MnSCU System Office Responsibilities, Reorganization Approved by Trustees

Posted: January 17, 1996

Contact: Doug Anderson, doug.anderson@so.mnscu.edu, 651-201-1426

The system office for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) will downsize and focus on key priorities as the result of a reorganization and staffing plan approved today by the MnSCU Board of Trustees.

Judith S. Eaton, chancellor of the state's newly merged system of community colleges, state universities and technical colleges, recommended the plan to the 15-member board.

"The Board of Trustees and I are committed to transforming the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities into a performance-based, future-focused system that makes full use of new approaches and technology in teaching, learning and administration," Eaton said.

"We want to shift as much funding as possible away from administration and into instruction. And we want to put as much decision-making as possible at the campuses -- closest to those who are affected by the decisions.

"This reorganization is a very important step toward achieving these goals."

The plan calls for structuring the system office around four key areas: policy development, government liaison and advocacy, strategic planning, and budget management. To accomplish this, the administrative structure will be reorganized, and the number of employees will be reduced by approximately 100, or 50 percent, from the current staff of approximately 200 persons. Some functions will be eliminated, and others will be relocated to the campuses.

The move emphasizes the leadership and policy-making role of the system office while shifting operational responsibilities to the college and university campuses. The plan does not involve any downsizing at the campuses.

"The existing system office structure is not the one we need to be successful in our efforts to transform the system," Eaton said. "There are more than 51 functions and nine layers of management. This had to change."

Today's board action is the culmination of an intensive review of the role and functions of the MnSCU headquarters office that began shortly after Eaton began her duties as chancellor on August 15, 1995. The higher education merger took effect on July 1.

"We wanted to take a fresh look at what the office should do," said Gary Mohrenweiser, board chair. "We wanted the system office to add value to our educational system and to shed any unnecessary functions."

The new organization will take effect on February 1. The downsizing will begin on February 2, with the relocation and reduction of positions taking upwards of a year to complete.

MnSCU employees whose positions are eliminated or relocated will be provided with a range of options and assistance.

"We will go the extra mile to support employees, especially those who will lose their jobs," Eaton said.

MnSCU serves more than 151,500 students at 62 campuses around the state. Almost all MnSCU programs lead to undergraduate credentialing--diplomas, associate degrees or baccalaureate degrees. MnSCU also offers graduate degrees and professional preparation.