MnSCU chancellor’s ideas welcome

Published 5:02 pm Thursday, September 22, 2011

Daily Herald editorial

Steve Rosenstone, the new chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, seems to have a clear vision about the challenges that higher education faces. “The biggest risk is business as usual,” he told MnSCU’s Board of Trustees this week. “We need to be willing … to think a little differently about how we do most everything.” That was well said.

State tax support for Minnesota’s higher education institutions has failed to keep pace with rising costs, and Minnesota students have had to pick up the difference. Clearly that trend can not continue because at some point the cost of college, even a two-year certificate program, would begin to outweigh the potential job benefits — particularly for people who are older than traditional college-age seeking retraining or an added degree.

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Rosenstone, who has been on the job for less than two months, did not present any specifics to the trustees, whose responsibilities include four- and two-year colleges (including Austin’s own Riverland Community College). But he made it clear that the way colleges deliver services might have to change.

Minnesota’s network of public universities, colleges and technical schools is one of the state’s greatest assets. But no institution can remain unchanged by time, and it will be better by far if MnSCU adapts aggressively now to a changing economy.