… in the Minneapolis Star Tribune notes that the most charitable description of what’s been going on at the clubby University of Minnesota medical school would be “bizarre.”
Friday, June 29, 2007
For the Record
On the One-Sided Tuition Reciprocity Squabble
Mr. Bonzo has posted extensively on this situation.
Good diplomatic work, governors Jim Doyle and Tim Pawlenty.
Needle Stick! The Latex Gloves Come Off...
Apparently Some Duplications are OK
But Not Others (Medical Schools)?
Humpty Dumpty said,
in rather a scornful tone,
`it means just what I choose it to mean
-- neither more nor less.'
Possibility of St. Thomas/Allina Medical School
From the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal:
The University of St. Thomas and Allina Hospitals & Clinics' idea to jointly build a new medical school in the Twin Cities is generating some concern in the local health care community, particularly within the University of Minnesota's medical program.
Some health care leaders, including Dr. Frank Cerra, who leads the University of Minnesota's Academic Health Center are skeptical that producing more graduates would solve the looming shortage.
Instead of building a new school, he said, the health care community should focus on solving issues of reimbursement for primary-care doctors and how to pull other medical practitioners, such as nurses and pharmacists, into the mix.
"Just increasing the capacity to train physicians isn't really an answer to the problem," Cerra said. "There is a work force issue, yes. But we need to wrestle with the cost of medical education and the debt incurred."
Cerra said he would rather see the U's hospital work with Allina's
Mary Brainerd, CEO of Bloomington-based HealthPartners, agreed with Cerra that other options should be studied besides training more doctors.
She is skeptical that a primary care physician shortage is due to too few students entering that field. It could be that the aging population is simply creating a need for more doctors who can be a "quarterback for the care you get," Brainerd said.
"I'm not sure what that quarterback role will look like," she said. "Maybe it's more nurse practitioners working with specialists. With the shortages, we'll have to get creative."
But Tom Rochon,
The demand for more physicians will be one of the main issues addressed by the feasibility study. If it finds the school wouldn't help the community, it won't be built, he said.
The study also will look into the cost of opening a new school, recruiting faculty and students and space needs of a new school.
"One of the challenges we'll face is [determining], 'How do we make sure we're filling this gap we've identified and not just producing more researchers?' " Rochon said. The school, instead, would aim to put more practicing physicians in the
"We don't think we're competing against or detracting from the [programs at] the
Rochon acknowledged that the partnership with Allina makes for a sensitive situation with the U of M, which sends medical students to Allina hospitals for training.
But the new school and partnership with
For its latest clinical training program, university medical school graduates filled only 45 of Allina's 142 primary care residency positions. As talks of a new school go forward, Allina might be able to create additional spots, said Allina spokesman David Kanihan.
Wheeler is working to schedule meetings with various officials at the U of M to talk about how the new school would affect their long-standing relationship, and Allina CEO Dick Pettingill has met with Cerra at least twice so far, she said.
"[The proposed school] is meant to be complementary, not competitive," Wheeler said.
Still, some from the university feel left out of the planning process.
"We've offered to help Allina and
But those numbers have dropped while class sizes have stayed relatively flat. In 2005, 50 students entered an internal medicine residency and 40 went into family practice. By 2007, those numbers dropped to 39 students in internal medicine and 35 students in family practice.
As Mr. Spock would say: "Interesting."
Other Voices, Other (Hospital) Rooms
Cha-Ching and the Business of Childrens Hospitals
Mr. B. has previously commented on the involvement of BigU in the local childrens hospital wars.
And another one hits the road...
(Mr. B. thanks a friend for calling this to his attention.)
Flickinger leaves BTI for N.C. State
The BioTechnology Institute's Michael C. Flickinger, Professor of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics, has accepted a joint appointment with North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina, as Professor of Microbiology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering in the College of Engineering located on the Centennial Campus. Beginning this August, he will also be Associate Director for Curriculum of the new Golden Leaf Biomanufacturing, Training and Education Center (BTEC), the largest bioprocess and biomanufacturing training center of its kind on a U.S. academic campus.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
So What's It Going to Be at BigU?
Mr. B. has previously written about the Yugo strategy that was unfortunately endorsed today at the U of M by the Board of Regents.
