Duluth hosts May’s regents meeting

Jim Martyka

By this weekend, the University community might see a revamping of central administration, green lights for several key facilities projects and a first look at the second part of the school’s biennial funding request.
These and other items are on the agenda for the Board of Regents at its May meetings today and Friday at the Duluth campus’ Kirby Student Center.
At today’s Committee of the Whole meeting, regents will vote on whether or not to approve University President-elect Mark Yudof’s plan for central administration.
The main features of the plan would eliminate the positions of senior vice president for Academic Affairs, currently held by Marvin Marshak, as well as the provost positions for Professional Studies and Arts, Sciences and Engineering.
To assume the responsibilities of the eliminated positions, the plan would also create one post called the executive vice president and provost. Yudof has already named current College of Education and Human Development Dean Robert Bruininks to fill the position.
Another focus of the plan would be to have more people report directly to the president. While some administrators will continue on in their positions, other spots will be open for national searches.
“Yudof has the desire to get more policy-making and more power back in the hands of the deans in individual colleges,” said Tonya Moten Brown, Yudof’s new chief of staff.
Administrators said they expect the regents to pass Yudof’s plan.
“A new president should have the administration he needs for his vision,” Marshak said.
During Friday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, regents will also receive a preliminary look at the second part of the University’s biennial budget request, which will be submitted to the Legislature during the 1998 session.
This second part of the request focuses solely on bonding for building projects around the University.
“The first part, which is in the Legislature now, deals with business and state operations,” said Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Bob Kvavik.
University officials are still awaiting the allotment of funds from the state for this year’s request. But, for the second part of the request, the University receives a certain amount in bonds from the state.
The draft before the regents this month calls for about $172 million in state bonding for work on such projects as renovating Walter Library, upgrading classrooms and coordinating campus projects.
Kvavik and Eric Kruse, associate vice president for Facilities Management, will present the plan and an outline of projects to the regents. In June, the regents will vote on a final plan.
During the presentation, Kvavik and Kruse will also discuss the University’s capital budget, current projects and an overall building operation plan for the next seven years.
Also during the meeting, Virginia Gray, chairwoman of the Faculty Consultative Committee, will give a report on faculty attrition, which is becoming a major problem for faculty and administration at the University.
“Its always a concern but particularly this year,” said Gray.
Administrators have said factors such as the tenure controversy and non-competitive faculty salaries have contributed to an estimated loss of faculty members. Gray’s report will address this concern.
Other topics at the Committee of the Whole meeting will include: recent expensive University purchases, regent expenditures, the approval of the University Plan — which provides an update on University programs — and the appointment of a new regents’ professor.
However, the last part of the meeting has a special feature. For the first time at a regents meeting, a report will be broadcast on interactive television.
Donna Peterson, director of Institutional Relations, will give her report on the progress of the University’s budget request from Morrill Hall on the Twin Cities campus. Afterward, regents will be able to ask questions from Duluth.
Several other University issues will be covered in the individual committee meetings.

ù In today’s Facilities Committee meeting, regents will discuss several proposed University construction and renovation projects.
The committee will review schematic plans and cost estimates for the renovation of the Mineral Resource Research Center on the University’s East Bank.
University officials hope to convert the building into a residence hall with 135 bed spaces. The proposed project, which would help alleviate the school’s student housing shortage, would cost $9.5 million and would be completed by fall 1998 if the board approves the plan later this year.
The committee will also discuss a proposal to increase the scope and budget for the Williamson Hall Renewal Project. The $2.7 million project would repair the 30-year-old building’s underground roof, requiring that the terrace connecting Church and Pleasant Streets be torn up and replaced.
The committee will also review a $4.8 million infrastructure upgrade to the Duluth campus, which would include a new underground utility tunnel and electrical system improvements.
In addition, they will receive reports on the opening of the Basic Sciences Building and renovations to Burton Hall.
ù The Faculty, Staff and Student Affairs Committee today will approve recommendations for promotions and tenure to be given to a list of University faculty members.
According to regents policy, the committee must approve recommendations each May.
Marshak will also report to the committee on faculty and student issues. One item of the report will be the addition of 48 residence hall spaces that were found after an intensive review of room designations, reducing the number of temporary expanded housing spaces.
ù In today’s meeting of the Audit Committee, regents will receive reports on grants management and continue their discussion of integrated framework.
According to Senior Vice President for Finance JoAnne Jackson, integrated framework is “our method of looking at projects and things we want to do around the University. It’s an approach to analyzing and reviewing projects.”
ù Rounding out the two-day meetings will be the Board of Regents’ Friday meeting, which will hear reports on current grants and contracts, recently issued patents to University projects and gifts given to the school, as well as reports from the various committees.
— Staff Reporter Joel Sawyer contributed to this article.