A heap of veeps

Incoming President Eric Kaler should consolidate top admin. positions.

Daily Editorial Board

University of Minnesota Provost and Senior Vice President Tom Sullivan became the sixth top administrator to step down from his position last week as the UniversityâÄôs leaders begin their transition out before President Bob Bruininks leaves in June. Incoming President Eric Kaler now has a great opportunity to restore some fiscal sense to the UniversityâÄôs administrative structure by permanently cutting some top-level administration positions.
Kaler has the option of deciding which of the 40 Bruininks-era vice president spots he can cut or combine in order to most cost-effectively fulfill the UniversityâÄôs mission. Is, for example, a Vice President of University Relations needed, and do they require a $250,000 salary, as the departed Karen Himle received? Should there be both a Vice President of Scholarly and Cultural Affairs (Steven Rosenstone, off to head MnSCU) and a Vice President of Equality and Diversity (Nancy Barcelo, who left for Northern New Mexico University in July)?
To be sure, there are certain vice president spots that should remain. For example, the Vice President of Health Sciences and Dean of the Medical School does important work managing the Academic Health Center. The Vice President for Research facilitates funding for research projects important to both the schoolâÄôs mission and the future of our state. But the number of highly paid top administrators under Bruininks is unnecessary and wasteful.
The number of administrative employees at the University has increased by 75 percent in the last 10 years. This makes it imperative for Kaler to reduce the increasingly bloated bureaucracy the current administration has produced and perpetuated.