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Press Release

BISMARCK, N.D., Jan. 11, 2023 – State School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler on Wednesday said six North Dakotans have applied for two positions on the North Dakota Board of Higher Education, which oversees the 11 colleges and universities in the state’s university system.

The applicants are:

  • Curtis Biller, Fargo, human resources consultant, Strengths Inc.
  • Katrina Christiansen, Jamestown, professor of engineering at the University of Jamestown;
  • Dustin Gawrylow, Bismarck, political consultant, Policy Matters LLC;
  • Timothy Mihalick, Minot, business development officer, First Western Bank & Trust, who is vice chairman of the board;
  • Stanley Schauer, Bismarck, director of assessment, North Dakota Department of Public Instruction; and
  • Mevan Wijetunga, Grand Forks, cardiologist, Altru Health System.

The Board of Higher Education has eight voting members, who are appointed by the governor. The four-year terms of incumbents Mihalick and Nick Hacker end June 30. Mihalick is eligible for a second term, while Hacker is leaving the board after completing the maximum eight years on the panel. The North Dakota Constitution limits Board of Higher Education members to two consecutive four-year terms.

Baesler is chairwoman of a five-person nominating committee that will choose a group of three finalists for each of the two seats. The committee will forward its recommendations to Gov. Doug Burgum, who will pick the two members. The North Dakota Senate then will review Burgum’s choices and decide whether to affirm them.

Aside from Baesler, the nominating committee includes Jon Jensen, chief justice of the North Dakota Supreme Court; Nick Archuleta, president of North Dakota United, an organization that represents schoolteachers and public employees; Sen. Don Schaible, R-Mott, the president pro tempore of the North Dakota Senate; and Rep. Dennis Johnson, R-Devils Lake, the speaker of the North Dakota House.

Seven of the Board of Higher Education’s eight voting members are chosen for four-year terms. The eighth is a student at a North Dakota University System institution and serves for one year. The SBHE also has nonvoting advisory members who represent the system’s faculty and staff.

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