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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Global Solutions Goals and Objectives

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Goal 1. Envision the university as a problem-solving engine without internal or global boundaries.


Objective A. Promote "GSThinking" at Minnesota State Mankato by initiating new campus conversations and ongoing campus dialogues in the following ways:

  1. In August 2010, the GSThinking goal will be the focus of an exercise during the Administrative Retreat.
  2. Use Convocation in August 2010 as an opportunity to kick off the Global Solutions initiatives and other strategic priorities.
  3. In September 2010, a subcommittee of the Global Solutions Task Force members will meet with different bargaining groups as well as MSSA to explain the GSThinking initiative, invite their input into the process, and solicit an opportunity to conduct a forum with individual or collective groups as appropriate. This will be followed by:
    1. During AY 2010-11, hold forums dedicated to the Global Solutions Thinking initiative with bargaining units and divisional groups. Assess attendees.
    2. During AY 2010-11, hold two open, public forums for all interested faculty, staff, and students dedicated to the Global Solutions Thinking initiative. Assess attendees.
  4. By Spring 2011, initiate a Global Solutions Lecture Series featuring members of our faculty and staff and outside thinkers on topics related to Global Solutions.

Global Solutions Center

Objective B. Establish a Center for Global Solutions.

  1. Incubator. By May 2011, create an incubator program to work with at least four faculty members to encourage collaborative teaching and research.
    1. Themes. Select major global solutions topics to form a theme for each academic year.
      1. Host a major conference annually on the selected theme.
      2. Hold regular forums with Minnesota business leaders to identify major problems and brainstorm solutions.
      3. Hold weekly colloquia on the theme, including external speakers or faculty members presenting relevant research as working drafts or finished papers.
      4. Encourage other events throughout the year to associate with the annual theme.
    2. Council. Establish a permanent Advisory Council to the Center for Global Solutions.
    3. Assess. Assess campus global awareness by making the Intercultural Development Inventory available to students and employees, and by requiring it of all those involved in the Center for Global Solutions.
    4. Center for Collaboration. By May 2011, establish a Center for Collaboration funded by Federal and State grants as a pilot program for all MnSCU schools as well as other interested universities, colleges and schools.
    5. Tech Transfer Accelerator. By May 2011, create a Global Solution Accelerator that provides resources in support of those who champion Global Solutions and the transfer of knowledge and technology to practical applications. The Accelerator will be established based on the following information gathering:
      1. By November 2010, each division will conduct a needs assessment related to their respective work and how it interfaces with solution driven projects for local, state, regional, national, or international problems.
      2. By January 2011, each division will engage in one or more "GS think tank sessions" related to potential partnerships that could lead to a formalized collaboration related to global solutions work.
      3. By April 2011, each division will form a new partnership that will focus on an initiative centered on Global Solutions work.
      4. By September 2011, form a campus-wide GS Think Tank with participation of the GS Leaders that builds on the divisional conversations and partnerships in objectives 1.e.i. and 1.e.ii.

Social Media

Objective C. By April 2011, the university will use social networking sites (e.g. Twitter, Facebook) to promote the GSThinking initiative.

Goal 2. Build creative, engaged problem solvers through collaborative and immersive experiences in the local, state, and global communities.


Objective A. By December 2010, develop internal and external partnerships to identify issues and problems in need of Global Solutions (e.g., by December 2010, meet with 25 area businesses and organizations to identify possible needs or solutions which will result in a minimum of two partnerships; by December 2010, the Regional Science Fair will collaborate with at least four departments and organizations on and off campus not currently participating to present a unified university-community experience).


Objective B. Encourage Global Solutions throughout the curriculum as follows:

  1. Workshops. By December 2010, GS Task Force Members in partnership with GS Leaders will develop a workshop for collaborative teaching and learning, to be offered at the January 2011 Professional Development Day.
  2. Redesign. By December 2010, the university will provide ideas, forums, and resources for faculty members to redesign academic curricula and courses in ways that improve student performance and satisfaction and increase flexibility in faculty load and opportunities for faculty research and creativity activity. Although there may be innovations nationally and internationally that we might emulate, ultimately this will be discipline- and department-based innovation. Programs for non-academic redesign will also be deployed when appropriate.
  3. Honors Program. By December 2010, develop collaborative models that focus on cross-disciplinary competencies through the Honors program.
  4. Gold. Allow inclusion of international service learning opportunities as "Gold" Diversity courses.
  5. D/J-term. Explore the viability of a modified "D/J-Term" that could be offered in late December or early January
  6. Internships and Co-op. By May 2011, create at least five new internship and co-op opportunities, to be continued in subsequent years with the addition of five new opportunities per college per year for the duration of this planning cycle, for students by working with area communities, businesses and industries that target development consistent with the spirit of Global Solutions. Also, recruit at least two new out-of-state internship, apprenticeship, clinical, or co-op sites per college per year for global opportunities, and provide enhanced domestic internship opportunities for international students.
  7. Summer. Increase summer Global Solutions learning opportunities.
  8. Language. Encourage mastery of a second language by tracking and enforcing the language requirement at admission and graduation (i.e., no waivers allowed on this requirement). 
  9. Curriculum RFP. Through May 2014, use an RFP process to support at least one existing program per college per year with curricular enhancements that reflect a Global Solutions emphasis.
  10. Infusion. Identify opportunities to infuse Global Solutions Thinking into existing courses so that every MSU student has a classroom-based GS experience, for example:
    1. Speaking. Explore whether public speaking courses might require a speech on GS themes;
    2. Writing. Explore whether first year composition courses might require a paper on GS themes;
    3. FYE. Explore whether FYE courses might have readings or assignments related to GS themes.


