Sunday, July 18, 2010

University of Minnesota Needs Better

Communication With Community

[Beer & Burgers at the Big Ten?]

Comment on Thomas Lee's piece in MedCity News: "Tim vs. Tim feud is good for Minnesota. Beers and burgers on me."

I think your post has resonated, Thomas.

What is notable here, is that Dr. Mulcahy spoke candidly and openly to the media – namely you – without being filtered by people like Mr. Wolters, who is currently chief spinmeister. Putting him out to take the bullets is the usual strategy followed by what I like to call the Morrill Hall Gang. If this strategy is unsuccessful then they have deniability.

If the U wants to get out of their current mess, more open dialogue between top administrators there and the folks writing the checks at the State capitol is in order. As Professor Ison of the J-school noted in a guest piece for the Daily ( ) entitled “The Closed U - As administrators circle the wagons, open discourse, and citizens, lose out”

…evidence is mounting that the University isn’t much interested in an open, public dialogue that must be part of the deal.

We’ve seen a few examples lately:

Key stakeholders of the University’s graduate programs were blindsided recently by the announcement that the Graduate School would be restructured.

Members of a task force on ethics reform in the Medical School complained recently of being kept in the dark about key issues, including the fact that a co-chair of the task force himself had been reprimanded for a “serious” conflict of interest violation. That came to light only after the Star Tribune reported it. Later, some task force members had to learn from the Daily that a draft report based on many months of their own work had been weakened.

The administration has flogged the Daily over its reporting, of course, even while faculty and others have found that reporting essential. That only furthers the University’s reputation as an institution that, while espousing education and knowledge, is intent on choking the flow of information to the public — even while it asks the public for hundreds of millions of dollars each year.


I could go on but you get the idea. Let’s hope that under a new president the folks in Morrill Hall begin behaving more like Tim Mulcahy than the way described by Professor Ison.

Keep up your good work, Thomas, it is much appreciated.

Bill Gleason, U of M faculty and alum


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