SMSU Briefs for Jan. 8

SMSU ranked 10th Best College/University in MN for 2019-20

Southwest Minnesota State University is ranked the 10th Best College/University in Minnesota for 2019-2020 by EDsmart.org.

EDsmart provides college rankings, reviews, and ratings according to the latest U.S. Department of Education data and other reputable sources for higher education data. College rankings and ratings are created by a team of data analysts.

Edsmart offers insights into schools and school programs along with objective rankings to provide students with a resource as they begin their college search.

EDsmart assesses colleges in Minnesota based on four criteria: cost (average net price), academic quality (graduation rate), student satisfaction (retention rate), and salary after attending (median earnings of former students who received federal financial aid, 10 years after entering school). The data was gathered from the U.S. Department of Education websites: College Scorecard and College Navigator.

There are nearly 200 public and private institutions in Minnesota, and 30 were ranked by EDsmart.

Visit https://www.smsu.edu for more information about SMSU.

Applications being accepted for MARL Class XI

Applications are now being accepted for the Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leadership (MARL) Class XI.

MARL is a dynamic two-year educational experience featuring nine two- and three-day in-state seminars, a six-day national study seminar in Washington, D.C., and a 10- to 14-day international study seminar. Its mission is to develop the skills of Minnesota’s agricultural and rural leaders so they may maximize their impact and effectiveness in local, state, national and international arenas.

Up to 30 participants will be selected for Class XI, said Executive Director Olga Reuvekamp. Applications will be accepted through April 24. The first Class XI session will be in Nov. 23-24, in St. Cloud.

Reuvekamp said the application form, instructions and answers to frequently asked questions are available online at www.marlprogram.org/application. Interested individuals can join special webinars, and may contact Reuvekamp at: 507-537-6430; Olga.reuvekamp@smsu.edu.

The MARL curriculum is designed to have immediate applicability for active leaders. Each session features a mix of leadership study, personal skill-building, and location-related subject matter.

A majority of each class’s makeup is agricultural producers, and others are professionals involved in rural, and ag-related organizations.

The seminar calendar is designed to accommodate the busy schedules of participants. Most of the activities occur over the winter months.

“MARL is celebrating its 20th year, and people have become familiar with what the program is about. The state is large and there are very diverse types of agriculture in different regions,” she said. “As the MARL program has matured, the interest has increased. We welcome applications from all corners of the state for this life-changing opportunity.”

SMSU to offer 10 degrees totally online starting in fall semester 2020

Southwest Minnesota State University will offer 10 degrees totally online starting in the fall semester 2020, the university announced.

President Kumara Jayasuriya told the SMSU community at an August, 2019 All-University Address that it was a goal to add five online degree programs by fall semester 2020.

That led to the creation of the Online Programs Initiative Workgroup, spearheaded by Provost Teri Wallace. The workgroup includes individuals from across the university, with an emphasis on student success and ease of course delivery.

“Our goal is to ensure we have the necessary services online to support students from admission to graduation,” she said. “Higher education is changing, and this initiative will take SMSU degrees to where the students are.”

To ensure the full programs can be offered online (0-120 credits), SMSU will offer online options to meet the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum — general education goal areas — for the following 10 undergraduate programs starting in the fall semester 2020:

Community Psychology and Health Promotion

Early Childhood Education (MN Licensure Preparation)

Early Childhood, Special Education (MN Licensure Preparation)

Elementary Education (MN Licensure Preparation)


Special Education (MN Licensure Preparation)

Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL Licensure Preparation)

Management: Emphasis areas — General Management; Supply Chain Management; Human Resources; Entrepreneurship



President Jayasuriya said that in 2019, there were 6.6 million adult college students, or non-traditional learners. Nearly 38 percent of the current undergraduate population is comprised of adult learners, and of those, 58 percent are working, and 25 percent are raising children.

“Many adult learners attend college to either advance in their workplace or to expand their career options. Most of the non-traditional students are unable to attend traditional universities due to the time commitment or distance,” said President Jayasuriya. “With these programs, it will be possible for students who are working full-time to earn a bachelor’s degree without leaving their job.”

SMSU is eager and ready to help students address their higher education needs by offering these new programs fully online. More programs will be offered beginning spring semester 2021, said Wallace.

To learn more about online options, visit: www.SMSU.edu/online; or email OnlineLearning@smsu.edu.