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One of the preliminary recommendations from the Student Support task force is to require every undergraduate student to complete a scholarly, creative, professional, or research experience with a faculty member.
Community input wanted on transforming the U
Task forces ask for feedback on their preliminary recommendations
December 20, 2005
The University of Minnesota is now seeking input from a broad cross-section of the community on how to transform itself into one of the top three public research universities in the world within a decade.
On December 16, 11 of 34 task forces that have been working since September released their preliminary recommendations on how to reach that goal.
"The preliminary recommendations were thoughtfully crafted and now we want to hear people's responses," says Tom Sullivan, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. "An informed reaction from the U community and the public will help us move this process forward in a meaningful way."
A synopsis of each task force's preliminary recommendations appears below. To read them in full, see the Transforming the U Web site (click on Task Force Preliminary Recommendations).
"... these preliminary recommendations are giving us our first, exciting glimpse of how the University might transform itself," says Senior Vice President Robert Jones. "We're eager to hear what people think of them."
The public review and comment period for this first set of preliminary recommendations runs from now through January 27. Comments can be made on the Web at Feedback to Task Forces. All comments will go directly to the task force and be taken into consideration as they develop their final recommendations. On February 3, the task force will pass its final recommendations along as the next step in the process.
"We look forward to the final recommendations in February, but these preliminary recommendations are giving us our first, exciting glimpse of how the University might transform itself," says Senior Vice President Robert Jones. "We're eager to hear what people think of them."
The remaining 23 reports will come out in the first half of 2006 and will include a similar public comment period.
Below are synopses of preliminary recommendations from the first 11 task forces, with links to the full report. Collegiate design: CALA/CHE Preliminary recommendations from this task force include:
- a proposed name and mission for the new college;
- position the new college as the facilitator, connector, and meeting ground for design-related education and research;
- use research centers and museum to facilitate interdisciplinary research and collaboration;
- increase faculty to support innovative interdisciplinary work; and
- bring together the various design disciplines on one campus in better connected space and facilities.
- a proposed mission and discussion of possible names for the new college;
- retain the core academic strengths of General College in a new department;
- a structure organized around five themes: social justice and diversity, teaching and learning, development across the lifespan, economic and social well-being, and educational/social policy and leadership;
- Create new interdisciplinary majors and "centerpiece" topics--such as literacy or eliminating school violence--to enhance collaborative research and teaching;
- extend GC's advising and mentoring model throughout the new college and develop models for teaching and advising that promote access to excellence for underserved and underrepresented students; and
- foster strategic collaboration with the Center for Teaching and Learning Services, and closer ties with the preK-12 community, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, and the business and nonprofit communities.
- organize academic departments into three clusters, plus three free-standing departments, and develop an "allied department" concept with other units;
- develop priority themes for interdisciplinary activities that address the environment, production agriculture, food systems, and renewable resources;
- create a system-wide Institute of the Environment;
- translate advancements in fundamental sciences to applications in agriculture, food, renewable resources, and the environment;
- develop new partnerships for interdisciplinary teaching and research; and
- suggested process for selection of a new college name.
- make diversity one of the highest institutional priorities, in part, by advancing a comprehensive understanding of diverse people and their myriad ways of being, knowing, and learning;
- support equitable and accessible learning, working, and social environments for all community members, internal and external; and
- dedicate sufficient resources to realize diversity's capacity for advancing knowledge, research, learning, and outreach.
- Sustained leadership, renewed commitment, and long-term strategic planning will assure access, progress, and accountability in key physical, programmatic, informational, and attitudinal aspects of diversity.
- continue to increase institutional investment in graduate education, particularly in the area of graduate student financial support;
- identify and implement best practices in graduate student recruitment, retention, mentoring, advising and degree completion;
- aggressively pursue timely degree completion for M.A. and Ph.D. students;
- increase flexibility in the allocation of new student Graduate School Fellowships; and
- ensure that programs serving professional and working adult students meet their needs.
- build on the University's century of international involvement to forge a truly global identity for the University;
- create high priority, high impact international partnerships and initiatives in key areas and on critical themes; and
- create a vice president position for the chief international officer to oversee the internationalization of the University.
- focus research and theory to shape statewide policy and practice;
- develop a cohesive and coordinated collaborative agenda around targeted preK-12 issues;
- ensure that University policies facilitate preK-12 engagements; and
- make preK-12 work visible and accessible to practitioners and policy makers.
- Through the newly created Consortium for Post-Secondary Academic Success, the University should build strong, enduring partnerships engaging stakeholder groups and help raise aspirations and standards for academic success.
- create a unified campus-wide University Honors Program, which would allow students to pursue interests in any undergraduate college and facilitate priority admission to professional programs;
- create a Regents Scholars Option focused on societal and academic challenges;
- build curricular and extracurricular programs that engage honors students with the research mission of the U;
- add honors sections of global seminars, regular courses, and freshman seminars; and
- aggressively recruit outstanding students, with special attention to students of color, with more extensive and creative scholarship packages (that include funds for research and study abroad).
- establish an integrated, campus-wide approach to student support;
- develop a center focused on the scholarship of college teaching and learning;
- strengthen academic and career advising and services campus-wide;
- develop institutional goals and standards for professional academic and career advising and services;
- require every undergraduate student to complete a scholarly, creative, professional, or research experience with a faculty member; and
- develop an orientation program for new faculty to promote learning assessment, communication, and mentoring skills.
- ensure that all baccalaureate degrees be "writing enriched," by requiring that all first year students have a full year of writing instruction, all departments develop a "baccalaureate writing plan," and including a number of writing activities in an overall writing curriculum;
- establish a new position of vice provost or vice president for writing;
- create a University-wide academic unit in writing studies; and,
- coordinate existing programs to make one-on-one writing instruction widely available.