Why This Matters

This is a defining moment for us. Just when Minnesota needs our colleges and universities more than ever before, we are facing significant challenges that threaten our ability to make good on our core commitments. How we respond to these challenges will determine what the future looks like for our campuses. Now, there’s no doubt that faculty, staff, and campus leaders are already working extremely hard every day to best serve our 430,000 students and communities across the state. So it’s really not about how hard we’re working. It’s about how we’re not always working together. We’re still working in silos. Think about these examples:

  • The ability to transfer across colleges and universities is critical to student success, and yet we’re still struggling to ensure seamless transfer for our students.
  • Campuses spend limited resources on marketing campaigns that, if we’re honest with ourselves, too often just serve to steal students from each other.
  • 74% of all careers in Minnesota will require some postsecondary education by the year 2020 but currently we’re not on-track to meet the demand.

Imagine if we worked together to improve transfer, if campuses partnered on marketing to increase the number of students each campus serves, if we collaborated on expanding programs that prepare students for the careers of tomorrow. We already have some great examples of what happens when campuses collaborate:

  • St. Cloud State University and St. Cloud Technical and Community College partnered to create the Community College Connection Program to improve student success, even at some financial cost to the university.
  • Leadership from the IT team at Winona State University in collaboration with all of our campuses led to a common network login ID, replacing the unwieldy system we had before, with a different network login ID on every campus.
  • President Davenport at MSU, Mankato and President Collins at NHED partnered to lead the implementation of a new purchase card agreement that can be used by all of our colleges and universities to save us close to $2.5 million a year.

Clearly, we’re working together, but it’s not enough. Imagine what would be possible if we not only allowed but encouraged and even expected this kind of cooperation. The recommendations drafted with input from over 5,000 students, faculty, and staff in Charting the Future give us the roadmap for how we can break down silos and work together in new ways to better serve students and communities across our state, strengthen our colleges and universities, and protect their unique character and autonomy.

It’s time to act on those recommendations and translate them into specific actions. To do that, we are launching eight campus-led implementation teams comprised of students, faculty, and staff across our colleges and universities.

  • Four of the teams launched in Spring 2014 (team conveners are in parentheses): Student Success (President Connie Gores, Southwest Minnesota State University), Diversity (President Scott Olson, Winona State University), Comprehensive Workplace Solutions (President Sue Collins, Northeast Higher Education District), System Incentives and Rewards (President Phil Davis, Minneapolis Community and Technical College).
  • The other four teams launched in Fall 2014: Academic Planning and Collaboration (President Dick Hanson, Bemidji State University), Competency Certification and Credit for Prior Learning (President Annette Parker, South Central College), Education Technology (President Ron Anderson, Century College), Information Technology Systems Design (Vice Chancellor Ramon Padilla, ITS)

What can you expect from us? We will provide regular updates through email as well as the FAQ on this website. Throughout this process, you can expect us to be open and transparent. You can expect us to listen to you. You can expect regular communication. You can expect us to celebrate individuals and campuses willing to be creative, take chances, and act decisively. What do we expect from you? We really want to hear from you. The implementation teams need your ideas and suggestions, but also your examples of current collaborations you’re most proud of. Please email MyIdeas@so.mnscu.edu. We’ll share what we learn on this website, which will be regularly updated. We want this to be a dialogue about what we can do together to continue producing the best educated and most talented graduates.

We recognize that these are some big expectations – for all of us. But doing nothing is not an option. We need to do things differently. We need to be bold. We need to be courageous.

We can do this because we’re going to do it together.

Frequently Asked Questions

These posts highlight stories and background for this project.

