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New MnSCU Chancellor Talks Declining Budgets

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(credit: CBS) Edgar Linares
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WCCO’s Dave Lee Interviews Dr. Steven Rosenstone

By Edgar Linares, NewsRadio 830 WCCO

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The next leader of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities will be Dr. Steven Rosenstone, who has served as vice president of scholarly and cultural affairs at the University of Minnesota.

Rosenstone was one of two finalists named earlier this week. The other was William Sederberg, 63, Utah commissioner of higher education.

Trustees made their selection on Wednesday with a 14-1 vote. Rosenstone will replace James McCormick, who is retiring this summer after 10 years.

Trustee Michael Vekich said McCromick was leaving the system in good shape. Now, he said, it was time to hire a “transformative” leader to make it better.

“This really is the season for risk,” he said.

Rosenstone will oversee seven state universities and 25 technical and community colleges. He’ll be in charge of more than 400,000 students.

“The transition began yesterday afternoon, but won’t be complete until August when Chancellor McCormick completes his term of service,” said Rosenstone. “The opportunity to take the work I’ve done at the University, to dramatically improve the quality of education we’re providing our students, and to make sure that opportunity is available to every single student in every community is a wonderful opportunity and I’m looking forward to it.”

Rosenstone talked about the importance of MnSCU in our state.

“It plays an absolutely crucial and unique role in our state. It trains Minnesota’s workforce,” said Rosenstone. “It’s essential to Minnesota’s economic vitality.”

In a statement, University of Minnesota president Robert Bruininks said, “It is a great honor for our institution to have key members of our executive team pursued by our peers — and in this case, our sister system of higher education here in Minnesota. Dr. Rosenstone is an outstanding administrator and scholar who, for more than a decade, led the University’s largest and most diverse college, the College of Liberal Arts.”

A key concern for Rosenstone is declining school budgets.

“The cuts to higher education have been absolutely astounding and dramatic. In just nominal dollars per student, the level of funding at MnSCU is about 20 percent lower than a decade ago,” he said. “And if you take into account the cost of living differences over that ten year period, there’s a 40 percent less investment by the state of Minnesota per student in MnSCU than there was a decade ago.”

Rosenstone moved his family to Minnesota in 1996 and is happy to know he won’t need to relocate with his new job.

“The magic moment of a new chancellor, a new president, we have a new governor, basically a new legislature, really provided an opportunity for us to think in some new and creative ways,” said Rosenstone.

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