It’s rather disheartening to see the senior leadership of Minnesota State, formerly known as MnSCU and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, wasting time on this initiative. To be fair, though, they admitted one thing that’s been obvious for years. They asked the question “How does the Minnesota State Board of Trustees enable a large, complex, risk-and change-averse organization to transition itself into a more nimble, responsive, and dynamic enterprise centered on enhancing student success”?
Admitting that a large government entity is “risk- and change-averse” is a nice first step. That being said, it’s just a first step. This bunch still isn’t capable of transferring credits from one MnSCU campus to another MnSCU campus. Why would I suddenly think that they’ll go from failing at such a basic function to being proficient at complex functions in times that Amazon would be proud of?
The reality is that government doesn’t have the incentives, aka profits, to be proficient. If Minnesota State is terrible at something, how does that senior management get punished for making a terrible decision? A: They don’t! As long as the business model doesn’t change, the incentive won’t change, either.
On Pg. 4, they ask “Why Reimagine Minnesota State?” The reply is “Our current approaches have had little impact on key outcomes of student success.” On Pg. 6 of the report, they write “Create the structures, policies, procedures, and funding models that will recognize and accelerate the innovative approaches already occurring on our campuses.”
The ‘business model’ used by private companies is entirely different than that of public institutions. Private companies rely on a profit incentive to drive efficiency. That incentive doesn’t exist in the public sector. They know that if they get things wrong, they just grab more money from taxpayers, then dress it up as their newest innovation.
In the end, this is just another waste of money that won’t accomplish what they want it to accomplish. When you put philosophers in charge, mediocrity soon follows.