Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes
Thursday, September 20, 2001

World Trade Center
St. Paul, Minnesota

Trustees Present: Mary Choate, Chair, Will Antell, Nancy Brataas, Dennis Dotson, Ivan Dusek, Robert Erickson, Bob Hoffman, Jim A. Luoma, Michael Redlinger, Joann Splonskowski, Joseph Swanson, Michael Vekich

Trustees Absent: Andrew Boss, Daniel Coborn, Lew Moran



  1. Call to Order
    Chair Mary Choate called the meeting to order at 9:37 a.m. and reported that a quorum was present. There were no changes to the agenda.
  2. Chair's Report

    Chair Choate reported on some of the positive ways Minnesota State Colleges and Universities campuses have responded to the tragic attacks of September 11. An outpouring of relief aid for the victims was generated by the constructive ways MnSCU students, faculty and staff quickly channeled the shock and grief into constructive, comforting and educational activities. College and university leaders brought their campus communities together. Counselors offered to talk with students. Presidents issued comforting messages and led events. Interfaith services of hope and remembrance have been held. One example is a memorial and healing event that was held at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College.

    Many schools observed last Friday's national day of remembrance. At University Center Rochester, a "Walk in Memory and in Hope" was held for the campus and community. Southwest State University held a service around the flagpole and distributed window flags. Normandale Community College held a noon vigil that included a campus-wide signing of a remembrance banner for victims and families. Bemidji State University printed flags for window displays and gave them out during a parade and at the annual Shriners' Football Game. Hundreds gathered at Minnesota State University Moorhead's memorial union for a noon-hour reflection event with spiritual leaders representing diverse faiths, and profits from the annual DragonFest this year are going to the Red Cross. Hundreds also gathered at Northland Community and Technical College's main and airport campuses to honor those who lost their lives. St. Cloud State University and North Hennepin Community College gave special consideration and support to the international students and Islamic students.

    Red, white and blue ribbons and pins have become important symbols and fundraisers. For example, medical secretary students at Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical in Winona have been selling ribbons to raise money for the Red Cross Disaster Fund. Phi Theta Kappa members at Inver Hills Community College are making and selling ribbons for relief efforts. Anoka-Ramsey Community College's Phi Theta Kappa and Student Senate made and sold ribbons at the Mall of America and elsewhere, and they quickly raised more than $5,000 for widows of firefighters. The Central Lakes College Student Senate is giving $500 to a comparable community and technical college in New York State and $1,000 to the Red Cross. The Lake Superior College Art Club is organizing a silent auction, and the college's respiratory care students donated $500 to the Red Cross.

    Other campus fundraisers include a "Solidarity Lunch" that is planned for Friday by the College of Management at Metropolitan State University, with food donated by the Holy Land Bakery and freewill donations going to relief efforts. Everyone is invited to the lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Minneapolis campus. A ribbon campaign, reflection event and cookie sale to raise donations to the Red Cross were held at Riverland Community College in Albert Lea. Educational forums have been organized by many schools. They include Southwest State University, Century College, Itasca Community College, Hibbing Community College, Normandale Community College and Minneapolis Community and Technical College, to name a few.

    The Kessel Peace Institute at Minnesota State University, Mankato, sponsored a Peace Vigil last Tuesday and this week is hosting lunchtime discussions about questions related to the attack. For our students on the Akita campus, a campus meeting last Wednesday helped those far from home come together and support each other. The Akita campus has worked with local police to enhance security and has called students' parents to assure them that all is well. Several of our faculty experts on terrorism and national security issues, including Dr. Kathleen Sweet of St. Cloud State University, have been interviewed by newspaper, radio and television reporters. Today she is holding a symposium about biological threats. Chair Choate commented that we all can be so proud of the thoughtful, committed people at all of our colleges and universities.

