April 30, 2005
Alumni Meeting Notes 4/19/05
U Strategic Plan Alumni Meeting
Hosted by Lois Haugerud, St. Louis Park
April 19, 2005
Carol Jackson (absent)
Shirley Baugher, Dean
Lori Mollberg, staff
Overview of funding streams at the U, CHE and trends in higher ed
Increase in quantity and quality of CHE students over past 5 years: 1000 to 1700 students. CHE Retention 91%.
10-year cycle of financial crises in higher education – structural deficit model of operation ($1 million at CHE, $50 million at the U)
College positioning efforts have strengthened college and programs. CHE among the top 4 colleges at the U. Ranked #2 in the country for HE. Self-supporting.
Why has the president recommended this reorganization?
What are the specific recommendations related to the college?
Timeline for recommendations, feedback, regents’ approval and transition planning.
Examples of feedback and ideas submitted by various faculty.
What can/should alumni do at this time?
Provided copies of both taskforce reports and contact list for president and regents, dean’s Q&A
Questions and comments from alumni:
Do you see an effective way for colleges to come together?
Perception that there has been a culture and climate change related to the public support and value for higher education – decreasing public support, education seems to be considered more of a private good today.
Has the U administration considered the international agenda in making these recommendations?
What should we (alumni) do now?
Who do we write to? When should we write?
This will cost a great deal to implement. How and when will the U save money as a result of these changes?
Aren’t we going to fight like GC or have a rally? Would a big uprising carry and weight?
Does this mean that the dean will lose her job? What will happen to staff and faculty?
What are they doing with Extension?
How will alumni support change as a result of this plan?
How will this effect the profession, locally, nationally and internationally?
How will the student experience change once it is removed from the philosophical underpinnings of human ecology?
I don’t like saying/thinking that the college I graduated from doesn’t exist. I feel homeless. Where will our home economics alumni find their home at the U?
What will happen to Phi U?
I appreciate the skills I acquired as a student here. Will students today get what I was given?
How will this change transfer to high school teachers and their education? Will they have to go to many different colleges to prepare to teach family and consumer sciences?
I am concerned about diluting the college as we know it. The interdisciplinary, human ecological perspective is needed now more than ever.
How does this connect with the fact that the college is a land grant college? What does it mean to be a land grant college today?
Alumni could work with UMAA to establish an home economics/human ecology Phi/U affiliate group. 30 alumni are needed to support the formation of the group.
Alumni Meeting Notes 4/23/05
4/23/05 Notes Alumni Meeting
Linda Mona Host
(1) Alumni do not disagree with change - they believe that the University has to change to adapt to the current climate that has reduced state support of higher ed.
(2) CHE alumni do not want to be disregarded or marginalized in the process - they want their 105-year history and human ecology discipline to be recognized someway in the new university structure.
(3) Ideas shared are:
-Changing the name of the current College of Education and Human Development to reflect that a 'new' college is being formed with the addition of CHE's family social science program and school of social work, perhaps 'College of Human Development';
-If McNeal Hall cannot be retained for one of the new Colleges - that physical elements from McNeal (i.e. 'Home Economics' brickwork) be physically incorporated into a new college space; (This will help the alumni to feel as though they have a home at the U.)
-Capture the 'culture' of CHE - the integrated, holistic approach to teaching and research across the life span - in an 'Institute for Human Ecology' that would reside in the new College of Human Development; Current donor funds that support CHE and are administered by college administration could then be shifted into the new institute;
-Alumni would like to have representation on any future task force/committee being formed to implement the recommendations;
(4) Overall - alumni are positive about the direction the University is going and that - while sad at the loss of their college - they are excited about the future opportunities this change will bring.
Alumni Meetng Notes 4/27/05
U Strategic Plan Public Forum with CHE Alumni and Friends
Hosted by Ann Carlson Birt, Interlachen Country Club, Edina
April 27, 2005
Ann Carlson Birt
Pauline Pattermatt (CLA grad and Friend)
Jill Mithune (MSW)
Shirley Baugher, Dean
· Overview of funding streams at the U and CHE in relation to funding trends in higher education in the U.S.
