The education collaboration

Kaler’s meetings with state leaders are a positive sign for the University.

As the economic recession continues, University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler and Gov. Mark Dayton have been working together on the education system in Minnesota and Kaler has been drumming up support for the University by meeting with influential leaders in the state.
It is a good thing that our president has the sympathetic ear of powerful decision makers in the state. Positive relationships with those responsible for the stateâÄôs education policy can help the University get the support it needs to be healthy and thriving.
Realistically, Kaler has to justify the University on its economic value and convince politicians that he is trying to maximize this value because that is the argument they are listening to at the moment.
But the University is unarguably more than just a good financial investment. As a research institution, the University holds intrinsic value outside of the $8 recovered for every $1 of state investment.  While the University is indeed an economic driver for the state, thatâÄôs not all it is. The intrinsic value and public good of the stateâÄôs flagship public university are just as important as its economic value.
All students would like to be convinced that Kaler believes this, and while he must make arguments that politicians are receptive to, he must not neglect the other values of a University while cultivating public support for us.  
At the same time, the responsibility for promoting the non-market-based values of a University does not all fall on Kaler. Dayton and the state legislature have a responsibility to do so as well. Their willingness to collaborate with Kaler is a positive sign for the University.