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In This Issue


President Richard Davenport


Green Carpentry Partnership

Brown Technology Campus Co-op




In Our Next

Results of Listening Sessions with key leaders of the Twin Cities

New direction for University Extended Education

"Connecting knowledge
and the real world."


Richard Davenport Photo
Richard Davenport - President, Minnesota State University, Mankato

Why was the Strategic Partnerships division created here at Minnesota State?

Our University has engaged in numerous relationships outside the institution for decades, however, we realized there were tremendous opportunities to enhance our campus that we were missing. This was due, in part, because we didn’t have a formal or organized structure to create important connections and to evaluate how a given relationship might benefit not only the University, but also the partner. For some time I had been thinking about how we could maximize our connections to the private and public sectors outside the institution.

During a city-wide visit to Fort Collins, Colorado we had an opportunity to visit Colorado State University and learned that they employed an Associate Vice President for Planning, which seemed to address the very areas I had been thinking about for Minnesota State University, Mankato.  After entertaining a possible Mankato/University community partnership I decided that the institution simply needed to move forward and create a new position to foster and manage institutional partnerships.

I realized that this position would have to pay for itself, so to speak, through contracts and funding brought back to the University through contracts and partnerships, as well as enhancements to the institution. We couldn’t simply use funding from the University to pay for this new position without a return on investment plan. Therefore, we were fortunate to hire an outstanding individual, Bob Hoffman, who developed the plan and has not stopped running since he arrived on campus creating an unbelievable number of relationships and partnerships on behalf of the University.

What is your analysis of the division's progress thus far—is it on track with goals?

Yes, I believe the important goals we started out with are on track. We’ve had tremendous exposure, raised our visibility, and enhanced our reputation. We’ve connected with the external constituents we wanted to. We have opportunities to work with two-year colleges and other universities, as well as a multitude of private and public groups in Minnesota. At the same time, we’re also fine tuning a strategic planning office that will serve as a model for other colleges and universities across the country.

The partnerships have enhanced academic and other divisions. We now have relationships and partnerships that allow for internships, cooperative education, applied research, and grant projects that involve students and faculty working together with the private sector for mutually beneficial returns. In addition, reorganizing the Office of University Extended Education to the Strategic Partnerships Division has created a delivery mechanism to meet the needs of our external partners.

What is your vision for the future of this division?

We need to focus our strategic partnerships in the areas of greatest need for the institution and the State of Minnesota. Minnesota State University, Mankato’s outreach activities are visionary, however, we have a long way to go in further developing and focusing our partnerships with the priorities of the institution, workforce development, business and industry and other public sector areas, such as health care and education. As a public entity, our first responsibility is to our students, but we have a huge responsibility in helping to meet the needs of all our constituent groups.

The Strategic Partnership Division is a division that continues to prove its worth and like all service areas at the University we will evaluate our progress and direction to make sure we stay on track.

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Minnesota State University, Mankato

In the Works: Green Construction
with Minnesota West

The problem: too many young people are finishing high school and moving out of their small southwestern Minnesota towns. A potential solution: create a program through a partnership between Minnesota State University, Mankato and Minnesota West Community and Technical College with the civic goal in mind of keeping students in the area.

The idea springs from two existing programs—Minnesota State Mankato’s Construction Management program, which innately involves “green” construction concepts throughout its curriculum, and Minnesota West’s two-year Carpentry program offered at their Pipestone campus. Minnesota West President, Richard Shrubb, came up with the concept that would encourage students to complete their two-year degree, then add a third year via ITV in Pipestone before completing a bachelor’s degree with the fourth year in Mankato.

Minnesota West’s current program covers generating and transmitting electricity and other power sources. Through this proposed program, adding green technology would create a third phase to focus on conserving energy and creating or retro-fitting construction for energy efficiency.

As a pilot, to test student interest, Minnesota State Mankato's Construction Management Department Chair, Brian Wasserman, would go to Pipestone to teach his Introduction to Construction Management course in a reconstructed format: two days, six hours each, as opposed to six days, two hours each as offered in Mankato. If the interest is strong enough, a faculty member could be assigned in Pipestone.

President Shrubb explains, “Green energy is important for the nation, but it’s also important for education.” This partnership can accelerate green energy in southwest Minnesota.

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MN West logo
Minnesota West Community & Technical College

Brown Technology Campus Cooperative:
Another Strategic Partnership

Brown studentsFor four years running, Brown Printing, a company headquartered in Waseca, Minnesota, has partnered with Minnesota State Mankato through the Brown Technology Campus Cooperative (BTCC). The program hires Minnesota State students as interns in the field of information technology.

Interns are housed in an office in Wissink Hall and connect to Brown Printing via virtual private network (VPN). The obvious advantage to this, according to program director, Dr. Michael Wells, is “if interns have a couple hours off between classes, they can go to work right on campus and save the travel time.”

