I was delighted to see Gov. Doug Burgum's executive order establishing a commission to study overhauling our higher education system of governance and I am hopeful that they will bring forward meaningful reforms into the next legislative session.

Education stakeholders should welcome this announcement and view this as a positive step in pursuing excellence in our educational system. This gives us an opportunity to have a meaningful and substantive discussion about how we can best shape our system to meet the challenges that the future will bring. We have some excellent faculty and staff across our university system and some great institutions educating our students in North Dakota, but there are plenty of areas where we can improve and do better. An in-depth study into the mission of our system, the governance and the needs of our students and stakeholders is an important step in making sure that we are providing the best education possible.

Our universities are doing some truly amazing things! Whether it is leading the nation in Unmanned Aerial System development, cutting edge agricultural and nanotechnology research, revolutionizing the energy industry or being a model for using new educational resources in the classroom, we have a lot to be proud of. However, we have plenty more that we can do to improve our system as a whole.

The time is right to take a deep look into our higher education system. This commission has a tall task in front of it but I’m hopeful that they will fully examine our system as it is today and take a detailed look at where we need to be in the future to be competitive. I and many other lawmakers will look forward to seeing what valuable suggestions the commission will bring forward for consideration by the Legislature during the next legislative session.

Thomas Beadle, Fargo

Rep. Thomas Beadle, R-Fargo, is a member of the Interim Higher Education Funding Committee.

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