I spoke to hundreds of our University of Minnesota graduates last week and witnessed first-hand the excitement of these young people and the emotions of their families. These graduates are the future of Minnesota's prosperity. From architects to English majors, from nurses to accountants, from chemical engineers to social workers, this month we catapulted about 15,000 graduates into the state's workforce.
(As prepared for delivery)
The academic year has ended in Crookston and Duluth with their commencements last week, and it’s coming to a close in Morris, Rochester and the Twin Cities. About 15,000 of our students have done their work, reached their goals, and earned their degrees, and now are ready to move on to what most analysts say is a welcoming and vibrant job market for college graduates.
If I may say so, they will be moving from higher education to … just … plain … hired.
President Kaler's remarks at the news conference announcing the hiring of Gopher Athletics Director Mark Coyle
I’m very excited to announce the hiring — pending Board of Regents approval — of — and delighted to welcome —the new leader and director of Gopher Intercollegiate Athletics, Mark Coyle. In many ways, Mark is coming home. Some of you got to know him as he rose through Gopher Athletics in the early 2000’s, from Director of Marketing and Sales to Associate Athletics Director for External Relations.That was just the start of his extensive preparation for this role as Gophers AD.
I am pleased to announce the launch of the search for the chief compliance officer for the University of Minnesota system. This person provides oversight of all compliance-related activities across the University's five campuses, as well as leads our conflict of interest and policy programs. The chief compliance officer partners with senior leaders across the University to promote a culture of compliance and the highest standards of ethics, integrity, and responsibility within the University community.
Today we launched the search for the new position of Senior Vice President for Finance & Operations. This creates the opportunity to more strategically align finance and other operational functions of the University, fostering collaboration and creating greater efficiency and effectiveness.
I am pleased to announce the launch of the search for our next General Counsel. This is an extremely important position that serves as chief legal officer for the University of Minnesota system and provides comprehensive legal services to the Board of Regents and the University’s senior leadership.
I have assembled a search committee of individuals from within the University and from the broader legal community, and who bring experience and expertise that will be vital for recruiting the new General Counsel. I would like to thank Law School Dean David Wippman and Bruce Mooty for agreeing to co-chair the committee and lead this significant process.
As you know, some people call this period March Madness and some days that label certainly resonates with me, but I assure you there has been a logical and remarkable method to our March, and I’d like to spell it out for you.
Let’s start with the M in March, which stands today for UMM, or Minnesota Morris.
President Kaler's prepared testimony to the House Higher Education Committee
Thank you, Mister Chair, members of the committee.
First, thank you for the strong support this committee and the Legislature has provided to the University in the past. For example, the bonding bill last year included $26.5 million for the University for the Veterinary Isolation Laboratories and the Minnesota Poultry Testing Laboratory in Willmar. Each of these projects is moving forward, and we are extremely grateful for your leadership and support of these projects, as they are both critical to our mission and to our shared statewide priorities.
Good evening everyone, and welcome to the University of Minnesota, our state’s land-grant engine for innovation, job creation, and educating and preparing the next generation of Minnesota’s leaders.
It is an honor to host Governor Dayton’s 2016 State of the State address on our Twin Cities campus and a pleasure to have under one roof all 201 of our legislators who represent districts that include thousands of our students and employees, our campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Rochester and the Twin Cities, our Extension offices and research centers, and more than 250,000 alumni — including many of you — who live and work in all 87 of our counties.
At the University of Minnesota, we are proud to promote a climate of open, thoughtful and civil debate among our students, who bring great passion and energy to their positions and causes. This week, student leaders in the Minnesota Student Association at the University will be asked to consider two resolutions, one brought forth by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and the other by Students Supporting Israel (SSI).
After nearly five years at this humbling job, what keeps me energized, what drives me?
I know all the critical issues we face together … from ethical research to campus climate to faculty governance to tuition policy. They are pressing and they are at the top of my priorities list.
But, honestly — and maybe it’s the same for many of you — it’s the little things that tend to give me the biggest boosts.
Statement: We want Jerry Kill to remain a part of the University community in a way that works for everyone
Jerry Kill is an asset to the University of Minnesota athletics program and the broader community. Jerry and I had numerous extensive conversations about a potential role with the University, and we could not identify a full-time opportunity that met both his needs and those of the University. We want Jerry to remain a part of the University community in a way that works for everyone. The athletic department and others are already identifying and discussing opportunities with Jerry.
President Kaler will deliver his annual State of the University speech on Thursday, March 3, 2016, at 1 p.m. at Coffman Memorial Union Theater.
I am pleased to announce the launch of the search for our next Athletics Director. This is an extremely important search for the future of Golden Gopher Athletics, and it is time to find the right person to provide leadership to our 25 teams and 720 student-athletes and to forge relationships with our thousands of donors, hundreds of thousands of fans and the broad public for whom Gopher Athletics is a window into the University of Minnesota.
