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Ryan Johnson, Published June 19 2013

NDSU Senate leaders send letter supporting school president

FARGO – Leaders from North Dakota State University are backing President Dean Bresciani’s job performance following a recent critical evaluation of the president by outgoing Chancellor Hamid Shirvani.

The presidents of NDSU’s Faculty Senate, Student Senate and Staff Senate sent a letter to members of the state Board of Higher Education on Wednesday urging the board to consider a three-year contract extension for Bresciani “to provide continuity” for the university.

“In his time here, NDSU has continued forward in growth, research and national recognition,” wrote student body President Robert Lauf, Staff Senate President Kelly Bisek and Faculty Senate President Harlene Hatterman-Valenti.

“Dr. Bresciani’s leadership at NDSU has been positive for students, faculty and staff while providing a stable environment in which to grow,” they added.

Six vice presidents at the University of North Dakota sent a letter to the board on Tuesday supporting UND President Robert Kelley, who also was criticized in his evaluation by Shirvani.

La Donna De Geldere, an administrative assistant at NDSU and member of the Staff Senate’s executive committee, said the timing of Wednesday’s letter is meant to show the board that they back Bresciani.

“We did feel it was important that they know that we do support our president,” she said.

Shirvani’s evaluation of Bresciani, the NDSU president since June 2010, suggested the university wasn’t comparing itself to the right peers.

“Simply comparing your institution to those universities that make you look good is lacking in vision and true entrepreneurial spirit,” wrote Shirvani, who also said Bresciani’s self-evaluation didn’t say how he would attract exceptional teachers and researchers to maintain the university’s national rankings.

Shirvani’s evaluation recommends that the board give Bresciani a one-year contract renewal and 3 percent raise, and also says he should undergo a “full 360” review this fall.

The board will discuss Shirvani’s evaluations of Bresciani and the other campus presidents today at a meeting in Bottineau.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Ryan Johnson at (701) 241-5587