Thanks to OurLeader for further evidence that discussion of such matters is not for the stakeholders. Big Brother knows best. So much for transparency and openness. There are many unintended consequences on the horizon.
Out of state (non-reciprocity) tuition is to be set at $2000 per semester higher than in state tuition. This is a cut of about $8000 per year. It will be interesting to see how much traffic this generates from out of state students. Needless to say the new rate is significantly less than out of state tuition at so-called medallion schools that the U would like to emulate:
Many of the nation’s best and brightest students consider the University of Minnesota a “medium-quality school,” not in the same class as Michigan or Wisconsin.
The university is not viewed as a “medallion” destination [According to BigU, the BigTen medallion schools are Michigan, Penn State, Illinois, and Wisconsin] by top academic prospects. Even honors students who choose Minnesota rate its academic quality lower than the schools they turned down, according to an internal university analysis.
“Medium-quality, high-affordability” schools like the University of Minnesota must keep tuition low or offer big scholarships to lure good students. “Medallion schools” can charge higher tuition and offer fewer merit scholarships.
Oh well, if you can't compete on quality, compete on price. There was even talk in the early stages of the proposed Ten Year March to Greatness that a high quality residential college should be formed to attract outstanding students. Someone must have finally realized that this would cost a lot of money, more than we are apparently willing to spend except for football. BigU is not Carleton, St. Olaf, or Macalester. Education at BigU remains a business. It will be interesting to see the reaction of ColdState citizens to this move, once its implications become more fully understood.
The U will significantly cut tuition at the Twin Cities and Duluth campuses for students from states outside the Upper Midwest. Starting for students entering in 2008-2009, those "non-resident, non-reciprocity" students will pay only $2,000 more per semester than Minnesotans for the Twin Cities campus and $1,000 more than Minnesotans in Duluth. Right now it's nearly a $6,000 difference on the Twin Cities campus and nearly $5,000 for Duluth.
Officials say that while the U's commitment to Minnesota students remains solid, the university is concerned about projected declines of high school students in Minnesota and neighboring states and how it might affect the university's future enrollment. Reducing non-resident tuition would make the U potentially more attractive to students outside the Upper Midwest.
One of the deans at an open forum on the budget claimed that going out of state, to Illinois for example, was going to be necessary in order to keep up minority enrolllment at BigU. Excuse me sir, you have heard of the late, lamented General College? You do know that we have a large minority population in North Minneapolis that might be fertile ground for BigU to do some of this vaunted outreach and community involvement. Perhaps then we could educate our own minority citizens at BigU rather than the citizens of Illinois, or Florida, or California. Or is that too much to ask of a land grant institution that aspires to be one of the top three public research universities in the world, but is having trouble rising to the top half of the BigTen?
Professor Vivek Kapur, Director of the Biomedical Genomics Center at BigU, has just announced that he will be decamping for one of those BigTen medallion schools BigU wishes to emulate - Penn State.
Some difficult choices face our leaders at BigU: Coke or Pepsi? Research or Teaching? Duplication of medical schools or children's hospitals? Becoming the third greatest public research university in the world or pursuing our mission as a land grant university? The medallion or the Yugo?
Children as Pawns in the Latest Expensive Healthcare Competition Involving BigU
Last update: June 26, 2007 – 9:53 PM
The announcement follows one earlier this year by University of Minnesota Children's Hospital that it will build a new $175 million facility on its Fairview Riverside campus.
"Both [hospitals] have repeatedly acknowledged that the community would be better off with one world-class pediatric health and medical center which would attract first rate researchers, clinicians and medical educators to serve the needs of our kids and their families," former U.S. Sen. Dave Durenberger said.
"On the theory that better beds don't necessarily make better health care, one wonders why the community should invest upwards of $500 million with achieving the 'national center of excellence' it may be eager to support," he added.
The project will be funded through operating cash flow, bonds and philanthropic support, the hospital said.
However, competition for young patients is growing. In addition to the University's planned expansion at Fairview Riverside, the Mayo Clinic just opened its $15 million T. Denny Sanford Pediatric Outpatient Center. South Dakotan Sanford also gave $16 million to Sioux Valley Hospitals in Sioux Falls, S.D., for the Sanford Children's Hospital.