· 10-year cycle of financial crises in higher education – structural deficit model of operation ($1 million at CHE, $50 million at the U)
· Increase in quantity and quality of CHE students over past 5 years: 1000 to 1700 students. CHE Retention 91%. CHE among the top 4 colleges at the U. Ranked #2 in the country for HE. Self-supporting.
· Why has the president recommended this reorganization?
· What is the timeline for recommendations, feedback, regents’ approval and transition planning.
· What can/should alumni do at this time?
· What are the talking points and key issues identified by CHE alumni?
· Provided copies of both taskforce reports and contact list for president and regents
Forum participants comments and questions:
· How and why did they decide to move our programs to education rather than their programs to us? Is this recommendation written in stone?
· Has the college been efficient in its operations and financial practices? Is this one of the reasons for the task force recommendation to split the college?
· Will the recommendations achieve the goal of becoming one of the top three public research universities simply by addressing structure? What are the other criteria considered in these rankings? (grants and contracts, endowments, diversity, outstanding students, timely graduation…)
· What will happen to the Goldstein Museum of Design?
· Is there a national trend among universities and colleges to eliminate human ecology?
· Are CHE graduates successful professionally? Do they get career assistance or placement services? Are they tracked in this area? Do they give back to the college as donors? Do employers seek CHE graduates and recruit our students on campus?
· Were the deans told not to tell anyone about the recommendations until after they were made public?
· Many alumni learned about this in the papers and were very upset to hear it this way. What was the communication process related to these recommendations?
· What about donors? Where will our contributions go if the college splits apart?
· I’ve heard other alumni talk about the idea of an “Institute of Human Ecology.” What would that look like? How might it function? Would it have degree programs? What else might it do?
· Why weren’t there people on the task forces representing the colleges where very prescriptive changes were recommended? How can the University ethically exclude these people from the process?
· Where do the Regents stand on these recommendations? Are they going to act as a rubber stamp? When and how might we influence their decisions?
· What are the driving forces behind these recommendations?
· What will happen at the Regents Forum on May 16th and what can we do to help influence this process?
· Talking points identified by CHE alumni:
1. We understand that change will happen.
2. We support the overarching goal of the University to become one of the top three public research institutions.
3. We don’t think the plan is bold enough to accomplish this goal.
4. We do not agree with the process and timing for some of these recommendations. We should not vote on college structural changes until a taskforce and transition planning team make recommendations in December and be sure to include people on that task force from the units where change has been recommended.
· We think the prescriptive recommendations made for some colleges but task forces for others is unethical and unfair. We need to allow the people who are going to live this new future to help create it.
April 14, 2005
Letters from Alumni
Dear CHE administrators,
You are welcome to share my comments with others at the
University of Minnesota. You appear to have any number of
committees with regards to the restructuring process, and are best
suited for knowing who might benefit from my comments.
First of all, I am a graduate of the University of Minnesota, College
of Home Economics, 1978, with a degree in Home Economics
Education. I have my graduate degrees (M.S. and Ph.D.) in Human
Development and Family Studies from Oregon State University. My
mother also graduated from U of M-CHE in 1952, in Home
As an individual working in the field of family and consumer
sciences I have always been proud to be a graduate of such a good
program, one that is well recognized for the preparation given to
students. I feel the university is not only making a mistake in closing
the College of Human Ecology, but one that will have a negative
impact on the field in general. You state in your press releases that
the holistic approach will be continued. My response is, "no, it
won't". People need time and interaction with each other to keep
the holistic, life span approach of the field in the forefront of their
research and teaching agendas. Otherwise, we are simply experts
in our own little slice, but don't remember the whole.
It is tragic that programs serving individuals and families, focusing
on healthy life styles and optimal family functioning are the ones that
administrators first consider for closure. It's also not coincidental
that these programs have higher numbers of female students in the
As an alum, who has made donations to CHE student scholarships
in the past, I will be giving my donations to other universities in the
future, and will encourage my mother also to reconsider any gifts to
U of M. Although my donations have not been substantial, as we
have not had a raise of ANY type at my university in 4 years, every
little bit does count when it comes to support of education.
In closing, I am deeply disappointed in the University of Minnesota. I
don't care a bit about how the Gophers do in any sports activity, but
I do care about education.
