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Meanwhile, In That Alternate Universe

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AHC News Capsules

April 23, 2008

This has been a difficult week for the University's health sciences as two of our recent top recruits face significant charges of wrongdoing by their former university employer. We are committed to learning all the facts before making any decisions or public comment here; however, this incident already provides us with an opportunity to reflect and learn.

Within this increasingly competitive environment of academia, we are playing on a new field of endeavor that has rules and procedures all its own. We're learning those rules, and working to compete effectively as we seek to attract high performers who can augment the significant talent already here. We're learning that there are great strengths within this institution in our evolving corridors of discovery that are acting as a talent magnet drawing faculty to come join the activity taking place. We're learning that the promise of new research buildings and investment in our core service platforms are attractions to talented faculty and staff. And we're learning once again that the most important assets we have in the Academic Health Center are all of you - it's your relationships, your reputation, your work that are the primary draws bringing national and international attention to the University of Minnesota.

– Frank B. Cerra, M.D.
Sr. Vice President for Health Sciences

"rules and procedures all its own"

I don't think so, Frank. This is exactly the kind of thinking that gets us into these situations in the first place. We have rules and procedures. Let's follow them.

We are supposed to be having faculty meetings about 7.12 statements. This hasn't happened. We are supposed to be discussing procedures for post-tenure review. Why hasn't this happened?

The message needs to go out from the head - that's you, Frank - that we have rules and procedures and that we are going to follow them - including powerful department chairmen. In the long run, if an institution does not have integrity, well sadly you know what has happened here over the years.

"acting as a talent magnet" The salaries these folks are being paid might actually be the magnet, Frank. This is not going to be a general solution to the problems at hand.

"an opportunity to reflect and learn" - certainly, but we have had the same opportunity in the past, and apparently NOT learned. Two words - Tzvee Zahavy.

Time to start walking the talk?


We are having faculty meetings about 7.12's here in Duluth...in fact I just took on the fun job of drafting new language for the relevant parts of Philosophy's document.

You are absolutely right about "rules and procedures all its own". The old rules (scil. integrity and honesty) are still the operative ones, no matter how much the university goes lusting after 'stars' real or imagined.

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