Notable MN campus news stories of 2010

The Budget Crunch might be the story of the year across many Minnesota campuses, but it's not the only thing people have been talking about.

A number of campuses have still been able to sport new buildings, while a few have been busy grappling with flooding or academic controversies.

Finding the most notable stories is tough, considering that On Campus has been around a few months. And I'm still trying to become familiar with all the players in this Land of 10,000 Colleges.

But I've reviewed the news of 2010 and asked higher-ed media folks to tell me what big stuff hit their campus this year. Alas, it's not a complete or uniform list. Some schools didn't provide info, some -- such as the U -- hit the news a number of times, and others had a fairly quiet year.

In any case, here's a mix of the most important events (or at least those with the highest profile). If I've missed anything, please let me know.

In 2010:

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  • College of St. Scholastica: The college announced The Science Initiative, a 40,000 square-foot addition to the campus Science Center. The initiative will build new laboratories, classrooms and an atrium-style gathering area for students. Construction starts early next year and will be completed in 2012 -- St. Scholastica's centennial year.

  • Minnesota State Community and Technical College, Wadena: High-schoolers displaced by a June tornado are now taking their classes on campus, having nowhere else to go. The college offered to lease them some space until they get their own. (It might be a bit tight on occasion.)

  • Minnesota State University - Mankato: Mankato was hit hard by cuts and layoffs, including notices to 26 tenured faculty -- an unusual move.

  • St. Cloud Technical & Community College: The college began offering an associate degree in nursing this fall after receiving unanimous approval for the change from the Minnesota Board of Nursing.

  • University of St. Thomas: This story went global -- the media confrontation between John Abraham, associate professor of mechanical engineering at the University of St. Thomas, and British global-warming denier Christopher Monckton. The Brit got nasty, saying, among other things, that St. Thomas was a "half-assed Catholic Bible college" and that St. Thomas’ Rev. Dennis Dease was a "creep of a president."  Abraham and St. Thomas remained civil, and the professor went on to help create a Climate Rapid Response Team, a group of scientists made available to explain the scientific community’s thinking on global-warming issues.