Recent Developments: System and State
Since the last comprehensive visit, the MnSCU system has had two new chancellors. In June 1997 Morris J. Anderson, formerly a member of the Board of Trustees, became Interim Chancellor following the departure of Dr. Judith Eaton. He received the permanent appointment in November 1998. In September 1999 the board decided to seek a replacement, leading to the appointment of the current Chancellor, Dr. James H. McCormick, who assumed the position in July 2001.
The Board of Trustees and the Office of the Chancellor have undertaken several initiatives or strategic directions since 1997 that affect St. Cloud State University. The system adopted an Allocation Model to apportion state appropriations to each state college and university based on various formulas, assumptions, and other factors. Enrollments and instructional costs at the institution and program levels play key roles in the model.
System integration has also been a high priority. Some facets involve collaboration among institutions to provide programs and services. Others focus on smoother transitions for students by means such as articulation agreements between two-year degree programs at colleges and four-year degree programs at universities. Still others focus on establishment of uniform academic and business policies for all colleges and universities, such as a common start date for academic years beginning fall semester 2008.
The system’s commitment to expand online instruction led to the creation of Minnesota Online, a unit within the Office of the Chancellor. Minnesota Online has channeled resources to the state colleges and universities and developed policies and procedures to encourage institutional development of online courses, academic programs, and academic support services. The success of Minnesota Online resulted in HLC delegating to the Office of the Chancellor authority to conduct site visits at the colleges and universities and to make recommendations to HLC for approval of institutional activities online.
Accountability and innovations are emerging themes from the Board of Trustees and the executive branch of state government. As expectations become clearer, so too will be the challenges to the university in the form of new data to report, new ways of reporting, and new ways of doing business.