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Students crossed the Crookston campus mall.
Technology and collaboration to advance Crookston campus vision
Brief, Oct. 18, 2006
Online degree programs, international partnerships, innovation and leadership development could define the next stage in the evolution of the University of Minnesota, Crookston (UMC).
University President Robert Bruininks indicated that building on its already strong technology-driven focus and existing collaborations will serve UMC, the region and the University well, adding that Crookston leads the University of Minnesota in delivering online degrees.
"Crookston is an important center of leadership, innovation and teaching--providing University of Minnesota degrees in this area of the state," Bruininks said. "This is a place where the University has very important resources that connect to our research, education and outreach mission."
Supporting and sustaining a UMC vision that is relevant, dynamic and more competitive will create a stronger campus and stronger U of M around the state, Bruininks said during a forum Oct. 11 in Crookston on UMC's role in transforming the University into one of the top three public research universities in the world within a decade.
Bruininks and other University leaders were at UMC Oct. 11-13 for the transforming the U forum, dedication of the new apartment-style Centennial Hall and Board of Regents meetings.
By all accounts, many positive things are happening at UMC to position the campus for the future, whether serving as an educational pacesetter, research leader or a collaborator for development in northwestern Minnesota.
- Total enrollment (including non-degree students) at UMC is up 13.1 percent in 2006 to 2,414 students--up from 2,134 in 2005. This includes a 21 percent increase in freshmen and transfer student enrollment and a 25.9 increase in non-degree students, which includes students from Korea in an English as a Second Language (ESL) program and high school students from northwestern Minnesota who take college courses through UMC. International enrollment has almost doubled in the last year at UMC and now stands at 56 students--up from 30 in 2005. Increasing enrollment benefits both the University of Minnesota and the Crookston business community, noted UMC Chancellor Charles Casey.
- UMC recently received a continued 10-year accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, a strong vote of confidence for the many academic programs offered on campus.
- The Crookston campus is a leader in the University of Minnesota system in offering online courses. Its bachelor of applied health, bachelor of business management, bachelor of manufacturing management and a psychology program offered jointly with the University of Minnesota, Duluth, are available online. And UMC is developing capacity for delivering more degrees via the Web.
- A new apartment-style residence hall opened fall semester and was dedicated Oct. 12. Centennial Hall is a 21-unit facility Bruininks called "the nicest building of its kind I've seen on a college campus." Speaking of Centennial Hall's many amenities, Bruininks said research shows that "if you pay attention to these issues, students are more successful."
"Good things are happening on the Crookston campus and we're pleased with the progress that is occurring on a number of fronts," said Robert Jones, the University's senior vice president for system administration.
As a collaborator, UMC can use its expertise in areas like technology, agriculture and business management to better serve the region and position the campus well to continue attracting a growing international population and the eye of developing countries:
- UMC has a long history of working with local farmers to solve problems and improve yields.
- The University's Northwest Research and Outreach Center is adjacent to UMC, providing students and faculty members with access to world-class agricultural research.
- The University's Extension Service is also on campus, and UMC has a strong collaborative relationship with Extension and its agricultural, health, nutrition and youth outreach programs.
- UMC has deep expertise in using technology to deliver information. UMC is the original "laptop University"--all students are provided laptops, and a lot of student information is accessible through the Web.
"When I travel around the world the first question I get asked is how do you connect education and research with people in the community," said Bruininks.
A final report on UMC's strategic positioning efforts is to be completed by mid-November.
"By working together--students, faculty, staff and community--we are creating a new vision for the University of Minnesota, Crookston," Casey said. "This journey will lead to a more competitive and culturally transformed campus known for its exceptional undergraduate experience and for the unparalleled value it creates for the region."
FURTHER READING Envisioning something big: Q&A with Chancellor Casey (March 1, 2005) Crookston continues online leadership (Oct. 26, 2006)