Critics warn that funding for the expansion projects may be difficult to obtain as philanthropic resources are stretched thin by competing fundraising efforts.
"Competition exists now," he said. "We don't think we're changing the landscape. Facilities to treat children need to be kept up to date."
Peter Gove, co-chair of a Citizen's League committee that looked at medical facilities' decision making last year, said the current system for determining where and when hospitals and other medical centers get built is done without input from those who pay for it: Consumers.
In other words the health care system will try to extract money from us by using our children? Check.
We've Been Talking About This for Thirty Years,
Could We Please Do Something?
Full disclosure: Mr. B. is very familiar with the Science classroom building having made first acquaintance nearly forty years ago. He is a proud graduate of BigU’s chemistry department and has had some experience teaching chemistry at the undergraduate level.
From the Daily
June 27, 2007
Pres. wants to raze eyesore
By Mitch Anderson
The building, a fixture of the East Bank campus since 1962, would be demolished to make way for a new Science Teaching and Student Services Center.
Wayne Gladfelter, a professor of chemistry who has taught in the Science Classroom Building for most of his 19 years at the University, said the project would be a much-needed upgrade to the current facilities.
The facility would include several state-of-the-art science classrooms in addition to other student service offices offering academic advising, career counseling, financial aid and billing - offices which are currently scattered across the Minneapolis campus.
Gladfelter said the current building is in desperate need of renovations to the heating and ventilation systems in addition to being just plain ugly.
University officials conservatively estimated the project would be completed by 2012, but talks are currently underway to start sooner in order to save money on inflation.
Michael Perkins, associate vice president of Capital Planning and Project Management, said the new classrooms will feature several technological advancements to provide a more active learning environment for students.
Sorry sir, I have some news for you. This comes from the real world and not your uncited "substantial" research. It comes from someone who has actual experience teaching real undergraduates at places ranging from Carleton to BigU over nearly forty years. Although I might be a curmudgeon, I am not a Luddite. I use technology where appropriate and have even won an award from BigU for technology enhanced teaching.
The best way to present introductory courses in general, organic, and biochemistry is the lecture method.
Guess what - it is the people stupid! And good teachers will make appropriate use of technology using their best judgment.
Gladfelter said the University needs to be careful when balancing resources for instructing students with accessibility for large classes.
"With many of these buildings that they're talking about constructing, there seems to be a relatively small proportion spent on classrooms," he said. "That's something we cannot afford to lose."
Orlyn Miller, director of planning and architecture at the Office of Capital Planning and Project Management, said the University placed a higher priority on the project this year after it failed to get funding last year.
Miller added that it didn't hurt that Bruininks is a strong supporter of the project.
Uh-huh, he has been a really strong and vigorous supporter… If he had put as much effort into getting the Science Classroom Building situation taken care of as he put into the football stadium we would have had a gold-plated science classroom building two years ago.
Mike Stone, a neuropsychology student who has attended classes in the Science Classroom Building, said just because the building is an eyesore doesn't mean it isn't still useful.
"I think the technology is too old in terms of projection and sound systems, but otherwise (the building) is adequate," Stone said. "On the other hand, lecture halls and labs are more necessary than some of the other projects on campus."
Anthropology junior Tom Taff agreed with Stone's sentiments.
On the one hand it is good that this situation is finally going to be taken care of. On the other hand I fear that the people making decisions do not know what they are doing. I certainly hope that they consult with the folks in chemistry such as Wayne Gladfelter - to make sure that a new science classroom building is done right. A new building done badly will be even worse than the current eyesore.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Friday, June 22, 2007
Look Who's Already Rewriting History
"Those Who Forget the Lessons of History Are Doomed To Repeat It"
"Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."
University of Minnesota statement regarding tentative Wisconsin reciprocity agreement announcement:
University News Service
Let's change this to 'expresssed by the administration of the University of Minnesota,' please. Some of us, citizens and stakeholders, did not go along with OurLeader’s reasoning in this matter.
“From the beginning, we [Who is this we, kemo sabe?] have sought to preserve tuition reciprocity between Minnesota and Wisconsin, with a fairer and more equitable arrangement.”
"The University appreciates the diligence of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education in working towards this compromise and looks forward to final approval of an agreement by both states and the appropriate higher education governing boards."
