MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The choices for the next chancellor of the sprawling Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system was narrowed to two on Monday by the system’s board of trustees.

On a unanimous vote, the trustees selected Steven Rosenstone, vice president for scholarly and cultural affairs at the University of Minnesota; and William Sederburg, Utah commissioner of higher education.

“For the final choice, the trustees all along had hoped we would have multiple candidates to interview,” said Scott Thiss, chair of the board of trustees.

He said both finalists were qualified to meet the challenges facing the system, including declining state support, rising tuition and rapid growth fueled by workers displaced by the recession seeking new skills.

“Both have a high degree of community and legislative knowledge and experience,” he said. “Both are highly committed to our mission of access and success.”

He said that, personally, he would use a last round interviews with the finalists over the next two days to get a better sense of where the candidates wanted to lead the system. The board is set to pick its next chancellor on Wednesday afternoon.

“It is going to take a candidate with great vision,” he said.

Rosenstone, who is also a professor of political science at the University of Minnesota, came to the university in 1996 to serve as dean of the College of Liberal Arts.

Rosenstone led several university initiatives, including a national conference on Keeping our Faculties of Color and other efforts on private fundraising, scholarships, and long-term financial planning, according to biographical information from MnSCU. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment left at his office.

Sederburg, who is also the chief executive officer of Utah’s board of regents, has been in his current job since 2008. He has been president of Utah Valley University and Ferris State University in Michigan and is a former member the Michigan state senate.

The chancellor’s job would be a homecoming for him. Sederburg grew up in Minnesota and has a bachelor’s degree from Minnesota State University, Mankato. “Not only is Minnesota is my home state, but I also graduated from a system institution. Also, my father was an employee of the Minnesota system,” he said in a new release.

Sederburg was not available for comment Monday because he was traveling, said Holly Braithwaite, a spokeswoman for the Utah System of Higher Education.

The new chancellor will replace James McCormick, who is retiring this summer after 10 years on the job. He was paid a base salary of $360,000 while qualifying for up to $50,000 in annual performance bonuses.

Thiss said the board had not reached any compensation agreements with the finalist and he would not speculate on whether the system should expect to pay more for its next chancellor. “We have no expectations at this time,” he said.

The MnSCU system includes 32 state universities and community and technical colleges. The system serves about 277,000 students per year in credit-based courses.

In November, the University of Minnesota regents named a lone finalist for the presidents’ job and shortly afterward hired him. Eric Kaler, 54, provost of Stony Brook University in New York, takes over July 1. Current President Robert Bruininks is stepping down to rejoin the faculty.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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