Executive privilege:

Jeremy Taff

University President Mark Yudof will dust off his professor’s cap next fall to teach a class about the U.S. Constitution.
Trying to set an example for other administrators and faculty who say they don’t have enough time to teach, Yudof will take on the course, which is similar to a class he used to teach in Texas.
“I’d definitely take one of the president’s classes,” said Andre Chouravong, a freshman studying English and geography. “But can he do it? It’s challenging just being the president alone.”
But Yudof said he will try to take on the extra workload. He will teach the class with University head attorney Mark Rotenberg, who will help cover classes when Yudof has administrative duties.
“I am a busy person,” Yudof said. “I’m trying to encourage the faculty to do this.”
Marvin Marshak, a physics professor and past senior vice president for academic affairs, taught classes while tackling his administrative position. He said he could see why Yudof would want to practice what he preaches.
“You can’t just say, Teaching is important, so why don’t you go do it while I go to another meeting?'” Marshak said. “I think that’s called hypocrisy, and that’s nothing I want to be involved in.”
The class, similar to a freshman seminar, is intended to get greener students to more critically analyze the content of their coursework. Yudof said his goal is to have every freshman take a seminar like the one he will be teaching.
When teaching younger undergraduates, the subject matter is not as important as the learning process.
“The point is not that you are the world’s greatest expert on poetry,” Yudof said. “The point is your ability to read a text and get something out of it and discuss ideas and write about it.”
Students said Yudof’s class will benefit the teacher as well his pupils.
“He (Yudof) will be more in touch with students and student issues,” said Jessie Roos, chair of Academic Affairs for the Minnesota Student Association. “And although it may be a little intimidating, it would be a good experience for students.”
With a smile, the president also cited fringe benefits for students in the class. “If they have problems registering or something, I just call somebody and it gets done,” Yudof quipped.
As far as getting into Yudof’s course, the schedule has not been released yet. But the class will most likely fall under the College of Liberal Arts in the department of humanities.