UND Today

University of North Dakota’s Official News Source

VIDEO: Student & Family Town Hall

Families ask, UND leaders answer questions about research opportunities, students’ records, COVID and more

Editor’s note: On Tuesday, Aug. 29, UND held a Town Hall meeting via Zoom for students and their families. A video of the Town Hall (with closed captions available) is above, while below is a list of the questions that are asked and answered in the video, with time stamps for readers’ reference accompanying each question.

The following questions are asked and answered in the Student & Family Town Hall:


02:16: The first couple of questions are going to go to my colleague Mike Pieper, associate vice president for facilities. Mike, can you provide an overview update on parking, especially in light of the changes that are happening with the parking lot to the north of Memorial Stadium? If you could talk about what’s going on there, please, and plans for parking once that construction project is completed?

05:06: Mike, one more question for you, and it relates again to transportation on campus – specifically, to bus usage; and in particular, our shuttle bus. Can you provide any thoughts on what might be done to encourage more students to ride the buses or maybe an overview of how students can ride the bus on campus, as well as to off-campus locations?

07:20: For President Armacost and maybe Provost Eric Link, this person would like to know more about the funding situation of UND – what is the general outlook? The questioner would also like to know how UND is doing in terms of its academic profile. Are there any particular successes, and any plans on how the university is developing its programs and its scholarly profile?

12:12: Question for Janelle Kilgore, vice provost of strategic enrollment management: This person says, “My son has filled out the form for me to access his records. Is there an online access to do that? I don’t see anywhere online to find North Dakota University System accounts.”

So can you explain what it means to have access through FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act – maybe how parents can access students’ bills? I’ve gotten this question a couple of times myself this semester.

14:29: The next question, I’m going to pose to UND Police Chief Rodney Clark and Jess Doty, director of student health. Chief Park, why don’t we start with you: We’re seeing COVID resurgences in some areas of the country. So, this person would like to understand what, if any, plans are in place for COVID outbreaks, and maybe what we’re doing to monitor the situation.

Could you explain from a campus safety, health and wellness perspective, please?

18:33: Mike Pieper, another question for you. This person is wanting to know about what’s going on where Memorial Stadium used to be, and where there’s some construction going on. I think they’re referring to Memorial Village 1, so if you could highlight what Memorial Village 1 will be and what it’ll provide to our campus community, that would be great.

20:18: Mike, another parking question has been raised, and I’ll pose it to you. This person says, “If we’re trying to better the parking situation, why did we replace the former parking system with an even more hostile and predatory system that limits the spaces in which a student can park?

“The singular parking pass used to cost $190 and permitted you to park in several lots. Now for the same price, you can only park in one lot.”

23:49: Another question for Provost Link and President Armacost, and I’ll let you two arm wrestle via Zoom for who wants to start with this one. Does national ranking for the universities affect their research funding, and if so, does this affect the funding endeavors for UND? Also, how does UND seek to collaborate with other universities which have more experience or equivalent experience, I assume in the area of research funding?

30:40: Mike Pieper, here’s one for you. This person wants to know, “How much revenue does Parking Services generate for the University?”

31:46: Mike, one more question for you. This person appreciates what we’re doing in the area of public transportation, but has a question on if there are plans for official car sharing on campus and plans for e-charging stations on campus. I know you spoke to that earlier today, but could you provide some updates specifically about e-charging stations?

34:07: President Armacost, another question for you, specifically again about research and collaboration. What do you think are the bottlenecks currently being faced by UND that hinder intra-university collaboration to obtain research funding? Also, this question can be for Provost Link, if he has anything he’d like to add. (The deans of the School of Medicine & Health Sciences and the School of Aerospace Studies also help answer this question.)

40:34: Mike Pieper, another question for you. This person wants to know, how many Parking Services employees are there?

41:37: While we wait for more questions, I’m going to ask a couple of my colleagues to talk a bit about what’s happening on campus right now, as we continue to find ways to highlight and enrich the UND student experience. I think it’s important for students and family members to know all that’s going on. So, to my colleagues who might have something to share, just turn your camera on and I’ll know that you’ve got something you want to add. (Kristi Okerlund, director of Student Involvement & Parent Programs; Chelsea Mellenthin, director of Career Engagement and overseer of the Experiential Learning Center; and Erik Martinson, deputy director of Athletics, address this topic.)

48:22: Aerospace Dean Bob Kraus, a question for you. This person’s interested in knowing, ‘How does UND rank nationally in the area of Commercial Aviation?’ I think we’re No. 1, and I’m assuming you think so, too! But I’ll just go ahead and let you answer.

49:46: Another parking question was posed, and this one’s specific to the residence halls. This person notes, “My son’s parking lot was full when he came back late one night during the week, and he had to park in a different lot. Then he went out early before ticketing started at 7 a.m. to move his car. I thought that students were guaranteed spots in these residence hall lots?”

51:33: Madhavi Marasinghe, chief information officer, a question for you. Can you remind folks where to get tech support for the UND app or for classes? (Chelsea Mellenthin, director of Career Engagement, also helps answer this question.)