Winona State University Expands Presence in Downtown Rochester: Five Questions with Jeanine Gangeness, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs

Winona State University Graduate Studies recently announced it would be expanding its presence in downtown Rochester, signing a lease for additional office space in the campus building on South Broadway Avenue. Jeanine Gangeness, PhD, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs – Rochester and Dean for the School of Graduate Studies at Winona State University explains more about the university’s commitment to downtown Rochester.

DMC: How is Winona State University Graduate Studies utilizing its new space on the 2nd floor of the 400 S. Broadway Building?

Gangeness: The Winona State University Department of Graduate Nursing have moved their faculty offices into our expanded space on the second floor of the WSU-Rochester on Broadway campus space. 

DMC: Why did WSU choose to make this expansion?

Gangeness: WSU is dedicated to Rochester and expanding our footprint in downtown. Rochester is a destination for higher education, especially for academic programs aimed at healthcare and social service professionals. Our Graduate Nursing faculty is excited to be immersed in the downtown community, which allows them closer contact and deeper collaboration with our community partners. It is also strategic that our Grad Nursing department is now co-located with our Grad Social Work program, as nurses and clinical social workers have become close allies in medical practices.

DMC: Why is it important for WSU-Rochester to continue its investment in the downtown community?

Gangeness: WSU-Rochester has been a vital part of our community infrastructure since 1917. In 2017 we began our expansion into the downtown community as a complement to our space at RCTC. Downtown Rochester is an international destination for advanced health practice and research, and it is important for our faculty and students to contribute to and benefit from the energy of the DMC.

DMC: How do students and faculty benefit from this location and the expansion?

Gangeness: The Rochester community is our campus. Our students and faculty have engaged with Rochester as their classroom and lab space. Having classroom, conference, and office space in downtown Rochester means our programs are immersed in the action and can be inspired by those around us. Collaboration with community partners and local businesses as well as across our academic disciplines helps our institution stay relevant by reflecting the needs of our community and our increasingly connected world.

This expansion also allows more room for our undergraduate programs currently housed at RCTC, as our students and faculty there will be able to fully utilize the classrooms and labs.

DMC: The expansion took place during the COVID-19 pandemic. Why is now the right time?

Gangeness: When the time is right, the time is right! WSU-Rochester has been ready to expand our physical presence in downtown Rochester, so as soon as this space became available, we jumped at the opportunity. Though the COVID-19 pandemic has decreased the physical space use, our in-person activities continue for the programs that require those activities. Winona State continues to advance our mission of providing education and service to our community. Our Grad Nursing faculty and staff have used this time to set up their offices and prepare the space. We look forward to hosting a public open house with a large and enthusiastic crowd as soon as it is safe to do so.

DMC: Any other news or information to share?

Gangeness: Adding on to the WSU-Rochester on Broadway campus space is only part of our plans to expand academic and research opportunities in Rochester.  We are working with the Greater Rochester Association of Universities and Colleges to coordinate a new community collaborative focused on identifying need and locations for future community simulation space. The future of WSU-Rochester is strong!