Board of Regents looks to the future of UMN outreach, education, research

A glass apple with the regents seal on it

What: University of Minnesota Board of Regents meeting
When: Thursday, October 12 and Friday, October 13, 2017
Where: Sixth floor, McNamara Alumni Center, 200 Oak St. S.E., Minneapolis

Throughout its history, the University of Minnesota has used new technologies to improve student learning and provide better access to education. Last year marked the 20th anniversary of the University’s launch of online courses. At its meeting next week, the University’s Board of Regents will discuss the University’s online education offerings, building on past conversations to consider the role of online learning in the University’s education mission.

The University of Minnesota currently delivers nearly 80 academic programs either completely or partially online. It provides more than 2,000 completely online course sections, serving both resident and distant students. Next Thursday afternoon during the meeting of the Mission Fulfillment Committee, the Board will discuss the online learning strategy across the system, highlighting examples from the Crookston campus, as well as the College of Science and Engineering and the Carlson School of Management on the Twin Cities campus.

The Board’s discussion of online learning aligns with the ongoing work on a System-wide Strategic Plan. That plan is expected to recognize the unique missions and strengths of each campus and promote collaboration in the design, development and delivery of courses and programs.

Outreach mission in the 21st century

The Board of Regents will also hold the first in a three-part series of discussions about the University’s outreach mission and the evolution of that mission for the 21st century. At the October meeting, the Board will review the history, context and vision for University of Minnesota Extension and the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences’ Research and Outreach Centers (ROCs)—two central components of the outreach mission.

Extension and the ROCs extend the reach of the University into every corner of the state, coupling community education with research and outreach to address major needs of Minnesotans ranging from farms and crops to environmental health, business innovation, the well-being of families and the enrichment and education of youth.

The Board will consider the mission and vision of Extension and the ROCs within the context of an increasingly complex and global world, ensuring that the University of Minnesota continues to meet the needs of Minnesotans across the state.

Future conversations on the 21st century outreach mission will focus more broadly on the University’s statewide engagement efforts and opportunities and the University’s vision for outreach, also in alignment with system-wide strategic planning efforts.

The Board is also expected to:

  • Act on the University’s six year capital plan and 2018 legislative request, which the Board reviewed during its September 2017 meeting.
  • Review current efforts related to diversity and inclusion efforts related to campus climate, faculty recruitment and graduate education. Leaders from the Duluth campus and the College of Biological Sciences on the Twin Cities campus will share examples that illustrate the range of efforts and commitment to diversity and inclusion across the University.
  • Continue conversations on the University’s System-wide Strategic Plan, focusing on the intersections between strategic plans throughout the system. The completion of a System-wide Strategic Plan that incorporates an academic program investment strategy and a long-term financial framework is one of the Board’s priorities for the year.
  • Continue discussions of the University’s Institutional Risk profile, as well as the Board of Regents’ approval thresholds (including the purchase of goods and real estate, appointment authority, capital budget and others).

Committee meetings begin at 7:45 a.m. on Thursday, October 12. Committee work continues Friday, October 13 at 8 a.m., followed by the full Board meeting expected at approximately 9:45 a.m. For more information, including meeting times and locations, go to the Regents website.

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