Bruininks backing out of top three goal?

If the goal âÄî and main premise âÄî of the strategic positioning plan is to become one of the top three public research universities in the world, then why is the University of Minnesota President Bob Bruininks, who authored the plan with Provost Tom Sullivan, saying that rankings donâÄôt matter? The Board of Regents approved BruininksâÄô plan in June 2005 to become a top three public research university within ten years. In ThursdayâÄôs Daily, Bruininks was asked the following about the goal: âÄúIn 2005, the University stated its goal of becoming one of the top public research universities within a decade. With just over half of that left, are you still optimistic about that goal?âÄù Bruininks significantly said: âÄúTo me, itâÄôs about stature. ItâÄôs not about status. ItâÄôs not about ranking.âÄù He went on to refer to the goal as a âÄúvery high aspirational goal.âÄù Is Bruininks finally realizing that the goal was lofty and unrealistic? As recently as last year, in the Daily, when Bruininks was asked whether the goal was attainable, he responded by saying, âÄúWhy wouldn’t it be?âÄù and then âÄúWhat separates the top three from the rest âĦ including the University of Minnesota, is relatively little.âÄù At this point, Bruininks seemed confident, but now clearly seems to be downplaying the idea of âÄútop three.âÄù Though we believe the goal of becoming a top three public research institution âÄî although admirably striving âÄî is unattainable and unrealistic of reaching within ten years, it is much worse to push the goal for three years and then slyly back-peddle out of it. If President Bruininks is serious about revising the strategic positioning plan, he should define any changes explicitly. Otherwise, he needs to stick to his guns and, at least, continue to pretend the goal is achievable.