Monday Minute, September 8, 2009

Dear Colleagues,

I hope everyone had a good Labor Day weekend, and that the first day of classes goes smoothly. We have already had some creative and constructive suggestions following the all-college meeting last week, and I would encourage those who were not able to attend in person to review the slides and send us your thoughts.

In some areas, such as proposing courses to fulfill University-wide liberal education requirements, we don't have a lot of time. The college stands ready to help the departments and the faculty propose courses for this purpose, and as I mentioned in response to a question at one of the departmental retreats last week, the deans and department heads will be meeting this month to make sure that there is sufficient incentive to make it worthwhile for units to pursue this opportunity. It's certainly in the best interest of our disciplines to expose students from across the University to the key knowledge, concepts, and modes of thinking in our fields.

Another opportunity we could use your help with is the Solar Decathlon house. Erected on Buford Place (.pdf; 208Kb), behind the historic barns on the St. Paul campus, the house still needs a lot of finish work to happen before it makes the trip to the mall in Washington DC at the end of this month. Student volunteers are needed. Where appropriate, would you mention this to students who you think might be interested in helping? The Solar Decathlon student teams are working from 8 a.m. on every day this week, and student volunteers can show up at the site as their time allows.

Have a good first week of school!