State of the University

President Kaler outlined a number of new initiatives for the University.

Editorial board

 

President Eric Kaler gave his State of the University address last Thursday to a room full of 250 students, faculty and those interested in the University of

Minnesota.

Kaler said some important things that the higher education community needs to take to heart. Kaler aptly reacted to the House Republicans’ move to cut funding for the social sciences and a move in Florida to charge English majors more, citing a need for critical thinking skills in a complex job market.

In regard to the year-round calendar plan Kaler previously introduced, the University will step back but will — as the Minnesota Daily Editorial Board agreed — experiment with two year-round programs in the College of Design.

The biggest challenge to the University — as a Wall Street Journal detailed in a Dec. 28, 2012, article — is a top-heavy administration. Once the University receives a third-party report on its budget and structure, Kaler must make a practical commitment to controlling the costs of University administration and administrative salaries.

The biggest announcement was a $750,000 boost in graduate student fellowships, as well as looking at the structure of graduate programs. After the University dissolved the Graduate School in 2009, and while professional students were largely left out of Kaler’s address, this is a step in the right direction for graduate options at the University.

Finally, Kaler announced expanded office hours open for students, which is a great resource that curious students should use to question where their tuition dollars are going. Kaler called for “bold ideas,” and as students, we can be the ones to help shape the University with our own ideas.