Posted: June 2, 1997

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) Board of Trustees appointed presidents for four member colleges and universities at a special board meeting today (June 2). The four presidents include:

  • Kathleen Nelson, president of Lake Superior College in Duluth, who is vice president of academic affairs for MnSCU's Laurentian Community and Technical College District in northern Minnesota.
  • James J. Johnson, president of Red Wing/Winona Technical College, who is the interim president of the college.
  • Joan Barrett, president of St. Cloud Technical College, who is vice president for instruction at Columbia College, Yosemite Community College District in Modesto, Calif.
  • Douglas Sweetland, president of Southwest State University in Marshall, who is the interim president of Southwest State.

The board did not name a permanent president at Anoka-Hennepin Technical College. The interim presidency of Cliff Korkowski was extended beyond July 1, 1997. Because Korkowski has been interim president for a two-year term already, the extension required board approval.

Board action on the presidencies follows a nationwide search and an interview process that included screening with campus representatives and community residents from each of the communities.

The screening committees evaluated the credentials of potential candidates and brought semi-finalists to their campuses for interviews.

MnSCU Chancellor Judith Eaton interviewed the finalists and made recommendations to the MnSCU Board of Trustees.

The board had been scheduled to take action on the appointments at its meeting on May 21, 1997. However, time ran short at that meeting, and the board decided to postpone discussion and decisions on the positions.

Two additional searches have been in progress since the end of last year. Chancellor Eaton named interim presidents for North Hennepin Community College in Brooklyn Park and Rochester Community and Technical College. Search committees will reconvene to seek permanent presidents for those two institutions. The chancellor can appoint interim presidents for a term of two years.

Chancellor Eaton appointed Don Supalla the interim president of Rochester Community and Technical College. Supalla was the former campus chief executive officer of Rochester Technical College and is the current vice president for student affairs and institutional advancement at the consolidated college. According to the chancellor, one candidate dropped out of the search process after taking another presidency. Following the interview process, she did not recommend either of the final two candidates to the board.

Chancellor Eaton also extended the one-year interim presidency of Yvette Jackson at North Hennepin Community College.

Following the search process, Chancellor Eaton wanted to recommend Clayton Johnson, provost of Wayne County Community College in Michigan, but he declined to accept the offer.

The following is additional background information about the appointed presidents:

Lake Superior College - Kathleen Nelson, as the head of instructional programs at the Laurentian college district, has been responsible for all career-technical, general education, continuing education and customized training programs across northeastern Minnesota. The district includes Vermilion Community College in Ely and Mesabi Range Community and Technical College in Eveleth and Virginia.

She has worked to bring the distinct college cultures together while maintaining the individuality of campuses. Nelson holds a Ph.D. in educational leadership from the University of St. Thomas.

Red Wing-Winona Technical College - In addition to serving in a variety of technical college administrative roles, Jim Johnson has been a technical college and high school vocational program instructor.

From 1969 to 1980, he had a variety of industrial experiences as a machinist and construction worker. Johnson is a candidate for a Ph.D. in vocational education from the University of Minnesota.

St. Cloud Technical College - In her tenure at Columbia College, Joan Barrett directed an effort focused on technology applications, including computer-aided instruction to improve teaching and learning in science and vocational subjects. She also initiated the development of an innovative certificate program in geographic information systems (GIS) and a research program to the vocational and technical training needs of businesses and industries in the Modesto, Calif. area. Barrett has a Ph.D. from the Oregon State University Community College Leadership Program. She holds a M.Ed. from the University of Minnesota in adult and vocational education and a B.S. from Concordia College in organizational behavior and communication.

Southwest State University - Douglas Sweetland held positions at Winona State University from 1984 to 1994, including vice president for academic affairs, acting vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College of Business and professor of economics and finance.

From 1971 to 1984, he was professor of economics at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. He was also an instructor at Kansas State University and Northern State College in Aberdeen, S.D. Sweetland holds a Ph.D. and an M.S. degree in economics from Kansas State University and a B.S. in economics and business from Northern State College.