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Celebration of Iron Range Collaboration

President Richard Davenport to attend event in Chisholm, Minn.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release, 2-5-2014

Mankato, Minn. – Minnesota State University, Mankato President Richard Davenport and Northeast Higher Education District President Sue Collins will join current and former Iron Range legislators at an event celebrating innovation in higher education on the Iron Range on Thursday, Feb. 6 in Chisholm, Minn.

(NOTE: Davenport is third from left in the photo taken during his Friday, Feb. 7 visit to Fairview Range Medical Center in Hibbing, Minn. The photo is courtesy of Susan Degnan, director of public information at Hibbing Community College.)

The partnerships celebrated will include Minnesota State Mankato’s Iron Range Engineering Program at Mesabi Range Community and Technical College in Virginia, Minn., and Iron Range Nursing Programs at Hibbing Community College.

Both partnerships were established through a collaborative effort between Minnesota State Mankato, the Northeast Higher Education District, the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) and industry partners. The partnerships were created to meet education and workforce needs in Minnesota’s Iron Range region.

“This relationship illustrates how public-private partnerships can be successful,” said Davenport. “The University, Fairview Range Medical Center and the community colleges working together with the support of IRRRB funds truly exemplifies what the future holds for partnerships like these.”

Collins said that the collaborative effort would have a lasting impact throughout the Iron Range.

“Faculty and staff of Minnesota State University, Mankato, led by President Richard Davenport, really know how to deliver the true meaning of the word ‘collaboration,’” said Collins. “Our students and our industry partners are the real beneficiaries of the genuine partnership we have forged with Minnesota State Mankato.”

During Thursday’s celebration, Davenport and Collins will express their gratitude to the IRRRB and its commissioner, Tony Sertich, along with the Iron Range Higher Education Committee and industry partners for bringing advanced degrees to the Iron Range.

“I am proud of the agency’s support of these innovative programs,” said Sertich. “These programs not only provide additional educational and career opportunities in our region, but also fuel the economy by meeting the workforce needs of key business sectors.”

In addition to tours of the Iron Range Engineering and Iron Range Nursing program facilities, Davenport will visit Fairview Range Medical Center in Hibbing, Minn., on Friday, Feb. 7 to discuss how the Iron Range Nursing program will have impact on the healthcare sector in northeast Minnesota.

Fairview Range Medical Center Vice President Mitch Vincent said adding the Iron Range Nursing program was very important to the region.

“This is a tremendous step forward in educating our current and future healthcare workforce and providing access to healthcare services to our communities on the Iron Range,” said Vincent.

Iron Range Engineering

Iron Range Engineering is a unique and collaborative program between Minnesota State Mankato and Itasca Community College in Grand Rapids, Minn., and the program is located at Mesabi Range Community and Technical College in Virginia, Minn.

It began delivering a new model for engineering education in January 2010 and was accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) in 2013. It’s the first engineering program in the nation that uses 100 percent project-based learning for upper-division learning, according to Rebecca Bates, professor and chair of Minnesota State Mankato’s Department of Integrated Engineering.

Iron Range Engineering produced its first bachelor of science in engineering (BSE) graduates in December 2011.

Iron Range Nursing

Iron Range Nursing is an expansion of three Minnesota State Mankato School of Nursing programs in collaboration with Hibbing Community College, a member college of the Northeast Higher Education District and healthcare partners.

The program began this month by offering courses in a registered nurse (RN) baccalaureate completion program, which allows registered nurses to complete a bachelor of science degree in nursing that will open up career possibilities in hospitals, clinics, trauma centers and public health. It will also prepare nurses for pursuing advanced nursing degrees. Students who have completed general education requirements will be able to complete their degree completely online in as few as three semesters.

Beginning in the fall of 2014, a master’s degree family nurse practitioner program and doctor of nursing practice degree program will also be available.

Minnesota State Mankato’s doctor of nursing practice program has been supported by Minnesota State Mankato’s Glen Taylor Nursing Institute for Family and Society. The Institute supports Becky Taylor Doctoral Fellowships in Nursing, which are awarded to students enrolled in the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program at Minnesota State Mankato.

The Iron Range Higher Education Committee of the IRRRB is supporting the startup of the nursing programs, just as it did with Iron Range Engineering.

For more information on Thursday’s event, please contact Trent Janezich, interim executive director of Advanced Minnesota, by phone at 218-969-0045 or by email at

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,409 students, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, which comprises 31 state institutions.

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