Today is February 12th, and, as we all know, this is Abraham Lincoln’s 207th birthday.
He was the leader of our nation when the Morrill Act — which helped to create land-grant universities — was established, and I am a true believer in the power and endurance of that Act, which guides the spirit of our University and our mission today.
Recent public statements and harmful acts directed toward Muslims across the country are deeply disturbing. To see one group explicitly targeted by divisive rhetoric reminds us that we must purposefully and repeatedly assert the value of diversity and respectful exchange of ideas on our campus.
The University of Minnesota relies on the integrity of all of its students, staff, and faculty members to create a truly exceptional teaching and learning environment.
We are a community whose mission depends on the diverse ideas and identities that our faculty, staff, and students bring from around the state, the nation, and the world. When one part of our community is hurt, our entire community suffers.
On Tuesday, as you know, we received two comprehensive, thorough and instructive reports about the finances, culture, policies and procedures in Gopher Athletics. The external review by two independent attorneys and the financial audit by Associate Vice President Klatt told us of some strengths and shortcomings. The nearly 50 recommendations in both reports provide a road map for improvement and accountability that we must now address aggressively and swiftly.
Remarks to the Special Board of Regents meeting on the external review and audit of Gopher Athletics
Thank you, Mr. Chair. First of all, thank you Ms. Schanfield and Mr. Dixon for your diligent work, your thorough examination, and your insights. You conducted this review with the utmost integrity and independence. And Associate Vice President Klatt, thank you for your always excellent work. I also want to thank the oversight committee – capably led by Regent Laura Brod and including Regent Abdul Omari, for their diligence on these issues over the past few months. Both the external review and the audit will help us improve and become a stronger University.
The third international trip of President Kaler's presidency had strategic goals of rejuvenating alumni chapters in Hong Kong and Seoul, and strengthening partnerships with some of Asia's top institutions of higher education. The traditional connection with Seoul National University is well-known among Koreans, and the strengths of the University of Minnesota align nicely with those of the five institutions he visited during a whirlwind week of activity.
I want to clarify some news, and much misinformation in the media, about a recent vote the University's undergraduate government, the Minnesota Student Association (MSA), took about honoring the victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks.
Tracy Claeys is the right person for this important job. I applaud and fully support Interim Athletic Director Beth Goetz’s decision to bring continuity and stability to our football program, which is clearly on an upward trajectory. I have great confidence in Coach Claeys and his staff to recruit talent and excellent student-athletes while building on a strong foundation. But make no mistake, Tracy Claeys is his own man and will bring his own energy and commitment to excellence while embracing Gopher Athletics’ culture of compliance, both on and off the field.
Go here for the full announcement from Gophers Athletics.
As you know, I, along with many others in our community, have made campus climate a top priority. We have laid a solid foundation and a lot of good work is underway. But there's still much to do.
Our priorities have focused on engaging the campus community; increasing the diversity of the faculty, staff, and student populations; enhancing competency in what it means to create a respectful, inclusive, and welcoming climate; and leveraging the Strategic Plan to advance this work.
A person’s health is far more important than a football game or season, and while I am deeply saddened by Coach Kill’s decision to step down as our coach, I respect and support it. I am thankful to Jerry for his service to the University, and I wish him and Rebecca only the very best. Jerry has become a friend, and I want him to take care of himself.
Ours is a football program on an upward trajectory. In his five years as our head coach Jerry Kill brought integrity, discipline and pride to the program. He helped fill stadiums and lead us to post-season bowl games. But, more importantly, we also saw our football student-athletes perform better in the classroom than at any time in history.
Here at the University of Minnesota we teach history and we make history. And sometimes, when we find ourselves on the wrong side of history, we must learn from it.
Tonight, thanks to Michael and Jack, we are celebrating an extraordinary history that few universities share, the history of a remarkable journey for Jack and Michael, for the GLBT community . . . and for us as a University community. Our curator, Lisa Vecoli will fully explain the story behind tonight’s gathering.
The very long headline for my report this month is this: We’re Healthy, We’re Welcoming, We’re Taking The Steps We Need To Take To Be A National Model On Key Issues, and We’re Spreading The Word About Our Impact And Value Statewide And Worldwide.
Last fall, the University of Minnesota Twin Cities participated in the Association of American Universities' (AAU) inaugural Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct. We were one of 26 AAU institutions and one non-AAU university that participated in this survey, the largest and most comprehensive examination to date of issues of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and stalking on university campuses.
With students, faculty and staff across our system beginning a new academic year, we certainly have much on our plates to get done. I look forward to tackling the initiatives on my 2015-2016 Work Plan, which I’ll share with you at the conclusion of my report. And I’m eager to work closely with you on the areas you emphasized in my 2015 Performance Review, including completing a Progress Card, which will track signature goals. We’ll be discussing the Progress Card in a few minutes.
