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University of Minnesota Regents to visit Capitol Feb. 7 in support of tuition freeze for students and research investments to benefit Minn. industry

Ongoing analysis of finances and organizational structure also on Board agenda

February 1, 2013

What: University of Minnesota Board of Regents meetings
When: Thursday, Feb. 7 and Friday, Feb. 8
Where: 600 McNamara Alumni Center, 200 Oak St. S.E., Minneapolis

The University’s Board of Regents will join President Eric Kaler and students from the U’s five campuses at the State Capitol between noon and 3 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7. The annual student-organized "Support the U Day" will allow participants to rally in the Capitol Rotunda and urge legislators’ support for a proposed two-year tuition freeze for resident undergraduate students.

The freeze is part of the university’s biennial budget request, which also commits the university to save $28 million in operating costs and meet performance and accountability measures. The request also provides $18 million in recurring funding to establish the Minnesota Discovery, Research and InnoVation Economy (MnDRIVE) fund. MnDRIVE aims to advance research that helps Minnesota companies enhance leadership in environmentally-sound mining and industry; robotics, sensors and advanced manufacturing; securing the global food supply; and the treatment of brain conditions.

On Jan. 22, Governor Dayton’s proposed budget included $80 million of the University’s $91.6 million request. In response to a previous request from the Governor, the U also submitted a $172.7 million capital request, primarily for maintenance of current facilities.

The regents, selected by the Minnesota Legislature, hail from all parts of the state: Chair Linda Cohen of Minnetonka; Vice Chair David Larson of Wayzata; Clyde Allen of Moorhead; Richard Beeson of St. Paul; Laura Brod of New Prague; Thomas Devine of Chanhassen; John Frobenius of St. Cloud; Venora Hung of Golden Valley; Dean Johnson of Willmar; David McMillan of Duluth; Maureen Ramirez of Mendota Heights; and Patricia Simmons of Rochester. Governor Dayton, Senator Terri Bonoff and Representative Gene Pelowski have been invited to address the Capitol rally, along with Kaler.

Developing metrics for financial analysis
In the Kaler administration’s ongoing efforts to analyze the university’s mission-related and administrative oversight spending while achieving operational excellence (i.e. working more efficiently to reduce administrative costs and free up resources to invest in students and the U’s mission), Chief Financial Officer Richard Pfutzenreuter will present information designed to provide a visual overview of the financial health and direction of the university. A "financial dashboard" will provide a current snapshot and historical trends about the institution’s financial performance, and gives the board an ongoing financial analysis tool.

Analyzing organizational structure
The board will also discuss a presentation on the job classification system redesign project and a recently launched spans and layers analysis of the university. A preliminary report on the spans and layers analysis will be included in a report to the Legislature on the university’s administrative costs and operational excellence initiatives that was requested by Senators Terri Bonoff, chair of the Senate Higher Education/Workforce Development Committee, and Majority Leader Tom Bakk.

Better serving donors
The boards of the University of Minnesota Foundation (UMF) and the Minnesota Medical Foundation (MMF) voted Jan. 23 to merge into a single entity. The merger is designed to better serve university donors by providing one voice for private giving at the U and ensuring greater operational excellence in the administration of gifts, including solicitation, stewardship and asset management.

President Kaler will ask the Board of Regents on Feb. 8 to ratify his approval of the merger. The merger takes effect today, Feb. 1, to coincide with the planned retirement of UMF President and CEO Steve Goldstein. The new organization will operate as the University of Minnesota Foundation.

"This merger is the right thing for our donors," Kaler said. "That we’ve come this far is a testament to the bold volunteer leaders we have on both boards and their commitment to raising private support to ensure student success and excellence at the university." 

Other items on the board’s agenda include:

  • Public engagement – Faculty and students will help present information about the U’s public engagement activities. Public engagement connects faculty, staff, students and research to business, government, non-profit organizations and the greater community. It is considered integral to teaching and research, as well as the university’s public service mission. Presenters will include Provost Karen Hanson and Andrew Furco, associate vice president for Public Engagement.
  • Combined heat and power plant – Regents will consider schematic designs and a capital budget amendment to complete the nearly $95.9 million project by January 2016. The state allocated $10 million toward the project in 2012.  
  • Vision and direction of eLearning – Hanson will outline her vision for eLearning opportunities for University of Minnesota students, from online courses to classroom technology.

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

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