Priorities for a new admin

President Kaler must bring the University’s mission back into focus

by Editorial board

This week, as President Eric Kaler begins his new job, we would like to suggest some priorities for the incoming administration.

Over the course of the last administration, more and more of the financial burden of the University of MinnesotaâÄôs budget started to fall on students, growing to an extent that is unacceptable for a public university. There are several areas that could be cut in order to relieve the strain, including cutting non-academic spending and reorganizing âÄî and reducing âÄî upper management.

Similarly, undergraduate education should be a top priority. Research is part of our mission, but it should not gain so much favor that undergraduate teaching and learning suffer. This is not only harmful to students, but downright neglectful of the UniversityâÄôs mission.

On the same note, it is time to make access to the University a priority. Mostly due to the previous administrationâÄôs agenda, the University has shifted toward becoming a more âÄúselectiveâÄù school so that it looks better in popular, but âÄî superficial âÄî rankings. Rising tuition has also limited access to wealthier students. This undermines the purpose of the public university, which is not to be Harvard or MIT, but to make higher education accessible to as many deserving students as possible.

Securing state funding has also been an uphill battle. As the University moves forward into even harsher financial times, making a strong case to the Legislature for funding will be imperative. Proper priorities and a clear, transparent budget are crucial to making this case.

The new administration must refocus on the UniversityâÄôs mission and start giving more than lip service to students.