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Minnesota State Mankato expanding in Edina

Doubling space at 7700 France

Minnesota State Mankato soon will double its space in Edina.

By Katie Mintz, Sun Newspapers Reporter [published in the Edina Sun-Current, Edina, MN, 9/1/2011]

The Edina School District is not the only public institution in the city seeing a boost in enrollment.

Minnesota State University, Mankato's Edina location, 7700 France Ave. S., will soon double its space to 27,000 square feet in the office building to meet growing demand.

The fourth year of classes began Monday, Aug. 22, at the school, which offers degree and non-degree programs from graduate studies to customized training for area businesses.

Bob Hoffman, vice president of Strategic Business, Education and Regional Partnerships for Minnesota State University, Mankato, said the Twin Cities location is key to serving students in today's economy.

"People need convenience, they need flexibility, and they can't drive to Mankato or Winona," he said. "You've got to bring it to the learner, and that's what we're trying to do."

Minnesota State Mankato in Edina offers several master's degree programs, bachelor degree completion and licensure and certificate programs. About 75 percent of the 2,590 students enrolled in classes there this fall, spring and summer are in graduate programs.

In the new job climate, Ann Goebel, director of Twin Cities partnerships, said the master's degree is the new bachelor's degree, and students are responding.

"That's the student we're finding needs us the most right now," Goebel said.

The leading programs in Edina are the master of business administration and master of public administration. Minnesota State Mankato also offers master's degrees in education, nursing, engineering and more. Beginning this fall, it is offering its first doctorate of educational leadership to a full class. Next fall the campus will add a doctorate of nursing practice.

"Our other mission is undergraduate degree completion," Goebel said.

Students can finish their last two years of a bachelor's degree after attending community college or even a couple classes if they left a four-year college a few credits shy of graduating. Minnesota State Mankato also works in partnership with other Minnesota State Colleges and Universities schools on degree completion.

For the last several years, Minnesota State Mankato faculty has taught upper-level courses on the Normandale Community College campus in Bloomington and at Mesabi Range Community and Technical College in Virginia, Minn.

Becky Copper-Glenz, dean of the College of Extended Learning for Minnesota State Mankato, said it's a part of making learning convenient.

"These are non-traditional students, so a lot of times they're working adults. They have families. They have full-time jobs," Copper-Glenz said.

In Edina, many courses are a blend of online and classroom learning. Two rooms feature real-time video conferencing connecting students with classes offered only in Mankato. Minnesota State Mankato also has about 30 programs available online only. The busiest hours in Edina are 3-10 p.m.

With proximity to a vibrant business corridor in Edina and the entire metro, forming strategic partnerships is also a focus, said Hoffman. The Edina location can work with companies to create no-credit programs that address specific needs, like leadership training, for its employees.

"It's a great location," Hoffman said "It avails us to a lot of business, industry, government and nonprofit requests of enhancement of skills, development of new skills and completion of degrees."

Goebel said Minnesota State Mankato in Edina recently finishing working with Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount to train employees of Apple Valley-based Uponor through a Minnesota Job Skills Grant. Goebel, who previously worked as part of Mankato's manufacturing engineering faculty, instructed the employees in lean manufacturing, a practice that helps identify and reduce waste that doesn't add value to the final product.

She said more partnerships are expected as the school grows.

"As we hear the needs from business and industry we can create professional development opportunities to meet lifelong learning needs," Copper-Glenz said.

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