Tuesday, February 20, 2007

UND Spirituality Center

The new Hopper-Danley Spirituality Center on the UND campus is rising out of the frozen banks of the English Coulee. Construction is well underway on the small, ecumenical chapel which will sit near the Adelphi Fountain at the heart of UND.

I came across the construction site on Tuesday afternoon and I was shocked to see how fast the project is moving forwards. Perhaps I missed something, but I swear there wasn't any construction going on even just last week. Some groundwork was done last fall, but work on the building itself just started.

The building, modeled to look somewhat like the prairie churches of the rural Red River Valley, will not be a "church". Instead, it will be an ecumenical center that will host prayer meetings, weddings, and other events. Should be an interesting addition to campus.


Jeni.Ann said...

Woohoo! Just exactly what we need on a campus that is seeing higher tuition and fee costs, limited housing for non-dormitory residents (read that as families), and reduced faculty members in various departments because they can't afford to pay professors well enough to come here or stay.

This will be a perfect addition to the UND campus, as students will need all the prayer support they can get to manage a degree program well enough to compensate for the cost of said education.

Anonymous said...

Wow something you should know Jeni.ann is that this is not funded by the state in any way its a decessed alum that gave the university x million to build this fix the fountian and build a memorial wall and walkway. the housing project is more traditional apartment style units so its up for anyone that puts in his or her name.

As for your complaints about about faculty pay why dont you fund a few grants to help pay them to stay either now or when you too passaway.

Jeni.Ann said...

1. The deceased alum, Roy and Elnora Danley, left $10 million to the UND Foundation. Of that, there was only one specific request: "that a portion of the bequest be used to build and furnish a spiritual center in a serene setting near the Coulee" (Danley Gift). What this doesn't cover, though, is the maintenance, services, operating costs, and staffing of the facility. These are not costs that come out of the Danley gift and must come from somewhere else.

2. The new housing projects (yes, there are multiple projects in the works) are intended solely for single students, not families. Great, these new dormitories may be "apartment-styled" housing, but they do not address the needs of non-traditional and older than average students. Sure, I'll put my name in and see how well other students react to my five year old living in there with me.

3. Ah, faculty pay. Seems to be something you're bitter against them getting paid better. I am not a faculty member. I am a student in a department that has seen a sharp drop in faculty members because they have either been let go or chosen to go elsewhere because they couldn't get a decent salary. When the number of faculty decrease so sharply, the quality of instruction and advising begins to diminish due to constraints and overloading of those professors that have chosen to stay. I am paying quite a pretty penny for my education, and while I make every effort to extend my knowledge and understanding on my own, there are times when you have to have professorial guidance.

GrandForksGuy said...

The Danley's gave UND $10 million dollars, Jeni.Ann. The various projects under construction, including the spirituality center, will take a relatively small portion of that estate. UND will be left with millions of dollars for scholarships and whatever else they need to use it on. I think it is really unfortunate to criticize a building project that is being funded by the estate of extremely genourous alumni who are now deceased. If only all former alumni had this level of generosity.

I'm getting tired of hearing about faculty pay. Perhaps UND faculty do get paid less than they would in other parts of the country. Still, I'm tired of hearing that they don't get paid enough. Some of my professors at UND have it rather easy. They teach a couple of classes, advise some students, and correct a modest amount of homework. Some of them cancel class sessions left and right. Still, they get paid a very good salary no matter what their performance. I'm tired of hearing that my professors don't get paid enough. I wish they could spend as much time focusing on being decent instructors as they spend time feeling sorry for themselves.

Jeni.Ann, how bitter do you have to be to turn construction of a small chapel - fully funded by deceased almuni - into a horrible thing?

ec99 said...

"I'm getting tired of hearing about faculty pay."

So am I, and probably for the same reason: it's been the lowest in the country for nearly 2 decades and thus is always in the news. But I guess I have to take jeni.ann's side on this; a university is only as good as its faculty (not its buildings, administrators, or hockey team). I went to college in state that paid more than lipservice to higher ed, it funded it in such a way that it got the best profs. Yours may be slacking because they're the best UND can find, since it has to compete with 50 other states and DC. After all, you get what you pay for.

