From the Dean

Congratulations to our colleagues in UND’s John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences for capturing the 2019 National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) Championship this past weekend at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. This was the 17th time UND won this competition, starting around 1970 when John Odegard himself took the first UND flying team to the national competition in San Jose, Calif. It’s been almost a decade since Aerospace’s last win, so it’s great that UND is back in the winner’s circle. The team has now finished first or second in 30 of the past 36 years at NIFA’s annual flight and safety competition and convention. Well done!

Laura Block and her colleagues in the Office of Administration and Finance are hard at work putting the final touches on our budget for the upcoming biennium. One of the big issues of course is the salary increase for faculty and staff that will begin with the new academic year on July 1. Just as soon as we get further details, we’ll share them with you. I know that faculty and staff are looking forward to getting their salary determinations signed, sealed, and delivered—and we should be able to do that soon.

The School has several important meetings coming up next week. The UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences Advisory Council will have one of its periodic meetings on Thursday, which will also be the day that the State Board of Higher Education is meeting. One of the important things we plan to cover with the Advisory Council is a broad overview of our proposed budget for the biennium. We also will provide an update of the status of the Healthcare Workforce Initiative and additional plans we have to expand the cadre of primary health care providers for North Dakota.

The following day will be the Annual Medical Curriculum Retreat that will address the medical student educational offering by the SMHS. Big changes are being planned in the curriculum with a focus on further improving students’ educational experience and helping prepare them even better for their upcoming professional careers. I’ll update you with more specifics regarding the coming curricular changes once the meeting concludes.

I should also remind you that we have farewell receptions for two long-time SMHS staffers next week. After a combined 70 (!) years of service to UND, Joy Mack, administrative secretary for the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Science and the Center for Health Promotion & Prevention Research, and Jean Altepeter, associate director of our Department of Human Resources, are retiring. Joy’s reception will be held on Tuesday, June 4, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in SMHS Room E224, and Jean’s will be from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 5, in the SMHS West Atrium. Please join me in wishing both Joy and Jean well in the next phase of their lives.

Finally, I trust that you will join me in pausing for a bit on Memorial Day this coming Monday to remember and honor the many sacrifices that our men and women in uniform have made on behalf of all of us. I remember my two years of service in the U.S. Army with pride, but it wasn’t easy being far from home. And many, many veterans have given much more—some, the ultimate sacrifice. So let’s remember them, honor them, and thank them for their service.

Joshua Wynne, MD, MBA, MPH
UND Vice President for Health Affairs
Dean, UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences