Letter to the community from UMN Crookston Chancellor Mary Holz-Clause

Mary Holz-Clause
UMN Crookston Chancellor Mary Holz-Clause

We have had a number of new people join us on campus in the last few weeks. Many events are planned on campus this summer and we are thrilled to have things start to open up.

This week close to 60 students will participate in the Ag Academy; Passion to Career. These day camps will be held on June 22, 23, and 24. Youth in grades 5-8 will broaden their awareness of agricultural careers and skills to prepare for the future. The day camps will focus on:

Tuesday: ag education/Extension, animal science, and biotechnology

Wednesday: emerging technology (STEM), food science, and ag communications/business

Thursday: plant science, natural resources/environmental science, and ag power/structural/technical

We are excited to join the UMC Teambackers, June 29 for a UMC Teambacker Tailgate, Lot G at 5 p.m. UMC Teambacker raffle tickets will be available for purchase. Stop out for some fun and continue to browse our Events Calendar for all upcoming events and participate when your schedule permits. All are welcome to attend.

Our Admissions team is doing an excellent job of staying connected and continuing to bring students on-board. Enrollment for next year looks about the same for on-campus numbers as last year. Online students are historically slow to register, so we are hopeful we will surpass last year’s numbers. Beginning this fall, we will be joining forces with the University of Minnesota Morris to begin recruiting students and expanding the reach for both of our campuses.

I recently read an article about how many students graduating from rural high schools (communities less than 20,000 people) are unfortunately not attending college, community colleges, or trade schools at the same rate as those graduating from suburban and urban high schools.  Here are some of the findings:

Rural high schools will send a lower percentage of their graduates to college next fall than their urban and suburban counterparts.

Rural students who do attend will drop out at far higher rates.

The net effect: just 29 percent of rural Americans aged 18-24 are enrolled in colleges and universities, compared to 42 percent of all Americans in that age range, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. The pandemic had made a bad situation worse.

Nearly two-thirds and 80 percent of all jobs that pay a median of $65,000 or more require postsecondary education.

It is important to encourage people to go back or attend a community or college so they have the skill sets our region and the country needs. By working together we can ensure that our rural young people are ready for the 21st century economy.

We have several examples of collaborative student pathways through the Office of Outreach and Engagement. With a financial gift from Pine Lake Wild Rice, Inc., UMN Crookston has revived ag science outreach in an effort to expose students to sustainable living while exploring science and agricultural careers, particularly in northwest Minnesota. Ag science outreach, the ag academy, and ag in the classroom engaged regional middle and high school students while providing project based learning opportunities for UMN Crookston students these past two years. Ag science outreach was a deliberate but aggressively developed pathway program to help young people understand the importance and benefits of the regional workforce and obtaining a degree. These pathway programs provide encouragement, tools, and strategies to ensure students familiarize themselves with the resources available to consider attending a technical college and/or University.

We have recently announced a scholarship opportunity for area high school graduates from Clearbrook-Gonvick High School, Goodridge-Grygla High School and students from Euclid, Minn. A generous commitment made by a donor with ties to these communities promises to cover tuition for four years at UMN Crookston for those earning a bachelor’s degree. Contact Jessie Hanson at jmhanson@crk.umn.edu if you know someone who might be interested in this generous opportunity.

The University will not require that students, faculty, and staff be vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to the start of the fall semester but we strongly encourage all to take the vaccine. Herd immunity is achieved at about 70 percent. If you or your loved one is not vaccinated, please consider doing so. Those who have not achieved the vaccination are at risk to contract COVID-19. After speaking with some who have had the sickness—that isn’t something most would wish on anyone. We are daily learning of the long term health effects of some who have contacted COVID-19.

Be well,

Chancellor Mary