Objective C. By November 2010, a cross-divisional work team will be formed that includes representatives from Diversity, Student Affairs, and other areas as appropriate to create a long-range plan for integrating GS initiatives with co-curricular learning experiences.

  1. ELI. Establish an English Language Institute (ELI).
  2. GS Experiences. By 2015, every MSU student will have the opportunity to take a "big idea" or problem facing the world and apply solutions-oriented research to it in at least one of the following ways:
  3. URC. An opportunity to present results at the Undergraduate Research Conference; or
  4. GRC. An opportunity to present results at the Graduate Research Conference; or
  5. Service Learning. Through GS-oriented service learning experiences, or other appropriate venues. 

Interdisciplinary Programs

Objective D. By May 2011, launch programs, which are developed out of a collaboration of at least three different academic departments.

  1. Reach Area Youth. One possible topic might be how to "Reach Area Youth" to develop self-esteem, a sense of purpose, and develop critical thinking skills to be problem-solving and caring individuals in the community
  2. Youth Institute. Another possible collaboration is by Fall 2011 to establish an Institute for Childhood and Youth Studies that draws on intellectual resources across the campus.
  3. Center on Aging. Another possibility would be to enhance the Chesley Center on Aging
  4. Academic Alliance. By May 2011, create a GS Academic Alliance with all area schools, K-12, and higher education
  5. Disaster Response. By June 2011, set up a "Global Solutions Response Team" task force to identify and marshal University resources and competencies to plan a response strategy to natural disasters wherever they occur.

Goal 3. Communicate, collaborate, and partner internally and externally to identify, pursue, and promote global solutions.


Objective A. By December 2010, inventory current Global Solutions activities to establish a baseline.


Objective B. The Center for Global Solutions will annually audit the number and depth of Global Solutions partnerships across the University, supporting and recognizing units that achieve at each level. The audit rubric will include the following levels, with Level III being the desired level: 1. Level I (lowest level) – Simple transactions between internal and/or external partners; or other simple relationships that bridge "silos." 2. Level II (middle level) – Pooled resource collaborations and collaborative program design between internal and/or external partners; or other robust relationships that eliminate silos. 3. Level III (highest level) – Pooled resource collaborations and collaborative program design between internal and/or external partners focused on Global Solutions goals and objectives; or other robust relationships that eliminate silos and involve significant international activity.


Objective C. By October 2010, formally establish a Modeling and Simulation Center to do applied research for government, industry, education, health care, and the environment. Seed funding will be from internal grants and external appropriations. Within five years, the Center will be completely self-supporting.


Objective D. Promote international partnerships, exchanges, and research.

  1. Study Abroad. Through 2014, increase the number of study abroad students and student exchanges each successive year by 15%.
  2. International Students. Through 2014, increase the number of international students each successive year by 10% based on new international recruitment initiatives.
  3. International Partnerships. By 2014, double the number of international partnerships based on new international partnership initiatives.
  4. Faculty Exchanges. Increase the number of faculty and staff exchange opportunities.
  5. Travel Supplements. Provide resources to supplement international travel.


Objective E. Encourage co-curricular international activities, such as an International House, reserved seats in Learning Communities for international students, and hosting a conference on best practices in getting domestic and international students to interact.


Objective F. By October 2011, every applicant for undergraduate admissions will be expected to write an essay on the following theme or something similar: "Describe a problem facing the world today and some solutions that could be applied to solving it." Roll the essay out initially to applicants to the Honors Program and/or Presidential Scholarships.

Goal 4. Allocate funding and staffing to support Global Solutions, and seek and honor those who produce relevant and integrated answers to local, national, and international problems.

HR Processes

Objective A. Beginning July 2010, the University will begin hiring faculty and staff who are passionate ambassadors of Global Solutions type work. Specifically, job postings will include relevant preferred qualifications that seek candidates who support GSThinking, e.g.: "Demonstrated commitment to pedagogy and research that produces relevant and integrated answers to local, national, and international problems."


Objective B. By April 2011, codify specific rituals, events, and recognitions that support and honor those faculty, staff, and students participating in GSThinking.


Objective C. By December 2010, identify 24 Global Solutions Leaders, to include 8 faculty, 8 staff, and 8 student leaders, who will serve as individual and exclusive mentors for potential Global Solutions problem solvers.


Objective D. By June 2015, the Global Solutions comprehensive campaign will have generated substantial private support for Minnesota State University, Mankato, to position our university as the Big Ideas, Real World Thinking institution of higher education in our Nation. Seek funding for a Center for Global Solutions, potentially both brick-and-mortar and programming support. Seek and promote start-up funding to support all Global Solutions activities on campus, including the provision of support staff.

Applied Research

Objective E. Through 2014, increase the number of applied research dollars raised annually through RASP by 20% each year.

GS Research

Objective F. Encourage Global Solutions related research through dedicated faculty and staff research grants and reassigned time. 

Initiative Fund

Objective G. By Spring 2011, establish a dedicated Global Solutions Initiative Fund to support grass-roots Global Solutions initiatives through the Center for Global Solutions.