Internships last a minimum of one year, the first month of which is spent at the plant in Waseca. Typically, 25-30 students compete for each position in the BTCC, making the internship a prestigious opportunity—and a lucrative one as well: the pay rate is $12/hour, and positions in the field start at around $55,000-$60,000 per year.

Ideally, the internships result in students becoming hired by Brown or another company in the industry. Brown Printing carries an IT staff of around 30 employees, nearly half of which are Minnesota State Mankato graduates. For more information, check out cset.mnsu.edu/isys/btcc.

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spacerBrown logo
Brown Printing

Started in 1949 by Wayne “Bumps” Brown

Has been in operation for over 50 years

Brown has grown to become a nationally recognized printer


The FPX Project:
From Industry to Campus and Back

Brand new to Minnesota State Mankato is the FPX Project, a partnership between the Mankato-headquartered company, FPX, and Minnesota State Mankato’s Information Systems & Technology department in the College of Science, Engineering, and Technology (CSET). The project kicked off August 15, 2010.

FPX, formerly known as Firepond, and prior to that, CWC, has actually had a long-standing relationship with Minnesota State Mankato, employing interns. For the current project, three interns have an office in Wissink Hall with laptops from FPX (the company provides all hardware and software) to perform Information Systems work. Should it become necessary for interns to go to the company offices, its handy downtown Mankato site will easily facilitate visits.

The work students perform will help FPX to interface with customers through the company’s “configure-price-quote” web-based application. The software enables users to customize multiple-option products (for example, vehicles) for purchase.

A three-year, nearly $200,000 commitment from the company will benefit individual students with internships paying $12/hour, the University with income from indirect costs paid, faculty members with real-world application of instruction, and the company with low-cost staff augmentation. Program director, Dr. Michael Wells, explains, “It’s rare to find projects like this, where all four players are winners!”

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FPX logo
FPX Project

Winner of the “Best of SaaS Showplace” award (2010)

Sales Intelligence Inventor, Shaper, and Innovator

Founded in the early 1980’s

MnREM Grant: Supporting Entrepreneurs
and Pursuing Sustainability

A grant from the Minnesota Renewable Energy Marketplace (MnREM) provided support to Minnesota State University, Mankato to work with entrepreneurs in the area of sustainability. Entrepreneurial activities require coordinated, intentional leadership from many sectors of society, including higher education. Minnesota State Mankato partnered with North Central Cleantech Open, an organization with a mission to find, foster, and fund clean technology companies.

Discussions with entrepreneurs showed that they typically have technical expertise, but need assistance with securing capital, communicating their business concept, and marketing. To address these areas, events were planned to support entrepreneurs including a Clean Technology Breakfast Briefing in March, a Cleantech webinar in April, and a renewable energy marketing seminar in May.

For the May seminar, the grant funded a visit by Malcolm McIntosh, an author, professor, and director of the Asia Pacific Centre for Sustainable Enterprise from the Business School at Griffith University in Australia.

Six Minnesota State Mankato business and science faculty members attended a sustainability conference in Denver, Colorado in mid-June through grant funding as well. The lasting effect of faculty attending the conference will be continued and future curricular development in the areas of economic, social, and ecological sustainability.

Funding for the grant ended June 30. For more information about the grant activities or outcomes, contact grant co-principal investigators Brenda Flannery (brenda.flannery@mnsu.edu) or John Frey (john.frey@mnsu.edu).

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MnREM logo
Minnesota Renewable Energy Marketplace

“If You Build It, They Will Test”

IRETI Building‘Look, out behind Wiecking Center! Is it a learning center? Is it a laboratory? Is it a research facility?’

‘Yes, it’s all three!’

The building has been constructed to house the Center of Renewable Energy (CORE) – one part the International Renewable Energy Technology Institute - Minnesota (IRETIMN) lab, and the other part the Minnesota Center for Automotive Research (MnCAR) lab. Dr. John Frey, Interim IRETIMN Director states, “We’re very excited about this new breakthrough addition to higher education.”

A progress report on IRETIMN reveals that in the upcoming year another search for a full-time director will be conducted, grant opportunities are being examined that will add more funding resources to the institute, and a goal has been set for gaining federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certification in both the solid combustible biomass and the biogas areas by the end of December.

Equipment to measure emissions of solid combustible biomass has arrived and a testing project has begun on two different pellet-burning stoves—one made in the United States and one made in Sweden. In the biogas lab, the public-private partnership is at work with two clients bringing projects to the laboratory. Biogas equipment is mostly in place to facilitate testing and at a level to become an EPA-certified lab.

An open house is slated for September 23, 2010. It will include a building dedication in the morning, and in the afternoon, a mini-conference will host speakers who will talk about renewable energy. Mark your calendars!

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IRETIMN International Renewable Energy Technology Institute of Minnesota

Strategic Business, Education and Regional Partnerships
Minnesota State University, Mankato
329 Wigley Administration Center
Mankato, MN 56001