Scott Olson recommended as interim vice chancellor for academic and student affairs at MnSCU

Posted: June 3, 2010

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

Senior Vice Chancellor Linda Baer to join Gates Foundation staff

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Chancellor James H. McCormick said today he will recommend Scott R. Olson, provost and vice president for academic and student affairs at Minnesota State University, Mankato, to be the interim vice chancellor for academic and student affairs.

Olson will replace Linda Baer, who is resigning to become a senior officer with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation working with its Post-Secondary Success Initiative.

“Scott Olson brings a wealth of administrative and academic experience to this demanding job,” McCormick said. “Given the pressing challenge we have to produce more graduates, I am confident that we will continue to make progress on that front under Dr. Olson’s leadership.”

Olson has held his current position and been a professor of communication studies at Minnesota State, Mankato, since 2003. Previously, he was dean of the College of Communication, Information and Media at Ball State University in Indiana; assistant and associate dean of arts and sciences at Central Connecticut State University; and an adjunct instructor at Northwestern University in Illinois. He holds a bachelor’s degree in intellectual history and a master’s degree and a doctorate in radio, television and film, all from Northwestern University. Olson’s appointment will begin in July. The board is expected to act on the chancellor’s recommendation at its June 16 meeting.

Baer has been the system’s senior vice chancellor for academic and student affairs since 1997. In her new position, Baer will work with colleges and universities across the nation to develop best practices and policies for improving completion rates in postsecondary education.

“We are grateful for Linda Baer's many and significant contributions to the entire Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system,” McCormick said. “Dr. Baer's leadership has been an important, critical factor in the progress we have made, particularly in strategic planning, visioning and innovations.”