Asking, Analyzing, and Acting


Asking, Analyzing, and Acting

A few questions, time to analyze and take action. The questions I have focus on how we can improve what we do at WSU in Rochester. The WSU alums are a testament to the solid education provided to thousands (6,500) of Rochester residents; our history reflects greatness. To maintain and improve what we do, questions are asked, data is analyzed and action is taken.

Some questions that require your best thinking, most thoughtful opinions:

  • How can WSU Rochester be better?
  • How can WSU Rochester better serve adult students? Programs? Education delivery? Student, employer, alum engagement?
  • What about graduate education?
  • How can we streamline the graduate student experience?

Based on feedback received and with respect to the WSU history in Rochester, the analysis will commence. WSU Rochester has served as the human capacity builder in Rochester for almost a century, providing teachers, nurses, social workers, computer scientists, accountants, and human resource specialists. Further, WSU provides quality graduate programs in education, counseling, nursing, and leadership. It is time to move forward.

Let’s talk about these questions and identify new ideas. It is time to leverage all of the higher education opportunities in Rochester – and start looking forward.

A year in review….

A year in review….

I started my role with WSU on July 1st 2015. During the past year I was welcomed to the Rochester community, learned how WSUR serves the region with educational offerings and service learning, and began exploring the complexities of graduate programming across WSU. As promised, the year has been a whirlwind of exploration and platform development for future growth. Below are a few areas to reflect on and future engagement opportunities.

The Rochester community engagement has been a highlight this year. As a participant of Leadership Greater Rochester (now class of 2016) I did a “deep dive” into the local area and have new colleagues that have been fun to work and collaborate with on a project and fundraisers.

At the November GRAUC meeting – WSU shared with the Rochester community the WSU-Rochester story. History, current programming and future plans. President Olson announced the plan to add a downtown location.

Some college, division highlights:

Adult and Continuing Education:

College of Business:

College of Education:

College of Nursing and Health Science:

College of Science and Engineering:

Partnership expansion with RCTC has been complicated this year. However, we are thrilled to announce several Path to Purple options for students to begin at RCTC and continue at WSU for a bachelor’s degree ( The work on expanding agreements continues with RCTC and we are ramping up our discussions with Riverland Community College and SE Technical College. Stay tune. These are good partners indeed!

The Riverside Building lease was signed and our work with the architect is moving forward. Our goal is to move into the space this fall. Expanding and adding programming is a top priority for WSU Rochester. The work of staff, faculty, continuing education and college administration will be essential in our future planning. Please submit recommendations for follow up to me or post a note to this site. Thank you!


The Graduate School programs continue to be strong at WSU. One new area to celebrate: This year I am looking forward to collaborating with faculty and staff to streamline policies, procedures and processes. As is the tradition at WSU, we are focused on the best student experience in all programs. Streamlining programming, maintaining exceptional quality, expanding access for adult learners, while sustaining a reasonable cost, are all essential to the WSU graduate experience.

It seems appropriate to reconsider what can be in Rochester from the WSU perspective – we should think from the community context what can be, not from the “what we have left” mind-set. A thought from Eleanor Roosevelt “With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts”. WSU Rochester offers much already to the community, what should the new day bring? What is the best we can offer and the best fit for Rochester from the best WSU?

Thank you for an exceptional year!

Great Week for WSU-Rochester!

Great week for WSU-Rochester!

Riverside Building design is in process. Planning for downtown and expanded programming is ramping up. Community partners are engaging in discussions about ways to collaborate. The Student Services Team at WSU-Rochester are working hard to up their game in serving adult students. Team WSU-Rochester rappelled a 9 story building to raise over $2,500 for the Girl Scouts!

HistoricRiverside1391203956649currentRiversideRiverside historic and current photos


Great planning is going into the Riverside Building and we are looking forward to moving in this fall! Coincidentally, WSU began offering classes in Rochester in 1917 and the Riverside Building was built in 1917. Ah, perfect synergy!

Riverside Building Facts and Figures

General Information:

  • The Riverside Building is located at 400 South Broadway on the intersection of 4th Street SW and Broadway Avenue in Rochester, Minnesota
  • The original building was constructed by the Olmsted County Co-Operative Association during 1917-1918. It was a state-of-art building of the time. The historical Riverside building has been home to a car dealership, roller rink, furniture store, tea shop, other and various organizations and small businesses.
  • Winona State University lease for 6,319 square feet, the entire 3rd floor, formerly occupied by Rochester Area Foundation
  • The space will house Adult and Continuing Education (ACE), HealthForce Minnesota, the Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs and staff, and new programs
  • The facilities include one Smart classroom that will seat 30-40 students, three conference rooms, office spaces, recording studio, as well as collaborative open office space for faculty, staff, and students

Project Design and Construction:

  • The renovation was designed by 9.Square of Rochester, MN. The general contractor has not been established.
  • Construction costs ~$500,000.

