Confidence, know-how, connections—all are earned through hours of study and moments of inspiration by nearly 1,100 students whose determination brings them back to school to pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree; 11,000 adults who advance their careers through short professional opportunities; 10,000 high school students who jump start their college education through the University; 3,500 adults who enjoy enrichment offerings; and international students who take part in English language offerings.

These learners are the U of M’s College of Continuing and Professional Studies (CCAPS), now led by Dr. Robert A. Stine as dean, effective February 14, 2022.

“I look forward to continuing the work of our community, expanding our innovative, student-focused programs to create more options and opportunities for serving the needs of an expanding and diverse student body,” says Stine.

He explains part of the formula for CCAPS to reach its goals is through connections. “We’re aiming to increase our partnerships with Minnesota employers, with our many University partners, and with thought-leaders in today’s most pressing areas of workforce need.”

“CCAPS serves a uniquely important role for the University and the state through its programs, creating opportunities for a broad community of learners that are responsive to changing workforce needs and aligned with the University’s Systemwide Strategic Plan MPact 2025,” explains Executive Vice President and Provost Rachel T.A. Croson.

Now more than ever, according to Stine, continuing education is needed. “The world-wide pandemic, rapid changes in technology, and the much-needed social justice conversations are hastening the rate of change in society. As a result, for Minnesotans and their University, lifelong learning is no longer a luxury—it’s a necessity.”

“Working together,” he says, “we can harness the opportunities change brings to help thousands find their most meaningful work… further boosting their lives and their communities.”

Beyond CCAPS

Stine has served as interim dean of CCAPS since 2018, following more than a decade as senior associate dean for academic programs in the College. During his time at CCAPS, he served on the national board of directors for the University Professional and Continuing Education Association and currently represents the University on the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership Board

His previous leadership positions were with the University’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences and the Minnesota Tree Improvement Cooperative, a reflection of his academic expertise: a PhD from the University of Minnesota in forest policy and administration as well as a master of science degree in forest genetics from Oregon State University.