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Regents Look to Future of Extension, Outreach, Education, Research
Minnesota Ag Connection - 10/10/2017

Throughout its history, the University of Minnesota has used new technologies to improve student learning and provide better access to education. Last year marked the 20th anniversary of the University's launch of online courses. At its meeting next week, the University's Board of Regents will discuss the University's online education offerings, building on past conversations to consider the role of online learning in the University's education mission.

The University of Minnesota currently delivers more than 600 academic programs either completely or partially online. It provides more than 2,000 completely online course sections, serving both resident and distant students. Next Thursday afternoon during the meeting of the Mission Fulfillment Committee, the Board will discuss the online learning strategy across the system, highlighting examples from the Crookston campus, as well as the College of Science and Engineering and the Carlson School of Management on the Twin Cities campus.

The Board's discussion of online learning aligns with the ongoing work on a System-wide Strategic Plan. That plan is expected to recognize the unique missions and strengths of each campus and promote collaboration in the design, development and delivery of courses and programs.

The Board of Regents will also hold the first in a three-part series of discussions about the University's outreach mission and the evolution of that mission for the 21st century. At the October meeting, the Board will review the history, context and vision for University of Minnesota Extension and the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences' Research and Outreach Centers (ROCs)--two central components of the outreach mission.

Extension and the ROCs extend the reach of the University into every corner of the state, coupling community education with research and outreach to address major needs of Minnesotans ranging from farms and crops to environmental health, business innovation, the well-being of families and the enrichment and education of youth.

The Board will consider the mission and vision of Extension and the ROCs within the context of an increasingly complex and global world, ensuring that the University of Minnesota continues to meet the needs of Minnesotans across the state.

Future conversations on the 21st century outreach mission will focus more broadly on the University's statewide engagement efforts and opportunities and the University's vision for outreach, also in alignment with system-wide strategic planning efforts.

Committee meetings begin at 7:45 a.m. on Oct. 12. Committee work continues Oct. 13 at 8 a.m., followed by the full Board meeting expected at approximately 9:45 a.m. For more information, including meeting times and locations, go to the Regents website.

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