University of North Dakota Faculty/Staff Newsletter

Legislative Update

The 63rd Legislative Assembly of the State of North Dakota will convene January 8. The decisions made in this session will have a tremendous impact on higher education in North Dakota, as well as on UND and our campus community. Here is a brief summary of recent developments that involve UND in a very direct way.

  • On Wednesday, December 5, Governor Jack Dalrymple delivered his 2013-2015 budget address to the North Dakota Legislative Assembly. The Governor’s proposed budget reflected a strong support of North Dakota’s University System. (For a link to an NDUS news release about the Governor’s address, click here.  To read the Governor’s full remarks, click here.) Of particular importance to UND were the Governor’s proposals for one-time capital improvements, including

– $68 million to expand and improve the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and
– $12 million for a complete renovation of the UND School of Law.

Here is more information about these important proposals:

1.  School of Medicine and Health Sciences
The Health Care Workforce Initiative (HWI)

  • The Health Care Workforce Initiative has been fully endorsed by the State Board of Medicine and Health Sciences Advisory Council and the N.D. Legislature’s Interim Health Services Committee.
  • Phase 1 of the HWI has been implemented; Phase 2 is pending and will be considered by the 2013 Legislative Assembly.
  • Phase 2 will complete the expansion of class size initially envisioned four years ago. It calls for eight additional medical students (total of 16 additional), 15 additional health sciences students (total of 30 additional), and eight additional residency slots (total of 17) per year.
  • These expansion plans for the medical school are very important to our state in order to address the current and especially the predicted future shortfall of health care providers. The two main drivers of health care service needs—aging of the population and population growth—will result in a shortage of 400 or more physicians, not to mention other providers, over the next 15 years. The HWI, by retaining more of our graduates for practice in North Dakota along with training more, will go a long way towards closing the gap between workforce needs and supply, particularly in rural areas of the state.

2. School of Law Addition and Renovation

In 2014, the UND School of Law will be up for reaccreditation. A significant issue will be critical space limitations, which were raised in the School’s last reaccreditation and which arise from recent and significant improvements in UND’s legal education program. The UND School of Law has an urgent need for a 30,000 square foot addition and a major renovation to its existing building to expand and improve teaching and learning space.

The Governor’s endorsement of UND's request for the full $12 million project in his December 5 budget address helps ensure that North Dakota’s law school:

  • Maintains its accreditation,
  • Continues to deliver an excellent program of legal education, and
  • Contributes to meeting the needs of our state and our people.

Again, the Legislature will make the final decisions on these proposals.

Looking Ahead

Legislative Affairs and Government Relations are a part of the responsibilities of Susan Walton, Vice President for University and Public Affairs. Please let Vice President Walton know if you are planning to host any state or federal legislators or other public officials as part of a UND or UND-sponsored activity or event. In addition, Vice Presidents Walton and Alice Brekke will provide additional updates on legislative developments through senates and other communications channels throughout the session. – Susan Walton, Vice President for University and Public Affairs, susan.walton@und.edu , 777.2038.