Posted: August 14, 1998

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

Morris J. Anderson, chancellor of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, today announced an initiative to build closer ties among businesses, Metropolitan State University and other schools in the state colleges and universities system.

To provide working adults with educational opportunities, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities campuses will design, develop and expand new ways to offer instruction, such as CD-ROMs, the Internet and interactive television.

M. James Bensen, president of Bemidji State University, has been appointed by Anderson to lead this partnership development effort.

"The businesses that partner with Minnesota State Colleges and Universities in this endeavor will be assured of first-rate employee training," said Anderson. "The worker who enrolls will be able to build a full degree program over time."

Anderson said he chose Bensen to head the project because of his connections in the business community, higher education and the Legislature. "He is highly respected," said Anderson, "and his experience will create an open atmosphere that allows for the free exchange of ideas."

Over the past three years, Bemidji State and Metro State have developed a close working relationship that now delivers degree programs in industrial technology and elementary education through interactive television and other methods.

Bensen said he envisions linking businesses in the Twin Cities with the state's two-year colleges as well as the state universities in St. Cloud, Mankato, Moorhead, Winona, Marshall and Bemidji.

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities is the largest provider of higher education in the state of Minnesota. The system includes 36 state universities, community colleges, technical colleges and comprehensive community and technical colleges in 46 communities around Minnesota and a campus in Japan. The system serves approximately 145,000 students.