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Steering committee to plan U's academic future


From the Daily:

University President Bob Bruininks said the most significant way the University of Minnesota can cut costs is by "resetting priorities" -- determining which activities merit increased investment, which can afford cuts and which should be eliminated.

Charged with identifying action steps to cut costs and ultimately lessen the blow of decreased state funding, Bruininks formed the "Sustaining Excellence Steering Committee," announced this week. It was developed to serve as a continuation of the Financing the Future Task Force.

The committee has some membership overlap from the previous task force. Some of the differences are intended to provide a more diverse set of perspectives. Bruininks said the new committee is an attempt to include a variety of stakeholders, including faculty, staff and students.

"We did not succeed completely," Bruininks said, admitting the list is a little top-heavy, with 16 of the 24 members constituting University vice presidents, deans and chancellors.

Bruininks said he does not think members' job titles will affect their open-mindedness. He said he is tasking every aspect of the University system -- academic and support -- to evaluate which areas should be strengthened or maintained and which could be reduced or eliminated.

"All issues are on the table," he said, except closing campuses. "That's the one thing I will not recommend."

Strain said he is "excited but weary" of the task ahead of the committee. The vast number of areas to look at and things to consider will make it difficult to figure out which deserve focus.

My edited comments from the Daily website:

A little top heavy?

Submitted by wbgleason on Wed, 10/28/2009 - 7:57pm.

"We did not succeed completely," Bruininks said, admitting the list is a little top-heavy, with 16 of the 24 members constituting University vice presidents, deans and chancellors.


And these folks are going to determine what priorities (academic and otherwise) are going to be supported and which not?

If the paradigm is indeed to be reset in the immediate future, then President Bruininks should resign effective next June and an immediate search be started for a new president.

He owes this to the university and to his successor.
If we can buy out football coaches, perhaps we can buy out presidents? To have new priorities set by the present administration (16/24 members of yet another committee with an Orwellian name) is not rational given that new leadership will be stuck with the responsibility, presumably, for carrying out these changed priorities.

President Bruininks seems to be doing a good emulation of Governor Pawlenty by such behavior. The State and the University are going to be left in shambles, with great financial difficulties having been shifted into the future, after they ride off into the sunset. Both of them should resign.

All issues are on the table?
This is a perfect example of the strategy of this administration. Stack the deck, include a few non-administration types for window dressing, and then do what you want.


This can't go on much longer. Candidates for governor are already pledging to do something about unreasonable tuition increases.

We need an administration that can deal with this situation. The current Morrill Hall crowd is obviously not up to the task.

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