Goon said...

I agree with Grand Forks Guy,
the UND professors are getting enough money in my opinion.

GrandForksGuy said...

It's not that I'm saying that I would be upset if UND instructors got a big raise. That would be fine and hopefully it would attract even better instructors. Still, I'm tired of hearing faculty pay being brought up every time UND spends money on something other than raising salaries for instructors. I would like to know what the average professor at UND is paid...does anyone have any statistics?

Also, the notion that instructor pay would be brought up in this thread bugs me a little. This chapel is being built with a gift...no state money is being used. Would anybody really expect alumni to leave their estate to UND so UND can raise instructor salaries? Gifts from alumni are almost always used for scholarships or building projects. When was the last time a major gift from an alumnus was used to raise instructor salaries?

GrandForksGuy said...

When deceased alumni have left $10 million dollars to the University, shouldn't we follow their wishes of how it should be spent? Their one request was to build a chapel by the English Coulee....shouldn't we follow through on that?

C. Y. said...

Not to burst any bubbles but most jobs in ND pay less than the rest of the USA. It just isn't learning facilities, it's everyone else. (Don't forget it's the low paid people of ND that pay a part of those salaries.)

GrandForksGuy said...

"Not to burst any bubbles but most jobs in ND pay less than the rest of the USA. It just isn't learning facilities, it's everyone else. (Don't forget it's the low paid people of ND that pay a part of those salaries.)" - C.Y.

Great point, CY. We don't need to just raise the pay that instructors get...we need to try to raise pay across the board.

ec99 said...

"Not to burst any bubbles but most jobs in ND pay less than the rest of the USA."

That's absolutely correct, and likely explains the out migration from the state, since the cost of living in ND is about the national average.

The problem is, UND has to compete nationally for faculty, against universities paying, on average, 35% more. That means you the university either gives up on getting people, or pays entry-level faculty more than senior people who have been at UND a long time, in order to get them.

Reggie said...

A new single student residence hall benefits ALL residents. Where are some of these single students living now? In the "family" and "married" housing on Northwestern Drive and the like. Single students move to the new hall, leaving more space and a more "family-friendly" neighborhood with less single people.

mattfacingsouth said...

That's absolutely correct, and likely explains the out migration from the state, since the cost of living in ND is about the national average.

The money my family makes in ND wouldn't pay the mortgage in CA. Forget car insurance, smog check, electric, gasoline, and everything else...

...not to mention the sitters that cost twice as much, little expenditures like guitar repair that costs 4-10 times as much, it adds up.

Oh yeah, and time = money, right? I figure I spend 100 hours a year commuting to and from work, my mom is at nearly 400 - that's over 16 days a year.

I know housing has been beat like a dead horse, but my little house here would cost three times as much in CA. So, could I scrape by with the same income? Sure, but I'd have to live in the ghetto. Literally.

It's these little intrsinsic things that we often overlook in our COL arguments.

Now, compared to similar-sized cities in the Midwest, you're probably right to say that COL is on par and thusly we lose people to those areas due to low wages. But to live where most Americans live and the highest-paying jobs are (the coasts) would cost significantly more than good ol' GF in ways that aren't often accounted for.

BTW, everything I've been able to find tonight on the subject gives GF about an 87 COL index - 100 is the national average. The example of my hometown in CA is a little extreme, but it's at about 147.


mattfacingsouth said...

Oh yeah, I forgot to add, neither my wife (a professional) nor I could expect an increase of salary commesurate with that cost of living in either of our fields.

It's not that bad here. Yes, we need more decent-salary positions, but I wouldn't go as far as to say everybody needs to be paid higher to make this little project of a state work. I say "project" because the fact we live in a natural disaster 3-4 months a year isn't lost on outsiders.

I'd say that if you want people to stay here (or move here, as it were), the most logical investment would be to build a dome over the entire state to keep the cold and the riff-raff out. :)

C. Y. said...

"The problem is, UND has to compete nationally for faculty, against universities paying, on average, 35% more."

You mean the clean living, low crime, cold keeps the riff-raff out, great place to live doesn't equal at least the 35% difference. [slight sarcasm mode]