Regents boost

Jennifer Niemela

If the expectations are as high as the pay, Mark Yudof has his work cut out for him.
The Board of Regents on Friday announced a three-year contract for the University president, which will include a $50,000 raise the first year and an additional $50,000 at the contract’s end if he meets certain expectations. That will bring Yudof’s salary to $275,000 — in the top three of the 11 schools in the Big Ten — for the current fiscal year of July 1, 1998, to June 30, 1999.
For the first year of his administration, Yudof was working under a one-year contract.
Regents’ chairman William Hogan II made the announcement after the regents unanimously approved the Presidential Performance Review report, which overwhelmingly lauded Yudof’s first year in office. Citing Yudof’s success in garnering $242.8 million from the state Legislature and promoting a more “student-friendly” campus, Hogan said the regents want Yudof to stick around.
“We all love you and you’ve done an outstanding job,” Hogan said to Yudof as he announced the contract. “We’re fortunate to have hired you and now we want to turn to keeping you here.”
Yudof said he was pleased by the contract, which he said would make it difficult for him to leave the University if he was offered a job elsewhere.
“I’ve been treated so well here,” he said, adding that he hasn’t been offered other jobs yet. “I like it here.”
According to the contract, the second $50,000 will be placed into a fund in three annual deposits. After the first year, $10,000 will be placed into the fund, followed by deposits of $20,000 per year for the final two years. Yudof can collect the money only if he stays for the full three years, until June 30, 2001.
Both Yudof and Hogan acknowledged that expectations for Yudof’s second year are high considering the success of his first year and the confidence the board has shown with this contract and raise. Yudof downplayed any raised expectations while Hogan repeatedly emphasized that Yudof is a human being prone to mistakes.
“He’s not perfect,” Hogan said. “He’ll make mistakes, but if we have a dialogue, we can work through them.”
Other developments at Friday’s meeting:
ù The Board threw a bone to angry Falcon Heights residents who don’t want the University to build the new Women’s Soccer Complex near Larpenteur and Cleveland avenues.
The regents passed a resolution calling for a two-track planning process which allows construction planning for the complex to move forward even as the University and the city work to address the neighborhood’s needs.
The University will work with the city until Sept. 9, 1998, on a new design for the site, but if a compromise is not reached construction will begin as planned, according to the resolution.
“The University wants to be a good neighbor,” said regent H. Bryan Neel III. “That doesn’t mean we’ll agree, but we’ll make an effort to improve” the situation, he added.
Residents say the complex, the construction of which the regents approved at their Thursday meeting, would be too close to homes and not include enough parking.
ù Peter Zetterberg, director of the semester conversion project, updated the board on the University’s progress toward the switch from quarters to semesters, which will start in fall of the 1999-2000 school year.
Although almost all phases of the conversion are either completed or on track to be completed in the 14 months before the switch, Zetterberg said he’s most concerned that students won’t be prepared for the scheduling changes the switch entails.
While a full load in the quarter system requires students to take three or four classes per quarter, in the semester system students have to take four or five classes per semester to maintain full-time status. That’s because there are many three-credit courses in the semester system to which students aren’t accustomed, Zetterberg said.
“There’s always a slight drop in students keeping up their credit loads” when institutions switch scheduling systems, Zetterberg said. “Students are used to taking the same number of courses and five courses sounds like a lot more work.”
Another problem Zetterberg cited is that fall quarter will start the day after Labor Day every year — the day after the State Fair, which is next to the St. Paul Campus, ends. The problem, Zetterberg said, is the fair will have use of the Transitway during the first week of classes and the large St. Paul parking lot will be inaccessible to the University.
“It’s not practical for the St. Paul campus to operate during the State Fair,” Zetterberg said, adding the Campus Connector bus will probably have to be re-routed through city streets for that week.
However, he said the University has successfully dealt with the fair on other logistical problems and he’s confident the two organizations will work something out.
ù Officials from the Academic and Distributed Computing Services wowed the regents with a new CD-ROM they will send to all incoming freshman for a virtual orientation session.
The CD-ROM explains such mystifying subjects as financial aid and housing contracts, helps students get their e-mail accounts set up and takes them on a virtual tour of the east and west banks of the Twin Cities campus, among other things.
“It’s a totally cool, awesome introduction to the University,” quipped Robert Bruininks, executive vice president and provost.
The first 6,000 CD-ROMS will be sent out today to a batch of incoming freshmen.