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Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

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“The Watchers” is a film adaptation of the 2022 book of the same name by A.M. Shine.
Review: “The Watchers”
Published June 13, 2024

The University advantage

It’s a great time to be a student at the University. Just look at the progress we have made.

Undergraduate student satisfaction levels are at all-time highs at our Twin Cities campus, according to our 2005 Student Experience and Senior Exit Surveys released in March.

On a scale of 1 to 6, with 6 being “excellent” and 1 being “very poor,” students gave the Twin Cities campus a 4.91 – up from 4.72 in 2003 and 4.45 in 2001.

The University has launched several initiatives in recent years to improve the undergraduate experience – to give our students what we like to think of as the University of Minnesota advantage.

We’ve beefed up our academic advising services, made it easier for transfer students to earn a degree in a timely manner and invested heavily in our buildings and facilities.

The new Freshman Admissions Welcome Center in Jones Hall and state-of-the-art classrooms in Nicholson Hall are among the latest projects we’ve completed to make student life better at the University.

As good as these are, I’m even more excited about a series of good ideas that have been proposed through the ongoing Transforming the U process. That’s why I’m so confident that student satisfaction levels will continue to rise.

Among the initiatives we believe will make a University of Minnesota education even more distinctive:

Enhanced writing instruction: We’re working to improve writing education throughout the University because our alumni – and employers – consistently say good writing is important. One of the many recommendations from our academic task force on writing is to coordinate existing programs to provide more one-on-one writing instruction for students that we hope will give University students an edge.

University-wide honors program: This idea is to integrate all of our collegiate-based honors programs into a unified program that will help attract a greater range of diverse and talented students to the University. As part of this initiative, we hope to offer more small classes, enhanced faculty mentoring and opportunities for priority or fast-track admission to the University’s professional schools such as Medicine, Law, Veterinary Medicine and Dentistry.

International university: The University has a long tradition of being connected around the globe. Our relationship with students from China, for example, dates back nearly a century. The University is a national leader in expanding study-abroad opportunities that deepen international understanding and prepare students to live and work in an increasingly competitive global economy. And we’ve expanded support for undergraduate study-abroad scholarships.

Diversity: We are making diversity a University-wide responsibility by focusing on collaborative leadership that maintains and celebrates individual and group differences that contribute to a vibrant and inclusive academic community. This translates into advising and mentoring programs, community building and sustained programming in areas that contribute to changes in campus climate.

Undergraduate research opportunities: We’re working to expand programs that support the involvement of undergraduates with a range of research opportunities. For many students, a research opportunity with a faculty member becomes a defining part of their undergraduate experience. We believe giving students more opportunities to engage in groundbreaking research will provide an invaluable education.

Scholarships: To date we’ve raised more than $117 million toward the $150 million goal of our Promise of Tomorrow fundraising campaign – the largest in University history. We’re now providing scholarships to more than 1,000 more students than we did before the campaign began two years ago.

These are just a few of the initiatives we’re working on to improve the undergraduate experience at the University. We know something is right because freshman applications to the Twin Cities campus for fall 2006 have increased 22 percent from a year ago – the fourth-straight record year of freshman applications.

So savor your time here. Things only are going to get better as we continue our journey to transform the University into one of the top three public research universities in the world.

Bob Bruininks is president of the University.

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