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Business partnerships, student grad rates and Amundson Hall/Gore Annex addition among items slated for board discussion

University of Minnesota Board of Regents to hold final 2012 meetings Dec. 13-14

December 7, 2012

At its final regular meetings of 2012, the University of Minnesota Board of Regents will discuss a proposal to create venture capital funds to jump start university and other business ventures. Regents will also review revisions to faculty leave policies in order to encourage faculty to participate in entrepreneurial start-up companies, or otherwise engage with for or non-profit organizations.

The topics will be among a variety of agenda items about the university’s ongoing work to strengthen business partnerships and encourage technology and research commercialization.

University President Eric Kaler discussed the venture capital plan with healthcare entrepreneurs and investors this week at the Mid America Healthcare Venture Forum in Minneapolis. Under the plan, modeled after the University of Illinois’ venture capital fund, the university’s Office for Technology Commercialization (OTC) will seek $2 million annually in seed money for early-stage university start-ups to undertake proof of concept development. OTC will also work to develop a venture capital fund of $50 million for supporting start-ups that "graduate" from the seed fund and require further investment.

In addition to discussing the new venture capital proposals, Tim Mulcahy, the vice president for research who will retire Dec. 31, will provide a report on the accomplishments and challenges of the university’s research enterprise during the last fiscal year, and since his arrival in 2005.

The board will take action on the appointment of Mulcahy’s successor, Dr. Brian Herman, during Friday’s full board meeting. Herman, coming from the University of Texas at San Antonio, will begin work Jan. 2 and will be formally introduced to the board at its February meeting.

Finally, regents are expected to act on the proposed entrepreneurial leave policy to support faculty in commercializing intellectual property or pursuing other private sector development opportunities.

Other items on the board’s agenda include:

  • Student graduation rate successes – Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education Robert McMaster will present the annual undergraduate education update, which is expected to include positive developments in the university’s retention and graduation rates. McMaster also will discuss the fall 2012 freshman class metrics and highlight various undergraduate initiatives, including the plan to expand the President’s Emerging Scholars program from three to all seven freshman-admitting colleges on the Twin Cities campus.
  • Schematic plans for the Amundson Hall, Gore Annex addition – Named for Robert Gore, a 1963 University of Minnesota alum and inventor of GORE-TEX®, the Gore Annex will add 40,000 square feet to Amundson Hall on the Twin Cities campus. The addition will expand the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science to handle increasing demand from highly qualified students at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Included will be a 3,000 square foot materials lab with state-of-the-art testing equipment and new offices to better accommodate undergraduate students and teaching assistants.
  • State capital budget request – Shortly following the 2012 General Election, Gov. Mark Dayton asked all government agencies (plus the university) for capital funding plans in preparation for the 2013 legislative session. University Chief Financial Officer Richard Pfutzenreuter and Pam Wheelock, vice president for University Services, will present the university’s proposed response to the Governor’s capital plan request.  The request will be forwarded to the Governor later this month, pending board approval.
  • Senior leader and employee compensation – On June 8, the board discussed senior leader compensation-related topics during the Report of the Special Committee on Executive Compensation & Administrative Transitional Leaves. Discussions will continue next week when Vice President for Human Resources Kathryn Brown will present two related topics: current compensation philosophy outlined in the board’s Employee Compensation and Recognition policy, and current steps underway to build a comprehensive compensation strategy for the U that includes all employees and is supported by data and metrics; and a report on faculty and staff compensation that will include trends and analyses of university compensation. The latter discussion will set the course for future reports and information on compensation across all employee groups.

For the agenda and related docket materials, go to www.umn.edu/regents and click on Board Meetings.

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