Thanks also to Governor Pawlenty for brokering the deal, something that was apparently beyond the capability of OurLeader, BigU's administration, BigU's crack team at the legislature, and BigU's house analyst.
This may sneak through at the next meeting of the Board of Regents, since it was intentionally brought up by OurLeader at the very last minute so that there would not be time for discussion or reflection by the university community. I guess this is what OurLeader considers to be transparency and openness?
The view from this side of the St. Croix
Mr. B. has posted earlier today on the apparent resolution of the tuition reciprocity debacle. The Pioneer Press has a little more detail and analysis of the situation in an article recently posted. They seem to be more on the ball about these things than some of their competition, e.g. the Daily or the Strib. There may be some excuse for this at the Strib where terrible hits have recently taken place in the newsroom...
Deal reached to settle Minnesota, Wisconsin tuition dispute
BY PAUL TOSTO
Article Last Updated: 06/22/2007 01:54:12 PM CDT
Minnesota and Wisconsin students hoping to cross the border for college can breathe a little easier. Officials said today they reached a deal to renew a long-standing tuition pact that helps keep college affordable in both states.
For students, the new agreement's effect should be negligible. They'll continue to pay the same price they would for a comparable public college in their home state.
Most of the change is behind the scenes as the two states rework the way the compensate each other. Wisconsin, for instance, paid Minnesota a total of more than $20 million over the past three years to close the tuition gap for Wisconsin students studying here. That money, however, went to Minnesota's general fund, not to the schools.
Under the new deal, the money paid by Wisconsin will start flowing to the colleges as a "tuition reciprocity supplement," starting with freshmen entering in fall 2008.
"To the student, it'll appear like the same arrangement," Gov. Tim Pawlenty said today on his weekly radio show.
The deal still needs official approval from both states, but it appears the agreement will keep the 40-year-old tuition pact intact.
It had been in danger of falling apart. Minnesotans had faced rapid tuition hikes for the U the past few years but the pact insulated Wisconsin students from those jumps. The result: the U campuses became $1,200 to $2,700 a year cheaper for Wisconsin undergraduates than for Minnesotans.
Earlier this year, the U had threatened to leave the pact, and U regents had a vote scheduled on it for Wednesday.
The idea the U might pull out led to worries the two states could abandon the neighborly agreement and start charging each other's students at the much higher non-resident tuition rate and causing public college costs to skyrocket.
The new deal, though, solves three basic issues:
Minnesotans and Wisconsinites will be charged the same tuition at the U - something U leaders insisted was only fair.
Wisconsinites will still pay less, thanks to their home state's subsidy. Wisconsin negotiators said their primary goal was to keep tuition affordable for their students.
Those Wisconsin payments will go to the colleges, not to Minnesota's general fund, so Minnesota schools won't lose money on their Badger State students.
"The amount of money that we're sending now will just be divided differently and sent to different places," said Connie Hutchison with the Wisconsin Higher Educational Aids Board.
The deal has the backing of U President Robert Bruininks. A U spokesman said the regents were prepared to postpone Wednesday's vote to leave the pact.
Perhaps the biggest loser in the new agreement is Minnesota's general fund. As the tuition gaps between the two states close and money starts going to the schools, Wisconsin's obligation to the general fund will ebb. By 2012, Minnesota will be paying Wisconsin, according to the Minnesota Office of Higher Education.
Fortunately, the governors stepped in and brought this fiasco to a halt. Obviously, this was beyond the capability of OurLeader to deal with other than by threatening to pull the plug.
One happy Bonzo
Tuition Reciprocity Snit Resolved
Well, I've seen everything...
Mr. B. has commented many times on the situation. What always seemed silly was that the State of Wisconsin paid the State of Minnesota the money necessary to cover any tuition imbalance. And yet, instead of trying to get the state to pony up, the University, the Daily, the Strib, all complained about how terribly unfair the situation was and that the students from Wisconsin should pay the same tuition as those from Minnesota, ignoring the fact that the difference was being paid by the state. Are they angry because the State of Wisconsin is trying to make higher education affordable for their citizens? Are they embarrassed by the fact that the in state tuition at Madison is less expensive than the U? I think that BigU's administrators were afraid to bring the matter up with the state because they felt helpless and embarrassed.
