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Revised recommendations from 11 more task forces

May 16, 2006

Revised recommendations from 11 more strategic positioning task forces formed as part of the University of Minnesota's ongoing initiative to transform the U into one of the top three public research universities in the world are now available for review on the Transforming the U Web site.

"The University community has been actively engaged in strategic positioning throughout the past year and a half," says Tom Sullivan, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. "The breadth and depth of ongoing participation has been invaluable, and our faculty, staff and students are to be commended for their commitment to this process. Now we can build on this highly consultative process and identify key initiatives that will propel the University forward."

The revised recommendations range from what metrics the University should use for determining how it measures progress toward becoming a top three university to what steps it can take to improve its research infrastructure to support the scholarly work that is conducted at the U.

The submission of these revised recommendations brings to 34 the number of task force reports that have been submitted since last September as part of the strategic positioning initiative. (Recommendations from the Crookston, Duluth, and Morris campuses and Rochester center will be posted in the near future.)

Earlier this year, recommendations from eight academic and three systemwide task forces were submitted, as were the recommendations from seven task forces that were rolled into a single report from the Administrative Service & Productivity Steering Committee.

The University's senior leadership has begun implementing recommendations and will continue to evaluate them. Priorities and timelines for initiatives will be announced in early fall to the Board of Regents and the University community. A brief review of the revised recommendations appears below.

Academic Health Center task forces

Four task forces were created and charged with making recommendations on a wide range of issues to further improve the University's Academic Health Center.

Clinical Sciences Enterprise The clinical sciences are the cornerstone of the educational and research missions of the Academic Health Center, supporting the education of the next generation of health professionals. Task force revised recommendations include the following:

Health Professional Workforce

The shifting demands of the marketplace for health professionals require the University to develop greater flexibility to respond to workforce needs. This shifting demand, joined by increasing costs of and decreasing public investment in health professional education, and a shift to community based education partnerships, requires a clear understanding of the current financial models for health professional education. The following revised recommendations identify the task force direction:

Knowledge Management Technology

Health professional education is undergoing a profound transformation driven by the explosion of new information and new knowledge that affects both the education of our students and the practice of our graduates. This task force developed a system to manage this knowledge explosion and to ensure that students, faculty, and staff practice lifelong and continuous learning. The task force produced the following definition and key recommendations:

Precinct Plan

Facilities are core to the education, research and clinical care that defines an academic health center--a fact that is recognized by states and institutions nationwide. To recruit top faculty, the best students, and attract patients, the AHC must make significant investments in its aging facilities. This new planning process recognizes that the new AHC precinct plan extends beyond a four-square block area in Minneapolis. The task force revised recommendations include:

Academic task forces

Four academic task forces are seeking input on their preliminary recommendations for transforming the College of Liberal Arts, the science and engineering colleges, discipline evolution, and faculty culture--the reshaping of academic departments and programs to meet future needs--in graduate programs. Each task force has developed specific recommendations in line with the University's overall goal of becoming one of the top three public research universities in the world within a decade.

A synopsis of each of these four task force reports appears below.

College Design: College of Liberal Arts

Recommendations from this task force include:

College Design: Science/Engineering

Recommendations from this task force include:

Graduate Reform: Discipline Evolution

Recommendations from this task force include:

Faculty Culture

The faculty culture task force has made 36 specific recommendations, identifying four overall values that must shape faculty culture to reach the University's goal of becoming a top three public research university: excellence, collaboration, academic citizenship and leadership. The recommendations address recruitment, hiring and retention; faculty review, tenure, and promotion; better family friendly benefits; research support; collaboration and intellectual exchange; public engagement; and peer recognition.

Recommendations from this task force include:

Research task forces

Two task forces, under the direction of Tim Mulcahy of the Office of the Vice President for Research, were created and charged with developing strategies to further improve the University's research capabilities.

"The work from these task forces has been very insightful and we look forward to gathering more input from the University community on how to fine-tune these recommendations," says Mulcahy. Research Infrastructure

This task force was charged with developing a plan to support research and scholarship consistent with realization of the University's goal of becoming one of the top three public research universities in the world. Using a definition of "infrastructure" that includes a broad range of facilities and services needed to support all scholarly activity throughout the University, the task force reviewed the current state of the University's research infrastructure. Highlights from the task force recommendations include the following:

Collaborative Research

The Collaborative Research Task Force was charged with creating a plan to promote research, partnerships and programs to accelerate the University of Minnesota becoming one of the top three public research universities in the world. The task force's recommendations envision the University as one that will be internationally known for its innovation and excellence in collaborative research and scholarship. Specific recommendations include the following:

Metrics and Measurements task force

This task force, led by Al Sullivan, special assistant to the president, was charged with identifying appropriate measures to assess the University's performance and its progress toward achieving the aspirational goal of becoming one of the top three public research universities in the world within a decade. The task force was asked to identify ways to measure progress at the operational level and in collegiate units, coordinate campuses, and administrative units, as well as University-wide performance measures. Aligning what is measured across all levels, with progress toward the aspirational goal, is a key theme throughout the recommendations.

Specific revised recommendations include the following: