Folwell falls to research

Minnesota must not lose sight of the liberal arts during economic hardship.

Gov. Tim PawlentyâÄôs recent recommendation for University funding âÄî specifically, his refusal to recommend the UniversityâÄôs top-priority project, the $34.5 million renovation of Folwell Hall âÄî is another example of short-term thinking and disregard for educating the future labor force of the state. Folwell desperately needs renovation, as many who have attended class there can testify. Now is an optimal time to complete the project, when labor and materials cost less as a result of the recession. PawlentyâÄôs recommendation, which included the construction of a new University physics and nanotechnology building totaling $80 million, continues the pattern of placing liberal education behind research. Expansion of research facilities has its place, but not at the expense of the basic functionality of a major instructional building, especially when it is listed as the UniversityâÄôs highest priority. Research is an important economic engine for the state, but general education is more so, and there need not be a trade-off between the two. The state of Minnesota must learn to direct higher education funding toward instruction and education in order to maintain quality in the educational infrastructure that Minnesota has already developed. To ignore the UniversityâÄôs most-needed repairs for an instructional building while simultaneously recommending a brand new research building demonstrates a disregard for the UniversityâÄôs educational mission and poor long-term planning. PawlentyâÄôs recommendation for University funding is more than âÄúa little disappointing.âÄù