Regents to approve state school system improvement plan

Mike Zacharias

Students jumping from college to college within Minnesota’s higher education system might enjoy a smoother transition in the future.

Higher education and K-12 administrators will form a task force at the behest of the state Legislature to improve state school systems.

These are provisions in a report presented to the University’s Educational Planning and Policy Committee on Thursday, outlining school systems’ plans to increase education standards and facilitate the transfer experience.

“We want to have a great educational offer in the Twin Cities area as a combination of the efforts of the University of Minnesota and (Minnesota State Colleges and Universities),” said Regent William Hogan, committee chairman.

Collaboration between the higher education institutions could allow University students to apply coursework toward a degree from MnSCU, or vice versa. Students could also complete University graduate and professional programs while in residence at MnSCU institutions.

The pre-K-12 task force would include higher education and pre-K-12 officials, as well as citizens and members of community organizations. The group will explore possible improvement areas such as high school graduation rates, students’ readiness for college and efficiency of education resources.

Robert Bruininks, executive vice president and provost of the University, said the University and MnSCU chose to work with K-12 schools in the metro area to improve the preparedness of students for postsecondary education.

The University has a history of working with area schools, he said, and is currently involved with literacy, science and math programs.

The legislation did not mandate the higher education systems work with K-12, Bruininks said.

The postsecondary planning report is in response to the state Legislature’s request of higher education organizations to identify “statewide efforts at integration and cooperation between the post-secondary systems.”

Guidelines for the speedy transfer of credits as well as sharing resources are results of the partnership between the schools.

Although the higher education systems worked together in the past, University regents and MnSCU’s Board of Trustees are now meeting together to try to work as one group, Hogan said.

Bruininks said the relationship between the school systems will continue to evolve.

The entire Board of Regents is slated to approve the plan Friday before legislators can review it.

Mike Zacharias welcomes comments at [email protected]