MnSCU changes its name; College system changes name to Minnesota State Colleges and Universities

Published 10:16 am Wednesday, June 22, 2016

By Maura Lerner

Minneapolis Star Tribune

Apparently, nobody liked the name MnSCU, including the people who run it. Now, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system has decided to ditch the acronym and go by something much simpler: “Minnesota State.”

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The board of trustees approved the change Tuesday after years of hand-wringing over the old nickname, which was widely panned as confusing and unhelpful.

The move is part of an effort to “rebrand” Minnesota’s sprawling network of community and technical colleges and state universities, which were merged into MnSCU by the Legislature in 1995.

Riverland Community College is part of MnSCU.

Officials have long suspected that people didn’t know what MnSCU meant or that it included schools like Winona State University and Hibbing Community College. A 2014 survey found that many people assumed it referred to every college and university in Minnesota, whether public, private or for-profit, said Noelle Hawton, the system’s chief marketing officer. “The research showed we did indeed have a problem,” she said.

Hawton said a new, friendlier nickname should help raise the profile of the system’s 37 schools — and increase enrollment — by emphasizing what they offer in common: high quality and “the most affordable option.”

The consulting firm PadillaCRT was paid just over $600,000 to help with the branding effort, including designing a new name and logo: the letter M under a North Star. The schools are free to keep their existing names, but will phase in “Minnesota State” and the logo on their printed materials and websites.

Only one trustee, Robert Hoffman, voted against the change, calling it “a solution in search of a problem.”

The majority disagreed. “We’re in a hypercompetitive market now,” said Margaret Anderson Kelliher, the board’s vice chairwoman. “I think that we have to up our game here.”

—Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Report: Financial challenges ahead

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A new report says the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system is facing dire financial challenges and that delays in addressing them will only make things worse.

The work group that spent eight months on the report says declining state funding may mean big changes for the system’s 37 colleges and universities, which educate nearly 400,000 students a year.

Recommendations for dealing with the financial difficulties include consolidating duplicated services across the state, adopting more flexible labor practices and streamlining curriculum.

Chancellor Steven Rosenstone expects to have final recommendations for the system trustees by October.

The trustees board meanwhile has rebranded the overall name for the system’s schools to Minnesota State instead of MnSCU.