Posted: September 19, 2001

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

Commission to advise Chancellor James H. McCormick on strategic plan

Chancellor James H. McCormick today announced the members of the new Citizens Advisory Commission that will help guide strategic planning for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.

The 30-member commission, which will meet for the first time Friday, includes top state legislative leaders Senate Majority Leader Roger Moe, DFL-Erskine, and House Speaker Steve Sviggum, R-Kenyon.

The commission will hold six monthly meetings and three public forums to gather ideas and formulate recommendations for the future of the 34-institution MnSCU system, which serves about 216,500 students annually in credit-based courses.

"This stellar group of leaders are generously offering their time, experience and wisdom to help Minnesota State Colleges and Universities shape a strategy for achieving goals that best serve this great state," Chancellor James H. McCormick said.

Minnesota business leaders Vance Opperman and Glen Taylor are co-chairing the broad-based commission. The members were asked to serve based on their leadership in business, K-12 and higher education, foundations, government, communities of color, and urban and rural communities.

"We appreciate the willingness of these very busy citizens to participate, and we anticipate they will provide sound, forward-looking advice," MnSCU Board of Trustees Chair Mary Choate said. "Their commitment shows a deep belief in the importance of higher education and the MnSCU system."

Commission members include two MnSCU trustees, Andrew Boss and Michael Vekich, the former board chair. Choate will serve as an ex officio member.

The commission's first meeting on Friday will be in International Hall, on the fourth floor of the World Trade Center, which is the MnSCU system headquarters. All commission meetings will be from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Fridays, with future meetings set for Oct. 19, Nov. 30, Dec. 21, Jan. 18 and Feb. 22 at locations still to be determined.

The charge to the commission is as follows:

"The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Citizens Advisory Commission is charged to advise the Chancellor on behalf of the Board of Trustees on strategic directions for the future of public higher education in the state and to:

  • Determine the most critical strategic choices facing public higher education and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities;
  • Examine the issues facing the state and their impact on higher education opportunities for Minnesotans at the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities including but not limited to quality, accessibility, affordability, economic development, and citizenship;
  • Recommend what role the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities should play in enhancing the state's economic vitality, quality of life, and the development of the workforce."

Public forums to gather ideas from regional residents about the future of higher education will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. on these dates and campuses:

  • Sept. 27 in the Itasca Community College Theater in Grand Rapids
  • Oct. 9 at Normandale Community College in Bloomington
  • Oct. 30 at Southwest State University in Marshall

Public opinion is sought on what people care about most at this time, how higher education can address those high priorities and concerns, and what role the MnSCU institutions can and should do to help in the future.

The creation of a Citizens Advisory Commission is a key part of the chancellor's first-year work plan, which the Board of Trustees unanimously approved in July.

McCormick has launched an unprecedented effort to gather public opinion through visits with every legislator in his or her home district and visits to every one of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities by the end of this year. So far, he has met with more than 115 legislators and visited eight campuses.

Opperman, commission co-chair, is the president and chief executive officer of Key Investment, Inc.; former president of West Publishing Company; and owner and general counsel of Minnesota Law & Politics magazine. In 2000, he served as chair of the MnSCU Search Advisory Committee in a search that led to the appointment of McCormick as chancellor.

Co-chair Taylor is chief executive officer and chairman of the board of Taylor Corporation, Mankato, and owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves NBA basketball team and the Minnesota Lynx WNBA women's basketball team. He graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and was a state senator from 1980 to 1990, serving as assistant minority leader and minority leader.

McCormick said he expects the commission will be able to forward recommendations to him by spring 2002. He plans to submit a strategic plan to the MnSCU Board of Trustees in April 2002.

Click here for the MnSCU Citizens Advisory Commission members