MnSCU Chancellor to present plan for Northwest Technical College

Posted: May 21, 2002

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

MnSCU Board of Trustees will discuss details of proposed reorganization

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Chancellor James H. McCormick on Wednesday will present the Board of Trustees with a potential new structure for Northwest Technical College. The proposed reorganization maintains the five Northwest Technical College campuses but streamlines the administration through partnerships with other state colleges in the region and Bemidji State University.

McCormick has requested further exploration of the proposed plan and will present the plan to the Board of Trustees at its meeting Wednesday.

The two-year technical college serves about 4,800 students per semester at its campuses in Bemidji, Detroit Lakes, East Grand Forks, Moorhead and Wadena. College President Ronald Swanson earlier said he would step down at the end of his contract on June 30, 2002.

"By reorganizing the college, we will be able to strengthen technical education in the region for the benefit of students and employers," Chancellor McCormick said. "Reorganization also will allow us to be more efficient and use the savings to enhance the educational opportunities for students."

The proposal would create a new management structure for the five Northwest Technical College campuses beginning July 1, 2002:

  • The East Grand Forks campus would be administered by President Orley Gunderson of Northland Community and Technical College in Thief River Falls.
  • The Bemidji campus would be administered by President Jon Quistgaard of Bemidji State University.
  • The campuses at Detroit Lakes, Moorhead and Wadena would be administered by President Ken Peeders of Fergus Falls Community College. The three presidents would work together to ensure a smooth transition for students, faculty and staff, and the community.

The three presidents also would develop a plan to deliver customized training, distance education, curriculum standards, programs and services to all colleges in the northwest region.

McCormick selected the plan from numerous options that were developed by staff in the Office of the Chancellor after they held 17 listening sessions. The sessions were attended by more than 500 community members and administrators, faculty, staff and students, who offered suggestions for the future organization of the college.

The sessions were held at all five campuses and at Perham, where the college's central administration is located.

The Office of the Chancellor will conduct a public forum in mid-June on the proposal and present details of the plan to the board at its June meeting.


Minnesota's 31 state community and technical colleges, and universities serve more than 430,000 students across the state.