Mark Sommerhauser’s article does a fantastic job of illustrating the fact that the MnSCU Board of Trustees has lost touch with reality:

“This has been a highly successful year for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities under the Chancellor’s leadership,” outgoing MnSCU board chairman Clarence Hightower said in a public summary of Rosenstone’s evaluation.

Thank goodness Chairman Hightower’s term is almost history. It’s been a terrible year for MnSCU. The entire HR Department at Metropolitan resigned on the same day rather than getting fired for totally screwing up the payroll for several years. That isn’t outstanding. That’s frightful.

It’s been a terrible year at Mankato, too. President Davenport fired head football coach Hoffner in 2013. This May, the Bureau of Mediation Services, aka BMS, ruled that Davenport wrongfully fired Hoffner. Then they ordered Hoffner be re-instated and that he be paid for the year he didn’t coach.

The presidents at Metropolitan and Moorhead are ‘retiring’ effective June 30. If they hadn’t accepted retirement, they would’ve been terminated.

Unfortunately for Minnesota’s taxpayers, Chairman Hightower’s replacement appears to be just as out of touch:

Trustee Thomas Renier, who on Thursday was elected the new MnSCU board chairman, was part of the committee that evaluated Rosenstone. In the public summary of the evaluation, Renier said Rosenstone excelled at focusing on the key question of what’s best for MnSCU students.

Renier also commended Rosenstone’s handling of a new strategic plan for MnSCU, “Charting the Future,” which calls for the system’s colleges and universities to work more collaboratively.

“We are extraordinarily enthusiastic about the new and powerful ways in which our colleges and universities have begun to work together under Chancellor Rosenstone’s leadership,” Renier said.

The IFO criticized Charting the Future in their Bill of Particulars:

It is time to re-focus on the present realities of our state university campuses instead of turning out a stream of planning documents that purport to chart the future.

The incompetence that’s been verified at MnSCU’s universities is breathtaking and disappointing. It’s imperative that universities consistently get the basics right. If they can’t get the basics right, there’s no justification to think they’ll get the vision thing right.

Further, I’d argue that “the system’s colleges and universities” should’ve been working collaboratively without Chancellor Rosenston’s document. I’d argue that doing one’s job isn’t justification for gushing about the job Chancellor Rosenstone is doing.

If that’s justification for gushing praise, then we’ve set the bar far too low to be useful.

Here’s the review:
Summary of Rosenstone evaluation

This stands out:

This has indeed been another highly successful year for our students, for our faculty and staff, and the communities we serve.

That’s stunning. St. Cloud State just announced that they’ll have to cut their operating budget by $3,600,000. That’s due in large part to their declining enrollment and the glut of empty dorm rooms. According to SCSU’s own budget documents, they’ll be over 1,000 students short of full capacity. In fact, they’re mothballing one dormitory entirely.

What part of that information says that MnSCU universities are a positive in the communities they serve? I’d love to see Chairman Hightower and incoming Chairman Renier visit with property owners just west of the St. Cloud State campus. If they visited that area, they couldn’t honestly that SCSU is a positive influence on St. Cloud.

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