Working together

Kirsten Bakke Diederich, Chair, State Board of Higher Education, Fargo

Last week’s meeting of the State Board of Higher Education demonstrated how the board is focusing its attention on what’s really important. It’s clear that each member of the board is committed to ensuring that our higher education system is one of the best and that our students have every opportunity to succeed. It’s also clear that we have differing opinions about how to get there, especially regarding the somewhat controversial Pathways to Student Success plan. During the past few months, we have had lively discussions about the plan, but last week the Board came together to give direction to our system.

The Board is comprised of talented people from all different backgrounds education, business, legal, human resources, energy, IT and from all parts of the state. We’ve been engaged in passionate, public discussions about how to create a system of education that is best positioned to help prepare our state’s workforce for a new era. I view it as a healthy discussion and also a signal that it is indeed the dawn of a new day for higher education, and for all education in our state.

If I could choose a word that sums up our new direction, it would be collaboration: collaboration with our K-12 education colleagues; collaboration with state and local government; collaboration with business; and collaboration within the university system itself. It doesn’t mean that there won’t be future lively discussions about the path we take, but I believe the path we choose will be smoother because we are partnering with others who share our passion and commitment to student success.