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.”