    Chair Choate reported that since our last meeting, Chancellor McCormick and fellow Trustees have welcomed three new presidents: Dr. David Danahar to Southwest State University in July, Dr. Joseph Birmingham to Central Lakes College in August, and Dr. Jon Quistgaard to Bemidji State University, also in August.

    a. Approval of Minutes of Board of Trustees Meeting of July 18, 2001

    Trustee Brataas moved approval of the meeting minutes of July 18, 2001. Trustee Erickson seconded and the minutes were approved without dissent.

    b. Amendment to Board Policy 1A.2, Part 5. Standing Committees and Working Groups of the Board (First Reading)
    Chair Choate explained that the amendment to Board Policy 1A.2, Part 5, Standing Committees and Work Groups of the Board was discussed at the Executive Committee meeting on September 5. Chair Choate reviewed the proposed changes:

    • addition of two standing committees: Advancement and Technology, and
    • membership of the Executive Committee to be four members: chair, vice chair, treasurer, and past chair if that person continues to serve as a Trustee, or the current chair's designee.
    There was a lengthy discussion. Trustee Dotson commented that he liked the new structure of the direct reports to the Chancellor, and the addition of the Advancement and Technology Committees. He noted that the Technology Committee and the Futures Sub-committee have the same members. Trustee Dotson suggested that the Educational Policy, Finance/Facilities and Personnel Policy Committees be renamed to reflect the Chancellor's Leadership Council's committees of Academic and Student Affairs, Finance and Administration, Human Resources and Labor Relations. Chair Choate said that there had been a conversation about renaming Educational Policy Committee to Academic and Student Affairs Committee but it was decided to leave it as is because Educational Policy is a broad term.

    Trustee Dotson also expressed concern about the reduction in the number of members on the Executive Committee. Chair Choate commented that legal counsel had expressed caution about the smaller size of the committee. Trustee Dotson continued that he also had a concern about the ability of one person having control over the Board, namely that the Board Chair alone makes decisions about appointing committees and setting meeting agendas.

    Trustee Splonskowski expressed that she was concerned as well because the Sub-committee on Trustees was eliminated without any discussion. She questioned the rationale for eliminating the committee? Chair Choate commented that with the addition of the Advancement and Technology Committees, the work of the Sub-committee on Trustees, including the recommendation for a Board retreat/self-assessment, would be forwarded to the Executive Committee.

    Trustee Luoma explained that he felt that a smaller Executive Committee would have less power. Trustee Erickson commented that some limitation in the number of committees was necessary so that there would be fewer and more efficient meetings. With respect to the issue of the Chair appointing committees - the Chair serves for one year. In addition, the Board could override the Chair on any issue with a simple majority vote. Chair Choate asked General Counsel Gail Olson to explain the issues with having a smaller Executive Committee.

    Counsel Olson explained that the issue is the impact of the size of the Executive Committee on what constitutes a quorum of the Committee. The smaller the Committee the smaller the quorum. A four-member committee has a quorum of three and the likelihood of three people having ad hoc discussions and representing a quorum is greater.

    Trustee Dusek asked if adding two more members for a total of six would satisfy the quorum issues. The two additional members would be at-large appointments by the Chair. Trustee Vekich noted that the original discussion at the Executive Committee meeting related to the addition of two more standing committees, and that standing committee chairs are members of the Executive Committee which would make for a total of nine members of the Executive Committee. Trustee Vekich explained that the Executive Committee has no power. The only reason it exists is for emergency powers in lieu of a Board meeting, and traditionally it was set up to review the board meeting agenda. Trustee Vekich continued that the meeting agenda could be reviewed by the Chair and the Chancellor in consultation with the committee chairs. Perhaps there should not be an Executive Committee, as a true Executive Committee operates with the power of the Board in its absence.

    Trustee Erickson commented that it is more convenient to review the agenda during the Executive Committee. He supported the addition of two more Trustees to the Executive Committee for a total of six.

