A consultant says it's time to ditch the ungainly name of Minnesota's largest higher education system and try something simple: like Minnesota State.

The old name, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, just never rolled off the tongue easily. And that's especially true for its abbreviated nickname, MnSCU (pronounced Minn-skew), according to a report Tuesday to the Board of Trustees.

The branding experts at Padilla concluded that the system of 31 state colleges and universities is much better known by its individual parts: St. Cloud State University. Normandale Community College. Winona State University.

"Currently, MnSCU's brand is both weak and misunderstood,"  reports Padilla. So why not simplify and build on its strengths?

One suggestion: Just call it Minnesota State. Not to be confused with the University of Minnesota (which is a separate institution).

And label each school like so:

Anoka-Technical College
A Minnesota State College

The Board of Trustees will have a chance to chew over the 53-page report before making a decision.

But the current name is "a mouthful" and "communicates very little," the branding experts say. "This is the right time to explore alternatives."