UND Today

University of North Dakota’s Official News Source

Shivers offers ‘newcomer’s perspective’ on UND

VPFO/COO focuses on important upcoming budgeting and legislative periods at Provost Forum

Jed Shivers
During an Oct. 11’s Provost Forum, Vice President for Finance & Operations/Chief Operating Officer Jed Shivers shared his perspective on the University’s budget in relation to the upcoming legislative session. He recently completed his fifth month on the job. Photo by Connor Murphy/UND Today.

UND is well-positioned for continued success, said Jed Shivers at the latest Provost Forum on Oct. 11.

Shivers, vice president for finance & operations and chief operating officer, gave a “newcomer’s perspective” about the upcoming legislative session. He recently completed his fifth month on the job.

The forum also featured an update on the activities of the Teaching Transformation & Development Academy (TTaDA) and its new Faculty Fellows. A copy of the slideshow is available at http://www1.und.edu/provost/.

“Although Jed has been here a short five months, it is clear that he has the pulse of what is occurring nationally in higher education, and exactly what we need in North Dakota to thrive,” said Tom DiLorenzo, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Shivers, who recently gave a budget presentation to the North Dakota Office of Management and Budget in Bismarck, said that UND’s comprehensive research, high quality programs, and support from the public and elected officials are great advantages for the university.

Still, he added, there are significant challenges.

Dynamic environment

“We are in a dynamic environment,” Shivers said. “University business models are under pressure, and not just at UND and in North Dakota. It’s across the country.”

He noted that increased labor costs, less public funding, and suppressed tuition revenue have brought about the need for change.

“We need to streamline operations to control costs, yet remain effective and keep services,” he said.

“Funders are looking for collaboration and impact,” he continued. “We must become collaborative and increase our reach and scope.”

UND’s strategy is to attract new students by improving the “fit and finish” of campus and by lifting up graduation rates, along with developing online courses. UND must prioritize spending decisions and lower UND’s $500 million in deferred maintenance.

During his presentation, Shivers cited the efficiencies of UND. Receiving 22 percent of state higher education appropriations, the University brings in 53 percent of research revenues and 43 percent of all tuition in North Dakota. Photo by Connor Murphy/UND Today.
During his presentation, Shivers cited key efficiencies of UND. Receiving only 22 percent of the North Dakota University System’s  state appropriations, he said, UND brings in 53 percent of all research revenues and 43 percent of tuition in North Dakota. Photo by Connor Murphy/UND Today.

By the numbers

Regarding the budget, Shivers said that in fiscal year 2017, UND accounted for 43 percent of all tuition across the 11 campuses, along with 53 percent of research revenues, and received 22 percent of state appropriations and 39 percent of salaries.

“We are efficient,” Shivers said. Highlighting the potential that collaborating with NDSU on research could bring, he noted that UND and NDSU together comprise 90 percent of all research revenues and 81 percent of operating revenues while receiving 58 percent of state appropriations.

“That gives you a sense of the scope of UND and NDSU,” Shivers said, noting that the other institutions within the University System also do great work.

Budget cuts ordered by the state resulted in a decrease of $10.1 million last fiscal year, a cut of 9.6 percent. Gov. Burgum has requested an additional 10 percent reduction in the per-credit hour funding formula in his budget, along with an additional 3 percent contingency reduction for the 2019-2021 biennium. The 10 percent reduction would total $14 million for UND and $3.7 for the School of Medicine & Health Sciences for the biennium.

Budget requests

UND supports the State Board of Higher Education proposed budget, which advocates merit increases for faculty and staff and stable funding without budget cuts. UND is also requesting more flexibility to set tuition rates and to fund construction and renovation on campus.

“UND has positioned itself to be successful using budget tools like MIRA,” Shivers said. “That matters to the OMB and the Legislature.”

Shivers said that UND is working to diversify revenue resources to lower its dependency on state funding, but it does need the funding.

“UND is at an inflection point,” he said. “We are increasing our online enrollment, working on increasing retention with Starfish, improved advising, and improving pedagogy, as well as increasing extramural funding.

“We are positioned for success, and have a solid platform to grow research,” Shivers said, citing a recent grant to the School of Medicine & Health Sciences of $20 million grant for cancer research as well as research grants for energy, UAS, rural health, big data and cyber security research.

Shivers spent a portion of his Provost Forum speech advocating the research proposal of $100 million between NDSU and UND. He says it will attract federal dollars and aid economic diversification. Photo by Connor Murphy/UND Today.
Shivers shares a moment with UND Associate Vice President of Facilities & Operations Mike Pieper before he delivered his presentation at the most recent Provost Forum. Photo by Connor Murphy/UND Today.

Proposal for growth

UND and NDSU are proposing that the legislature invest $100 million in NDSU and UND  ($25 million for each in two years) for research that can help diversify North Dakota’s economy and lessen the state’s dependence on “oil and soil” – agriculture and energy.

“Look at the economic impact of universities with significant research portfolios,” said Shivers. “They spawn economic development and generate new ideas. We can help diversity the North Dakota economy.”  He noted that NYU Professor Romer was a co-awardee for this year’s Nobel Prize in economics demonstrating how government can foster economic development through technological innovation.

Shivers said that milestones and accountability are built into the proposal.

“This is doable and doesn’t require new buildings. It will import new money into the state via federal investment and grants, and lead to new knowledge and possible commercialization.”

Shivers cited an article in the Wall Street Journal which noted that people with a bachelor’s degree or higher recovered better from the Great Recession of 2008 than did people with a high school diploma.

“We need to emphasize the value of higher education,” he said.