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MSCTC could face even more changes

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news Detroit Lakes, 56501
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

New leadership at Minnesota State Community and Technical College may not be the only change in store for the school.

With the departure of President Ann Valentine, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system will study the college to see if there are possibilities for alignment with other system campuses.

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MSCTC has campuses in Moorhead, Fergus Falls, Detroit Lakes and Wadena.

A memo sent to MSCTC employees says: "No decisions have been made on the issue at this time and would only be made after consideration of all information obtained through a detailed study process."

A similar study is under way in southwest Minnesota. After the president of Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall retired, the system began studying aligning the university with nearby Minnesota West Community and Technical College.

Anoka-Ramsey Community College and Anoka Technical College also have aligned and will have one president.

Valentine, who resigned to accept a job in Indiana, said the study is standard procedure with the budget challenges facing the system in order to look for efficiencies.

"It shouldn't be unduly alarming to our employees or to our campus communities," said Valentine, who has led the college since 2005.

MSCTC recently went through transition, after the four campuses were merged in 2003.

Valentine said there are strong feelings among the employees of the four campuses that they've successfully branded the campuses and come together as a unified institution.

"A lot of our employees feel like they want to continue the strengths that we've established as M State," Valentine said.

John Centko, dean of academic affairs for the Moorhead campus, said there is a level of curiosity about the study, especially since there will be a new system chancellor starting in July.

But change is not new to the campus, he said.

"We're a college here in Moorhead that has gone through transition and has learned to adapt and take on new challenges," Centko said.

Valentine will continue as president through the end of June.

The MnSCU chancellor is seeking nominations for an interim president to lead from July 1 through June 30, 2012.

All campuses except the one in Moorhead have also seen changes in leadership.

Anna Wasescha recently left as provost of the Fergus Falls campus and will become president of Middlesex Community College in Middletown, Conn.

Carrie Brimhall is interim provost for that campus.

Cris Valdez recently left as provost of the campuses in Detroit Lakes and Wadena to become president of Edison Community College in Piqua, Ohio.

Thomas Whelihan is interim provost for the Detroit Lakes campus, and Peter Wielinski is provost for the Wadena campus.

Jerry Migler, provost of the Moorhead campus, said even though it seems like there's a lot of turnover now, the college retains a core group of leaders.

"When we think of the rest of the administrative team, we've got a lot of folks that have institutional history," Migler said. "I think we'll be able to continue to move forward."

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