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Questions posed to the workgroups by the Chancellor

Education of the Future

As we think about the changes in our students, changes in technology, changes in the nature of work, changes in the world in which our graduates will work, and the multiple careers that our graduates will hold, how can we best prepare graduates for work, life, and citizenship? What should a MnSCU education of the future look like? What are the roles of undergraduate education, graduate and professional education, and life-long learning?

Questions to consider include:

  1. What will the students of the future look like; what are their needs; and how should we meet them? How can learning be better driven by the needs of the learners?
    • What strategies should we use to ensure access and success for technologically savvy students, students returning to college to prepare for new careers, as well as students who come from communities that traditionally have been underserved by higher education?
    • How do we prepare students for careers in a world that is increasingly diverse, increasingly global, and increasingly technological?
    • If people will return to our colleges and universities multiple times over the course of their careers, how might we think differently about the relationship learners should have with our colleges and universities?
  2. How should new knowledge about learning and cognition shape how we teach and facilitate learning?
  3. How can we reimagine higher education in ways that will continue to improve the effectiveness of our academic programs and reduce costs to make them more financially accessible to students?
  4. What should be the role of e-education in MnSCU? What is our comparative advantage?
    • What kinds of courses, academic programs, and students are best served by e-education? How should e-education increase access to our courses from afar, allow students to take courses at convenient times and places, and enable greater individualization of instruction?
    • What model should be used to develop and deliver high quality, cost-effective e-education?
    • How should teams of faculty work together to develop courses that can be shared system- wide and beyond? What partnerships should we forge with other educational institutions or entities to develop course materials, provide technological infrastructure, or academic support – partnerships that would advance access, quality and cost-effectiveness? How can we best leverage free instructional materials (e.g. “Massively Open Online Courses” – MOOCs)?
    • How should we define and measure quality?
    • In sum, how should we use technology to enhance effective education, reduce its costs, and increase access? For what kind of programs? For what kind of learners?
  5. Higher education has traditionally awarded credit and degrees upon the completion of a number of courses and credits rather than on how well students demonstrate specific skills, no matter how, when, or where they learned these skills. How should we move from credit-based to proficiency-based degrees? How should we increase credit for prior learning?
  6. How should the role of the faculty and academic support staff change over the years ahead? What skills and capabilities will faculty and academic support staff need to enable them to effectively deliver the education of the future? What kind of support and infrastructure will they need to be successful?

Workforce of the Future

Meeting the workforce needs of Minnesota is a core responsibility of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. Our graduates are key to the economic growth of communities throughout the state. We deliver on this responsibility in three ways: by producing graduates who have the foundational and technical skills needed for the work that needs to be done; through partnerships with business and industry; the Department of Employment and Economic Development and its Workforce Centers; and through our programs that deliver advanced customized training to over 120,000 employees each year.

Looking at the changes ahead in the nature of work and the skills graduates will need:

  1. How should we ensure that our academic programs are aligned with Minnesota’s community, regional and statewide workforce needs so they deliver graduates with the foundational and technical skills needed for the jobs of today as well as tomorrow?
  2. How should we increase the collaboration among our colleges and universities to ensure regional and statewide responses to Minnesota’s workforce needs? How should we deepen our partnerships with business and industry? What should be the model for vocational training? Should business and industry play a greater role, as it does, for example, in Germany’s Dual Vocational Training System (TVET)?
  3. How can we strengthen our partnerships with DEED and the state’s Workforce Centers? What additional partnerships with government and community organizations should be forged?
  4. How can our customized training, professional development, and continuing education programs better serve learners as well as business and industry?
    • How should we advance the quality of our customized training, professional development, and continuing education programs and expand the range of services that we provide?
    • What should be the model, goals and outcomes going forward? How can we move beyond customized training to comprehensive workplace solutions for employers in Minnesota and beyond?
    • How should we increase collaboration among our colleges and universities?
    • How should we work collaboratively with business and industry to help shape, create, and model the innovative workplace of the future?
    • What barriers need to be overcome to develop an effective workforce strategy for Minnesota? How should they be overcome?

System of the Future

In light of all the changes that have occurred since the founding of the system and that will occur over the years ahead, and in light of the changes that will occur in MnSCU’s education and workforce strategies, what should the MnSCU system of the future look like?

  1. How should we serve communities across Minnesota in light of changing demographics, changing finances, changing educational needs, and changing technology? What is the role of the campus? What should the campus of the future look like? What academic services should be created on each campus and what services should be provided to all campuses in a collaborative fashion? What new, more agile, flexible arrangements, such as “academic centers” or “sites,” should be used to meet the location needs of students? Should some programs be offered by a consortium of institutions?
  2. What should be the system’s competitive advantage and how should it be achieved?
  3. What strategies should be used to incent the outcomes we strive to achieve?
    • academic quality and student success
    • access and affordability
    • graduates prepared for the jobs and professions needed to meet Minnesota’s workforce needs
    • service to communities across our state
    • cost-effectiveness
    • innovation and entrepreneurial activity
    • long-term financial sustainability
  4. What changes should be made to the overall structure of MnSCU – the nature of the campuses, the relationship among the colleges and universities, and the role of the system office? What responsibilities should reside with the campuses, what should be handled centrally, and what services should be provided in a coordinated fashion (for example, through the Campus Service Cooperative)? How should coordination and collaboration be achieved? How do we design a system that is responsive to the changes going forward?