Thursday, October 7, 2010

Three gubernatorial candidates explain views on higher education

Videotaped interviews of candidates are available online

The three major gubernatorial candidates offered their views about tuition, budget priorities, jobs for graduates, online learning and other higher education issues in videotaped interviews with Scott Thiss, chair of the Board of Trustees and a student leader, Caitlin Stene.

Their responses are available online here.

“We are pleased that the three candidates answered questions that are important to our students and system,” Thiss said. “The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system is critical to helping the state ensure that it has a well-educated and competitive workforce and that it has active and engaged citizens.”

The candidates - Democrat Mark Dayton, Republican Tom Emmer and Independent Tom Horner - answered questions from Stene, who represented the Minnesota State University Student Association and the Minnesota State College Student Association, and Thiss.

The interviews were sponsored by the Board of Trustees in partnership with the two student associations. The three candidates were asked the same questions in individual sessions.

Travis Johnson, president of the state college student group, said: “We have been working hard to get our students registered and mobilized, and these videos go a long way to help voters make an informed decision about this very important issue. Quality, affordable and accessible higher education is not a luxury in today's economy. It is an indispensable part of creating jobs, providing security for working families and getting the economy back on track.”

Caitlin Stene, vice chair of the state university student association, said: "I believe it is important our members hear about the issues that matter to them from the gubernatorial candidates. This might be the only avenue to hear directly from these individuals about rising tuition costs, state funding for higher education, online courses, and other topics that directly affect our state university students. This effort fits into our goal of getting out the student vote this election."

Besides being posted online here, the videos will be shown at various campus events this fall.

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system comprises 32 state universities and community and technical colleges serving the higher education needs of Minnesota. The system also serves about 277,000 students per year in credit-based courses and an additional 157,000 students in non-credit courses.