Board of Regents briefs

Leaders might get class credit
Officials unveiled on Thursday plans for a new undergraduate minor in leadership studies. Offered by the College of Education and Human Development, the minor would mix classes with student government and outreach involvement.
McKinley Boston, vice president for Student Development and Athletics, said he hopes the University’s retention and graduation rates will increase as a result of the minor. The pilot course will be offered spring quarter, and the minor will be implemented in the 1999-2000 academic year.
“This is good stuff; some of the best I’ve ever heard,” said Board of Regents member Robert Bergland, who said his leadership experiences as a University student helped him choose a career in public affairs. Bergland served as a congressman and later as secretary of agriculture under President Jimmy Carter.
Regents hear of insurance hike
Officials told regents that health insurance costs, physician choice and domestic partner coverage were among key problem areas for employees enrolled in the University’s health care plans.
Because of a transfer from Medica Premier to a state health plan, 31 percent of University employees experienced an 85 percent increase in monthly health care premiums.
“There is a fair amount of unhappiness about this,” said Carol Carrier, vice president for Human Resources.
Internal and external task forces at the state and University levels are examining alternatives to current plans, but future changes are uncertain at this point.
South Mall plan moves ahead
Regents approved a plan on how to move forward with development of the South Mall, which includes new student housing, a parking ramp and renovations for Coffman Union.
Administrators, advisory and development committees, an urban design consultant and technical teams will plan construction.
Clint Hewitt, associate vice president for master planning, said these groups will be working for the next six months to come up with a concept for the renovations. The main feature will be a new residence hall, which will house between 300 and 475 students.
MnSCU, U pact given nod
The board’s Educational Planning and Policy Committee voted in support of the University’s recent agreement with the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. The pact extends joint degree offerings and other current cooperations between the state’s two biggest higher education systems.
University President Mark Yudof and MnSCU Chancellor Morrie Anderson signed the agreement Jan. 15.

— Sarah Hallonquist