    Trustee Vekich commented that discussions at the Executive Committee meetings should be limited to the posted agenda items. Trustee Splonskowski commented that the Executive Committee's charge is to deal with matters in the absence of the Board, and that includes setting the monthly board meeting agenda.

    Chair Choate suggested that the Chair and Vice Chair could name two at-large members in addition to the chair, vice chair, treasurer, and former chair of the Board if that person continues to serve. Trustee Dotson observed that over the years the Executive Committee has discussed significantly more than the items listed on the meeting agenda, and that attendance at Executive Committee meetings is very high because of these discussions.

    Trustee Redlinger commented that he also believes that the Executive Committee meetings have gotten out of hand. It should not be necessary for 13 or 14 Trustees to attend the Executive Committee meetings in order to stay informed of issues. This is costly and does not send the right message to students and presidents. Trustee Luoma noted that the charge of the Executive Committee for emergency issues is appropriate. He said he was unsure whether there was a need to have regularly scheduled monthly Executive Committee meetings. The chairs of the committees work with the senior staff member to develop their committee's agenda. The Executive Committee usually approves the amount of time allotted for each committee meeting. He envisioned a more effective use of the Executive Committee by limiting its meetings to dealing with special or emergency issues. Trustee Brataas commented that she would be reluctant to not have regularly scheduled meetings of the Executive Committee. She continued that the discussions at the Executive Committee are meaningful and pertinent to the issues on the agenda.

    Responding to a question about whether meetings could be held via conference calls, Counsel Olson replied that telephone meetings of public bodies are not condoned under the Minnesota Open Meeting Law. The Board may have televised meetings but they are cumbersome to conduct. Trustee Splonskowski noted that there have been extensive discussions during the Executive Committee meetings and that if people are not present then they miss the discussion. One solution to this issue would be to make attendance mandatory at the Executive Committee meetings or limit the discussions to the published agenda items and have more substantive discussions at the other committee meetings.

    Trustee Antell recalled that he answered "yes" when the Trustee Candidate Advisory Committee asked him if he would be willing to "spend at least three days a month working for the people of Minnesota." Three days, one Executive Committee and two-day Board meetings, are not much to ask of a group of citizens who have committed themselves to serve as Trustees. Trustee Antell continued that he thought the work of the Sub-committee on Trustees, especially the orientation sessions, was important and that he hopes that the Executive Committee will not abandon the work. Trustee Antell suggested that the Board examine its management structure, including the committee structures.

    Trustee Brataas commented that she believes that the MnSCU Board has evolved since its inception from a "rubber stamp Board" to a Board where the Trustees have an expertise in their area and take the time to understand the issues.

    Trustee Vekich remarked that the philosophical discussion relates to whether or not the Executive Committee has authority and the consensus of the Board has been that the Executive Committee has no authority to act unless it uses its emergency power. He continued that this is a new time, new era, new leadership under a strong chancellor system. The Board needs to trust its officers and leadership in order to go forward. Trustee Vekich commented that the Board needs to have a philosophical discussion about the role of the Executive Committee.

    Trustee Vekich recommended that the Executive Committee meetings should be scheduled and then canceled if there is no reason to meet. Trustee Hoffman commented that he has no objection to the time and number of days and commitment spent in meetings, but rather to the effectiveness of the meetings. He continued that the Board does not need to "micro-manage" or "rubber-stamp" because it has a strong chancellor, with a strong team of presidents and staff, but it does need effective meetings. Trustee Redlinger noted that the visibility of the Board needs to decrease while the visibility of the Chancellor needs to increase, and the only way to do that is to change the culture.

    Vice Chair Luoma said that this item is a first reading; it is not time sensitive, so he recommended that the discussion be continued at the next meeting.

    c. Report of the Executive Committee Meeting of September 5, 2001
    Chair Choate reported that the Executive Committee met on September 5, 2001.

    d. Resolution for Dr. R. Glen Berryman
    Chair Choate read the resolution that was presented to Dr. Glen R. Berryman for his role as advisor to the Audit Committee. The resolution was presented to Dr. Berryman at the Board Professional Development event on September 19.

