Compact unites two systems of education

Sarah McKenzie

One word reverberated through a higher education press conference Thursday: streamline.
University President Mark Yudof and Morris Anderson, chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, stressed the word a number of times while unveiling the Minnesota Public Higher Education Compact. It signals an effort at greater efficiency between both systems.
“This is the go-ahead signal to our deans, chancellors and faculty,” Yudof said.
The partnership will eliminate resource duplication and allow students to obtain academic degrees in all reaches of the state, Yudof said. Simplified transfer policies, joint programs in agriculture, technology and health care and shared library resources top the list of collaborations in the compact.
The two systems will also share computer software as part of the agreement. This includes IBM software the computer manufacturer is developing for the University.
Anderson said the compact affirms shared ventures already in place, and noted this signed document will serve as a public record.
“Today we are creating a formal partnership that fosters and expands both the opportunity for innovation and cooperation between the two systems,” Anderson said.
Yudof and Anderson emphasized that each system’s mission will remain intact. But they said the cooperation compact aims to make higher education meet the needs of more Minnesotans.
“We share one common mission,” Anderson said. “And that is a teaching mission and an education mission.”
Yudof reminded onlookers at the Capitol that formal ratification of the compact is needed.
But William E. Hogan II, Board of Regents chairman, and Michael Vekich, MnSCU Board of Trustees chairman, immediately voiced their support.
“I don’t see any problem with passing it,” Hogan said. “We’ve been discussing it for a while. It’s an idea whose time has come.”
Vekich called the compact “a historical moment between the organizations.”
The signed agreement will go before MnSCU’s board next week; the University’s regents expect to approve the compact in February.
— Staff Reporter Nancy Ngo contributed to this report.