Archived Story

Changes to MnSCU will not be easy

Published 4:12am Monday, December 9, 2013 Updated 6:15am Monday, December 9, 2013

Implementing significant reforms in any organization is never easy. And it often gets more difficult the larger the size of the group.

Knowing that, Minnesotans shouldn’t expect light-speed miracles as the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system takes up recommendations in “Charting the Future for a Prosperous Minnesota.” Still, residents should expect to see within just a few years significant signs that MnSCU is moving away from the status quo.

Why? As everyone from new students to legislators to top MnSCU leaders have noted, the status quo of today’s higher education structure becomes less affordable with every tomorrow.

This report, compiled in the second year of MnSCU Chancellor Stephen Rosenstone’s tenure and released last month, holds the potential to change how MnSCU operates while maintaining its commitments to student access and affordability, creating a qualified work force, and serving communities statewide.

Make no mistake, though, it won’t be easy.

MnSCU has 54 campuses in 47 communities, including St. Cloud State University and St. Cloud Technical & Community College. Combined, MnSCU institutions serve more than 430,000 students and employ about 17,600 people.

Within that structure, this chart calls for both increasing collaboration and maintaining each campus’s distinctiveness. Similarly, it states, “We must find the balance between honoring our commitment to serve communities across the state and, at the same time, investing where demand is increasing.”

In many ways, are those not competing objectives? How can operations collaborate yet remain distinctive? How can any entity invest where demand is increasing without divesting in places where there isn’t growth?

Hopefully, those answers emerge as the system targets these goals:

• Dramatically increase the success of all learners, especially those in diverse populations.

• Develop collaborative academic planning that advances affordability, transferability and access.

• Certify student competencies and accelerate degree completion through credit for prior learning and competency-based credit and degrees.

• Expand technology to deliver high-quality online courses as well as technology-enhanced instruction, student services, and individualized learning and advising.

• Deliver comprehensive workplace solutions to build employee skills.

• Redesign financial and administrative models to reward collaboration, drive efficiencies, and strengthen access to an extraordinary education for all Minnesotans.


— St. Cloud Times

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