Ridgewater College President Craig Johnson featured in Enterprise Minnesota magazine

Craig Johnson 2018.Resized.jpg
Craig Johnson, Ridgewater College president

WILLMAR — Ridgewater College President Craig Johnson was featured in the Fall 2020 issue of Enterprise Minnesota magazine .

Johnson was part of a four-person panel of technical college administrators discussing enrollment trends, shrinking budgets and COVID-19 on campus.

The article provides a look at how college administrators across the state are managing trends in technical education.

The colleges represented were Ridgewater College in Willmar, South Central College in Mankato, Alexandria Technical & Community College in Alexandria, and Lake Superior College in Duluth.

Questions ranged from enrollment status in the age of COVID-19, specific program impacts from enrollment trends, the role technology plays in technical education and the state’s looming budget deficit.


“One of the most frustrating things here at Ridgewater was that we had experienced a decline in enrollment from 2011-2019. We had lost about 30% of our students during that time period. That’s a huge blow. But this past year, we had turned that around and we had about a 2% growth, and then COVID hit,” Johnson said in the article.

“And so what’s really sad to see is that pre-COVID, the morale boost, people feeling good about the reorganization we had done, and the redesign of our recruiting and retention efforts, was having a positive impact. And now with COVID, we’ve bounced back and forth in our comparison date to date, this year to last year. We bounce back and forth between being up 5% and down 5%.”

Ridgewater College is a public community college with campuses in Willmar and Hutchinson. It is part of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.

Mark Wasson has been a public safety reporter with Post Bulletin since May 2022. Previously, he worked as a general assignment reporter in the southwest metro and as a public safety reporter in Willmar, Minn. Readers can reach Mark at
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