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St. Olaf, Carleton receive grant to explore collaboration

By Kari VanDerVeen
August 1, 2012

St. Olaf and Carleton colleges will use a new grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to explore how increased institutional collaboration could enhance the quality and cost-effectiveness of services provided to students, faculty, and staff.

The $50,000 grant will support a number of planning activities beginning this summer, and will enable the two colleges to examine the opportunities and challenges related to expanded collaboration. Carleton and St. Olaf have found an increasing number of ways to work together in recent years, most notably by using previous support from the Mellon Foundation to merge library catalogs and create a collaborative collection that is available on both campuses.

"Our planning project grows out of past and current partnerships, and it reflects ongoing interest and conversation among faculty and staff at the two colleges," St. Olaf President David R. Anderson '74 and Carleton President Steven G. Poskanzer wrote in a letter to the Mellon Foundation.

During this study and planning phase, Carleton and St. Olaf will undertake a comprehensive review of key elements of college business operations, focusing on payroll and human resource services. The two colleges will also establish a working group that will begin a comprehensive review of informational and instructional technology processes and assets, particularly those instrumental to sustainable academic and administrative collaboration.

In addition, St. Olaf and Carleton will explore how other colleges have partnered to share resources, improve processes, and enhance programs and services. Teams of faculty and staff members will visit other campuses with a successful record of academic and administrative partnerships.

Faculty and staff from both colleges will also come together at on-campus work sessions aimed at examining long-term ways of collaborating further in areas of mutual interest, including information systems, management policies, equipment acquisition, and overall excellence in undergraduate teaching and learning.

"We anticipate that our planning project will provide an opportunity for our two communities not only to gain practice in collaboration, but also to recognize that collaboration will be a means for each college to advance more effectively its distinctive mission," Poskanzer and Anderson said.

Contact Kari VanDerVeen at 507-786-3970 or vanderve@stolaf.edu.