Draft MnSCU plan considers campus mergers, relocation and elimination of programs


The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system has just released a draft report on a potential revamping of how it operates. It’s broad-idea stuff,  and appears short on specifics. It apparently won’t see final form till this fall.

I’ve taken a look at the executive summary and had a quick talk with Winona State University President Scott Olson, one of the leaders of the project.

He called some of the potential changes mentioned in the report could be “disruptive” to the way things are done now.

Among them:

  • Relocation of academic programs to regions where they’re needed most;
  • Elimination of programs that officials think unnecessarily duplicate others;
  • Merging of campuses, closer working arrangements between two-year and four-year schools,  and the location of two-year and four-year programs — as well as some administrative operations — on the same property.

He told me they’re considering a plan :

“… where the MnSCU system is looking statewide at where the employment needs are, where workforce needs are, what the needs are of a future workforce in Minnesota, and then thinks about how to direct talent and and how to direct resources to different parts of Minnesota to be responsive to that. That takes a coordination level that doesn’t really exist right now, when it’s all based campus by campus. That’s transformational.”

Olson said the paper does not address whether any campuses should be closed.

(Even if closures aren’t in the card, the idea could indeed mean a lot of shifting around of people and programs. The report acknowledges a need to negotiate changes to employee bargaining agreements.)

Nancy Black, president of the Inter Faculty Organization, which represents university professors, said MnSCU already reshuffles programs, but might do so on a larger scale. She also said no one ever discussed campus closings.

There’s more in the report, and I’ll look it over later on.

Meanwhile, you can read it above. (It has an executive summary. The meat starts on p. 8.)

Let me know if I’ve missed anything big.