Regents to discuss UMN Crookston’s strategic plans

Mike Christopherson
Crookston Times

    The University of Minnesota Board of Regents later this week will conduct “campus-level strategic plan discussions” with UMN Crookston Chancellor Mary Holz-Clause and other leaders of the Crookston campus.

    Each system campus is undergoing a strategic planning effort, known as MPact 2025, and UMN Crookston will be the second U of M system campus to outline its efforts for the Board of Regents. UMN Crookston’s strategic plan is on the agenda for the Regents May 13-14 meeting. Each day’s session begins at 8 a.m. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the meeting will be virtual in nature, with a livestream available to the public at youtube.com/UMNRegents.

    The Regents approved the systemwide MPact 2025 initiative earlier this year. Now, they’re getting a firsthand account from the leaders of each campus on how those campuses are aligning themselves in support of MPact 2025.

    During the discussion with the Regents, Holz-Clause and members of her leadership team will “highlight how Crookston uniquely identifies its campus within the larger system.”

    Part of this identity is tied to career readiness and hands-on learning. While these principles are present throughout the U of M system, Holz-Clause notes that Crookston invests additional effort in this work, emphasizing the connections of theory, science and research with practical knowledge and learning by experience.

    The Crookston campus also uniquely serves two distinct groups of students: online learners and diverse cohorts of on-campus students.

    Historically, UMN Crookston has maintained a high population of online students, with more than half of Crookston students studying remotely full-time. Most of these online students are adult learners—the average age is 32—who are currently employed and are transfer students with some previous college experience. This experience with online learning and instruction positioned Crookston well for the operational pivot required by the COVID-19 pandemic, and gives the campus a strong foundation to maximize future remote learning opportunities.

    Meanwhile, 42% of on-campus students are first-generation, a number 15 percentage points above the system average and rising, as evidenced by more than half of the incoming freshman class in fall 2020 identifying as first-generation. Similarly, nearly one-third of Crookston students are eligible for federal Pell grants and more than half of the campus’ students come from greater Minnesota, both far outpacing system averages.

    As far as online and in-person enrollment growth goes, UMN Crookston has targeted 2,100 students by 2023, 850 on campus and 1,250 online. To help meet these targets, UMN Crookston earlier this spring began collaborating directly with the University’s Morris campus on admissions work. Counselors can now speak to both campus experiences, doubling the value of their time spent visiting with potential students.

    UMN Crookston has also trimmed its budget. Holz-Clause will share how valuable systemwide support has been, from enterprise software licensing to centralized functions, but she also will cite the need for continued system investment for the campus to achieve MPact 2025 goals.