Students present annual report of concerns to Regents

The Board of Regents held a regular meeting at the University’s Rochester campus Friday.

Kelly Busche

Student representatives to the University of Minnesota Board of Regents presented their top student issues and concerns at Friday’s Board of Regents meeting in Rochester.

At the meeting, the regents also toured and discussed a vision for the Rochester campus and approved the appointment of a new School of Dentistry dean.

Annual student representative report

The student representatives, eight undergraduate and graduate students from each University campus, shared their annual report of student concerns with the board.

“Not only do these reports signal the concerns of students, but they enter into the public record a student vision of what we want our University to be,” the report says.

This year’s report focused on:

  • Facilities, efforts and services centered on diversity and inclusion
  • Privacy of student information
  • Consistency in credit transfer between campuses
  • Corporate social responsibility in University suppliers

Joshua Preston, chair of the student representatives to the Board of Regents, said at the meeting that while the board has recently focused on raising conduct expectations for students and student groups, other University stakeholders, like suppliers, should also be considered in these conversations.

“I think for a lot of students, when they come to a University, they know money is being spent in their name, in their interest and for their benefit. They want those purchases to reflect their values,” he said.

At the meeting, Regent Richard Beeson said past students’ presentations on topics like student mental health resources have influenced the board’s work. 

“Work like this does have an impact, and I’m glad to see … specific recommendations,” Beeson said at the meeting. 

University of Minnesota Rochester campus vision

Designated as an official University of Minnesota campus in 2006, the board discussed the University of Minnesota Rochester campus vision at its Friday meeting.

“Throughout our short history and at the heart of the vision for our future, is a deep commitment to … learning and development,” Chancellor Lori Carrell said at the meeting.

Carrell said increasing campus enrollment, which is currently around 700 students, is central to the strategic growth plan.

UMR also faces higher education and health care challenges, Carell said at the meeting. These include funding, access and inclusion, policy ambiguity, rapid technology development and public trust.

Regent Darrin Rosha said at the meeting he would like to see the University “be very intentional” about the relationship between UMR and the surrounding area. 

“Where can we move from here to both address cost issues, but also ensure that we’re providing that support and really [enhancing] the Rochester and southeastern Minnesota community?” Rosha said at the meeting.

Dean of the School of Dentistry appointment

On Friday, the board approved the appointment of Gary Anderson to Dean of the School of Dentistry.

Anderson joined the School of Dentistry in 1984 as a faculty member and was appointed interim dean in November 2016. He will serve until Dec. 31, 2019, when a new dean will be appointed.

Regent Dean Johnson said at the meeting he’s personally heard support for Anderson’s appointment from four dentists. 

“I think that speaks volumes about Mr. Anderson and his capabilities,” Johnson said.