Cynthia J. Schmiege, Ph.D.
April 4, 2005
Organizational transitions require that we are a learning organization
One More Time: How to Build a Learning Organization
(Five Perspectives for Top Managers)
by David M. Noer
In both the popular and academic press, there has been an increasing amount of discussion concerning learning organizations and stimulating organizational learning. Unfortunately much of this material is either clouded in academic jargon or oversimplified to the level of trivial slogans and labels for it to be of much value for top managers. Here are five practical perspectives for top managers seeking to create a learning culture.
Outside In Won't Work
You Can't Engineer a Learning Organization
Technically organizations don't learn anything - organizations are shared abstractions - they don't exist in a biological sense and to really think they are capable of learning is to practice reification: the application of human traits to the non-human. This means that you can't do anything to an organization to make it a learning organization. Top management or outside consultants can't simply write a vision statement, hold a workshop, or read a book and decree a learning organization. You can't engineer organizational learning. This is an outside in approach and will only result in the same old people, performing in the same dysfunctional, parochial, and political manner as in the past.
Inside Out Does Work
You Can Create a Learning Culture
What people can do is create organizational cultures that stimulate learning. The words a learning culture, are much more useful than a learning organization. Learning cultures are not engineered, they are behaved. Cultures are formed by people doing things - interacting with each other. Ross and his colleagues clearly articulate this active definition, "At its essence, every organization is a product of how its members think and interact." (1) The way leaders create learning organizations is to interact with each other in ways that create a culture that stimulates and reinforces learning. This is an inside out approach and the only one that works.
Belief in Collective Wisdom Requires Courage
Behaving in a manner that stimulates organizational learning is an against the grain process for most top managers. The most difficult aspect involves refraining from individual action taking and seeking the input of the collective organization. A cornerstone of organizational learning involves honoring the collective wisdom and testing individual assumptions and reference frames before making decisions. Since top executives are often judged by their ability to make quick and crisp decisions, the patience and perspective to seek the collective voice is negatively reinforced. Top managers must have the faith that a group decision is better in content, process, and ownership, than an individual decision, and the courage to resist those who press them for individual action.
Win/Loss Thinking Shuts Down Organizational Learning
Despite political correctness and an ecumenical veneer, many top managers have been conditioned to win/loss thinking. Part of this is a carry-over from the market place where they are rewarded for "beating" the competition. Unfortunately this "I'm right, you're wrong - win/lose" polar thinking is an anathema to learning cultures. It plays out in mergers where "my" side is better than your side. It is found in strategy formulation where "my" way is better than your way. It appears in information analysis where "my" data is right and yours is inaccurate. In many top management cultures, the currency of the realm is debate when what really spends is dialogue. In order to behave in a manner that stimulates the creation of a learning culture, top managers need to stop debating and seeking a dichotomous win/loss answer, and start dialoguing and seeking mutual understanding and learning. There are countless war stories of top executives winning the argument, and losing market share and sometimes the company.
Honor All Perspectives
Killing Messengers Kills Learning
Killing, or at least wounding, the messenger is alive and well in most organizations. People are labeled as whiners, nay-sayers, whistle-blowers, pessimists; organizations are sales prevention departments, purveyors of doom and gloom, and filled with stereotypes as in "accounting types," "legal types," and "human resource types." Labeling, stereotyping and discounting peoples' organizational and professional roles serves to disempower them and shut them down. Learning cultures value and honor all data - good and bad. Top managers need to confront their defensiveness and remain open to all messages. It is always more fun to celebrate good news and easy to like and favor those who bring it. Top managers have to find a way to stimulate and rapidly dissiminate bad, contradictory, and confusing news. If they don't do that, people will tell them only what they want to hear and they will be deaf to the kind of vital information that will help their organizations grow and thrive.
(1) Ross, R., Smith, B., Roberts, C., and Kleiner, A. in The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook. P. 48, Doubleday, 1994
March 30, 2005
Strategic Recommendations Public
The University of Minnesota has been engaged in a strategic planning process with three separate committees working over the past year. The first committee established frameworks to define excellence and I served on that committee. A second committee focused on academic recommendations and a third committee focused on administrative recommendations. The reports from the last two committees were made public today. You may read a full report of the reports at:
We continue to be in a consultative process and the Board of Regents will make their final decisions June 2005. The President and Provost will seek input from the University community about these recommendations over the next two months and I strongly encourage you to express your voice and perspective to the discussions.
