Dressed in sandals, shorts, capri pants and earth-tone shirts, the University’s most powerful administrators addressed plans for the upcoming school year Wednesday at Camp Ripley in Little Falls, Minn.
Despite having a rough night’s sleep in the military barracks, University President Mark Yudof, the Board of Regents and other administrators managed to have a productive day during the regents’ annual retreat.
The administrators discussed ways to improve communication with the public and within the University. They also discussed the University’s role in Minnesota’s economy, its agricultural status and the biennial budget proposal. And like last year’s retreat, regents discussed the status of the University’s Rosemount area.
Unlike last year’s retreat, this meeting was facilitated by Lofy Associates, Inc. The facilitators helped mediate the discussion and provide structure to the conference.
A large portion of the day was devoted to discussing the upcoming summit on Minnesota’s Economy in late September.
The event, sponsored by Yudof, will be attended by members of the business community, academics and state lawmakers. The purpose of the summit is to discuss the University’s role in shaping the state’s technological economy, addressing such issues as tax policies, entrepreneurship and promoting a regional economy.
Yudof did express concerns about the summit, particularly the high expectations attached to the event.
“I think the level of excitement is quite high, and the scariest part about it is the level of expectations,” he said. “I worry about that more than anything.”
The biennial budget proposal, which will be submitted to the Minnesota Legislature this fall, also took up a large portion of the day.
Yudof said the proposal will contain requests for more funding for undergraduate education, more competitive faculty and staff salaries, and more funding for research opportunities. There will also be a request for a 3 percent tuition increase, along with requests for more facilities and better student services.
The main point is to make the undergraduate experience the best it can be, Yudof said.
Tonya Moten Brown, vice president and Yudof’s chief of staff, also issued a progress report on the University’s role in responding to Minnesota’s agricultural crisis.
The report detailed ways to improve agricultural production and sales, along with providing extension services to rural communities.
“The agricultural community is just wandering around in the swamp,” said Regent Bob Bergland. “No one knows what to do.”
As for the 7,500-acre Rosemount property, regents addressed the need to develop it.
“It’s an area that up until now has not had a comprehensive plan developed for it,” said Regent Maureen Reed.
Patrick Hayes covers administration and welcomes comments at [email protected]