and Respect. It is a new, key leadership position with a critical role in implementing the President’s Council on DIR’s recommendations while fostering an inclusive campus environment, promoting equitable practices, and enhancing diversity throughout the institution's students, faculty, staff, administration, and the community. Further, it will improve access and belonging of all NDSU students, staff, and faculty, including veterans, first-generation, Pell-eligible, and protected classes. We will seek new ways to show how NDSU values every individual's unique perspectives, skills, and identities while improving collaboration, understanding, and trust. A draft position description is being reviewed by the President's Council on Diversity this week, and then it will be shared for broader campus feedback next week.

As discussed at both forums, the Equal Opportunity and Title IX Compliance Office is a compliance role required by policy and law. Unlike the other positions, this role is not an advocacy role. It conducts training and has a fact-finding role in investigations. A new interdisciplinary advisory board is being developed with guidance across campus to ensure that this office builds better communication and a consultation framework that will embody best practices for faculty, staff, and students. 

For your reference, here is a link to the draft organizational chart shared earlier with the campus to provide a visual of these proposed changes.

Please email the Provost directly or use the Share Your Ideas to provide feedback on these positions and changes.

We face some significant challenges, but there are also grand opportunities in front of us. Thank you again for your engagement, hard work, and commitment to NDSU.

David Bertolini, Provost
David Cook, President


Top of page