March 5 Highlights from the Student Success Team

The following are highlights from the March 5 Student Success team meeting: We will form a small work group to work with Diversity on a joint initiative/statement We will form 3 teams to produce a list of initiatives to be brought to the April meeting We will focus on initiatives that are actionable with clear […]
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Agreement Reached with Faculty Leadership

The leadership of the Inter Faculty Organization, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, and Minnesota State College Faculty have reached an agreement regarding Charting the Future. Statement: JOINT FINAL3.2 Agreement: Final MnSCU Agreement 3_3-15
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Editorial: Faults aside, don’t scuttle MnSCU’s visioning process

ECM Editorial Board: Faults aside, don’t scuttle MnSCU’s visioning process Dec. 4, 2014 ECM Editorial Board editorial – Minnesota State Colleges and Universities has initiated an important planning and visioning process that will benefit Minnesota post-secondary students for many generations. If you have a son or daughter who may attend a state college, this planning […]
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A Letter from the Presidents of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities

Dear students, faculty, and staff, Across our nation, more than any other time in our history, colleges and universities are facing tremendously complex challenges that hold no easy answers.  We are being called to be more accessible, to prepare our graduates for success in a global world, and to ensure that higher education remains a […]
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Student Story by “The Spur” Student Paper from SMSU

“Charting the Future” Change Effort (pdf) MnSCU Working to Improve Student Success
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Why Chart the Future?

What is the reason we, as a system, are working on the Charting the Future effort? What is the value of all of this work? Aren’t we all already busy enough providing a quality experience for our students? It true that our colleges and universities are diligently committed to students; yet our ability to sustain that committment […]
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Facing Change

Charting the Future embodies our collective response to the intense challenges facing higher education today. MnSCU has never undertaken an effort of this magnitude, and although we have been working on some of the issues for a long time, change has been modest at best.   Seventy percent of the time, large scale change efforts fail, […]
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Assistance from McKinsey

To quickly and successfully implement our Charting the Future strategic plan, we required the assistance of an experienced management consulting firm to help us design a process that would: empower the implementation teams genuinely engage students, faculty, and staff bring the research-based experience from other change efforts to our planning prepare teams of colleagues who […]
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Metro-Area Planning

From Doug Knowlton, Metropolitan State University Metro-area planning and implementation of metro partnerships. You are also welcome to share a story of collaboration!
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Southwest Minnesota State’s Completion Degrees at Metro Schools

From Beth Weatherby, Southwest Minnesota State University Completion degrees being designed in partnership with the metro institutions. You are also welcome to share a story of collaboration!
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Alignment at Anoka-Ramsey and Anoka Tech

From Mary Jacobson, Anoka Technical College and Anoka-Ramsey Community College Sharing infrastructure services across aligned institutions of Anoka-Ramsey Community College and Anoka Technical College including marketing and public relations, information technology, facilities, research, security and human resources. You are also welcome to share a story of collaboration!
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World Language Consortium

From Beth Weatherby, Southwest Minnesota State University Collaborating with the ECE access group: involvement with the world languages consortium You are also welcome to share a comment!
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Sharing Concerns

Attendees from the Academic and Student Affairs Conference, May 2014 share their concerns about Charting the Future. Concerns shared by Doug Knowlton, Metropolitan State University Lack of student and faculty input into the planning. Another planning activity with no real impact because of political and traditional resistance to change. The colleges and universities will see […]
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What gets you excited about Charting the Future?

Attendees from the Academic and Student Affairs Conference, May 2014 share comments. “It is adventurous and I am excited about the possibilities and opportunities ahead.” – Raphael Onyeaghala, Southwest Minnesota State University “System-wide effort for students complete more bachelor degrees; breakdown silos; leverage resources to do more with less.” – Herbert King, Dean of Students, […]
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Jon Nordos Story

Story Submitted by Jon Nordos Non Traditional Student and Technology Coordinator at St. Cloud State University I attended the University of Minnesota for 1 year in 1990. To say that I was not ready for college is an understatement (I passed 2 classes in 1 year) Since that time, I have accumulated 23 years of experience […]
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Welcome to Charting the Future

Welcome to the Charting the Future blog being managed by the project Engagement Team. This communication vehicle is designed for students, faculty and staff of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and it is also open to the public. We look forward to updating it regularly with details about implementation teams‘ progress, stories and comments from all constituents, and news/resources relating to Charting the […]
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