Reorganization of the state colleges and universities in northwestern Minnesota gains permanent status

Posted: January 23, 2003

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

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities trustees approve streamlined structure

A permanent reorganization that streamlines the state colleges and universities in northwestern Minnesota was approved today by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees.

The five campuses of Northwest Technical College, located in Bemidji, Detroit Lakes, East Grand Forks, Moorhead and Wadena, have been combined with three other Minnesota State Colleges and Universities in the region. Those three institutions' presidents have led the Northwest Technical College campuses since June, when the board approved the plan.

The board action begins a transitional period. The campus realignment will be completed on July 1, 2003, and other changes related to the realignment will be completed over the next year. The reorganization is expected to save at least $700,000 per year in administrative costs.

"Our goals are to strengthen technical education, empower local decision makers and improve the stewardship of resources," said Linda Baer, senior vice chancellor for academic and student affairs for the system.

Baer today presented the reorganization to the board, along with the three presidents, Jon Quistgaard of Bemidji State University, Ken Peeders of Fergus Falls Community College and Orley Gunderson of Northland Community and Technical College in Thief River Falls. The three, along with President Roland Barden of Minnesota State University Moorhead, have formed a joint council to coordinate education and services to students in northwestern Minnesota.

Under the reorganization, Peeders administers a community and technical college with campuses at Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Moorhead and Wadena; Gunderson administers a community and technical college at East Grand Forks and Thief River Falls; and Quistgaard administers a technical college aligned with Bemidji State University.

"We are pleased with the way this reorganization is being implemented," said Chancellor James H. McCormick of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.

"The presidents, after consulting with faculty, staff, students and community members, have ensured that the new structure is stronger and offers even more educational opportunities to the region," Chancellor McCormick said.

The presidents also are focusing on expanding the coordinated approach for delivering customized training and distance education; enhancing curriculum offerings and programs to serve the region; strengthening the relationship between the technical college campus and the university at Bemidji; and considering the future use of the Northwest Technical College office at Perham.

"The participation of Northwest Technical College faculty, staff and administration has been instrumental in helping shape this reorganization, and we deeply appreciate their contributions to the discussions," President Peeders said.