To say that the administration at St. Cloud State has had its difficulties is understatement. They’ve made terrible financial decisions, including paying for St. Cloud Police Department police officers and signing a contract that guarantees they lose hundreds of thousands of dollars on the Coborn Plaza apartments. Enrollment is dropping fast, which means tuition revenues will be down by $4,000,000-$5,000,000 for the fall semester.

Then there’s the transcript fraud scandal, which is causing troubles of its own. After that, there’s the money that President Potter has spent on rebranding. The rebranding campaign has been a failure. Then there’s the ISELF problem. It’s a sparkling facility that should’ve been built on a research university, not on St. Cloud State’s campus.

While there’s much to be critical of, this post will look at what’s needed to turn SCSU around.

First, it will take a new administration. President Potter has said that changing his mind would be a sign of weakness. The next president a) must think things through thoroughly before making a decision, b) must be willing to admit when he’s/she’s made a bad decision and c) must be a collaborator.

The next administration needs to work cooperatively with the faculty rather than hiding important information from them. Whether enrollment is down or up, the next administration should get the information out on schedule. The next administration shouldn’t hide a negative enrollment report.

The next administration should speak clearly when the Faculty Association asks questions about serious issues. When the FA started inquiring about the transcript fiasco, the administration said they’d provide specific answers to specific questions. This administration hasn’t given the FA that report or those statistics.

The next administration should give the Wedum Foundation notice that they’re opting out of their contract after 5 years. Thus far, St. Cloud State has lost an average of $1,125,000 a year the first 2 years of the contract. That isn’t expected to improve anytime soon. The bleeding must stop ASAP. Ideally, that bleeding shouldn’t have gotten started.

In general, the financial management of the University must dramatically improve under the next administration. Hiring a California company to rebrand the University was foolish, especially considering the fact that SCSU has a marketing staff on the payroll.

What’s worse is the quality of the product SCSU is getting from this California marketing company. One of the SCSU billboards along I-94 has this simple slogan:

Think. Do.

That isn’t going to persuade students to attend St. Cloud State. It won’t convince those students’ parents to send their students to SCSU.

Whether you’re grading this administration on enrollment, the academic scandals or the financial mismanagement, they’d get an F.

The next administration can’t a) include anyone from the current administration or b) be a bureaucrat place holder. The University needs a reformer with a record of turning universities around. With enrollment and tuition revenues declining rapidly and academic scandals plaguing the University, this isn’t the time for someone to get on-the-job training.

Finally, the administration must be people of integrity. That’s the only way SCSU will solve its problems and right its wrongs.

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2 Responses to “The next administration”

  • James Rugg says:

    A complete outside audit of SCSU is needed. The first question that needs attention is the mission of the University. A new group including a majority of business and private community members not directly connected to the University must review University programs to determine their benefit to future societal growth and needs along with student interests.

  • Gary Gross says:

    Jim, I’m totally with you.

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