Faculty and MnSCU settle feud over plan to reform system

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After more than a year of squabbling, a plan to revamp Minnesota's State Colleges and Universities System suddenly has the support of faculty members as well as the system's chancellor.

The plan known as Charting the Future has been so divisive that faculty and students on some campuses held no-confidence votes on the leadership of Chancellor Steven Rosenstone last fall.

But peace prevailed on Tuesday, as MnSCU's administration and trustees lined up with two faculty unions to endorse a version of the plan that apparently soothes concerns about whether faculty and students will have enough input.

As the Pioneer Press notes, the agreement came less than two months after Gov. Mark Dayton threatened to cut funding for MnSCU unless its main players could get on the same page about where they were headed.

What was the dispute about?

Rosenstone and other supporters of Charting the Future say tighter collaboration among MnSCU's 31 institutions can help the state-funded schools and their students save money.

Faculty worried that centralized planning would leave the campuses with little autonomy. A coordinator with the Inter Faculty Organization tells MPR News decentralization "...is what we have sought for 17 months."

Another concern involved Charting the Future's emphasis on meeting the employment needs of Minnesota businesses. Some faculty feared liberal arts education would be shunted aside or, as the Associated Press puts it, that MnSCU campuses would become "homogenized degree factories for Minnesota industry."

Here's the agreement the faculty groups (the Inter Faculty Organization and the Minnesota State College Faculty) reached with MnSCU administrators last week and announced Tuesday.

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