As we are looking at the four candidates that are up to be the next President of our University, we must ask what we are looking for from the leader of our University for the foreseeable future.
With President Davenport leaving us after nineteen years of faithful service as President of MNSU, it is crucial for us to be critical of his successor, as it is potential and likely that they will be the head of our campus for just as long.
Three focuses that we need to see from our incoming president are; maintaining our affordability, strong support of student activities, and increasing experiential learning on campus.
One huge draw for students to come to our campus is our affordability. Our tuition is the lowest in the Minnesota State system, tied only with Saint Cloud State. We need to understand that for our incoming freshmen the price point is a massive reason that people choose to attend our University.
This price tag is another reason that, even in the year of pandemic, our enrollment has actually increased. We need our new president to strive to keep our tuition costs down, as the students at our University very clearly value the low cost and affordability of our institution.
When it comes to campus life, we need a new president who is willing and active in student activities. The way we keep our campus a vibrant and rich community is by giving the people on campus and off plenty of opportunity to be a part of it.
Whether it is by joining an RSO, working on campus, or just attending an event put on by the Student Events Team, we need our new president to prioritize these activities.
These sorts of activities are proven to keep student retention, as when people feel like they are a part of the community they are less likely to leave and more likely to work hard and finish with a degree at MNSU.
Another aspect of our campus that has been growing in recent years is experiential learning. The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is a prime example of this, with students that take classes there learning from hands-on experiences.
Another great program in the Business Department is the Integrated Business Experience. In this program, students create a business plan, pitch for a loan, and execute their own business from start to finish. This program gives business students real world experiences that are an excellent resume builder.
Classroom learning at the college level is becoming more and more difficult in these COVID times, and it is imperative that we look to find new and creative ways for our students to learn for their majors.
As the University’s motto clearly states, “Big Ideas, Real World Thinking”. We need the new president to keep a focus on the “real world thinking” aspect, by encouraging engaging experiential learning experiences for our students.
On top of all of these, we need a new president that will look at our University with their own new ideas, while also understanding our current culture. The new president must be able to assimilate and then accelerate our University.