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Progress Toward Our Top Three Goal?

As mentioned below, the most recent release of USNews rankings of national universities does not augur well for our administration's continued use of the ambitious aspirations marketing slogan.


"Starting in 2004, the University began the first comprehensive strategic planning process it had undergone in almost 15 years. Under the leadership of Provost Sullivan, the University community articulated an ambitious aspiration for the University--to be one of the top three public research universities in the world [sic] within a decade."

We are now approaching half way through the decade since 2004 and it seems fair to ask: Where do we stand now in making progress toward our administration's stated goal?

Looking back we note USNews ranking of public universities of the BigTen for the last four years:


The color scheme is: yellow - the same as the previous year, red - worse, green - better

The trend is obvious. The top five BigTen schools seem solidly separated from the bottom five. The last time a school other than Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Penn State or Ohio State broke into the top five was four years ago when Iowa and Purdue managed to tie Ohio State. Currently we are tied with Purdue for the sixth slot, Purdue having improved its ranking from the previous year.

So the likelihood of Minnesota becoming one of the top three public universities in the world by 2014 seems infinitesimally small. We haven't even been able to break into the top half of the Big Ten.

Continuing with this strategic propaganda initiative makes us look naive and foolish. Time to give this nonsense a rest? Time to shoot for the top half of the BigTen - a goal that should be attainable with proper support from the state?

Why should the state increase support for the U, if our administrators wish to set an unrealistic goal? It is time to focus on legitimate priorities without distractions like MoreU Park that are clearly not in our mission. Vanity building projects before legitimate maintenance of education and research buildings is part of the problem. Can you say Follwell, Bell, and Northrop?

How about realistic priorities that all can support?

And please do not claim that people making such arguments are "doubters," Dr. Bruininks.

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