Dr. Devinder Malhotra, incoming interim chancellor of the Minnesota State system, visited the St. Paul campus on Tuesday, July 25 to hear student ideas and concerns.
He and Metropolitan State President Ginny Arthur met with five members of the Student Senate in an hourlong session.
“I want to hear from you. What things should I know as I start my work?” said Malhotra. Jokingly calling his campus visit part of an “educating Devinder project,” Malhotra asked students about why they enrolled at Metro State and their experience in the Minnesota State system.
Senators shared their difficulties in engaging fellow students at a non-residential university. “It’s that sense of loyalty. That you love your school. How can we build that?” said Jessica Maistrovich, Senate Treasurer.
Malhotra encouraged the Senators to push participation in student activities. “Get as much as possible out of your college experience. Accelerate your professional and personal growth. Become a seasoned leader,” he said.
Student success, diversity and financial sustainability will be Malhotra’s priorities during his tenure as chancellor.
Rising tuition and the financial picture for colleges and universities were concerns shared by administrators and students. As a Finance major, Senator Chris Atemkeng chose Metro State as the “most affordable option with an effective rate of return.” He urged Malhotra to focus on affordability as a way to retain and attract students.
“It’s a very challenging environment. We don’t have the luxury to take what we lose from the state and make up for it with tuition,” Malhotra said.
Malhotra served as Metro State’s interim president from 2014 to 2016. He said the experience prepared him well for the chancellor’s office. “I saw firsthand the strength of an institution that is part of a system. I saw how an institution can be transformative and a catalyst to its students,” he said.
He looks to have “continuous engagement and dialogue” between the 37 institutions in the system. Malhotra lauded President Arthur as a leader who pushes her colleagues to consider new strategies. “She initiates and instigates and forces these conversations,” he said.
Malhotra begins work on August 1