News Release

Academic Department Structure Refreshed for the Future

By Elizabeth Tollefson on
Tuesday, February 12, 2019

A new department structure designed to help better respond to student and workforce needs is taking shape at the University of Minnesota Crookston (UMN Crookston). A move to two large academic units from the current four-department arrangement will better serve the more than 1,800 students enrolled on campus and online at UMN Crookston.  

Creating the larger, more complex organization will be more in line with UMN Crookston’s peer institutions and allow for a more sophisticated and comprehensive academic structure. These two new larger units, which are yet to be named, will consolidate Agriculture and Natural Resources with Math, Science, and Technology. Business will be joined with Liberal Arts and Education, and within each unit, there will be 3-5 smaller departmental areas.  

The shift in structure locates the 36 majors in two units devised to allow greater faculty autonomy and responsibility related to both academics and curriculum. It also will engage the heads of academic units more fully in efforts around program enhancement and development, faculty professional development, student success strategies, and more.

“We have worked to create a process that is transparent,” says Chancellor Mary Holz-Clause. “We relied on input from faculty, student affairs educators, staff, and students.”

 The campus also has been making significant upgrades to enrollment practices aimed to grow enrollment and strengthen graduation rates. These new recruitment efforts include refined marketing, more strategic use of financial-aid dollars, and enhanced programming for admitted students.  

“We are excited about what these changes will mean for our students,” says Vice Chancellor John Hoffman. “Research shows our "Small campus. Big degree." branding is strong.  Now, we are looking beyond to ways we can market specific majors and programs that really make this campus special.” 


Almost two decades ago, the campus included five departments: Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Agriculture, Business, Mathematics, Science, and Technology, and Natural Resources before the Agriculture Department and Natural Resources Department were combined in 2009. 

Over its history, the campus has been known for its willingness to meet the educational demands of the time—first as an agricultural high school, and later as a two-year technical college, and since 1993, as a baccalaureate degree granting institution providing laptops to students and faculty.

“We pride ourselves on our ability to adapt to a changing educational environment,” says Chancellor Holz-Clause. “We will continue to set our sights on meeting the needs of the students we serve at the highest level possible as a part of the University of Minnesota System.”

About UMN Crookston

One of five campuses that comprise the University of Minnesota System, the University of Minnesota Crookston now delivers 35 bachelor's degree programs and 25 minors on campus as well as 16 degree programs entirely online. These degrees are offered in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology. With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from more than 20 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree. Visit

About UMN

The University of Minnesota System, with campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Rochester, and the Twin Cities, is driven by a singular vision of excellence. We are proud of our land-grant mission of world-class education, groundbreaking research, and community-engaged outreach, and we are unified in our drive to serve Minnesota.


Elizabeth Tollefson

University Relations