Posted: January 19, 2006

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees approved a five-year strategic plan Thursday that continues three strong initiatives - increasing access to higher education for Minnesotans, improving quality of educational programs and aiding the state's economic development - and adds a fourth charge to support innovation and be more responsive to meet the state's needs.

"With this plan, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system raises the bar of expectations," said Board Chair Robert Hoffman. "Meeting these goals will be a challenge, but they are the right strategic directions at the right time. Ultimately, this plan will benefit every student, every person and every community in Minnesota."

"I'm particularly pleased that one goal calls for our institutions to better serve their regions," Hoffman said. "We have an excellent, though often unheralded, track record in this area already. Every day, our talented faculty members use their knowledge to solve local problems and educate the next generation of workers and citizens. This plan supports their efforts to do even more."

Trustee David Paskach, who chaired the board's Ad Hoc Work Group on Strategic Planning, said the process was rigorous and invigorating. "We see the challenges in global competition, other important demands on state resources and the growing recognition that virtually all young people will need higher education for career and life success," he said.

"As the leading provider of higher education in this state, this system has the collective strength to meet the new century's challenges," said Chancellor James H. McCormick. "With these four strategic directions, we believe that new generations will be able to advance their careers and contribute to their communities in a globally competitive world."

Specifically, the plan establishes four strategic directions:

  • Increase access and opportunity. The goals include raising Minnesota's participation and achievement in post-secondary education by meeting the needs of students with diverse needs, maintaining an affordable cost of attendance for state residents and working with other organizations to prepare all Minnesota high school students to graduate prepared for college-level work.
  • Promote and measure high-quality learning programs and services. The goals include demonstrating high quality in all educational programs, producing graduates who have strong, adaptable and flexible skills, and providing multiple delivery options for learning programs and student services.
  • Provide programs and services integral to state and regional economic needs. Goals include identifying economic development priorities; contributing artistic, cultural and civic assets that attract employees and others; and developing each institution's capacity to add value to its region.
  • Innovate to meet current and future educational needs. Goals include building capacity for change to meet future challenges, rewarding staff who advance excellence and efficiency, removing barriers to innovation and responsiveness, and developing leaders who initiate innovation and promote accountability.

The Board of Trustees created the plan as part of a process that calls for reviewing the system mission and vision at least every five years. The system was created 10 years ago with the merger of three formerly separate systems of community colleges, technical colleges and state universities.

During the past decade, the system has educated 1.2 million students. Currently, the system graduates more than 32,000 students annually with more than 86 percent placed in jobs related to their field of study. The system also returns $6.14 to the state's economy for every $1 of net state appropriations.

View the full version of the strategic plan (PDF)