By Kelly Charpentier-Berg
On November 19, 2012 Chancellor Rosenstone convened three work groups composed of students, faculty, staff, Trustees, Presidents, and administrators to advise the MnSCU system on the best ways to ensure an extraordinary education for all Minnesotans across the system. The constituents were asked not to represent their particular groups in coming up with ideas, but instead to look at changes that could ensure a high quality, affordable education that best serves the workforce and our communities. The first draft of this document, “Charting the Future” was presented to the Board of Trustees and constituents on June 19, 2013.
Since that time all of the represented groups have had a chance to give feedback on the document, as well as suggestions for changes that need to be made to best serve the students of Minnesota. At press time, MSCSA has received feedback from students across the state at our September Student Leadership Conference, our Platform and Governing Council training, and our Presidents’ Retreat. I have asked the representatives in attendance at these events to talk with students and encourage them to provide the feedback necessary to ensure that student voices are heard in making our system the best place for getting a higher education in Minnesota.
I have received the feedback from several of the groups and have drafted a letter that will be sent to the Chancellor the first week in October for consideration by the work groups as they move forward in drafting the final version of this document. We have asked that students be part of not only developing the next draft of the strategies, but also in coming up with the plans and specific ways in which the final strategies will be implemented.
Having heard for a large cross section of our campuses, some of the ideas that we have included moving forward include emphasizing student affordability as a main priority across all strategies. Student support services also need to be increased throughout our system both on-ground, as well as online. Students want to be active participates in assessing the quality of education they receive in all of its forms. Admissions, credit transfer, registration, and financial aid should be a seamless process across the system in all forms of coursework. While we have hesitancy in the vague nature of the draft report, we are generally supportive of the priorities that meet and exceed the needs of our students across Minnesota for an affordable, quality education that results in employment.
The three workgroups are continuing to meet throughout October and a final draft is expected to be released to the Board of Trustees in November. MSCSA will bring the final set of recommendations and priorities back to our students for further consultation.