Monday, November 15, 2010

Some words from legislators about


Presidential Search

James Nord (Conor Shine contributed to the report)

In a climate of budget cuts and fiscal uncertainty, the next University of Minnesota president needs to collaborate with the Legislature and clearly articulate the University’s goals to succeed, lawmakers said.

The University will likely experience a decrease in state funding for the next budget cycle because of the deficit, despite requesting $1.3 billion from the Legislature — $100 million more than current levels. The Legislature cut $36 million in aid this year alone.
"Job No. 1" for the president will be working with state lawmakers, Kaler said.

State legislators involved in higher education named a number of areas they would like to focus on with the incoming president.

Sen. Sandy Pappas, the outgoing Higher Education Committee chairwoman, said she hopes Kaler will work to expand access and diversity at the University. She appreciates Kaler’s scientific background and the implication it has for the University’s research goals.

"Superficially … this looks like he’s a very skilled academic in a field that’s going to be important in the coming economy," Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, said.

Differences in opinion are likely to arise. It’s important to reduce the financial burden on students, said Sen. Claire Robling, R-Jordan, a likely candidate to chair the Higher Education Committee. She was unsupportive of Kaler’s advocacy for tuition increases to solve the State University of New York’s budget troubles.

"Well, we could have a little disagreement," Robling said. "That’s not something I would be looking toward."

Kaler, in turn, advocates for state support.

"The state has, in my opinion, very few better places to invest its money than in educating its citizens, so I think they need to be a very important partner in public higher education," he said.

Most higher education lawmakers said they’ll remain hands-off for the final leg of the process because the regents are autonomous from the Legislature.

"It’s clearly a done deal unless something blows up, which is highly unlikely," Kahn said.

 "I hope this guy is a super president," Kahn said. "I hope he meets everybody’s expectations. I hope he’s a whiz at fundraising. I hope he’s a marvel at dealing with the Legislature, with the regents, with all the factions he’s going to have to deal with."

Don't we all. I'm not being sarcastic. 

No comments: