Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Folwell Hall Sellout Or, I Guess It is Not Unique and Essential...

See yesterday's post below for the backstory on unique and essential buildings at the University. Apparently we are going to build four new ones for biomedical research.

Meanwhile, the University Administration has pulled the rug out from under the Folwell renovation, even though the governor had already indicated his approval.

It is instructive to look at the university's justification for the Folwell Hall project. From their website:


An Historic Building at the Center of Undergraduate Instruction

Folwell Hall was built in 1907. It is one of the oldest buildings on the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus.

Folwell Hall was named for William Watts Folwell, the first president of the University at a time when the U had eight faculty and fewer than 100 students.

Today, Folwell Hall houses nearly 150 faculty and staff, 824 undergraduate majors, and 218 graduate majors.

The Baccalaureate Writing Initiative

On the Twin Cities campus, the new baccalaureate writing initiative, to be housed in Folwell Hall, was launched this fall. It is an essential part of the University's strategic positioning plan.

A commitment to improving student writing is a distinguishing feature of a U of M baccalaureate degree.

The ability to write well is central to a quality education, in every major, and is demanded by all employers.

Language Instruction

Thirty-nine languages are taught at the University, 19 of them in Folwell Hall alone.

The Folwell Hall renovation supports state and federal security, educational, and trade interests through the teaching of Chinese, Vietnamese, Urdu, Hindi, and Turkish and other global languages.

Folwell Hall is the largest foreign language training center in Minnesota.


Preserving our Heritage

Renovating Folwell Hall will support key academic programs while preserving it as an important symbol of the U's long history of serving the state.

Folwell Hall is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Improving Undergraduate Education

A renovated Folwell Hall will better serve students and the state by educating global citizens with effective communication skills across disciplines and cultures.

A renovated Folwell Hall will define the freshman experience for each entering class.

Folwell Hall will become a multilingual and multicultural hub for the study and research of languages, literature, and writing.


Renovate the interior of Folwell Hall, one of the oldest buildings on the Twin Cities campus

Update obsolete classrooms to accommodate digital technology, better supporting leading edge changes in the way writing and languages are taught.

Provide improved accessibility, fire safety features, and mechanical and electrical systems.

Improve the learning environment by upgrading HVAC systems to eliminate noise, which disrupts teaching and learning
The Administration's treatment of the Folwell renovation is a good example of the fact that you should pay more attention to what people do than to what they say.

In Wellstonian: These people are not very good at walking the talk.

Of course this would take leadership, vision, and a sense of priorities commensurate with our land grant mission.

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