Chancellor of Higher Education Hamid Shirvani threw down the gauntlet when he announced that he would ask for 30 additional employees to help develop a progressive “big agenda” for the North Dakota University System.
The $8 million for the additional staff is buried in the $84 million increase requested by the Board of Higher Education in its budget proposal to the governor.
While the chancellor’s initial blueprint for higher education was greeted warmly by policymakers, the staffing proposal will be treated with some skepticism by legislators who have spent years restricting the number of employees working for state government and institutions.
Chances are good that the Legislature will treat the request as a negotiable number and will likely propose cutting the figure in half. But half won’t do if we are serious about major initiatives in higher education. Half will make the “big agenda” a “small agenda.”