Archive for the ‘Academia’ Category

Earl Potter—International Globe Trotter
by Silence Dogood

Without a doubt, SCSU’s President Earl H. Potter is racking up the airline miles!

On Monday, President Potter announced to the Faculty Association President and Vice President (Roland Jarvis and Steve Hornstein, respectively) that he would be leaving on Wednesday for a three-week international junket to India, Kazakhstan and Italy. When President Potter’s travel plans were announced to the Faculty Association Executive Committee on Tuesday afternoon, the following motion was passed:

Motion: “The FA EC objects to Pres. Potter leaving campus for a 3-week trip to India, Kazakhstan, and Italy at a time of extreme financial crisis.” Passed unanimously.

Tuesday evening, FA President Jarvis informed President Potter of the EC’s motion hoping that he would reconsider his decision to be out of the country at a time when the university is dealing with a major financial crisis.

President Potter responded:

“When we met last week, we did not discuss your objections to my travel. Since the vote was unanimous, I am assuming that you both voted with the motion. I am sad that this is the way things work. I am traveling at the request of faculty who requested my support for their work after years of laying groundwork. My travel is essential to maintain the momentum of these programs. As I have noted elsewhere, we cannot cut our way out of this condition. We must continue to grow. This work is essential to support this objective.

I hear the sentiment of the EC and not only have no regrets but I am firm in my conviction that it is my duty to do this work. We have established processes and responsibilities which will work well while I am traveling and result in presentations and options to review when I return. The work has been carefully sculpted; we have a good team to do what must be done. You will also note that as I travel, I communicate around the clock with my team. The idea that we need to be in the same room to function is outdated in the extreme. No international business or university works in this way anymore. However, I suspect that this is not what the vote was about anyway.”

For those who live under a rock, St. Cloud State University is in trouble. A 21.8% decline in enrollment since FY10 and a poor decision to enter into a long-term lease with the Wedum Foundation for an off-campus apartment complex, which has lost the university a total of $7,700,000 in the first five years of operation, have left the university with a Composite Financial Index (CFI) for FY14 of 0.07. Given the projected $9,542,000 deficit for FY15 and the commitment of over $5,000,0000 from the reserves to offset the deficit, the CFI will likely go negative for FY15. All of this has led to a hastily conceived process to evaluate programs and make recommendations for cuts, which will include retrenchment of faculty. The timeline for this process could only be described as extremely short!

As a former Coast Guard Captain, President Potter knows this better than most: If a ship is sinking, a reasonable expectation might be that the captain would remain with the ship, if for no other reason than to reassure the passengers. In some countries, not only is the captain expected to remain with the ship, they are legally required to do so! However, President Potter has confidence in his team:

“The work has been carefully sculpted; we have a good team to do what must be done.”

This apparently gives him the confidence to be absent from the country at this time. He goes further to justify his absence:

“The idea that we need to be in the same room to function is outdated in the extreme. No international business or university works in this way anymore.”

Perhaps this same argument could be used to justify not going on a three-week international junket. Given the interactive video technology available, it is possible for groups from all across the globe to be ‘in the same room at the same time.’

In addition to a trip to China earlier trip in the semester, President Potter will have been out of the country for at least four of the fifteen weeks of the semester (we don’t know the President’s travel plans during the last few weeks of the semester so it could be more than four weeks). At SCSU, international travel is not limited to President Potter. In fact, international travel by administrators at SCSU is pretty commonplace. In fact, it is hard to find a Dean or Assistant who has not travelled internationally, at university expense, within the past two years. Even ‘Interim’ Deans have travelled internationally. And these trips are not limited to just Deans. For example, Chief Information Officer Henry May recently travelled to South Africa.

When Wisconsin governor Scott Walker announced earlier this spring his intent to cut $300,000,000 million from the University of Wisconsin System’s budget, Ray Cross, the President of the Wisconsin system, immediately announced that he was suspending ALL out-of-state travel. In fact, on Wednesday the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel further reported:

“Ray Cross pledged Wednesday to resign as president of the University of Wisconsin System if he fails to secure a substantial reduction in proposed state budget cuts and is unable to protect tenure, shared governance and academic freedom for UW campuses.”

For many faculty at SCSU, given the current financial crisis, the idea that international travel would be suspended had a lot of merit. Even if it would not result in substantial savings, it would certainly send an important message. Unfortunately, no such luck!

