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.
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I do agree with the CHE reallignment within the University. There has been very little discussion in regards to the housing major itself. There are several options for the housing major including combining with the Humphrey institute, School or Architecture or forest product expansion. I would like to see the housing program stay on the St Paul campus. Frankly the only reason I survived and thrived at the U of M was because of St. Paul Campus. I struggled for two years in Mpls before finding the housing progam in St. Paul. I understand change is continual and inevitable, but we can work with the system to ensure a good fit for all the programs in CHE as the colleges are realligned.
Thanks for the information regarding the University of Minnesota. The interior design program would function better as a collaboration when combined with the College of Architecture. It is how we all practice once in the field, as a team. Although, the St. Paul campus is an excellent starting ground and a safe environment for students from outside the community and Minneapolis. Why not move the College of Architecture to St. Paul?
Allied Member ASID
Since I'm gone most of this year, I wanted to: 1) Express support for everyone's hard work in the recent past, and anticipated for the future, in implementing all these changes with integrity. 2) Suggest that we try to ensure that the ecological dimensions of SSW and FSoSc (by that I refer both to person-in-setting and also to the explicit mission to apply knowledge to making a difference in the community) not be subordinated to existing priorities in the new college. Unless the plan is to sever our connections with Extension and the Experiment Station, the new college really needs to understand, respect, and value that our enacting of the land grant mission of the entire university is very much part of who SSW and FSoSc are -- as opposed to who we "were" in CHE. One clear way to move in that direction would be to change the new unit's name, to include a term like "ecology" or "community" or "practice" or "social relations." Otherwise, I fear it will be much too easy for a well-entrenched academic establishment to continue its often unspoken focus on studying and publishing about individual people and behavior, with little more than lip service paid to understanding ecological contexts or to utilizing research and knowledge created in the service of our diverse communities.
Good luck and thanks for all your effort!
The Family Social Science program better go into the social sciences department in the College of Liberal Arts or I will sue to school!!!!! Yeah thats right!!!! I will!!!!!!!!!
I think the university is moving in the right direction and really must realign itself internally and externally to be competitive and assure financially stability in the future.
Change is always difficult. People respond differently to it. Some like change and become bored with too much sameness while others want things to always be predictable and become anxious when anticipating even small changes. There was some interesting research cited in the current issue of time on this topic. Young children were presented with a variety of stimul (bubbles, loud noises, adults making faces) Some would approach the stimuli with great interest, some would freeze, others would retreat crying. This variation in response was shown to have implications for how socially anxious and generally fearful they were later in life. Those who demonstrated more avoidant behavior as children spent more time alone as adults while those more adventurous kids were more socially outgoing and involved. Both however were seen as strenghts since the more introverted individuals used their time alone quite wisely and contributed to their world in more subtle ways. I thought this would be a good thing to remember as we go through a time of change that may be stimuling for some and terrorizing for others.
Since I am a social worker I am interested in the process of change. How will these changes be implimented and who will be involved. I hope the process is well thought out and adhered to as the movement toward implimentation occurs and others are well informed so a healthy dialogue can happen.
Change often triggers fear and anxiety and the only way I know to minimize this is to provide clear, honest information frequently and consistently. If people feel threatened, don't trust the information they do receive or don't have good information, they fill in the blanks with rumors or "worst case scenarios" that tend to proliferate and persist. This obviously doesn't have to happen, but in an organization the size of the university I think there is a good chance it will.
Hopefully we can all keep a level perspective and support each other through the change process and see the strenght each person brings.