    WHEREAS, Dr. R. Glen Berryman has admirably served as an advisor to the MnSCU Audit Committee from February 1997 to June 2001; and
    WHEREAS, Dr. Berryman contributed to the development of the charter of the MnSCU Office of Internal Auditing; and
    WHEREAS, Dr. Berryman assisted in the establishment of the MnSCU Board's plan for audited financial statements; and
    WHEREAS, Dr. Berryman attended Board meetings regularly and contributed to spirited conversations; and
    WHEREAS, Dr. Berryman provided support and guidance for the staff of the MnSCU Office of Internal Auditing;
    NOW, THEREFORE, I, Mary Choate Chair of the MnSCU Board of Trustees, do hereby express, on behalf of the Board of Trustees, gratitude and appreciation to Dr. R. Glen Berryman.

  3. Trustee Reports
    Trustee Splonskowski and Northwest Technical College President Ron Swanson reported that Northwest Technical College participated in a strategic planning forum on Academic Quality Improvement Process.

    Trustee Redlinger thanked public affairs and the Office of the Chancellor staff for MnSCU's excellent booth at the Minnesota State Fair.

    On behalf of the Northwest Technical College Student Senate, Trustee Splonskowski presented NTC calculators to each Trustee. The calculators were given in hopes that the Trustees will keep students in mind when they calculate the allocation model or tuition increases.
  4. Chancellor's Comments: James McCormick.
    President Kathleen Nelson, Lake Superior College, joined Chancellor James McCormick at the table.

    Chancellor McCormick acknowledged the Board's earlier discussion about its organization and other operations. He continued that he was proud of the Board and respectful of the ways they are discussing these issues. He assured the Board that as they work out how they want to function, that he and his staff will adapt and remain committed to the Board, who are the people appointed by the Governor to represent the public's interest.

    Chancellor McCormick announced that his first quarterly report will be presented at the October Board meeting. The Citizens Advisory Commission has been launched with the help of the Board of Trustees who had a major role in selecting the members. In addition to the six meetings of the Citizens Advisory Commission, public forums also have been scheduled. Chair Choate and several other Trustees have been very active in campus visits and he invited other Trustees to accompany him on future visits.

    Chancellor McCormick reported that the leadership council consists of the presidents and senior staff, and he provided an overview of the committees that have been modeled after the Board's committees. He announced the chairs and CO-chairs of each committee, and a committee roster was distributed.

    Executive Committee
    James McCormick, CO-Chair
    Kathleen Nelson, CO-Chair
    Wilson Bradshaw, Vice Chair
    Thomas Horak, Past Chair
    Academic and Student Affairs Committee
    Kenneth Peeders, CO-Chair
    Linda Baer, CO-Chair
    Cheryl Frank, Vice-Chair
    Advancement Committee
    Roland Barden, CO-Chair
    John Ostrem, CO-Chair
    Linda Kohl, CO-chairs
    Roy Saigo, Vice Chair
    Finance and Administration Committee
    Ronald Wood, CO-Chair
    Darrell Krueger, Vice Chair
    Human Resource/Labor Relations
    Colleen Thompson, CO-Chair
    Bill Tschida, CO-Chair
    James Johnson, Vice Chair
    Technology Committee
    Robert Musgrove, CO-Chair
    Kenneth Niemi, CO-Chair
    Thomas Horak, Vice Chair

    The advisors to the Board of Trustees Audit Committee are President Nelson and Chancellor McCormick. Chancellor McCormick acknowledged the importance of the work of Dolores Fridge, Associate Vice Chancellor for Equal Opportunity and Diversity. Chancellor McCormick thanked the presidents for their support and praised them as a group of dedicated leaders.