Stay tuned for open house and ribbon cutting activities!

Community Partners

This week an announcement was released that updated the students, staff, faculty, and the community on agreements that streamline the experience of students from RCTC to WSU academic programs. Serving students by collaborating is key to partnerships.

New partner discussions began this week to develop programs with local organizations. Over the past year I have been working with the great people of Rochester to identify current and potential connections between WSU-Rochester and the community. I have been asked “what does being a partner mean to you and WSU-Rochester”? The basics for partnership:

  • Developing and maintaining the partnership require work. Show up, address concerns before the concerns turn to problems, and never assume your organization is the only option for your partner. I refer to this as the “no entitlement rule”.
  • Partnerships benefit both sides. The partnership is about more than money and should have an outcome that benefits students. I refer to this as the “no extortion rule”.

Great week for partnerships!!

Student Service

The Student Services team has been providing excellent service to students and we are working together to identify ways to better serve adult learners in Rochester. Trent shared great information with the staff this last week from an adult learner conference. Paula has identified some exceptional outreach opportunities with current RCTC students. Additionally, MnSCU blog outlined some reminders on improving our customer service skills.

Boyd also translates Ken Wallace’s 15 Principles for Complete Customer Service to seven principles that appeal to a middle-ground approach in higher education.

  1. The success of the institution is dependent upon providing high-quality service to students – students affect the bottom line.
  2. Employees need to be reminded that every single one of them (faculty, staff, administrators, front-line, back-office, etc.) is in the business of serving students. Students deserve to receive assistance to meet their legitimate needs.
  3. Perception is reality. We need to understand our students and what is important to them.
  4. Each student is unique and has unique needs.
  5. Treat students the way you would want a member of your family or a good friend to be treated.
  6. Do it right the first time.
  7. Solicit feedback from students in all areas and truly listen.

XX0722OverTheEdgeRappelling photos

Team WSU-Rochester

Misun Bormann and I, serving as Team WSU-Rochester rappelled a 9 story building to raise over $2,500 for the Girl Scouts!


The New Stuff

The New Stuff

imageIn the past few weeks I have presented at a MnSCU conference, completed a lease, connected with colleagues on the Heart of the City committee, provided an annual update to the academic affairs team, and enjoyed a day in Austin celebrating the opening of a beautiful facility at Hormel Institute.

Lori, WSU Registrar and I presented the work we completed this year with Rachelle from Rochester Community and Technical College. We outlined the articulation initiation and approval process for each institution, clarifying how each institution has unique processes. The discussion expanded the topic to establishing and maintaining student, staff, faculty and institutions. Important discussion and considerations for higher education.

The Facilities Department received notice that the 400 Broadway lease has been completely signed and began working with 9Square ( to design our additional space in Rochester. Adult and Continuing Education, Health Force Minnesota, academic learning, collaborative, and professional teaching studio spaces are all in the works. Stay tuned!

Connecting with colleagues. Over the past year I have enjoyed learning about Rochester through the experiences of others. The learning continues as I visit with the Heart of the city committee members. The group brings a variety of world views to the table and I enjoy hearing from community members about their best ideas for the city. I am especially thrilled to revisit the geography work that began during my doctoral study. The appreciation of space, how it is utilized, how women and children perceive it to be safe and welcoming, and how space best serves our community. Exceptional time for Rochester to grow and plan for growth.

The WSU Academic Leadership gathered last week to discuss successes and future plans. With a master academic plan in full implementation, it was great to hear how the colleges and departments continue to do great work. I am looking forward to seeing how everyone engages in Rochester programming, graduate school planning, international work, and future summer sessions. We are very fortunate at WSU – a bright future!!

And finally, the highlight of my week, a visit to Austin. We began the day with a GRAUC meeting ( and a wonderful visit to the SPAM museum. If you haven’t been to the SPAM museum (, it is a must see!

In the afternoon we enjoyed a tour of the expanded Hormel Institute and the celebration that was planned to the finest detail. The Hormel Institute is posed to cure cancer… No I am serious! Check it out The event was world class! Well done!!

Happy to be here in Rochester with great people! Thank you for hanging in there for my first year and this quick update.