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Excellence attracts excellence

a new future for the University

From M, spring 2005

Sitting at home in Minnesota, we can talk instantly via text messaging or e-mail to a friend in Kathmandu or Kisangani. We are global citizens, thanks to advancing technologies and communications.

For the University, this means that it now has the opportunity--some say the obligation--to step up to its potential on the world stage. In a time of fierce national and international competition for students, faculty, staff, and dollars, you either swim or sink. The University has vowed to swim--and to swim hard and fast enough to become one of the top three public research universities in the world by the end of the decade.

Last year, Thomas Sullivan, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, gathered opinions and suggestions from hundreds of faculty, staff, students, regents, alumni, and other friends of the University to explore what the U needs to do to become that premier institution. The result is the report, "Advancing the public good: securing the University's leadership position in the 21st century."

The theme of this effort is that excellence attracts excellence. To be a "talent magnet" for top students and faculty, the University--on all its campuses--must hone its best programs and focus its strengths. The result will be a place that can commit all its energy and creativity to advancing the public good, contributing knowledge to Minnesota and the world, and providing a top-notch education for its undergraduate and graduate students.

Not a plan destined to gather dust on a shelf, this document is a guidebook and a fervent rallying cry for what Sullivan sees as exciting and essential changes at the U--and for the unprecedented goal of being one of the best in the world. To read the report and to track its progress and next steps, see the strategic positioning process Web site.

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