For many on campus, there is an informal hunt for an administrator who has not travelled internationally on “university business.” Apparently, this is a very exclusive club. At the same time, there is also a search for administrators who have travelled the two miles to St. Cloud Technical and Community College, which is one of the larger feeder schools for SCSU, to recruit students. Surprisingly, perhaps because it does not require a passport or involve getting onto an airplane, this appears to be an even more exclusive club.

What Is Lost In Hosting A Confucius Institute?
by Silence Dogood

The Globe And Mail published an article on February 7, 2013 entitled “McMaster closing Confucius Institute over hiring issues.” Essentially, the university decided to simply let the contract expire when it came up for renewal. The article cites that:

“The decision to abandon the partnership comes in the midst of a human rights complaint against
McMaster from a former teacher at the institute.”

“It was sealed by concerns over hiring practices—reported last year by The Globe and Mail—that appeared to prohibit teachers Hanban hired and sent abroad to staff the schools from having certain beliefs.”

A report “On Partnerships with Foreign Governments: The Case of Confucius Institutes” prepared by the Association of University Professor’s (AAUP) Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure in June 2014 recommended that:

“universities cease their involvement in Confucius Institutes unless the agreement between the university and Hanban is renegotiated so that (1) the university has unilateral control, consistent with principles articulated in the AAUP’s Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities, over all academic matters, including recruitment of teachers, determination of curriculum, and choice of texts; (2) the university affords Confucius Institute teachers the same academic freedom rights, as defined in the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic and Tenure, that it affords all other faculty in the university, and (3) the university-Hanban agreement is made available to all members of the university community.”

The University of Chicago, after receiving a petition signed by more than 100 faculty members last spring, decided to let the five-year agreement expire at the end of September, 2014. According to an article published by Inside Higher ED on September 26, 2014 quoted a statement from the University of Chicago:

“As always, the University is guided by its core values and faculty leadership in all matters of academic importance.”

Also reported in an October 1, 2014 article in Inside Higher Ed entitled “Another Confucius Institute to Close” reported that Pennsylvania State University would end its Confucius Institute agreement on December 31, 2014. A statement by Susan Welch, the dean of Penn State’s College of Liberal Arts, is quoted:

“We worked collegially with our partners at the Dalian University of Technology. However several of our goals are not consistent with those of the Office of Chinese Languages Council International, known as the Hanban, which provides support to Confucius Institutes throughout the world.”

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) began the Confucius Institute (CI) program in 2004 as an outreach program that has over 400 institutes worldwide (with nearly 100 in the United States). What make the CI outreach effort so unusual as compared to other similar efforts is because CIs are run directly by a foreign government and is subject to its politics.

According to an October 29, 2013 article in The Nation:

“Routinely and assiduously, Hanban wants the Confucius Institutes to hold events and offer instruction under the aegis of host universities that put the PRC in a good light—thus confirming the oft-quoted remark of Politburo member Li Changchun that Confucius Institutes are “an important part of China’s overseas propaganda set-up”.”

With the PRC having control over curriculum, budget, and staffing of the CI on a university campus, the real question is why any university would want to participate in such a relationship? Could it be free trips to China and red carpet treatment for university administrators and cronies? If the PRC only wanted to encourage the teaching of the Chinese language, why not simply donate funds to a university for such a purpose with no strings attached? The PRC in ‘donating’ funds under the guise of “Confucius Institutes” is simply a way to advertise and influence the students and the curriculum of a university outside of the normal processes.

“An oppressive government is more to be feared than a tiger.”

It might be interesting to see if the Chinese staff of the CIs thinks the government of the PRC is oppressive. Clearly, world opinion ranks the PRC near the top of oppressive governments just behind the likes of Iran and North Korea. As a result, it is quite appropriate to ask, “What is lost in hosting a Confucius Institute?”

Is There A Confucius Institute At SCSU?
by Silence Dogood

I though there was a Confucius Institute at SCSU. In an attempt to find out some background information about the Confucius Institute, I thought I would search the SCSU website to see what information could be found. On the main university website, I typed in “Confucius”

When I hit the search button, the result I obtained is shown below:

Not being deterred, I went to the SCSU Office Directory Search webpage and entered in Confucius and hit the search button again. The results are shown below:

To the best of my knowledge, SCSU has a Confucius Institute. I’ve even heard that SCSU spends $150,000 per year on it. However, unless I can’t spell “Confucius” correctly, based on the SCSU website searches I performed, it certainly doesn’t look like it. For a so-called ‘signature’ accomplishment of President Potter, this is kind of embarrassing.

