University Center Rochester names Heltsley as leader

Kristin Gustafson

A new provost will head the University of Minnesota Rochester Center as of Monday.
In this position, Mary Heltsley, University associate vice president of outreach, will take the helm of the University Center Rochester.
UCR is comprised of three separate institutions: Rochester Community and Technical College, University of Minnesota Rochester Center and Winona State University Rochester Center.
“One of my big goals will be to put together an infrastructure that will be easier for students to access, know what we are doing and make it a friendlier environment to access the U of M,” Heltsley said.
Michael O’Keefe, chairman of the regent committee that voted on Heltsley’s new position, said he was impressed by Heltsley’s leadership.
He described Rochester as “a complicated challenge.” Heltsley will have to reach out to the Rochester community and work with the Minnesota State Colleges Universities system, O’Keefe said.
This spring, the Legislature asked the University to lead a joint effort between the University and MnSCU to meet the growing technical and professional needs of the Rochester community.
While the University’s role is one of leadership and decision-making, MnSCU will play a major role in delivery of the academic programs.
The University’s primary focus in Rochester is upper-division undergraduate and post-baccalaureate programs, while MnSCU will work more with liberal-arts baccalaureate-degree programs and two-year programs.
The University wants to meet the needs of the Rochester technological, business and medical communities. Rochester is one of the state’s strongest economies, O’Keefe said.
Dallas Bohnsack, a regent who joined the committee in March, is concerned that Heltsley’s promotion adds too much to her responsibilities. Heltsley will keep her associate vice president of outreach position.
“She’s a very busy woman,” he said.
Bohnsack also said he was concerned with class duplication.
But he was pleased with Thursday’s discussion, which he said addressed many of his concerns. Heltsley has picked a good staff, he said.
“The city of Rochester is ready for a four-year university of this type,” Bohnsack said. “I’m going to monitor this thing until we see it to fruition.”

Kristin Gustafson covers University administration and welcomes comments at [email protected] She can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3211.