When Eric Kaler, Ph.D., took the reins as the University of Minnesota’s new president on July 1, he dedicated his first 100 days on the job to listening and learning.
Kaler is in a familiar place — he earned his Ph.D. in chemical engineering at the University in 1982. Coming back to Minnesota from Stony Brook University in New York, where he served as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs and vice president for Brookhaven National Laboratory affairs, Kaler is settling into his new role. He’s meeting with students, faculty, staff, and external partners to talk about what people love about the University and what could make it better.
What are your goals for the Medical School?
I am committed to excellence in everything the University of Minnesota does. And I know of no great research university without a great medical school, without great health sciences.
We must have a world-class medical school that is more highly ranked. It is critical to the University, to the health care system, and to the citizens of this state that we continue to produce the next generation of high-quality health professionals.
One of my priorities is to return the Medical School to national prominence.
As in other areas of research and discovery, we have an exceptional history of innovation in the health sciences. That is why we must move again to the very top tier of excellence by pursuing investment in research and new technology and continuing to recruit and retain the best faculty members and students.
The interdisciplinary research focus of the Biomedical Discovery District is a spectacular example of the innovation necessary for breakthroughs, and of how partnership between the University, the state, and the private sector can ensure Minnesota is a leader in biomedical science.
This investment in the Medical School is critical, but resources are scarce. I am committed to exploring stronger partnerships with businesses, foundations, and private donors to help us support the research and clinical endeavors that are essential to our future success.
What will be your role in building the Medical School’s image and ranking nationally?
Frankly, University-wide and in the Medical School, I think we can do a much better job of telling the story of just how good we already are, about how outstanding our students are, and about the excellent work of our graduates.
I will be the biggest cheerleader for the Medical School, telling its story and promoting its work.
But I can’t do it alone. I need your help.
As I told alumni in my inaugural address in September, we need you. We need your input. We need your financial support. We need your energy. Please consider how you can best give back. I welcome all ideas.