Is This An Example of Incompetence In The MnSCU Office?
by Silence Dogood

On February 23, 2015 Laura M. King, Vice Chancellor of Finance and Chief Financial Officer for MnSCU testified before the Ways and Means Committee in the Minnesota House with Chairman Rep. Knoblach. In her testimony relating to the Composite Financial Index (CFI), she stated that “The trends for the universities is concerning.” Then Vice Chancellor King said “On a scale from 1 to 5, we want to be in the 3 range.” (Referring to the CFI)

The Composite Financial Index (CFI) is calculated from four component measures: return on net assets, operating margin, primary reserve, and viability. Supposedly, the CFI is a way of measuring the financial health of a university. In essence, the CFI is considered a financial “Stress Test.”

On the MnSCU system website you can find a table showing the Composite Financial Index for all of the MnSCU institutions. A portion of the document currently on the MnSCU website showing the MnSCU universities is shown below:

Unfortunately, even as of March 24th, 2015, the data for FY2014 has not been posted. I made a request for the updated data and recently received a copy reproduced below, which includes the data for FY14:

Back to Vice Chancellor King’s statement:

“On a scale from 1 to 5, we want to be in the 3 range.” (Referring to the CFI)

Looking at the data in the table, from FY2009 through FY2014, there are 21 institutions with values less than 1 and includes 4 institutions with values that are negative. The lowest value shown was -1.12 for Lake Superior College in FY2009. Additionally, there are 15 institutions with values greater than 5. The largest value shown was 7.42 for Rainy River Community College in FY2012. From the data shown, the CFI is outside the range of 1 to 5 a total of 40 times, which corresponds to being outside the range 18% of the time.

I’m sure everyone misspeaks. However, the CFI should be one of the most important measures of an institution’s health and the Chief Financial Officer might be expected to know the ranges and the averages for the CFI for the institutions within MnSCU.

The summary data for MnSCU colleges, MnSCU universities and the system as a whole is shown from FY2009 to FY2014 in the following figure:

From the figure, it is clear that only in FY2010 and FY2011 did the average of the MnSCU colleges exceed a value of 3. The averages of the MnSCU universities never reached 3 during the period FY2009 through FY2014 and only half of the time was above 2. In fact, the university average decreased from 2.65 in FY2012 to 0.83 in FY2014, which is a decrease of 1.82 and corresponds to a decline of 68.7%.

If you look more closely at the data for FY2012, the CFI for the system is 2.78 where the values of the CFI for the colleges and universities is 2.72 and 2.65, respectively. In every other year, the average is in between the two. Unless this is some kind of really ‘new math,’ it is hard to understand how the average for the MnSCU system can be above the values for which it is an average.

As the data shows the CFI does not have a scale of 1 to 5. Additionally, if as stated by CFO King: “we want to be in the 3 range”, things look really bad financially for the MnSCU system since in FY14 the average for MnSCU colleges was 2.28 and MnSCU universities was 0.83.

Clearly, the CFO of an organization not understanding the range of values for the CFI or the averages of its colleges and universities is alarming, you be the judge if it rises to the level of incompetence.

When Sen. Moe created MnSCU, he envisioned a system that worked. He couldn’t have envisioned the structure that currently exists. First, here’s what he envisioned:

During the 1980s Minnesota legislators discussed various options for governing the state colleges and universities. In the 1991 session, Senate Majority Leader Roger Moe introduced legislation to merge the seven state universities, 34 technical colleges and 21 community colleges under one board. Senator Moe suggested that the merger of these institutions would increase institutional accountability, improve student transfer, coordinate program delivery and improve facility planning. The general expectation was that the merger would not save money in the short term, but that efficiency and effectiveness would be increased over the long term.

Of the five things hoped for, 4 have definitely failed. Institutional accountability hasn’t increased. Students’ ability to transfer hasn’t improved. MnSCU hasn’t done an effective job of coordinating program delivery, which means “efficiency and effectiveness” haven’t increased.

The only thing that might’ve happened — and I emphasize might’ve — is that facility planning might’ve happened. One out of five isn’t good.

Part of the problem is that you’ve got a bunch of academics making financial decisions. Another part of the problem is that the administrators and trustees are hidden in their ivory towers. The other problem is that these administrators and trustees are incompetent. There should rarely be a need to hire a consultant. That’s foolish. If these administrators were worth their salt, they’d be the experts. They wouldn’t need to hire consultants to be experts.

