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Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Rosenstone is right for MnSCU

Editorial

Steven Rosenstone is wasting no time in developing plans to make the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system more efficient, innovative and valuable, The Free Press editorializes.

2011-10-17
An editorial in The Free Press, Mankato, MN [10/16/2011]

Steven Rosenstone is wasting no time in developing plans to make the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system more efficient, innovative and valuable for students and employers.

The new chancellor of MnSCU pledges to reorganize the system so it meets the work force needs of diverse sections of the state, allows for more autonomy for presidents and less control by the central office, while providing access for all Minnesota students.

Rosenstone, who met recently with The Free Press editorial board, showed he is willing to face the challenges and criticisms of MnSCU. One longtime complaint has been that the MnSCU central office is bloated and too controlling.

Rosenstone said he wants a central office that assists campuses when needed and where it makes sense, but otherwise allows presidents and campuses to be more entrepreneurial and nimble to meet the needs of their students and their area’s economy. He said his intention is to have fewer people being more efficient in the central office.

The new chancellor met with presidents recently and they developed three points as guiding principles: Provide access to “extraordinary education” for all Minnesotans; be the partner of choice for work force preparedness in the state; provide taxpayers and students the highest value, cost-effective education possible.

Rosenstone wants to waste no time in developing concrete plans for change, saying a set of goals will be worked out in 90 days and implementation beginning in 120 days.

The chancellor is correctly focusing on how two-year colleges and four-year universities can better prepare students to enter the Minnesota work force. He says campuses in different parts of the state must know their regional economy and tailor programs to meet those needs. A key part of that is a stronger partnership with private businesses and with the state Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Those close business ties help students by having local employers show them real-world experiences, help employers by providing the trained workers they need, and encourage financial assistance from the private sector in a system that is increasingly losing state funding.

In this area, Minnesota State University and South Central College have already demonstrated their understanding of serving the regional economy, creating strong partnerships, adjusting programs and gaining efficiencies. Their experiences can help be a model for others in the system.

Rosenstone appears to be just the right person for the job. His command of the issues, understanding of MnSCU’s weaknesses and framework for moving forward are just what the system — and the state — need.

For the online Free Press editorial, click on the e-edition at http://mankatofreepress.mn.newsmemory.com/.

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