AUSTIN EDITION -- Report urges consolidation at MnSCU

From staff and news service reports

ST. PAUL -- Minnesota State Colleges and Universities leaders should consider consolidating administration responsibilities for its 34 institutions, an advisory panel recommended Tuesday.

The 33-member citizens commission, asked by Chancellor James McCormick to help map a vision for the 34 two- and four-year colleges, didn't propose closing campuses. Instead, the panel envisions more collaboration among nearby schools and less administrative duplication.

The report specifically urges MnSCU leaders to seriously consider operating Minneapolis Community and Technical College and Metropolitan State University under a single administration. But it also says leaders should study consolidation elsewhere.

"The institutions, either all or groups of them, might better serve students if they were consolidated under one administration that was working toward the same goals," the report said, referring to metropolitan schools and those in "the Rochester to St. Cloud corridor."


Rochester Community and Technical College in Rochester and Riverland Community College in Austin are part of MnSCU.

McCormick said the 11-point plan is "sound, forward-looking advice" that he will look to when developing his three-year strategic plan, which he hopes to present to the Board of Trustees in coming months.

McCormick said MnSCU leaders have been promoting cooperation among schools. He said consolidation doesn't mean MnSCU would reduce its presence in 46 communities across the state.

"I don't see in the very short run the boarding up and the closing of campuses at this point," he said.

Other recommendations dealt with ways to: increase enrollment, retention and graduation rates, especially among minority students; ease course credit transfers; keep tuition affordable, in part by getting businesses and foundations to help defray program costs; and better coordinate online courses.

The commission was led by Minnesota Timberwolves owner and businessman Glen Taylor and Vance Opperman, the president and chief executive of Key Investment Inc.

Legislative, business, education and Minnesota think-tank leaders also took part.

The full report is at

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