For instance, when St. Cloud State hired Earthbound Media Group, aka EMG, to help with their rebranding effort, the first question that should’ve been asked was whether rebranding was possible. The next question should’ve been whether a different solution was required. The third question that should’ve been asked was whether the job could’ve been done in house.

The answer to the first question is no. Rebranding isn’t possible. Providing a quality product is the only thing that’s needed to sell most products. Marketing a university is essentially futile. Either the university has a great academic reputation or it doesn’t. It sinks or swims on the merits.

The answer to the second question is yes. A different solution was required. Specifically, SCSU didn’t need a glitzy ad campaign. SCSU needed to commit to maintaining its recruiting connections. SCSU needed to avoid things like a Masters degree in Social Responsibility.

The answer to the third question likely was yes. I say likely yes because, unfortunately, we don’t know if there were any people on campus who would’ve done a good job with the job. I suspect there were people capable of doing the job but I can’t prove that.

What I know with certainty, though, is that President Potter didn’t want to consider these options because he knew the outcome he wanted. The last thing President Potter wanted was an independent-thinking group of professionals doing what was right. He wanted to head in a specific direction whether that was the right direction or not. This was his opportunity to put his imprint on SCSU.

Unfortunately for SCSU, that’s what happened. I say unfortunately because the rebranding project failed miserably. Since the rebranding project, SCSU has gone downhill fast. Enrollment is down. Deficits are up.

That’s why MnSCU’s competence is a myth.

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This Strib editorial is a perfect illustration of wrongheaded editorial thinking:

It’s tough for legislators to resist the impulse to fix something they consider amiss in any part of state government. But when the part in question is the 54-campus Minnesota State Colleges and University (MnSCU) system at this juncture in its 20-year history, restraint is in order.

That’s what we would advise in the case of a pair of bills sponsored by GOP Sen. Jeremy Miller of Winona. Miller’s moves are well-intentioned. But if enacted, they would impose state law in matters customarily left to educators and governing boards and would do so just as MnSCU is restarting a strategic planning process that had been stalled by discord between the faculty and the system’s chancellor.

One of Miller’s bills would alter the selection of presidents at MnSCU’s 31 institutions to involve more control by a locally empaneled search committee and less by MnSCU’s chancellor, Steven Rosenstone. MnSCU’s existing process, which is not dictated by statute, involves considerable local consultation but gives Rosenstone latitude in shaping search committees. Campus presidents are ultimately appointed by MnSCU’s Board of Trustees.

The first structural problem of this editorial is that it thinks that MnSCU in needed. What proof do we have that MnSCU needs to exist? What proof do we have that MnSCU needs to exist in the way it currently exists? To answer those questions, it’s important to remember why MnSCU was created, then determine whether it’s lived up to its initial goals. Here’s the official history of MnSCU:

During the 1980s Minnesota legislators discussed various options for governing the state colleges and universities. In the 1991 session, Senate Majority Leader Roger Moe introduced legislation to merge the seven state universities, 34 technical colleges and 21 community colleges under one board. Senator Moe suggested that the merger of these institutions would increase institutional accountability, improve student transfer, coordinate program delivery and improve facility planning. The general expectation was that the merger would not save money in the short term, but that efficiency and effectiveness would be increased over the long term.

Sen. Moe was terribly wrong in predicting that MnSCU “would increase institutional accountability.” By establishing a system where universities answer only to a chancellor stationed up to 200 miles away hasn’t worked out. Establishing a system where that chancellor reports to a board of political appointees essentially guarantees those appointees to be a rubberstamp for the chancellor.

That isn’t how accountability works. It’s how accountability is thwarted.

As for shaping search committees, why should the chancellor have virtually unlimited latitude in picking presidents without having to answer why his/her appointments haven’t worked? With 4 of the 7 universities submitting restoration plans, isn’t that proof that these presidents have failed? What price has Dr. Rosenstone paid for those decisions? Why haven’t the Trustees taken him to task for not monitoring those universities?

I’d argue that that’s proof that the trustees and the chancellor aren’t doing their job, which is further proof that they aren’t needed.

Doing nothing while MnSCU disintegrates is foolish. Doing nothing is a legitimate option if MnSCU was operating efficiently. MnSCU isn’t operating efficiently.