Mr. B. is not a fan of our governor - TPaw. Mr. B. is not of the no new taxes persuasion. But TPaw as well as Governor Doyle should be given credit for not putting their heads in the sand and ignoring this mess with the University threatening to pull out unilaterally if they did not get their way. Today a resolution has apparently been reached:
States reach agreement on tuition reciprocity
States reach agreement on tuition reciprocity
Doug Stohlberg Hudson Star-Observer
Published Friday, June 22, 2007
Gov. Jim Doyle and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced last week that the nearly 40-year-old tuition reciprocity agreement between Minnesota and Wisconsin will continue, pending final approval by higher education officials in both states.
"In both Wisconsin and Minnesota, we have world class university systems and have worked hard to keep them affordable," Gov. Doyle said. "This agreement ensures that as our students pursue higher education, they will have many quality schools from which to choose."
"Reciprocity has been extremely valuable to thousands of Minnesota students and their families, and it benefits the entire region," said Gov. Tim Pawlenty. "We have worked hard to find a solution that keeps the agreement intact and we are pleased to continue this important partnership."
Under the proposed agreement, there is no change for Minnesota students attending public colleges and universities in Wisconsin. Minnesota residents will continue paying the same price they would pay at a comparable public college in their home state. The same is true for Wisconsin students attending school in Minnesota. But the financing structure of the agreement has been modified to address a growing gap between tuition paid by Minnesota residents and Wisconsin residents attending the University of Minnesota.
Because the resident undergraduate tuition rate at the University of Minnesota is currently higher than tuition at the University of Wisconsin, Wisconsin residents are currently paying $1,500 to $2,200 less to attend University of Minnesota campuses than Minnesota residents. The proposed new pact addresses this tuition disparity by charging all students the higher of the two resident tuition rates. In the case of Wisconsin students attending higher-priced institutions in Minnesota, the state of Wisconsin will provide a "tuition reciprocity supplement" for students to cover the increase in tuition charges.
In Minnesota, the reciprocity agreement must be approved by the governing boards of the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. Both bodies are expected to approve the agreement at their next regularly scheduled meeting. In Wisconsin, minor statutory changes will be offered for inclusion in the state budget bill and the agreement requires review and approval by the Joint Finance Committee of the Wisconsin Legislature.
The renegotiated agreement will not impact current students or students admitted for fall 2007. Wisconsin residents enrolling at the University of Minnesota in fall 2008 will see an increase in the gross tuition charges on their invoices, but the invoices will reflect a tuition reciprocity supplement from the State of Wisconsin, resulting in net tuition charges equal to what students would pay at a comparable institution in their home state.
The proposed pact does not present new costs for Wisconsin taxpayers. Under the existing agreement, a cost-based interstate payment calculation prevents either state from bearing a disproportionate share of the cost of educating students from the other state. This calculation, which will continue under the proposed agreement, has required Wisconsin to make annual payments to Minnesota's General Fund for the last several years. The state of Wisconsin will continue to make payments to Minnesota, in the form of reciprocity supplements paid on behalf of Wisconsin students attending higher-priced public institutions in Minnesota.
The reciprocity agreement between the two states has been in effect since 1968 and is reviewed and negotiated annually by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education and the Wisconsin Higher Education Aids Board.
Mr. B. is extremely pleased with this proposed solution.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Hawkeye's Do Land a Boilermaker!
Dr. Sally Mason is the new president of the University of Iowa, the second woman to hold this position. See a previous post for background.
University of Iowa Selects a New President
Posted on: June 21, 2007 5:20
By Tara Smith
Interesting. A female biologist, currently Provost at Purdue:
During her tenure at Purdue, Mason invested both professionally and personally in diversity and innovative research and education.
She raised funds for and implemented a number of major diversity initiatives at Purdue, including creation of a Native American education and cultural center and a Latino Cultural Center, joining a black cultural center already on campus. She started two programs funded by the National Science Foundation that work to increase retention and graduation rates among students in science fields, especially minorities. And she recently implemented a new initiative that focuses on recruitment, including more minority faculty appointments, professional development programs, and incentives for teaching and research on diversity.
