U gets $1.6 million for new program

Bei Hu

The University will receive nearly $2 million in grants from the Bush Foundation to fund projects to train elementary and secondary school educators and strengthen academic programs at the University.
The funding was approved by the foundation’s board of directors at the end of June. This year the foundation will make 51 awards totalling more than $12 million to various organizations.
The Bush Foundation was established in St. Paul in 1953 with an endowment from the farmer-turned-3M-executive Archibald Bush and his wife Edyth. Over the years the foundation has provided financial support for organizations in education, health, human services, arts and humanities. Grant recipients are primarily based in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.
“The University of Minnesota probably is the largest single recipient of Bush grant funds,” said Humphrey Doermann, president of the foundation. He said the University typically receives about a million dollars in payments from the foundation each year.
A grant of about $1.6 million will finance the Bush Educators Program, which is to be administered by the University’s Carlson School of Management. Professor John Mauriel Jr. of Carlson’s Strategic Management Research Center will direct the program.
Doermann said the educators program has evolved from two previous Bush Foundation training programs for elementary and secondary school educators.
Since the mid-1970s, the foundation has been offering part-time training programs for elementary and secondary school superintendents and principals. Mauriel has been instrumental in designing and leading the programs, according to a foundation newsletter.
The program will help outstanding teachers, principals and administrators develop leadership skills.
Instructional methods of the program include the use of case studies and group discussions to address topics especially relevant to today’s educators, according to the newsletter. These topics will include coping with diversity and other changes in the educational environment and society.
The Bush Foundation grant will finance the program for the next three years.
In addition, the foundation will award $350,000 to a two-year pilot program designed by the Administrative Development Program, part of the University’s Office of Human Resources.
Timothy Delmont, coordinator of the Administrative Development Program, said the funding will be used to support leadership improvements in the administration of academic departments.
More specifically, Delmont said the University will develop an advanced leadership education program. The program will consist of a series of workshops encouraging participants’ increased understanding of a variety of leadership skills, he said. Workshops will address decision-making approaches, communication skills, conflict resolution methods and problem-solving skills.
The leadership education program will be supplemented by mini-grants to five selected departments. The mini-grants will enable the departments to resolve complicated issues, such as updating curricula, enhancing department culture and deciding on faculty rules, priorities and reward systems.
Only departments in colleges and schools that report to the Office of the Provost of Arts, Sciences and Engineering and the Office of the Provost of Professional Studies will be eligible for the workshops and the mini-grants.
Delmont said the office will work out criteria for selection during the summer and the workshops will begin in late fall.