Sara Wielenberg | Staff Writer | 02/09/2011
The search for the new Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) chancellor concluded on February 2 when Steven Rosenstone was selected. Through WebEx conferencing, the BSU campus community was able to observe and take part in the process.
The search for a new chancellor began with the formation of a committee back in July of 2010. The nationwide search was focused on three qualities, according to the MnSCU website: leadership, management and background/experience.
The chancellor’s job is to act as the head of the MnSCU system and report to the fifteen-member Board of Trustees. The chancellor has to work with the state government, as well as with the presidents of the various schools. This is why in the background of the candidates, MnSCU looked for someone with “proven success in dealing with legislative stakeholders.”
The job also involves significant work with the MnSCU school budgets and the review of those budgets.
According to Linda Kohl, the MnSCU Associate Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs, the search began with 46 original candidates. From those initial 46, 11 were interviewed. The two finalists were announced on January 31.
The victorious finalist was Dr. Steven Rosenstone, the vice president for scholarly and cultural affairs, as well as a professor of political science at the University of Minnesota (MSUM). He won in a 14 to one vote over Dr. William Sederburg, the Higher Education commissioner of Utah.
The WebEx sessions for BSU were held on February 1. The first session was with Rosenstone and the second with Sederburg. Students could view the meeting, but Bemidji State employees were allowed to ask questions of the two final candidates through the WebEx set-up in 111 Deputy Hall.
This was an opportunity for BSU community members to get involved in the process of chancellor selection.
“People could ask questions of the candidates and hear from the candidates,” said Melinda Voss, director of Public Relations for MnSCU.
All MnSCU schools were invited to sign up for these conference sessions.
“We encouraged campuses to set up rooms, so people could connect on one line,” said Voss, “but I don’t know how many people took advantage of this opportunity.”
David Olson, the previous board chair of MnSCU, became the chair of the board for the selection process. Working with him were 15 other committee members. Among these were the president of the Minnesota State University Student Association (MSUSA) and Andrew Spaeth, the state chair of MSUSA and BSU alumnus. Also on the list of board members were Greg Mulcahy, the Minnesota State College Faculty president, and Dr. Edna Mora Szymanski, MSUM president.
The representation was not purely academic, however. There were also state government representatives such as State Representative Carlos Mariani and Senator Clare Robling. The president and CEO of the Metropolitan Economic Development Association was on the board as well.
MnSCU is a relatively new organization. The system went into effect in 1995 to uphold legislation passed in 1991. It is a coalition of 32 two-year and four-year colleges and universities in Minnesota. After approximately 15 years of existence, MnSCU is already the fifth largest system of its type in the United States.
Rosenstone will take over the chancellor office on August 1 of this year. He will be replacing James H. McCormick, who is retiring after 10 years of chancellorship. Rosenstone will only be the fourth chancellor to head MnSCU.