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SCSU President Earl H. Potter III’s latest op-ed contains some spin that can’t go unchallenged:

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) experienced rapid enrollment growth between 2005 and 2010. The record-setting growth was driven in large part by the economic recession and high levels of unemployment, which drove many young people and adult learners to our colleges and universities to upgrade their skills or learn a new profession.

There’s no questioning whether enrollment was increasing in 2005-2010. It definitely was. What’s unquestionable, too, is that the recession didn’t start in 2005. It started in October, 2008. That means students had essentially locked into attending college a year before the Great Recession hit. It wasn’t until October, 2008, that huge job losses started.

While it’s undeniable that enrollments continued rising through 2010, it’s questionable whether the semi-recovery caused students to choose to find jobs rather than choosing to get their degree. For many families, the recession still hasn’t ended.

According to President Potter’s explanation, enrollment should still be increasing. At minimum, President Potter’s explanation is shaky. At worst, it’s dishonest spin because the facts doesn’t match the trend. This spin is worth challenging, too:

During the past five years, we have experienced another rapid change. Minnesota’s strong economy and improved employment outlook, along with declines in the number of high school graduates, have contributed to declining enrollment levels, which mirror national trends.

President Potter, what’s your explanation for St. Cloud State experiencing enrollment declines that are twice the rate of the next worst enrollment decline? It’s one thing for SCSU FYE enrollment to decline at the same rate as Mankato. It’s another to have SCSU’s FYE enrollment do this:

St. Cloud State’s FYE enrollment lost 272 students that fall compared with Mankato losing 70 students.

President Potter’s op-ed is filled with generalities like the Great Recession and universities’ enrollment dropping nationwide. President Potter’s op-ed is devoid, however, of explaining why SCSU lost more students than other MnSCU institutions.

This is laughable:

There are many other recent successes and projects on the horizon, and I take pride in knowing that we have made great recent strides in preparing for the future. But there is more to be done and I am confident that St. Cloud State, our MnSCU partners and institutional neighbors are ready to put in the work to continue to make college a value to students and the community.

With a $9,542,000 deficit to tame this year and $14,000,000 deficit heading SCSU’s way next year, saying that there’s “more work to be done” is understatement in the extreme.

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This morning on @Issue with Tom Hauser, Mike Erlandson offered some Clinton-class spin when he said that increased funding for higher education was “like tax relief” for families because it results in the continuation of a tuition freeze.

That’s great spin but it isn’t the truth. It isn’t even close to the truth.

First, the money used to freeze tuition didn’t just magically appear. It came from somewhere. Actually, it came from someone, lots of someones. Where is their tax relief, Mr. Erlandson? Isn’t it the truth that the state took lots of money from these people, then gave a portion of that money back to them? Taking lots, then giving back a little isn’t tax relief. It’s another government rip-off spun to sound like tax relief.

Second, increasing spending on higher ed without demanding greater accountability doesn’t encourage greater accountability. That’s what’s happening right now. The price of a college education is staying stable. That’s what the public sees. The cost of a college education keeps rising because administrators aren’t demanding accountability. That’s why 4 of MnSCU’s 7 universities had to submit recovery plans.

In addition to these universities spending money foolishly, MnSCU itself is spending money foolishly.

When Rev. Hightower negotiated Dr. Rosenstone’s contract extension, Hightower gave Dr. Rosenstone a lavish pay increase:

Chancellor Steven Rosenstone will make $387,250 in base salary for the coming school year, a 1.8 percent increase. He also will receive a $43,160 boost to allowances for transportation and other expenses, MnSCU said.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. That’s before factoring in the $2,000,000 consulting contract MnSCU signed with McKinsey and Company. That’s before talking about the money MnSCU spent on this study. MnSCU spent money on a study to rebrand itself. Here’s one of the findings of that study:

Rarely does anyone think of MnSCU in the aggregate. Understanding of MnSCU is low among those not affiliated with the system. Even among those most familiar with MnSCU, people do not think of it as the sum of its parts. Connections are to individual schools. Students and alumni think of their alma mater. Business and community leaders have local or regional perspectives. School leaders need autonomy to serve their communities.

We shouldn’t spend tens of thousands of dollars to find out that most alumni don’t think in terms of MnSCU. Alumni know that they think in terms of their alma mater.

Erlandson’s spin is insulting. Spending money without demanding that the money be spent efficiently isn’t tax relief. It’s taxpayer theft. FYI- Stop past tomorrow to learn more about how MnSCU is ripping off its students and Minnesota taxpayers. Fiscal conservatives who read this series will be furious.

