During State of University speech, UND President Andrew Armacost touts enrollment growth, new programs – Grand Forks Herald

GRAND FORKS – With the start of the fall semester drawing near, UND President Andrew Armacost outlined the university’s major initiatives and urged the campus community to find its own way to lead during his annual State of the University address on Thursday.

Armacost said leadership on campus is an amalgamation of all faculty, students and staff.

“Your role is important – each of you leads,” he said. “Together, we create these graduating classes each year that are going to go out and change the world. You should be proud of what you do, and be excited about what lies ahead.”

Armacost said enrollment has been increasing by 1% every year since the onset of the pandemic in 2020, bucking a national trend of declining enrollment. He also said estimated enrollment for fall 2023 is up 1.88% from 2022.

Additionally, Armacost said, student retention from fall 2022 to fall 2023 was 83%, which he attributed to outreach efforts from faculty and students.

“It happens because of outreach from our marketing group, staff and faculty members who are taking active efforts to get the word out about how we’re doing,” he said. “In terms of the reputation of our campus, we do a brand survey every two years. The reputation of the campus among prospective students – both undergraduate and graduate – we’re number one within the region.”

Armacost pointed to UND’s new degree programs in biomedical engineering, aerospace engineering and digital journalism as evidence of the university’s commitment to fostering a “sense of wonder,” one of the five main pillars of UND’s 2023 strategic plan. He also said research expenditures were $147 million in 2022 – up from $110 million in 2020.

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“There’s just something powerful when you find a campus with that sense of wonder, where everybody feels like they can do something great on any given day,” he said.

Armacost also said UND’s commitment to energy research, the military and national security initiatives remains strong. At present, UND has nearly 1,500 students who are either veterans, dependents of veterans, active duty military or Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) cadets.

“We are continuing to put forth initiatives that will better support those populations, and to make sure they get the educational experiences they deserve following their service to our nation,” he said.

Programs such as the Office of Teacher Recruitment and Retention, led by UND’s College of Education and Human Development, are integral to developing North Dakota’s workforce, he said.

“These are examples of the initiatives that people have put forward to solve those issues of how you create a sense of wonder,” he said. “How do you pursue that love of discovery, and how do you create that sense of community to better connections with the state of North Dakota?”

In closing, Armacost urged all members of the campus community to take an active role in executing UND’s strategic plan.

“You know the history because you’re part of it,” he said. “The pillars that emerged – that sense of wonder that we discussed earlier, about how we create learning opportunities. That sense of creating opportunities for everybody on our campus to achieve success. A sense of connection to one another, to our groups and the university – that’s an important notion of affinity that we have to aspire to.”

Faculty and staff listen in as UND President Andrew Armacost gives the State of the University address Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023, at the Nistler College of Business and Public Administration.

Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

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Banish covers news pertaining to K-12 and higher education, as well as county commission coverage.

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