New CEHD center to focus on improving higher education

The Thomas P. Jandris Center for Innovative Higher Education will look for solutions that impact education statewide and globally.

Adam Daniels

A University of Minnesota alumnus has personally put up $2.5 million to establish The Thomas P. Jandris Center for Innovative Higher Education âÄî intended to be a hub for study of higher education study at the University.

The center will be part of CEHD and will support innovation in postsecondary education. The current plan is to focus on one primary research project each year and collaborate in and outside the University to have a regional, national and global impact on education.

Tom Jandris received his Ph.D. from the University in the 1970s. Though he is currently deanof the College of Graduate and Innovative Programs and vice president of innovation at Concordia University in Illinois, he has maintaineda relationship with the College of Education and Human Development and has decided to leave his legacy here.

“He really enjoyed his time here,” the center’s co-director David Weerts said. “He credits the U for inspiring him to be innovative with education.”

Weerts and David Arendale, the center’s other co-director, are faculty from the Department of Organizational Policy, Leadership and Development and the Department of Postsecondary Teaching and Learning, respectively. They both began their new positions in August.

Thursday morning, they met with a group of more than 35 professors, regents, legislators and graduate students in Coffman Union to discuss what the center’s goals will be. Jandris was not in attendance.

The group focused on how to address challenges in higher education and bring innovative solutions, Weerts said.

A report will be compiled based on the input of those involved with the meeting, and will be released this winter. Weerts said he hopes interest and participation will continue as the center develops.

The center will be located in Wulling Hall and construction is already underway.