    President Nelson commented that she has been very pleased to be a president for the past four years, and was a part of one of the former systems for 17 years before that. She contrasted the Board's earlier discussion about its structure to similar discussions that have occurred among the presidents over the past four years. Two years ago, under former Minnesota State University, Mankato President Richard Rush's leadership, the presidents began meeting as a group since the merger. President Horak's leadership, a year ago, restructured the presidents' meetings into committees that were structured to resemble and support the Board's committees. President Nelson continued that with Chancellor McCormick's leadership, the process has been formalized and has grown. The leadership council will be able to help and advise the Trustees.

    Chancellor McCormick reported that he attended the Governor's Work Force Development Council meeting earlier today. He was invited by Roger Hale, the chair of the Council. Chancellor McCormick also has visited with Rebecca Yanische, Commissioner of the Department of Trade and Economic Development, Commissioner Earl Wilson, Department of Economic Security, and Michael O'Keefe, Commissioner of the Department of Human Services. MnSCU has been asked to join efforts with these groups to promote work force development.

    Chancellor McCormick reported that head count enrollment is up four percent for fall enrollment and full time enrollment is up six percent compared to the fall of 2000. A detailed enrollment report will be available in the near future.

    Chancellor McCormick reported that to date he has visited with 118 legislators. The meetings have been positive and many legislators have said that they look forward to having the Board develop a strategic plan with a vision for the focus of this organization. The legislators have said they want affordable and high quality education, and that MnSCU must solve the transfer problem. In order to accomplish these goals, MnSCU's presidents and faculty need to agree and support each other. MnSCU has over 500,000 alumni and 200,000 students and their families that could be rallied for support.
  5. Joint Council of Student Associations
    The following representatives of student associations addressed the Board of Trustees: Brent Glass, Executive Director, Minnesota State College Student Association (MSCSA), and Frank Viggiano, Executive Director, Minnesota State University Student Association (MSUSA).
  6. MnSCU Bargaining Units
    The following representatives of MnSCU bargaining units addressed the Board of Trustees: Jim Pehler, President, Inter Faculty Organization.
  7. Consent Agenda
    Trustee Erickson requested that consent agenda item a, Revenue Fund Master Resolution be removed from the consent agenda, and placed under the report of the Finance/Facilities Policy Committee for action.

    Trustee Antell requested that he wanted to note for the record that he is very much in support of consent agenda items d and e, program approvals for certificates in American Indian Studies at Itasca Community College and Indigenous Studies at Rainy River Community College.

    a. Revenue Fund Master Resolution (Second Reading) (Note: this item was moved to the report of the Finance/Facilities Policy Committee for action).
    b. Program Approval: BAS, Wilderness Management and Outdoor Recreation Planning; Bemidji State University
    c. Program Approval: BAS, Fire Service Administration; Southwest State University
    d. Program Approval: Certificate, American Indian Studies; Itasca Community College
    e. Program Approval: Certificate, Indigenous Studies; Rainy River Community College
    f. Program Approval: Certificate, Plastic Injection Molding Operator; and Certificate, Plastic Rotational Molding Operator; Ridgewater College, Hutchinson
    g. Program Closure: Minnesota State University, Mankato
    h. Repeal of Carry Forward State University Policy 7.16, Consulting Faculty Policy (Second Reading)
    i. Repeal of Carry Forward Community College Policy V1.04.03, Administration of External Tests (Second Reading)

    Trustee Erickson moved approval of Consent Agenda items b through i. Trustee Redlinger seconded and the Consent Agenda was approved without dissent.

