Consultation the focus of Grad School implementation team

Despite past criticism of administration, the team will address concerns of faculty, staff and students over the reconstruction.

The University of MinnesotaâÄôs administration has been accused of lacking transparency in their decision to restructure the Graduate School , but the implementation team has vowed to extensively research and consult with staff and students involved before presenting their decisions to administrators in April. In a letter to the implementation team last week, Senior Vice Provost Tom Sullivan instructed the team to consult with a minimum of 16 different groups and offices within the graduate program, including the Office of Admissions, Office of Vice President for Research, Office of Student Affairs and all Graduate School staff. After the team presents the recommendations, there will also be an opportunity for public comment, Sullivan said in the letter. Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies Henning Schroeder, a member of the team, said that the new openness is positive, regardless of whether the administration made the request in response to recent criticism. âÄúI think itâÄôs a very good sign that right now everyone is asked to consult and get input,âÄù Schroeder said. âÄúThis forward-looking approach at this point is probably the right attitude.âÄù But Sullivan didnâÄôt have to tell them to consult with others in a letter âÄî team members say itâÄôs something theyâÄôd planned on from the moment they were asked to participate in the committee. Faculty team members Schroeder and Regents Professor Kathryn Sikkink said they plan to consult with a variety of different programs and individuals, and Schroeder said heâÄôs already started asking others for insight. The two student representatives on the team, Graduate and Professional Student Assembly President Kristi Kremers and Council of Graduate Students Vice President Boyd Cothran , have already passed resolutions to form a joint advisory committee to help the pair represent studentsâÄô concerns and opinions. âÄúWe tried to get a broad variety of students from across colleges of the Grad School to basically work as our legs and answering questions we have that come up in these meeting,âÄù Cothran said. Students are encouraged to contact GAPSA by e-mail with any concerns, and the COGS website provides information about how to contact the ProvostâÄôs Office. But the students wonâÄôt be stopping there, Cothran said. COGS members are also taking the initiative to consult with assistants to Directors of Graduate Studies since they arenâÄôt represented on the committee, although many Directors of Graduate Studies are . On par with the rest of the committee, Kremers and Cothran are looking at the good the implementation team can accomplish, rather than focusing on administrations past actions. âÄú[We passed] resolutions that explain how unhappy we are with how some of the stuff was handled,âÄù Cothran said, âÄúbut also expressing how much we were looking forward to things being handled better in the future.âÄù