May agenda full for regents

Faculty pay and a budget meeting will hold the board’s attention this month.

University tuition rates have increased 77 percent since 2001 and University faculty member compensation is 22nd in a list of 30 peer institutions.

The University’s Board of Regents will have these issues and more to discuss when it reconvenes next week after a monthlong hiatus. Along with their usual monthly meeting, the regents will host an annual budget public forum later this month.

In terms of faculty member compensation, the University mostly has maintained, and in some cases has increased a bit, said Richard Howard, director of institutional research and reporting.

“I think the goal of the University is to be competitive with other public universities,” Howard said. “We haven’t been as competitive as we would like.”

Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Sharon Reich Paulsen said the University Plan, Performance and Accountability Report will be one of the most important items on the regents’ agenda.

“It’s a very important report and something the administration takes very seriously,” Reich Paulsen said. “We’ll be using information from that review to determine action plans for the future.”

Facilities

After months of snatching land parcels around the University in anticipation of the Legislature’s approval of an on-campus football stadium and the Biomedical Sciences Research Facilities Authority, the Real Estate Office is slowing down, said its director, Sue Weinberg.

“We had so many real estate agenda items in previous months, we don’t expect to bring a huge number of additional purchases before the board,” Weinberg said.

Aside from the purchase of Chester Park Elementary School – which is adjacent to the University’s Duluth campus – most of the facilities agenda items concern repairs and renovations to existing buildings rather than the purchase of new ones.

University officials are asking for money to renovate Kolthoff Hall, the Equine Center and Mayo Auditorium.

Kolthoff Hall is structurally sound, but obsolete mechanical systems can’t provide adequate ventilation to laboratories using toxic chemicals, according to the regents’ report.

It is also one of the most energy-intensive buildings on the Twin Cities campus, with outside air needing to be conditioned as makeup air for the fume hoods. The total project cost is estimated at $29.7 million.

Budget public forum

The Board of Regents will have its annual University budget public forum at 1 p.m. May 23.

The May 23 annual budget meeting will allow the public to voice comments and qualms about the University’s budget for fiscal 2007, which starts July 1.

People wishing to speak at the meeting will have three minutes to talk and need to write or call the board office in advance, Vice Chairwoman of Regents Patricia Simmons said.

“It’s so we have the opportunity to hear from many people and not just one or two,” Simmons said.