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U Board of Regents approves new strategic direction
Published on June 10, 2005
On Friday, June 10, the University of Minnesota Board of Regents approved President Bob Bruininks's recommendations on how to transform the University into one of the top three research universities in the world. The plan represents one of the most significant realignments of academic programs and administrative functions in the University's history.
"This is a historic day for the University," says David Metzen, chair of the Board of Regents. "This is the right thing to do and the right time to do it. We move forward with a clear vision and strong plan for the future."
The approved recommendations will change the University's academic structure by realigning academic departments and reducing the total number of colleges. The plan also outlines steps to improve access and success, enhance diversity, strengthen faculty support, expand the University's global reach, and improve administrative efficiency and effectiveness.
"The Board of Regents sent a clear and resounding message today in support of a new direction," Bruininks says. "With this vote of confidence, we have embraced change and dared to reach for excellence. Now, the real work begins in making this plan a reality."
The approved strategic positioning recommendations include:
- Realigning education and human development programs into the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) and changes to make CEHD a University-wide resource for academic readiness and developmental education research, including elements from General College and the College of Human Ecology;
- Creating a College of Design, which would include program elements from the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture and the College of Human Ecology; and
- Realigning agriculture, food, natural resources and environmental programs by combining the current College of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences and College of Natural Resources.
In addition, the new strategic direction plan will:
- Increase student academic support and advising services;
- Enhance the faculty culture to attract and retain the best and brightest faculty;
- Create a new vice president for access, equity, and multicultural affairs;
- Create a new initiative focused on writing;
- Create a regents honors program;
- Continue the Academic Health Center's strategic positioning to enhance health professional education;
- Guide coordinate campuses through their own strategic positioning efforts; and
- Enact a range of cost-saving administrative reforms University-wide.
Bruininks says task forces would be formed in the next few weeks to put implementation plans into place. The goal is to have these plans completed by December 10, and have many changes in place by July 1, 2006.
The board also elected Anthony Baraga as the new board chair for a two-year term that begins July 1, 2005. Baraga is a retired radiologist from northern Minnesota and president of Medical Imaging North. Previously, he was chief of staff at Hibbing General Hospital, Chisholm Memorial Hospital and Mesabi Regional Medical Center-University. He earned a bachelor of science degree and a medical degree from the University of Minnesota.
Patricia Simmons was elected vice chair of the board. She is a physician and a professor of pediatrics at the Mayo Clinic and Medical School. Simmons received a bachelor's degree from Carleton College and a medical degree from the University of Chicago.
In other business, the board also approved a $247.7 million capital improvement budget for facility repairs and maintenance on all campuses for the 2006 fiscal year.