WSU to hold public forums on MnSCU plan to increase collaboration, efficiency

2013-09-10T00:31:00Z 2013-09-10T08:51:38Z WSU to hold public forums on MnSCU plan to increase collaboration, efficiencyBy Nathan Hansen nathan.hansen@winonadailynews.com Winona Daily News

For more than a year now, Winona State University president Scott Olson has been working to envision the hopes and dreams of the WSU community.

It’s not the only institution he’s working with on hopes and dreams.

Since last November, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, of which WSU is a part, has been discussing its vision for the future by convening three workgroups of students, staff and administrators focused on the future of education, workforce development and the system itself. Olson has been a key player in those talks, as the leader of the education workgroup.

“For the period of time we had those conversations, we had some of the most fascinating discussions and debates,” Olson said in an interview earlier this summer.

In June, MnSCU released “Charting the Future,” a draft set of recommendations the workgroups came up with. The document was studied by MnSCU constituencies such as the faculty union, student groups and others. Among the recommendations was increased collaboration as a way to improve education and streamlining programs and costs for the system.

“We want higher education to be as affordable as possible while serving increasingly diverse groups of students,” Olson said. “How can we maintain affordability and serve diverse populations while having the highest quality?”

This week, those recommendations will be open to public discussion at two public forums on the WSU campus. The workgroups plan to reconvene and make a final recommendation to the MnSCU board of trustees later this fall.

“There may be great ideas, there might be some not-so-great ideas, but those were the ideas that emerged from our debates and discussions,” Olson said. “This is essentially an invitation for everyone in Minnesota to join the debate. Let’s have a discussion.”

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(1) Comments

  1. Rastin
    Report Abuse
    Rastin - September 10, 2013 7:03 am
    Beware! The plan is 180 deg off course. The solutions do not address the problem. The "problem" is that MN is becoming less white and less rural, and MnSCU must adapt.

    However, the "solutions" do not improve education. The plan is devoted to robbing campuses of control over their own affairs and ceding it to the Chancellor. It is a political plan about power in St. Paul, not education.

    Although vague, the plan seems to merge WSU and Southeast Tech, to rob WSU of control over which academic departments it has and which majors it offers, and to strip local faculty of influence over local educational affairs. The plan will turn a system of local campuses into one enormous impersonal University of MNSCU run by central bureaucrats.

    Shockingly, Scott Olson was a key author of the plan. Evidently, WSU's President and Provost are more loyal to the Chancellor's Office than to their students. And with his media background, Olson knows how to make a poison pill sound like life-saving medicine.
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