Friday, March 7, 2008

A Rising Tide Lifts All Ice Floes

Being Driven to Discover(TM) I was in the lab doing research with five undergraduates during OurLeader's widely advertised state of the university address.

Apparently student attendance was rather disappointing. Maybe they were studying, or working in laboratory, or working full- or part-time jobs in order to pay their ever-rising tuition and fees?

Or maybe, as one of the approximately ten students who did attend, put it:

They just don't care.

This "ambitious aspiration to be one of the top three research universities in the world [sic]" has started to become a joke in bad taste. And the more OurLeader harps on it, the more students, faculty, and taxpayers tire of it. As warmer weather sets in (let us pray), roadkill starts to smell.

Enough already, Bob. Let's stabilize tuition, pay attention to the core at the university, and aim to be one of the better universities in the BigTen in line with our mission as a land grant institution.

Let's start having an actual dialog at the University about where we are and where we want to go and how we are going to accomplish this with the resources we have.

How about it, Bob?
As Barack would say: "Yes, we can!"

For some of the things we do, students need direct supervision. It would have been nice to attend and ask OurLeader questions, e.g. "What happened to Folwell Hall?" But it is should be clear by now that the Bruininks/Sullivan administration simply doesn't care what the faculty think.

For a good recent example of this Administration's attitude, please see the post:

on the Periodic Table, Too.

The Daily reports on OurLeader's State of the University Address:

University President Bob Bruininks delivered his sixth-annual State of the University address to roughly 250 people Thursday afternoon at the Mayo Auditorium.

A focus on the University's goal to become one of the top public research universities dominated the speech.

The president played off the famous tale of a Dutch boy who plugged a sea wall with his finger, saving his village from a flood.

"The tide is rising on all sides," he said. "We can plug the holes we see and pray for the flood to retreat, or welcome the water and rise with it."

Bruininks thanked state officials for their support of the University's biomedical research program.

Bruininks didn't discuss the Folwell Hall renovations that were left out of the bills.

Bruininks acknowledged tuition affordability as a continuing challenge for the University.
Although scholarship support for low-income students has increased in recent years, there should be more focus on students between extreme income brackets, he said.

"Middle-income families bear the brunt of any increase in tuition and fees," he said. "We must strive to create a consistent and substantial level of scholarship and grant support for all middle-income Minnesota students."

Brett Bennett, a neuroscience and biochemistry senior, said he came to the speech to hear what Bruininks had to say about the University's strategic positioning plan.

Bennett, one of roughly 10 students at the event, said low student turnout could result from some students' busy schedules - but some just don't care, he said.

Bennett said he saw a lot of advertising for the speech.

During the question-and-answer session that followed the address, Bruininks was asked how he liked being the University's president.

Bruininks said it's been one of the best jobs he's ever had, but it's one he can't do forever. The University benefits from creativity and fresh ideas that come with turnover, he said.

Amen. Bonzo

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