For those of us born in the 20th century, how’s this for a head-shaking fact: our incoming first-year students — the Class of 2019 — will graduate in the final year of the second decade of the 21st century. Does that make anyone else feel old?
Today, we took two important actions in the wake of Norwood Teague’s resignation.
First, the University has launched an independent external review. We have retained independent, external legal counsel to review issues related to sexual harassment and the athletics department. And I’ve asked Board of Regents Chairman Dean Johnson to appoint a member of the Regents to the group overseeing the review.
I have accepted the resignation of Gopher Athletics Director Norwood Teague, effective immediately.
Norwood’s resignation follows the report of two recent incidents of sexual harassment of two non-student University employees, based on unwelcome sexual advances and verbal and physical conduct of a sexual nature occurring on the same evening. I have spoken personally to the employees and expressed my sincere regrets that they experienced this behavior.
We do a lot of things really well at the University, and recently three of them were loudly praised in various media outlets.
First, we serve as one of the state's leading talent magnets, attracting the best and brightest minds from across the nation to become students at the U. Like many of you, those students stay in Minnesota and become business, cultural, and civic leaders. That was a central point of a recent Star Tribune editorial supporting the U's new operating budget and our thoughtful approach to out-of-state tuition.
Thank you, Mr. Chair, and let me offer my congratulations to Regent Johnson for his election to be our next Chair. And congratulations, too, to Regent McMillan on his election as vice chair. I look forward to working with both of you in the months to come.
Difficult ethical issues are inherent in medical research, especially clinical trials involving human subjects. Research holds the promise of finding life-saving treatments, but it often depends on the participation of vulnerable patients suffering from serious illnesses.
There are two special qualities that I want to focus on tonight: persistence and grit. Grit is that one trait that, some researchers say, is shared by leaders in just about every field. Grit is perseverance and passion for long-term goals. Grit, as in, understanding and embracing the notion that public service and doing good work is a marathon, not a series of quarterly corporate statements. Persistence and grit, as in resiliency and staying the course.
Thank you, Chair Beeson. I think you’ll all agree, it has been a particularly active six weeks since we last met, a dynamic mixture of celebration and challenges.
Chair Nornes and members of the committee . . . I am deeply disappointed that you have decided to provide a zero increase in new funding for the University, which is, in many ways, the heartbeat of the economy of Minnesota and the wellspring of creativity and culture in the state.
Mr. Chairman, you and I have talked, and I know of the politics. But you and other members of this committee— a committee that’s charged with nurturing Minnesota’s exceptional higher education eco-system — you must know this . . .
Nearly five years ago, in November of 2010 when I was hired, Regent Dean Johnson asked me a question during my public interview in front of the Board of Regents. His question resonates loudly with me today.
Until that Regents meeting, you might remember, I had been known only as Presidential Candidate “C, ” a nameless scholar from Stony Brook in New York where I could — as Regent Johnson put it — “feel the gentle breezes of the Atlantic." As provost of a wonderful AAU university, I was, frankly, quite content to be there.
Thank you, Chair Beeson. First, please accept my congratulations, Chair Beeson and Regent Simmons, on your re-elections to this Board. I am delighted to be the beneficiary of your continued leadership, along — of course — with your 10 colleagues.
Today, I’d like to offer a special warm welcome to our three newly-elected Regents. Regent Anderson, Regent Hsu, Regent Rosha . . . in diverse and dramatic ways you bring unique experiences to the Board, along with your hearts and souls after years of service to the University, your communities, and the nation.
Senator Bonoff, members of the committee, as I hope you know, for the past nearly four years as President I have prided myself in leading a University of Minnesota that is accountable, transparent, ethical, and driven by integrity. With that in mind, I want to thank Mr. Nobles for his work and assessment. As you know, the Legislative Auditor focused on the events surrounding the 2004 death of Dan Markingson while he was enrolled in a clinical trial at our University.
Over the past 18 months, we have made significant progress in advancing public safety on campus. I am grateful to the entire University of Minnesota community for your engagement in ongoing dialogues related to these efforts. In the course of this campuswide conversation, members of our community have raised the issue of the negative impact of using race as part of the suspect descriptions in the Crime Alerts.
Today, University Services Vice President Pam Wheelock is announcing a change that will reduce the use of suspect descriptions in Crime Alerts when there is insufficient detail to reasonably aid in individual identification.
The story of the University of Minnesota in 2015 is one of accountability, affordability and achievement. It’s underscored by our commitment to operational excellence, a partnership with the state to fuel innovation in Minnesota, and by the ambition of our students, faculty and staff. Our biennial budget request to this Legislature demonstrates all of that, and more, and builds on the accomplishments of our institution and its people.