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Request of Regents Professors to Postpone Graduate School Reorganization To Be Ignored?

OurCEO and OurProvost have stepped in it. Eighteen Regents Professors (at least) question the move.

The Daily reports:

Regents profs ask to postpone Grad School reconstruction

The request by regents professors shows little signs of being met by administration.

A letter signed by 18 current and former University of Minnesota Regents professors will not be enough to halt the reconstruction of the Graduate School, despite the professors’ specific request to postpone the measure.

“This is not a matter that should be taken lightly: the Graduate School has served us for 104 years, and if we choose to disband it, we should do so with full understanding of the costs and benefits,? the letter, which more than half of the University’s distinguished faculty signed, states.

Regents professorships are the University’s highest honor a professor can receive and are appointed by the Board of Regents. In total, there are 27 current Regents professors, 14 of whom signed the letter. Four retired Regents professors also signed.

The letter states the decision to “dissolve? the Graduate School jeopardizes the University’s core principles of “transparency and faculty governance ,? two principles that the letter’s drafter, Regents professor Steven Ruggles, said President Bob Bruininks and Senior Vice-Provost Tom Sullivan have advocated in the past.

Many of the professors who chose to sign the letter, including retired Regents professor Sara Evans and current Regents professors Matthew McGue and John Sullivan , said they did so out of frustration with how the decision was made.

In response to the letter, University spokesman Dan Wolter said in an e-mail that the administration consulted with deans, faculty, and past and present directors of graduate studies about the reconstruction and that the issue has been discussed regularly for a number of years.

The letter and numerous interviews with professors and student leaders in the school, however, contests the University’s claims.

“There was no prior consultation with faculty,? the letter states. “Only the collegiate deans — who report directly to the senior vice presidents and depend on them for their budgets — had any advance notice that this was taking place. None of the senior administrators — not even the dean — had any advance warning.?

Board of Regents Chair Patricia Simmons said they will respond to the letter directly and consider the professors’ concern over the lack of faculty consultation, but the decision on how to handle the reconstruction is ultimately up the University’s administration.

“When it comes to creating any new programs or eliminating any programs then the board must act, but for reorganization we wouldn’t,? Simmons said.

Simmons does not anticipate the board will make a formal recommendation to the administration based on the letter’s concerns.

Although the letter was sent by the Regents professors on Thursday evening in hopes that the board would discuss it at their Friday meeting, it was not addressed.

Wolter said in the e-mail that the University appreciates the Regents professors’ “engaging dialogue and commitment to strong graduate education.?

When the letter was first e-mailed to members of the Board of Regents Thursday night, only 14 professors had signed, but by Friday the number had risen to 18.

This behavior makes a mockery of claims by OurCEO and OurProvost they espouse openness and transparency. Spokesperson Wolter's claim that this had been discussed for years is particularly egregious.

Great way to build community and solidify support for your actions during these difficult times, Bob...

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