In 2004, Mason and her husband, Kenneth, gave a $2 million gift to create the Sally K. and Kenneth A. Mason Fund in support of Purdue's Discovery Learning Center (DLC). The DLC, one of 10 interdisciplinary research centers in Purdue's new Discovery Park, was created to advance research that revolutionizes learning in the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, and math). Through externally funded research projects, innovative programs, and collaborative partnerships, the DLC is seeks to redesign educational practices and create innovative learning environments that, according to the DLC's Web site, "have immediate impact and nurture lifelong learning for students and citizens of a global community."
"HEY, HEY, BABY WHA'D I SAY?"
(with apologies to the late Ray Charles)
A rather strange exhortation has recently been sent to members of the Academic Health Center at BigU:
AHC News Capsules
June 21, 2007
NEWS CAPSULES is a biweekly newsletter for faculty, staff, and students of the Academic Health Center.
This month we’ve celebrated a number of transitions within our Academic Health Center community and that always provides an opportunity for reflection on the predictable cycle of human transitions. As people arrive at the University, there’s a period of adjustment as new questions challenge old assumptions of the way we operate. That’s healthy and of great benefit to those of us who must articulate once more why we do what we do in the way we do it. Over time, those new colleagues become imbued with the culture of this university, and develop into true assets with their expertise and developed connections. And then, people leave and with them go a piece of experience and history that is never quite replaced before the cycle begins again. The true challenge for all of us who remain is to continually challenge our assumptions and work to “think new” as engage [sic] within the culture of the U.
Frank B. Cerra, M.D.
Sr. Vice President for Health Sciences
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Mr. B. is sorry to report the passing of Professor Marian Stankovich yesterday. She was a hard-working and pleasant person, a good researcher and a fine and conscientious teacher. She will be missed. This just in from the Department of Chemistry Web Site:
University Community Saddened by Death of Professor Marian Stankovich The Department of Chemistry and the University community was saddened to learn of the death of Professor Marian Stankovich on Tuesday, June 19, 2007. Marian was a long-serving member of the department and university. She was a dedicated and sensitive mentor, a hard-working and well-respected scientist, and, to many of us, a friend. We all mourn her passing. Funeral arrangements are pending.
Further information about Marian is now available on the chemistry department website.
Hawkeye's Land a Boilermaker?
The U of Iowa's (apparent) New President
The Chronicle of Higher Education has a post:
Iowa's New President is Sally Mason?
June 20, 2007
U. of Iowa to Name Purdue's Provost as Next President
Sally Mason, provost of Purdue University, will be the University of Iowa’s next president, according to The Des Moines Register. Ms. Mason’s appointment, which is to be announced at a news conference on Thursday, is the result of a difficult search to replace David J. Skorton, who left Iowa last July to become Cornell University’s president. After the university’s first search failed, staff and graduate-student groups voted no confidence in Iowa’s Board of Regents.
Mr. B. mentioned this matter recently. The only knock on Dr. Mason was lack of experience in dealing with a medical school since Purdue has none. (Lucky her...) Apparently the Board of Regents decided that her other good qualities outweighed this perceived deficit. Given that university presidents are supposed to walk on water and raise money, it seems pretty difficult to come up with someone who makes everyone happy. Based on her achievements at Purdue, however, it appears that Iowa has come up with yet another outstanding president after David Skorton, who went to Cornell, and Mary Sue Coleman, who went to Michigan. It is interesting that Iowa has, apparently, succeeded in hiring two women presidents and that the presidents of Brown, Harvard, and RPI are all women. Perhaps BigU could learn something from this? Maybe having a string of outstanding presidents from the outside is better than promotion from within? Mr. B. also notes that the generous Dr. Mason and her textbook author husband have in the past donated more than two million dollars to Purdue. That is certainly a too rare example of an administrator putting their money where their mouth is.
Mr. B. is a little surprised at this decision because the final report to the Iowa Regents seemed to slightly favor another candidate. The official word should be out tomorrow.
Full disclosure: Mr. B. is a graduate of the University of Iowa (MS, Biochemistry, 1970). He feels that the U of I does an outstanding job for the citizens of Iowa, as does Iowa State which has an excellent reputation as an outstanding place for undergrads in the sciences and engineering. One of Mr. B.'s good friends, the best chemist he knows, is a Corporate Scientist at 3M and an Iowa chemistry PhD. Perhaps a little intra-state competition is a good thing and helps to prevent unrealistic self importance and, dare I say it, hubris?
