Bruininks reorganizes U administration titles, roles

Patricia Drey

University President Bob Bruininks has observed University administration for more than 30 years, he said.

Now it is his turn to shape administrators’ responsibilities.

Bruininks will divide administrators’ attention between the four coordinate campuses and the Twin Cities campus, he said.

Regents approved Bruininks’ proposed reorganization, which will take effect March 1, at their meeting Friday.

The two roles that will change the most are those of Executive Vice President and Provost Christine Maziar and Vice President and Executive Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Programs Robert Jones.

Maziar’s title will change to senior vice president for academic affairs and provost; she will trade some of her responsibilities at the coordinate campuses for those at the Twin Cities campus. As senior vice president for system administration, Jones will trade Twin Cities duties for system-wide ones.

In her new role, Maziar will head the Office of Student Affairs, she said. Adding this to her current command of the academic departments will help her better connect what students do inside and outside the classroom.

“I’m really excited about the set of possibilities with this new position,” Maziar said.

She said she would like to create more programs to help students with the transition out of college.

The University does a good job helping students transition into college, she said, but there is room for improvement when it comes to students heading out into the job market.

Twin Cities students might not see the changes when Jones switches roles, but he hopes Minnesota residents will, he said.

Jones said he wants to increase public awareness of the University’s outreach activities statewide.

“That’s how we return on our investment,” Jones said. “We link the expertise of the University to how we serve the local and state communities.”

It is critical to communicate this message to ensure the University remains supported, Jones said.

Before becoming University president, Bruininks held Maziar’s current executive vice president and provost position.

Former University President Mark Yudof created the position in 1997 to have an administrator to whom he could delegate both Twin Cities or system-wide responsibilities and who could take over for him, if necessary.

During his time in that position, Bruininks said, it was difficult to balance the coordinate and Twin Cities responsibilities.

While he expected to spend about 60 percent of his time on Twin Cities issues and 40 percent on system-wide issues, he spent about 40 percent of his time on the Twin Cities campus, dividing the rest among the Legislature, Board of Regents and coordinate campuses, he said.

“I was spending less time on the Twin Cities campus, and I didn’t have enough time to devote to the statewide responsibilities,” Bruininks said. “That’s why this reorganization is so crucial.”