FARGO, North Dakota — The president of North Dakota State University said Thursday that the school plans to hire more professors and to work toward building its graduate enrollment.
Dean Bresciani, who is in his fifth year at NDSU, said in his annual state of the university speech that the increase in teachers over the next several years will be "one of the most significant additions to our faculty ranks in NDSU history." He did not give specific numbers, but said he's "not talking about just a few hires."
Bresciani said NDSU will increase graduate student enrollment to improve the university environment and to meet a demand expressed by state business leaders. He said graduate students make up a quarter to a third of the student bodies at most peer institutions, but only 14 percent of NDSU's.
"Graduate student enrollments also increase the productivity of the faculty, which in turn makes NDSU and our state more successful," he said.
Bresciani said there's also room for undergraduate growth. He noted that more North Dakota high school students choose NDSU than any other university in the state, and 93 percent of them are full-time students, also tops in the state.
The president said that when he arrived in 2010, people were worried that the school's enrollment rate was growing too quickly.
"Now I regularly hear concern that we are not growing fast enough," he said. "Let's be very clear about enrollment growth. It's not about some warped bigger is better competition. It's about our obligation to help respond to our state's need for highly educated engineers, nurses, public health practitioners, business professionals, sociologists, teachers, agriculturalists and so on."
NDSU's fall enrollment is listed at a record 14,747 students.
Bresciani closed his speech by touting the return of the popular ESPN College GameDay football show to downtown Fargo. He said the show has never been to any college in the states bordering North Dakota, much less two years in a row. The Bison football team is seeking its fourth straight Division I title.
"When a university and its athletic programs reach the national level of visibility and success never before achieved in our state, it repositions the nation's perception of the entire state of North Dakota," he said.