BISMARCK, N.D. - The state Board of Higher Education voted Wednesday to appoint Larry Skogen as interim chancellor of the North Dakota University System.
Skogen is president of Bismarck State College and has been serving as acting interim chancellor since June. He was chosen over former North Dakota Commerce Commissioner Shane Goettle by a 5-3 vote.
Skogen said he wasn't surprised by the vote and even if he hadn't been chosen, he would have been happy to return full time to BSC.
"I never lost a minute of sleep … waiting to see what the board would do," Skogen said.
Skogen's contract will run through June 30, 2015 and he will receive an annual salary of $291,000.
He had been named acting interim chancellor after Hamid Shirvani's contract was bought out by the board.
The new contract states that Skogen won't be eligible for the permanent chancellor position, although the board will have wiggle room to reconsider that later. Skogen's contract also has a provision that would allow him to return to BSC after his contract expires.
Skogen will be required to submit a recommendation to the board for an interim BSC president and then step in as interim chancellor by Nov. 1.
"I need to think through this," Skogen said of the interim BSC job. "Nobody's said, ‘hey, pick me.'"
At the Nov. 21 Board of Higher Education meeting, Skogen will have to provide the board with five proposed goals for the first year of his tenure. From there, he will be subject to quarterly reviews on his progress.
Skogen said his immediate tasks include reorganizing within the North Dakota University System office and preparing his goals for the board. By January 2014, work will begin on crafting the next two-year budget for the university system.
North Dakotans will vote next fall on a measure that would replace the chancellor with a three-member Commission of Higher Education. Skogen will be responsible for bridging the gap between now and after the vote.
Board President Kirsten Diederich said the board had a tough choice between two very strong candidates for interim chancellor.
"I think Dr. Skogen carried the day because of his educational experience," Diederich said.
Diederich was among the five board members who voted for Skogen. The other votes for him came from board Vice President Terry Hjelmstad and board members Don Morton, Kari Reichert and Devin Hoffarth.
Goettle received votes Duaine Espegard, Grant Shaft and Kathleen Neset.
The board members voting for Goettle said they were impressed with his leadership style. They were also impressed with the presentation he gave during his final interview, involving education standards.
"I look at it from a standpoint of looking forward long-term," Espegard said.
Espegard said the North Dakota University System would be lucky to have both Skogen and Goettle in its employment in some capacity, so he voted for Goettle.
Shaft said he had concerns about choosing an interim chancellor from among the ranks of the state's current university and college presidents.
"I think it's in conflict with what we need and what we're looking for," Shaft said.
Hjelmstad said he was impressed with the work Skogen had done as acting interim chancellor after the board decided to buy out Shirvani's contract.
"I think Skogen has done everything we asked him to do," Hjelmstad said.
Diederich later dismissed concerns over having selected a chancellor from among the college presidents.
"I don't think there's a conflict," Diederich said. "The board is in charge of the chancellor."
Skogen, a Hettinger native, has been president of Bismarck State College since 2006. He has a bachelor of science degree in secondary education from Dickinson State University, a master's degree in history from Central Missouri State University and a Ph.D. in history from Arizona State University.