Open forums set for next week to help assess higher education needs in southwest Minnesota

Posted: March 25, 2011

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

Two public forums are set for next week at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall and the Worthington campus of Minnesota West Community and Technical College as part of a study to assess higher education needs in southwest Minnesota.

The public forums will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday in Room 249 of the Student Center on the Southwest Minnesota State University campus and from 5 to 6 p.m. April 5 in the Commons of the Worthington campus at Minnesota West Community and Technical College.

Members of the public who are unable to attend an open forum and who would like to submit written comments on the higher education needs of the area can send them to Todd Harmening, system director for planning, at or by mail to 30 7th St. E, Suite 350, St. Paul, MN, 55101.

The study has been prompted by the announcement of Southwest Minnesota State University President David Danahar to retire June 30; the changing demographics, economics and other market conditions in the region; and the need for improved alignment between institutions in the region.

The study will identify the key higher education programs and services needed by the region now and in the future. It will explore administrative and organizational structures, including the current institutional configuration, and other approaches that could include consolidation, administrative alignment or other programmatic and financial opportunities to enhance or sustain programs and services in the region.

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system has engaged MGT of America to conduct the study and make recommendations to the system chancellor.

The consultants also plan to hold separate meetings during the next few weeks with industry and community representatives in the region and faculty, staff and administration at the two institutions. The consultants will visit all five campuses of Minnesota West Community and Technical College.

Results of the study are expected to be announced in the spring or summer of 2011. And the chancellor is expected to present a recommendation for an interim president at Southwest Minnesota State University to the Board of Trustees in May.

Minnesota West Community and Technical College has campuses in Jackson, Worthington, Pipestone, Canby and Granite Falls.

Minnesota's 31 state community and technical colleges, and universities serve more than 430,000 students across the state.