A pleased Bonzo - if this turns out to be true...
Is BigU Still a Land Grant University?
If so, is OurLeader's avowed goal - becoming one of the third best public research universities in the world - appropriate?
An old timer comments with a letter to the Minnesota Daily:
Land grant University
A recent long lunch with fellow writers and editors of The Minnesota Daily, circa late 1950s, got me and some of the others thinking again about the direction our alma mater has taken under its recent leaders, notably President Bob Bruininks.
One of my old Daily crowd entered the College of Liberal Arts and the School of Journalism by way of General College. A high school dropout, he had to take that route, but it worked for him. He proved to be a talented journalist and a brilliant writer whose career couldn't have happened without the University.
General College no longer exists. Bruininks and his followers tell people like my old friend to go to community colleges, knowing full well that the teaching doesn't compare, and the way into a university education is far more difficult.
The University now is wrapped up in building a new football stadium at a cost of more than $250 million, an absurd waste of public money. Meanwhile, as tuition rises at insane rates, fewer and fewer Minnesotans can afford to attend our University - which, under Bruininks, doesn't want them anyway, of course. The University president doesn't want it to be a teaching school so much as a "world class" research institution - and as such, apparently, a monument to himself.
In December, I objected strongly to the large raise given President Bruininks. Recently, I suggested to my state legislators that they look up the stated and legal purpose of a land grant university. I will ask again, and demand that they require adherence to those standards. The University of Minnesota ain't in the Ivy League.
reporter and city editor
The Minnesota Daily, 1955-58
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
M & M's ? Minnesota and Mayo
Mr. B. attended a Regent's open forum earlier this month. It was chaired by Dr. Patricia Simmons who will officially be the chair as of July 1.
She is an articulate and intelligent doc with a specialty that should serve her well - pediatrics. She has serious chops in the medical field as do most Mayo docs.
She is a graduate of Carleton and has an MD from the University of Chicago, so she knows about first class institutions. If Mayo and BigU are to do more collaboration, nothing could be better than to have a person of Dr. Simmons' caliber heading the Board of Regents.
From the Sar-Tribune:
Editorial: A fine time for a Mayo 'U' regent to rise
Count on Patricia Simmons to push the U-Mayo connection.
Published: June 19, 2007
With a bow to William Mayo's long service at the start of the 20th century, we know of no more propitious time than the present for the leadership of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents to be placed in the hands of a Mayo Clinic physician.
Mayo pediatrician and professor of pediatrics Patricia Simmons will take the governing board reins at the state's most important public institution on July 1, for a two-year stint. She rose to the chair after only four years on the board on the strength of her leadership ability, not her Mayo connection. But that connection is bound to serve Minnesota well.
With a nudge from Gov. Tim Pawlenty and the help of state grants, Mayo and the university's Academic Health Center have set old rivalries aside in recent years and begun a very promising collaboration. The four-year-old Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics combines the clinical strength of Mayo and the research muscle of the university to seek cures for some of humankind's most vexing disorders: Alzheimer's, prostate cancer, cardiovascular disease and more. The commercial application of their work is likely to fuel the growth of the biosciences industry in this state. (More information about the collaboration is available at minnesotapartnership.info.)
At the same time, the university's teaching and research presence in Rochester has been growing. The University of Minnesota, Rochester now has coordinate campus designation and is in the process of hiring its own chancellor.
Simmons already sees a lively exchange of students, patients, faculty and ideas between Mayo and the university, and she wants to see more. She said in an interview last week that she looks for more joint academic ventures to arise, and to also involve Rochester industries, particularly IBM.
She's not opposed to a little rivalry between Minnesota's two medical giants. "We should be so good at some things that we are competing for top students and teachers," she said. "But when it comes to competing on the national scene, for federal funding, we're much stronger when we stand together."
The value of a major university, dedicated to research and community service as well as to teaching, ought to be on vivid display in Rochester in coming years. Simmons as regents' chair should help see to it.
A hopeful Bonzo.