Bruininks and Board of Regents work for better U

Board of Regents members serve the University for six years without pay.

by Molly Moker

Although most students will never meet them, the University’s Board of Regents and President Bob Bruininks are at the University, running the campus and helping to maximize the college experience.

The Legislature elects the 12-member Board of Regents, responsible for governing the University.

Regents serve the institution for six years without pay and meet 10 months out of the year to vote on policies, discuss institutional workings and approve programs and expenditures, among other things.

The board also has seven student representatives who sit in on committee meetings and offer their insights. This is the main way that regents interact with students.

Regent Anthony Baraga, vice chairman of the board, said the regents are responsible for making the University’s big decisions.

“The Board of Regents is like the board of a big corporation or the city council serving the city,” Baraga said. “We try to set policies for the University and the administration.”

For now, Baraga said the board’s biggest issues are passing next year’s operating budget and the capital investment plan.

Bruininks works for the Board of Regents, bringing important issues and information to its attention.

The president’s priorities include improving the student experience, helping to keep the University’s tuition affordable, improving business practices and processes and promoting the University.

“I think it is my responsibility to make the education of students at the University our highest priority,” Bruininks said. “I also have the day-to-day responsibility of running our very large and complex institution.”

Bruininks said 50 percent of his time is spent talking about the value of the University and the impact it has on the state.

Bruininks began his term as the University’s 15th president in November 2002.

He started working for the University in 1968 as a professor in educational psychology. He also has worked as a dean and executive vice president and provost.

In 2003, Bruininks was appointed to the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board by President George W. Bush. He was also named Minnesotan of the Year by Minnesota Monthly magazine last January.

So far, during his time as president, Bruininks has had to budget the University under historic state funding cuts.

“You have to go back to the Depression to find anything of comparable impact as the financial situation that the University’s been in the last two years,” he said. “I’m proud that we’ve made some difficult but courageous decisions and maintained (the University’s) quality.”

To help students with the consecutive tuition increases, Bruininks announced in May that the University is starting its largest scholarship drive in the institution’s history.

The multi-year drive will increase the number of students who receive scholarships by 50 percent and will include a matching program to encourage more donors to give money. Bruininks’ goal is to raise $150 million.

Other goals Bruininks has for the future include keeping the University academically strong and becoming one of the top five public research institutions in the nation.