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MN's Higher ED System is being fundamentally changed. What is the goal? Who is behind it? What will it look like? We seek answers.
16 backers pledged $4,180 to help bring this project to life.

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About 10 years ago, McKinsey and Company, through its Minneapolis office, began working closely with several prominent leaders to identify opportunities to positively impact economic growth.  It, through one of its directors, was instrumental in establishing The Itasca Project "an employer-led civic alliance whose members are drawn together by an interest in new and better ways to address regional issues that impact economic competitiveness and quality of life in the Minneapolis-St. Paul region. Its 50-plus participants are primarily private-sector CEOs. The group also includes a number of public and nonprofit leaders, including the governor of Minnesota, the mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul, the chair of the Metropolitan Council, the leaders of the University of Minnesota and MNSCU and leaders of major foundations."  McKinsey and Company provided staff support to the Itasca Project, and the Itasca Project's previous executive director was on loan from McKinsey and Company.

At least two present Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MNSCU) Trustees were affiliated with the Itasca Project prior to appointment to the MNSCU Board.  Secondary Education in Minnesota was clearly on The Itasca Project's radar:

"In 2011, the Itasca Project launched a task force to identify strategies for higher education in Minnesota to drive long-term, sustainable economic growth and prosperity. The work is being led by a team of 12 leaders from business, nonprofit, and higher education institutions. An advisory group of 40 business and community leaders provided input and guidance. With the help of this group, we completed a Higher Ed Strategy for Minnesota then launched three resulting initiatives: Workforce Alignment (ensuring we have the skilled workers we need to meet the future economic needs), Collaboration (developing collaborations within higher education to optimize system-wide assets and efficiency) and Research & Innovation (establish partnerships to foster and strengthen an ecosystem of research and innovation). Read: Higher Education Partnerships for Prosperity. "

Much of the research was provided by McKinsey and Company.

Incidentally, in a 2010 presentation to the National Governor's Association, McKinsey provided a presentation which revealed that significant projects were underway to overhaul secondary education in several states, including Minnesota.  The problem?  Too many employers had positions which remained unfilled due to 'skills gaps'.  The cause?  The longstanding independence of higher education led too many people into a liberal arts education.  The solution?  Tying higher education funding to fulfilling industry needs and shifting funding away from the liberal arts into industrial skills.

Chancellor Rosenstone became MNSCU Chancellor in 2011 and immediately began the process of "Charting the Future".  This process utilized nearly all of the same McKinsey and Company research which was previously provided to The Itasca Project.  Unsurprisingly, the Charting the Future report and the Higher Education Partnerships for Prosperity documents are essentially interchangeable.  

The draft Charting the Future report was presented in 2013, precisely when South Central College, Mankato and Faribault MN was in the search process for a new president.  A national headhunting firm with significant McKinsey connections found Dr. Anette Parker, whose previous employment was with AMTEC, a consortium of American Automotive Manufactures and the Tennessee Community and Technical College System.  Nearly simultaneously with Dr. Parker's appointment as President of SCC, AMTEC was featured in a McKinsey publication as an example of closely aligning educational programs to the needs of industry.

Dr. Parker, upon appointment to the college, immediately removed nearly all of the prior administration and began to severely modify programs within SCC without consultation with faculty, staff, students, or the community.  Rather, she increased her budget significantly, insulated administration from faculty, removed administration who objected to the treatment of faculty, and actively intimidated, bullied, and harassed students and faculty who questioned the direction of the school and the spending habits of the administration.  'The train is leaving the station.  Get on or get left behind', she said.  The problem is, no one knows where this train is headed.

McKinsey and Company was paid $2,000,000.00 to assist in the 'implementation' of Charting the Future.  Documents received thus far strongly support the suggestion that Charting the Future is being implemented on a small scale at South Central College prior to it being spread system-wide.

We are here seeking answers.  What will MNSCU look like when Charting the Future is implemented?  These documents exist.  

We are obtaining documents pursuant to a freedom of information request, and will be reviewing these documents to determine what the justification is for the significant systemic modifications that are being imposed seemingly without how this implementation impairs students' college experience and opportunity.  We will be presenting these documents to the public for review, and will be collecting the stories of what this implementation means. We hope to provide a series of stories and supporting documentation which will enhance public discourse about the future of education in Minnesota, and ultimately, the U.S. as a whole. 

It is time for an open, honest dialogue, based upon truth, and not imposed from outsiders who seemingly know better than we ourselves what our communities need from a college that provides an 'extraordinary education'.  Please join us.

Risks and challenges

There is significant institutional reticence toward disclosing any information about the implementation of 'Charting the Future'. Multiple freedom of information requests may need to be made which will result in significant research necessary. Our hope is that we will obtain the documents and be able to organize them in such a way as to present information which will engage the community in a discussion of what higher education means to its students and how we can truly enhance that experience for the community as a whole.

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