Posted: September 22, 1999

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees and Chancellor Morris J. Anderson today announced an agreement on a plan to ensure the orderly transition of leadership for the system as it moves forward into the next century.

Under the plan, Chancellor Anderson's contract will be extended for six months, through June of 2001, subject to final approval by the Board at its October meeting. The Board will soon begin the process of a search for Anderson's successor. Anderson's contract may overlap with the appointment of a new chancellor, at which time he will move to an advisory and transition role.

Michael Vekich, chair of the MnSCU Board of Trustees, praised Anderson's accomplishments as chancellor and said the board looks forward to continuing that leadership through mid-2001.

"Chancellor Anderson has brought much-needed stability to a higher education system that previously had been in turmoil," Vekich said. "Over the past two years, we have made tremendous progress in making it easier for students to transfer from one school to another, in bringing together our institutions in the metropolitan area into a coordinated planning framework, and in increasing the visibility and prestige of our colleges and universities. Our institutions are collaborating with each other and with the University of Minnesota in ways that were unheard of just two years ago."

Vekich said the plan adopted by the board today will enable the system to continue to make progress and will smooth the way for a transition to a new chancellor. He said the board hopes to select a new chancellor by Jan. 1, 2001. At its regular meeting today, the board authorized a committee to negotiate the terms and conditions of the six-month extension of chancellor's employment agreement, to be presented to the board at its October meeting.

"This plan accomplishes a number of things," said Michael Vekich, chair of the board. "It allows for a smooth transition of leadership for the future, and it provides for the flexibility needed to conduct a thorough and successful search. The plan also allows the chancellor and the board to focus on some major system priorities over the next 20 months. Moreover, MnSCU will benefit from Chancellor Anderson's political expertise and experience through the search process and period of leadership transition."

No timetable has been set for a search process. Vekich said the board will discuss the process over the next several months. He said the board will seek input from students, faculty, administrators and the public on the selection of a search committee.

"Most important, we as a board want to listen," Vekich said. "We need to listen to the students, faculty, staff, the public and legislators relative to the characteristics of leadership for MnSCU. This needs to be an integral part of the search process."

"As we look toward the future, we want to recruit leadership that will ensure that MnSCU is recognized as one of the nation's best public systems of higher education," Vekich added. "We also need to continue to move forward on the priorities and initiatives that we have set in motion."

Anderson said he welcomes the opportunity to continue to serve through the 2001 legislative session.

"When I was named interim chancellor in July 1997, my goal was to bring stability and continuity of leadership to a system that had seen rapid turnover at the top," Anderson said. "I have done that, and this plan allows that to continue."

Anderson is the sixth person to serve as chancellor since the Legislature created MnSCU in 1991 and is the longest serving chancellor. He was appointed as interim chancellor in July 1997 and appointed permanent chancellor Jan. 1, 1999.

Anderson said the six-month extension will allow him to focus on three main priorities. "We still have a lot to accomplish," he said. "In the 2000 legislative session, we need to convince the Legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign, a bonding bill that meets the needs of our students and our institutions. We need to continue to assist Governor Jesse Ventura and his administration in implementing a workforce development strategy for the state's future. And we need to formulate a budget request for the 2002-2004 biennium that allows MnSCU to become a world-class higher education system."