U of Mn Recruitment Woes & other campus issues

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The chancellors of the University’s Morris and Crookston campuses gave strategic positioning updates to the Board of Regents on Thursday at the board’s monthly meeting.

Both said their campuses are facing similar recruitment and enrollment problems.

Charles Casey, chancellor of Crookston, who was appointed last week, said his school has to compete for students with similar schools in Minnesota and North Dakota.

“We have to find some way to get our message out across a state surrounded by many two-year and four-year institutions,” Casey said.

The smaller size of the school also presents challenges because it isn’t able to offer many programs, causing students to transfer elsewhere if they don’t find the major they want, Casey said.

“A number of students come into a program, they’re there a year and decide it’s not what they want to do,” Casey said. “They look for an alternative major and don’t find one.”

Sam Schuman, retiring chancellor of Morris, said the demographic from which the school traditionally has drawn its enrollment is shrinking, which in part accounts for its low application and enrollment rates.

“The rural Upper Midwest is losing people at an alarming rate,” Schuman said.

The Morris campus also has to fight its reputation among state students. Some B students don’t think they are good enough and don’t even try applying, Schuman said.

“Prospective students thought we were only a place for geeks and nerds,” Schuman said.

University Regent Dallas Bohnsack said the two schools’ problems might be alleviated in part by coining a catchphrase.

“Don’t you wonder if those campuses are the state’s best-kept secrets?” Bohnsack said. “I don’t know if it’s a matter of creating a brand.”

Renovating Folwell Hall and Northrop Auditorium

Folwell Hall and Northrop Auditorium are among the four most historically significant buildings on campus, and both badly are in need of a face-lift, University officials said.

Michael Perkins, associate vice president of capital management, said it will cost $15 million to repair Folwell’s cracking exterior.

“This facility is basically safe, but it’s in dire need of an update and an upgrade,” Perkins said.

It will cost $20.75 million to repair Northrop Auditorium, which is experiencing extreme water damage, he said.

“The building is leaking terribly,” Perkins said.

Regent John Frobenius said he was concerned about how the University will prioritize all the pricey renovation demands.

“It will be really critical to find a way to fund that restoration in a broader way — by community support or philanthropic means,” Frobenius said. “We’ll have to be creative about how we do that.”

Greek Village, new department names

Jerry Rinehart, vice provost for Student Affairs, and Chad Ellsworth, a student activities adviser for greek affairs, made a presentation to the Faculty, Staff and Student Affairs Committee backing the proposed Greek Village.

The 250-bed facility in the 1700 block of Fourth Street could house five chapters.

“My gut tells me this is a good idea,” Rinehart said.

The Educational Planning and Policy Committee approved new college names, making the College of Design and the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences official.

The General College’s department in the new College of Education and Human Development will be named the department of postsecondary teaching and learning.

Kevin McCahill contributed to this article.

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