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U of M Board of Regents to focus on land-grant mission

University seal

To fulfill its land grant mission, the University of Minnesota must address the needs of communities across the state.

University Regents will discuss several aspects of this work at its meetings next week, May 11-12. This includes conversations about undergraduate, graduate and professional education, as well as a review of a draft system-wide strategic plan covering all five University campuses.

In a work session on diversity in undergraduate enrollment on the Twin Cities campus, Board members are expected to discuss how the University can better channel its resources to address the growing needs of minority communities in Minnesota. As the state becomes more diverse and opportunity gaps persist, it’s critical to the state’s future that inequities are addressed. To that end, Regents will consider about the University’s current, comprehensive approach, including K-12 outreach, college recruitment and admission, student retention and support, as well as corporate relationships.

Diversity and inclusion is also a strategic priority for the Graduate School. During his update on graduate education, Dean Scott Lanyon will outline several new initiatives under consideration to both increase the recruitment of students from under-represented populations and to assist colleges and graduate programs in the creation of welcoming and supportive communities. National studies indicate that jobs requiring an advanced degree are expected to increase at a much faster rate in the coming decade than are jobs generally, as employers seek graduate students not only for their disciplinary knowledge, but also skills such as communication, leadership, teamwork/collaboration, project management, critical thinking, problem solving and intercultural competency.

This focus extends to each of the nearly 100 professional degrees offered at the U of M as well. Each of these programs employ strategies for recruiting, admitting, and graduating students that are tailored to the needs of their respective professions. Regents will hear from the Law School, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Technological Leadership Institute, School of Nursing and School of Dentistry about their unique admissions processes, student demographics, class composition and tuition, financial aid and student debt.

‘Greater than the sum of its parts’

Harnessing the University’s excellence and impact as one of the country’s leading public land-grant universities, with strengths across its five distinct campuses, is the focus of the University’s draft system-wide strategic plan. Regents will review of the proposed plan, focusing on three strategic intentions related to the University’s core mission, as well as a capacity-building plan for the system and specific steps to advance this work.

The system-wide strategic planning process formally launched in Fall 2016. Feedback has been collected from students, faculty, staff and leaders at each campus, as well as Extension, the College of Continuing Education, Research and Outreach Centers, Public Engagement Council, external stakeholders, and staff and faculty governance bodies.

The Board is expected to take action on the plan at its June meeting. 

The Board will also:

Receive an update on the University’s 2018-19 biennial budget request. As the Minnesota Legislature makes final decisions on a conference committee bill that will provide funding to higher education in the state, Regents will hear the latest on these discussions.

Review the recommended FY18 annual capital improvement budget. This $391 million proposal includes funds for repair and maintenance of existing buildings, as well as a Chemistry and Advanced Materials Science building on the Duluth campus and a Health Sciences Education facility on the Twin Cities campus, among others.

Act on Board of Regents Policy: Reservation and Delegation of Authority policy, adding the head coaches of Gopher football and men’s basketball as positions subject to Board approval.

Consider promotion and tenure recommendations for the best and brightest faculty across the University system.

Honor award winners from across the institution, including national academy members, national scholarship recipients, President’s Award for Outstanding Service honorees and NCAA champions.

Committee meetings begin at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 11. The full Board meeting begins with the award recognition ceremony at 8:45 a.m. on Friday, May 12. For more information, including meeting times and locations, go to the Regents website.

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