Yudof selects Brandl as dean

Jeremy Taff

University officials pegged professor John Brandl on Thursday to become dean of the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, a school he helped found.
University President Mark Yudof and Robert Bruininks, executive vice president and provost, recommended Brandl after an intensive national search and interview process. The promotion requires Board of Regents approval, which will be voted on in June.
“I am confident he will make the Humphrey Institute one of the best public policy institutions in the world,” Bruininks said. “He has the strength, vision, experience and national and international recognition that combined make him an outstanding leader for the Humphrey Institute.”
Brandl has served as interim dean since G. Edward Schuh stepped down in September. He has long ties with the University and the Humphrey Institute.
Brandl first arrived at the University in 1969 after serving several years in government positions. He worked in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and was a deputy assistant secretary for education planning in the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare.
Brandl directed the University’s School of Public Affairs, the Humphrey Institute’s predecessor, until 1976. That year, he won a seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives, where he served until moving to the state Senate in 1986.
“I’ve got the best job in Minnesota,” Brandl said. “It’s the mission of this place to find ways for free people to seek the public good. That’s a grand aspiration and I’m delighted to be part of it.”
As dean, Brandl would oversee 22 faculty members and 204 students. Brandl said he would welcome the opportunity to continue leading the top-notch student body.
“Students have shown me that we haven’t had lofty enough goals for ourselves,” Brandl said. “We must help students become leaders in public affairs for the next generation.”
To do that, Brandl said he will make the school’s curriculum more hands-on. He also wants to start a mid-career program that would open educational options for those who have been in the field.
Brandl beat out four finalists from public affairs institutes in California, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
But to those who know him, his selection was no surprise.
Judge Gerald W. Heaney for the U.S. Court of Appeals has known Brandl since he entered the Legislature. “I don’t think they could have made a better choice, and there were some great candidates,” Heaney said.
Brandl echoed that sentiment, saying he was honored to be chosen given the caliber of people that were considered. “The other candidates were all friends of mine,” Brandl said.