A University of Minnesota alumnus and a scholar who rose quickly in academia, Eric Kaler performed well during last weekâÄôs visit and appears to be a solid choice for the presidential post.
But before he takes office in June, Kaler has some homework. He needs to familiarize himself with the budget process, the College of Liberal Arts 2015 report and other University resurrecting plans.
Even more than that, Kaler needs to make good on his promise to listen. Students âÄî the UniversityâÄôs most important constituents who contribute the most to its budget âÄî were almost completely shut out of the presidential search process. We urge Kaler to restitute his secret selection by holding public meetings to get to know all of the student body: undergraduate, graduate and professional. He needs to empathize with their classroom experiences, high tuition payments, high debt loads and general opinions of the University.
Kaler has said that âÄúThe University is first and foremost a research institution.âÄù He says liberal arts are âÄúthe reason there is a university.âÄù During last weekâÄôs public interview, Kaler also assured the audience he will preserve and even expand these programs.
Balancing the research and teaching at the University will be a key part of KalerâÄôs administration. And seeking out the opinion of the student body should be a key part of KalerâÄôs self-education program as he prepares himself to be the next president of an institution whose primary mission is to educate.