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Editorial Cartoon: Peace in Gaza
Editorial Cartoon: Peace in Gaza
Published April 19, 2024

U presents long-term finance and academic plan to regents

Providing framework for the University’s current and future financing, officials will give the Board of Regents information on the institution’s revenues and expenses in a work session today.

University Chief Financial Officer Richard Pfutzenreuter said the session will deal primarily with historical information from 1995 to 2001, including data from its three core missions – research, instruction and public service endeavors.

The presentation, the second installment in the three-part Financing the Mission series, stems from the regents’ interest in understanding the University’s long-term financing. The final part is expected to be presented at April’s meeting.

Pfutzenreuter said he will also discuss the University’s indirect costs, including new buildings and utility expenses.

While University spending in its core missions increased over the seven-year period, the institution’s indirect costs increased more rapidly, he said.

“I think our spending reflects what we’ve been doing here in the last seven, eight, nine years, and that’s investing in the infrastructure,” Pfutzenreuter said.

Legislative accountability

Regents will review the state-required Legislative accountability reports, which are due to lawmakers Feb. 15.

The accountability reports help the Legislature measure the University’s progress in developing a master academic plan for the Twin Cities area.

Provost Christine Maziar said the reports provide an update on the five interdisciplinary initiatives implemented by former University President Mark Yudof. Those include digital technology, molecular and cellular biology, new media, design, and agricultural research and outreach.

She said the reports also explain the importance of having a wide range of undergraduate programs.

“We used this as an opportunity to describe the importance of our undergraduate degree programs and the breadth of those programs and how they support each other,” Maziar said.

The report identifies social and behavioral sciences, engineering and computer sciences, business, biological and life sciences, visual and performing arts, humanities (including communication), physical sciences, and mathematics as future academic priorities.

The report also identifies three priorities: attracting first-generation students, appealing to minority students and improving graduation rates.

The University currently has a 28.6 percent four-year graduation rate, setting it far below the average for other major public research universities.

The Commission on University of Minnesota Excellence, an organization created in June 2001 by the State House to monitor the University’s progress, has set a goal of a 50 percent four-year graduation rate.

Both Maziar and University Vice Provost Craig Swan admit the goal is high but not unattainable.

“We do a disservice to students when we aren’t insistent upon their graduation,” Swan said.

Budget amendments

Regents are expected to approve a $16 million increase to the University’s 2003 capital budget in a committee Thursday.

University Services Vice President Kathleen O’Brien said approximately $1.4 million of the increase is needed to settle a construction contractor claim.

O’Brien said existing foundations uncovered during excavations for the new Molecular and Cellular Biology Building delayed some of the building’s concrete work. The work was completed in the winter, she said, driving up the cost.

M.A. Mortenson Company’s claim was originally more than $2 million but was negotiated down, O’Brien said.

The regents are also expected to approve the use of $14.3 million in private donations to complete the next construction phase of a visitor center at the University’s Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen, Minn.

The 40,000-square-foot project will house educational programs and attract people to the center, said Carl Rosen, horticultural sciences professor and interim department chairman.

“This is just going to expand our capabilities for letting people know the types of things we do,” he said.

Regents authorized a $5.2 million capital budget amendment for the first phase of the project in December 2001.

Kari Petrie covers University Administration and the Board of Regents. She welcomes comments at [email protected]

Paul Sand covers University Administration and the Board of Regents. He welcomes comments at [email protected]

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