U of M Board of Regents to review Twin Cities campus student housing strategy

May 1, 2015

What: University of Minnesota Board of Regents meeting
When: Thursday and Friday, May 7-8, 2015
Where: Sixth floor, McNamara Alumni Center, 200 Oak St. S.E., Minneapolis

Improving the student housing experience — both on and off the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus — guides recommendations from a new report released today.

The University’s Board of Regents will review that report during its May 7 and 8 meetings.

The U’s goal is to better serve the needs of on- and off-campus students by ensuring all student housing is safe, affordable, convenient and supportive. Students who live in University housing in their first year of college have higher GPAs and are more likely to be involved in student groups and other campus activities. As a result, they are more likely than students who live off campus to stay in school and graduate on time. This also holds true for second year students. To achieve these goals, the recommendations in the new report include:

  • Continuing to guarantee campus housing for all first-year students meeting the application deadline, while exploring ways to increase the total number of first year students living on campus;
  • Renovating or replacing Pioneer Hall and modernizing dining facilities in the ‘Superblock’ (includes Pioneer, Centennial, Frontier and Territorial Halls);
  • Developing strategies to increase demand for housing on the St. Paul campus;
  • Developing “second-year experience” programs in partnership with non-U housing providers where second year students are living;
  • Ensuring transfer students receive housing support; and
  • Working with non-U housing management on safety, livability and best management practices.

Currently, the Twin Cities campus offers nearly 7,000 beds and charges one of the lowest rates for housing in the Big Ten conference.

The full report is available here.

Improving Greek housing
The housing report also calls for University support to improve life/safety conditions in existing Greek housing facilities, which are not managed by the University. A pilot Greek housing loan program to begin this effort will be reviewed by the Board this month and considered for action in June.

The University and the U of M Foundation (UMF) will partner to allocate $3 million to fund the program. The goal is to provide low-interest loans for chapter house improvements to improve safety, efficiency and comfort. University of Minnesota Foundation Real Estate Advisors, a subsidiary of UMF, will administer the program.

Ensuring safe and sustainable Greek housing was identified as a major priority in the 2012 Greek Community Strategic Task Force recommendations. If approved, the program will begin in June 2015.

Advancing human subjects research
The Board will host a public forum to hear from the University community and public on work to develop an implementation plan to strengthen human subjects research practices at the University.

The forum will take place Thursday, May 7, from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. in the Boardroom on the sixth floor of the McNamara Alumni Center. Sign up is first come-first serve and begins at 3:30 p.m. Speakers will be limited to three minutes each. Written comments may be submitted as well.

The Board is providing oversight and monitoring of the University’s efforts to strengthen its human subjects research practices. In addition to the public forum, Regents will discuss how research projects are reviewed, assessed, approved/not approved and further their understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the investigator, institution and the Institutional Review Board (IRB). An overview of IRB responsibilities, procedures and processes will be discussed in the Audit Committee and Special Committee on Academic Medicine.

Other agenda items include:

  • Light rail operations. The Facilities and Operations Committee will review the first year of Green Line operation through the Minneapolis campus. Ridership has exceeded expectations and is already nearing projections for the year 2030. The Board will consider a resolution to delay an agreement with the Metropolitan Council related to Vibration and Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) Performance Standards, which impacts U research laboratories along Washington Avenue.
  • Upgrade update. The full board will receive an update on the launch of a new enterprise system, which improved the U’s core business processes and systems. To date, minor issues have been identified and corrected.
  • Progress Card work session. The Board will hold a work session to discuss a ‘progress card’ framework to drive performance and support Board oversight. The discussion will provide a platform to develop goals and measures in consultation with the administration.
  • Promoting the best and brightest. The Board will act on recommendations for promotion and tenure of faculty members by Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Karen Hanson.
  • Recognition of award winners. The Board will formally honor winners of nearly a dozen major University and external awards.

Committee meetings will begin at 7:30 a.m. Thursday. The full Board will meet at 8:45 a.m. Friday. More information, including meeting times and locations, can be found on the Regents website.

 

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