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Faculty group blasts strategic plan in works at MnSCU

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A faculty group is lambasting a plan the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system (MnSCU) is developing in hopes of improving coordination among its 54 campuses.

The Star Tribune reports the Inter Faculty Organization says the plan called Charting the Future would take decision making off campus and centralize it among bureaucrats in what the union called a Soviet-style management structure. A MnSCU administrator disagrees, saying the recommendations do not call for more centralization.

The recommendations that make up Charting the Future are scheduled to be presented to MnSCU's board of trustees in November and a public comment period is underway.

The Winona Daily News reported on a recent public hearing at which Winona State President Scott Olson heard from faculty and students concerned that the plan will lead to consolidation of programs that give each campus its own identity. The newspaper reports Olson worked to mollify the concerns, saying "It’s about coordination, not centralization.”

The president of the Winona State University faculty association, Darrell Downs, also outlined his criticisms of the plan in a separate opinion piece for the Daily News.

Chancellor Steven Rosenstone started the Charting the Future process last November by naming three workgroups to develop the plan. They were asked how to ensure access to extraordinary education, workforce needs, and cost-effective education. Their draft recommendations were released in June. A MnSCU web page has more on the process and the draft report.

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