College expands services, shortens name
It’s been 24 years since Winona and Red Wing merged their technical colleges to form the Red Wing/Winona Technical College. The year before the new millennium, the college changed its name to Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical, which remained unchanged for 17 years.
Wednesday, the college announced a new name, which brings along with it a new mission and new degree option.
For the past year the college has been in preparing and applying for a mission change to offer both technical programs and the associate of arts degree. A presentation on this topic was made at the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees meeting on May 17 and approved June 22. The new name: Minnesota State College Southeast.
“We look forward to building on our current programming to serve our Red Wing and Winona Communities,” said college President Dorothy Duran in a statement. “The students, faculty, staff, and administration celebrate the college’s new name and mission.”
Duran said offering the associate of arts degree will better serve the needs of the students by increasing access to liberal arts and sciences coursework at the college level by creating a more seamless transfer process to four-year institutions.
“While technical education will always be at the heart of our mission, adding the associate of arts to our offerings broadens or service to the region while strengthening the college as a whole,” she said.
At a community meeting about the direction the college was pursuing, Business Relations Director Katie Hardyman stressed that while the college is looking to expand with an associate of arts degree, the focus on technical education remains.
“We were founded on technical education and we’re not changing that,” she said.
With the change in mission came the need for a name that reflects its new footprint as a more comprehensive college, the release states.
A large area of growth for the college has been high school students enrolling in postsecondary courses. Duran said the college partners with 22 high schools currently and has seen a 147 percent increase in the number of PSEO students over the last five years.
Offering an associate of arts degree can help those students — all students, really — transfer more easily into a four-year degree program.
“That really was the impetus for this movement,” Duran said.
“We believe this new name will represent the college well in the future and provide continuity with the past,” Duran said. “The college has changed its identity many times since it first opened its doors almost 70 years ago. We hope the new name will serve Minnesota State College Southeast well for the next century or more.”
The new degree is available beginning in the 2016-17 academic year, which begins on Aug. 22. For information, go to www.southeastmn.edu.