Minnesota State names interim chancellor

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017
Former Metropolitan State University professor Devinder Malhotra was chosen as the interim chancellor of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities in February after a lengthy interview process of found none of the candidates were fit for the position. Malhotra was asked to come out of retirement by Minnesota State on an interim basis. Both Metropolitan and Winona State are part of the Minnesota State system. (Photo contributed by Minnesota State)

Former Metropolitan State University professor Devinder Malhotra was chosen as the interim chancellor of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities in February after a lengthy interview process of found none of the candidates were fit for the position. Malhotra was asked to come out of retirement by Minnesota State on an interim basis. Both Metropolitan and Winona State are part of the Minnesota State system. (Photo contributed by Minnesota State)

Maddie Swenson / Winonan

Minnnesota Sate Colleges and Universities, of which Winona State University is part of, named Devinder Malhotra as interim chancellor of the Board of Trustees on Feb. 9, effective Aug. 1, after the current Chancellor Steven Rosenstone retires on July 31.

Until the change, the two “will work together to ensure a smooth transition,” Doug Anderson, the communication and media director for Minnesota State, said.

Malhotra will be serving until a permanent chancellor is named. There is no word yet on when this may occur.

Winona State President Scott Olson said Malhotra can be beneficial to the university.

“[Malhotra] is a great hire. He would be very good for Winona State University, in my opinion,” Olson said.

Malhorta, who was not available for an interview, was the interim president at Metropolitan State University in St Paul, Minn. for two years. For the past five years, he served as provost and vice president of academic affairs at St. Could State University. He also held leadership positions outside of the Minnesota State system. These included working at the University of Akron and the University of Southern Maine in a few different leadership positions. Malhorta also taught economics for more than 30 years.

Malhotra has a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from the University of Delhi and a doctorate from Kansas State University.

“He is very student-friendly,” Olson said. “He really cares what the students think and feel.”

Nicole Zimmerman, Winona State University’s Student Senate president said the new chancellor reached out to Students United, a group of students in the Minnesota State system that works together for student voices.

“Chancellor Devinder Malhotra reached out to our Students United state chair and executive director to say that he looks forward to working with the students of Minnesota State,” Zimmerman said.

The search for a new chancellor is not a small task, according to Olson. He described the process as “unwieldy, but if you are going to be the chancellor of the system, that is what it is.”

The process began with a search committee to narrow down the candidates. First the committee narrowed the options down to about 10 out of 43 candidates and conducted secret interviews.

From there, the pool of candidates is narrowed down to three and are announced to everyone.

Next, there is a two-day process, beginning with the presidents of the universities, according to Olson.

“Some presidents physically went up to St. Paul to meet [the three finalists] and interview them. Happened  that I was watching it live on the internet,” Olson said. “The next day there was an open forum that anyone could go to or log in online. So, there were students and faculty members and some presidents still and the board of trustees were all in a room for presentations of the same three candidates.”

Those who participated in the forum got a link at the end and were able to comment on the finalists. Then, the board of trustees used the comments from those to make their decision.

The decision ultimately showed the board did not want any of the three candidates to replace Rosenstone.

Due to not finding a permanent chancellor, Minnesota State asked Malhotra to come out or retirement to server as interim chancellor.

Malhotra will begin to serve as chancellor beginning Aug. 1.

By Maddie Swenson

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