  8. Board Standing Committee Reports

    a. Finance/Facilities Policy Committee, Robert Erickson, Chair
    FACILITIES: Lew Moran, Vice Chair

    1. Revenue Fund Master Resolution (Second Reading)
      Committee Chair Erickson moved that the Board of Trustees approved the Revenue Fund Master Resolution. Trustee Vekich seconded and the motion carried without dissent.
    2. Revenue Fund Reinvestment Program Recommendations Including Revenue Fund Bond Sale Resolution (First Reading)
      Committee Chair Erickson reported that the committee reviewed a first reading of the Revenue Fund Reinvestment Program Recommendations Including Revenue Fund Bond Sale Resolution. This will be an action item at the October Board meeting.
    3. Minnesota State University Moorhead Student Housing Plan (First Reading)
      Committee Chair Erickson reported that the committee reviewed a first reading of the Minnesota State University Moorhead Student Housing Plan. This will be an action item at the October Board meeting.
    4. St. Cloud State University Projects Update
      Committee Chair Erickson reported that the committee heard an update on St. Cloud State University projects.
    5. Capital Improvement Projects Quarterly Status Report
      Committee Chair Erickson reported that the committee reviewed the Capital Improvement Projects Quarterly Status Report.
    6. Century College Campus Master Plan
      Committee Chair Erickson reported the committee reviewed the Century College Campus Master Plan.
    7. Minnesota State College - Southeast Technical Campus Master Plan
      Committee Chair Erickson reported that the committee reviewed the Minnesota State College - Southeast Technical Campus Master Plan.

      FINANCE: Daniel Coborn, Vice Chair

    8. Finance/Facilities Policy Committee Goals and Objectives FY 2002 Work Plan (First Reading)
      Committee Chair Erickson reported that the committee reviewed its work plan for FY 2002. This will be an action item at the October Board meeting.

    b. Educational Policy Committee,
    Robert Hoffman, Chair
    1. Academic and Student Affairs Update
      Linda Baer, Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, reported on the Citizens Advisory Commission, exploring the two-year mission and the progress of the task force, visits with Minnesota's federal legislators, and e-learning presentations.
    2. Program Suspensions: Hibbing Community College; Minnesota State University, Mankato; Northwest Technical College; and Rochester Community and Technical College
      Committee Chair Hoffman reported that the committee received notice of program suspensions at Hibbing Community College, Minnesota State University, Mankato, Northwest Technical College and Rochester Community and Technical College.
    3. Program Reinstatement: Lake Superior College College
      Committee Chair Hoffman reported that the committee received notice of a program reinstatement at Lake Superior College.
    4. Minneapolis Community and Technical College Promotional Video
      Committee Chair Hoffman reported that this item was postponed.
    5. E-Learning Grant Presentations: Northwest Technical College "Communications Industry Asynchronous Learning Network" and Bemidji State University "Distributed Learning in Teacher Education"
      Committee Chair Hoffman reported that the committee viewed a presentation on E-learning from faculty from Northwest Technical College and Bemidji State University.

    c. Personnel Policy Committee , Nancy Brataas, Chair
    Chair Committee Chair Brataas reported that Bill Tschida, Vice Chancellor for Human Resources, reported on the number of employees in the Office of the Chancellor. Periodic updates will be presented to the Board of Trustees.

    1. Policy Review Work Plan
      Committee Chair Brataas reported that the committee reviewed the Policy Review Work Plan.
    2. Report on Closed Session: Strike Plan
      Committee Chair Brataas reported that the committee met in closed session to hear an update on the potential strike by members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE).
  9. Requests by Individuals to Address the Board
    There were no requests by individuals to address the Board.
  10. Other Business
    As a follow-up to the discussion that occurred earlier under the Chair's Report, Trustee Antell commented that he believes that the current structure of the Board of Trustees prohibits understanding and respectful communications. He would like to see a Board that is respectful and can work together. He asked the Board to take a careful look at the total operations of the Board by having the Chair name a sub-committee or an ad hoc committee to look at these issues. He suggested a full-day meeting, perhaps the date of an Executive Committee meeting, be set aside to discuss these matter. He continued that the Chancellor has laid out his work plan and organized his leadership team, and that it is now up to the Board of Trustees to structure their work.
  11. Adjournment
    Chair Choate adjourned the meeting by consensus at 12:25 p.m.

Recorded by Penny Harris Reynen