Larry Skogen Named Interim Chancellor of NDUS
Skogen’s focus to be on rebuilding trust and communication
Published: Monday, September 30, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 30, 2013 14:09
Three months, one national search and sixteen applicants later, a replacement has finally been found for former North Dakota University System interim chancellor Hamid Shirvani.
The State Board of Higher Education opted for Larry Skogen, who is not only the current President of Bismarck State College, but has been standing in as acting interim chancellor of NDUS since Shirvani’s contract was bought out in June.
Skogen is set to take on the full-time role as interim chancellor by Nov. 1 and will have a contract until June 2015. As for who will replace him as President of BSC, he will be making recommendations to the Board in the coming weeks.
In a Forum article released shortly after the decision was made, it stated the original vote was 5-3 in favor of Skogen. Board member Grant Shaft, who voted for the other finalist Shane Goettle, expressed concerns regarding a “conflict of interest” by choosing a university president to fill the role.
However, a motion was then made to make the vote unanimous, and Skogen was voted in.
“We live in a democratic world and not everyone is going to agree on everything,” he said. “I am honored that in the end the Board decided to appoint me unanimously and I appreciate that very much.”
Skogen has a long list of plans for his term. He explained the main focus would be to strengthen the relationships among the state’s colleges and universities and the University System as a whole.
“Number one is to continue the path that we’ve been on relative to establishing trust and communications within the systems,” he said, “and we’re in good shape to move on.”
Since Skogen has been standing in as interim chancellor since June, he has been splitting his time between that job as well as his role as BSC’s president. Now that he has just one “more permanent” hat to wear, he is looking forward to focusing on moving forward with plans for NDUS.
Since he has been with BSC for 7 years, he explained he would have been accepting of whatever decision was made.
“I never lost sleep over this,” he said. “I have the best job in the world; I love being president of BSC. If the decision had gone the other way, I was ready to get back to campus. I felt like I was in sort of a win-win position.”
Skogen said that he and Goettle, who is a former N.D. commerce commissioner, are close friends.Goettle expressed similar sentiments the week before SBHE made their final decision.
According to Skogen, the two agreed early on in the search to have a celebratory dinner together regardless of who was chosen.
“He’s a good, good guy,” Skogen said of Goettle. “He’s been a great servant to N.D. as commissioner of commerce. He’s a young man and he’s going to be around for a long time.”
In the midst of Skogen’s term, the future of the chancellor position as well as of the SBHE will be in the hands of N.D. voters. On the November 2014 ballot Measure 3 will include the decision to replace SBHE with a three-person commission. If the measure is approved, the chancellor position would no longer exist after the end of Skogen’s term.
According to NDUS’s Director of Communications and Public Relations Linda Donlin, Skogen has been aware of the brevity of his term since the beginning of the search.
She also explained that if Measure 3 is approved next fall, Skogen is not allowed to receive a nomination for the new board of commissioners.
Until the end of his contract as interim chancellor, Skogen plans to get more involved with the communities that are home to NDUS’s institutions.
“I want to get out in the communities and I want to listen to North Dakotans and see what they think university systems should be offering to their students,” he explained.
Skogen is looking forward to attending a Bison football game in November where he hopes to meet with some of the students and get feedback on what they expect from the university system.
“All of us want the same thing in the end: we want the best education in our systems for our students,” he said.