I am pleased with the task force report and recommendations. Those include the creation of a College of Design, which will include our current Department of Design Housing and Apparel; the recreation and realignment of the College of Education and Human Development to include the Department of Family Social Science and the School of Social Work. The new college will create new synergies to address education and human development across the life span. The Department of Food Science and Nutrition will be integrated into an appropriate College, based upon its present strengths and mission to engage in research and teaching related to the science of safe and healthy foods.
The recommendations reflect the spirit of the vision of the philosophical constructs of human ecology...the relationship of people to their environments across the lifespan. Though the structures are different than what we currently know, the work of our scholarship will continue. I believe that as we continue our work through the next year of transition planning, we will discover great opportunities that will allow us to be even more excellent in our respective disciplines and professions
I invite you to celebrate with us as we create our new future at the University of Minnesota. Our community will do so with pride, integrity and a deep commitment to the excellence of our field. We will need to share our wisdom, insights, passion, and sense of humor as we continue the journey.
Thank you for your support as we continue our work at Minnesota.
March 24, 2005
Monday Notes 3.21.05
As you are well aware, the strategic planning committees will be forwarding their recommendations about the future of the university to the President on March 31, 2005. At that time, the recommendations will probably become public.
While I cannot speak with certainty about the recommendations that will be forwarded about the college, I can share with you that change will certainly occur and that the college as we know it today will be impacted.
If I were asked to synthesize the goals of the planning exercise into a few sentences, those would be:
1. Economy of scale. Units that are small are at risk. Efforts will be made to coalesce similar disciplines to obtain synergy as well as economy of scales to support the academic endeavors.
2. Number of colleges. The president believes that the university has too many colleges for efficient management and there is a potential to reduce the number of colleges in the current planning.
3. Synergy of disciplines. There will be an effort to bring like disciplines together to support scholarship.
Given these goals [and please note that the goals are my “take” on our planning], multiple scenarios can be created for the future of the college. I can share with you that I do not definitively know which scenario will be presented to the president at this time.
Regardless of the scenario for the future, this college will have three goals in the next few years:
1. Participate in the creation of a strong university for the future
2. Celebration of the philosophy of human ecology and its contributions to society
3. Celebration of the quality of the college and its programs
The college is recognized nationally as a world-class leader and is typically ranked #2 of its kind among public research universities. Many of the programs you create are ranked in the top 5 or 10 of their type. The college ranks among the top four within the University of Minnesota with regard to the quality indicators established by the university. The college is fiscally responsible. Those are points of pride that you have achieved and contribute to each day as you do your work.
Colleges of Human Ecology, nationally and in Minnesota, have historically been a front door for women to the halls of higher education. Our own alumni are testament to the pathways created because of their study in the college. A recent article in the New York Times, The Revenge of Ellen Swallow, reflects on the role of the founder of human ecology in opening doors of science to women in the past 100 years.
I spent some time reading about quality in organizations over the weekend. Edward Deming concluded his long years of work by stating simply that quality was about the human spirit.
What essential element has to be in place for an organization to be successful? While we understand that organizational success is really dependent upon a "thousand things" (Pete McVeigh), the exercise of trying to get down to the essentials is interesting ... and a great reminder about what is truly important and critical.
Margaret Wheatley, in her new book, "Finding Our Way" states:
There is only one prediction about the future that I feel confident to make. During this period of random and unpredictable change, any organization that distances itself from its employees and refuses to cultivate meaningful relationships with them is destined to fail. Those organizations that will succeed are those that evoke our greatest human capacities ... our need to be in good relationships, and our desire to contribute to something beyond ourselves. These qualities cannot be evoked through procedures and policies. They only are available in organizations where people feel trusted and welcome, and where people know that their work matters."
As we continue our journey, through unknown territory, celebrate our excellence, our history, our shared spirit, as well as the future we will create. Know that your work matters.