Rosenstone's comments on his chancellorship

Just a few tidbits from the press conference after MnSCU trustees appointed Steven Rosenstone of the U as chancellor.

(They’re edited notes and not verbatim.)

At the time — and as of this writing — he hadn’t signed a contract. The possible salary range (without benefits and according to 2009 regulations) seems to be $270,000 to $390,000.

Rosenstone soon had to leave the conference to meet with the governor, and it’s unclear when the contract will come. I’ve asked for a copy as soon as it’s signed.

His remarks:

I’m deeply honored. The colleges and universities that comprise MnSCU … are crucial to the economic vitality of Minnesota. The state is facing tough challenges, but it must invest in its future if it wants the ability to compete in a global economy. You can be penny wise and pound foolish, and this is not the time to be disinvesting in higher education.

My first step will be very active and intense listening — to students, faculty, staff, employers, community and political leaders. I’m looking forward to working with Chancellor (James) McCormick for a seamless transition. There’s only one chancellor, and I’ll help him in any way.

I look forward to:

  • advancing the excellence in the education we offer;
  • deepening partnerships with communities;
  • finding better strategies to work together for an efficient use of scarce resources;
  • forging new collaborations within the system and with other institutions in Minnesota and beyond;

This is going to be a family process. (He chokes up a bit when looking over to his family.) It’s going to be a wonderful adventure, and a great step after my years in Minnesota.

A few questions —

On how he hopes to change education in the classroom, as he’d mentioned in interviews:

First things would have to be out with faculty. You can’t do it top down. But there are innovations in technology, neuroscience showing how we learn, new ways for active learning, and new ways of engaging people in the community.

At the end of the day, the education in this system will be best education in the state. We need better alignment across the systems, efficiencies in backroom operations, and we need to sharpen the missions of the two systems (MnSCU and the U of M) to make sure we better serve Minnesota.

On whether he was considered for the job of U of M president:

My name was under consideration.

On tuition increases:

Tuition increases are a step of last resort. Cost-cutting itself is not going to be the magic wand. But we can’t push all the additional costs onto the backs of students. There’s a limit to what they can do.

On last year’s executive performance bonuses, which drew howls from unions and have been criticized by Republican state Rep. Bud Nornes, who chairs the House higher education committee:

“Many employeses respond well when they have part of their compensation at risk. It’s a pretty standard way of doing business. I’m comfortable with putting some of my compensation at risk.”