Chancellor has hard work ahead

Newly named interim chancellor of the North Dakota University System Larry Skogen has his work cut out for him.

The North Dakota Board of Higher Education named Skogen as interim chancellor Wednesday, after Skogen was acting chancellor since Hamid Shirvani’s departure earlier this year. Skogen, who’s also the president of Bismarck State College, has a difficult task ahead as officials work to restore the system’s image after Shirvani’s disasterous tenure at the helm.

At least Skogen is familiar with the inner workings of the university system, which gives him an advantage. He’s dealt with past chancellors, and has seen the university system from a number of angles. Still, the task will be daunting.

Some lawmakers, members of the general pubic and some within the university system have lost confidence in the system after Shirvani’s overbearing and heavy-handed year as chancellor. His vision for the system’s future put him squarely at odds with more than one university president, including Minot State University’s David Fuller.

The new chancellor and the rest of the university system staff must reinforce the positive aspects of the universities, provide leadership and offer a sensible and realistic vision for the future of North Dakota’s universities.