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It’s old news that 11 MnSCU universities, tech and community colleges are in financial trouble. It isn’t old news that these 11 MnSCU schools were instructed to submit recovery plans:

Declining enrollment at Minnesota’s state-run colleges and universities has campus leaders drafting new plans to deal with decreased funding. Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system administrators say 11 campuses have drafted financial recovery plans to deal with funding deficits. The system lost nearly $44 million last year, or about 2 percent of its budget.

As usual, SCSU President Potter’s statements on the matter are total BS:

Potter told trustees the university didn’t see its underlying weaknesses several years ago, because it was enjoying the benefits of a surging enrollment. Higher enrollment “was masking our lack of improvements” in managing the university’s business, and “dulled the urgency” of some reforms, he said. In 2011 the university suffered its first big drop in students.

“It’s like the water going out in a harbor,” Potter said. “You see all the shopping carts. And that’s what happened to us. We immediately [saw] some of the practices that were damaging to the university and immediately began to correct them.” He said when the problem began, the campus didn’t have the “analytical tools” to help campus officials make decisions to solve the problem. “There clearly would have been cost-reduction strategies that we would have started to put in place sooner,” he said. “We would have made different choices in the speed at which we reduced costs.”

First, President Potter didn’t accept reality. The truth is that he eliminated a program that, if it were open today, would be growing. If the Aviation program had expanded to include a drone program, that program would’ve grown dramatically.

Next, President Potter signed some contracts that a first year business major would’ve rejected. Specifically, he signed the contract with the Wedum Foundation, which has cost SCSU $7,700,000 in 5 years. President Potter also spent $400,000+ on a failed rebranding plan. Then he spent another $750,000 over 3 years for police officers that don’t patrol the SCSU campus. That’s before talking about spending $50,000 for the right to put the Great Place to Work Institute logo on SCSU stationery.

President Potter said that “surging enrollments” caused him to not implement cost-saving measures. There’s just one problem with President Potter’s statement. It isn’t true:

Back in the fall of 2009, SCSU began a process of Program Assessment. In 2010 when it looked like the state appropriation might be cut substantially, Program Assessment morphed into “Reorganization” and $14,000,000 was quickly cut from the budget.

President Potter hasn’t spent the time recruiting in his back yard. North Dakota is recruiting in SCSU’s back yard. What’s adding to SCSU’s recruiting difficulties is the fact that President Potter’s shoddy decision making is chasing students away.

President Potter is in over his head. He just won’t admit it.

This article highlights the contract that the MnSCU Board of Trustees approved with the Minneapolis PR firm PadillaCRT. Here’s what taxpayers got from this contract:

MnSCU commissioned Minneapolis PR firm PadillaCRT to help it “communicate the collective value” of the 31 colleges and universities it oversees throughout the state, according to a report the company delivered Tuesday.

The report makes clear that neither “MnSCU” nor its much lengthier full name are getting the job done, describing the names as a “mouthful,” “awkward,” difficult to say and “complicated to look at.”

Most troubling, the report suggests, is that the current branding is merely a “generic description” that “communicates very little” and doesn’t do anything to clarify exactly what the system is and which colleges it includes.

Here’s some of the findings from the report:

Connections are to individual schools. Students and alumni think of their alma mater. Business and community leaders have local or regional perspective. School leaders need autonomy to serve their communities.

Here’s another set of findings published in the report:

Rarely does anyone think of MnSCU in the aggregate. Even among those most familiar with MnSCU, people do not think of it as the sum of its parts.

Spending money on things this obvious is positively shameful. It’s just recklessly spending the taxpayers’ money. Here are the people we can ‘thank’ for their part in this “study session”:

Board of Trustees – Study Session
Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Vice Chair

Scheduled Presenter(s):
Kim Olson, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer
President Earl Potter, St. Cloud State University
Lynn Casey, CEO, Padilla CRT
Kelly O’Keefe, Chief Creative Strategy Officer, Padilla CRT

I wish I could say that I’m surprised but I can’t. Margaret Anderson-Kelliher attempted to shove a major spending increase down Minnesotans’ throats when she was Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives in 2007-2010. Earl Potter in running St. Cloud State into the ground financially as we speak. Of course, they’d team to spend the taxpayers’ money foolishly on a report like this. It’s part of who they are. They can’t help themselves.