Initiatives and Priorities

For his four years as President, Kaler’s initiatives and priorities have consistently focused on making certain that the University of Minnesota fulfills its 21st-century land-grant mission as an excellent public research university that is operated efficiently and effectively, and that is accessible to qualified Minnesotans of all economic backgrounds.

Strategic Plan

The hard work of implementation is now underway for the Twin Cities campus’s Strategic Plan. The document/road map for the dynamic plan was approved by the Board of Regents in October 2014. The full plan is here. It focuses on the state’s, nation’s and world’s “grand challenges,” and on rejecting complacency in all the University does.

Legislative Request

Once again, President Kaler is seeking a partnership with the state of Minnesota to freeze tuition for Minnesota-resident undergraduates. This time, the University is also seeking support to freeze graduate student tuition.

The request further seeks a new approach to facilities funding, a comprehensive partnership with the state to maintain a healthy Minnesota, and state funding for research around sustainable mining and vibrant communities across the state.

Read the prosposed biennial budget request

Campus Climate

A respectful, inclusive, and welcoming campus is the ground on which a truly equitable and diverse institution flourishes. Beginning in the summer of 2014, President Kaler convened a working group of senior leaders to address the critical issue of campus climate. The work continues.

Learn more about the Campus Climate initiative

Operational Excellence

Operational Excellence is a long-term commitment to working smarter, reducing costs, enhancing services, and increasing revenues throughout the University. President Kaler has pledged, over a six-year period, to redirect $90 million in administrative costs to the University’s mission of teaching, research and public engagement. Two years into “Op-Ex,” the University is ahead of schedule on reducing administrative costs.

Learn more about Operational Excellence

Alignment of all University campuses

The University of Minnesota is a strong and diverse system of five campuses, from the flagship Twin Cities campus in Minneapolis-St. Paul, to Crookston, Duluth, Morris, and Rochester, all distinctive and nationally recognized.

Students First - Teaching and Learning

Combine up-to-date, engaging teaching with a high-touch and high-tech learning experience that attracts diverse, qualified students and faculty

  • Develop a comprehensive vision and strategy for rigorous and sustainable online and technology-driven teaching and learning
  • Benchmark academic programs against the best nationally and invest in excellence
  • Continue to focus on academic quality improvements, including four-year graduation rates
  • Examine the options for summer utilization of facilities
  • Strengthen the academic culture
    • Targeted strategies to recruit retain top faculty
    • Faculty development

Discovery - Research and Innovation

Pursue new knowledge to advance human health and our economy

  • Strengthen the Academic Health Center
    • Implement recommendations of external review panel
    • Complete planning for the University’s new Ambulatory Care Center
  • Advance key, long-term research initiatives that leverage the University’s expertise, foster public-private partnerships, and contribute to economic growth in Minnesota
    • Position Minnesota as the “Silicon Valley” of food through research to produce a safe, secure, abundant, nutritious, and sustainable food supply
    • Strengthen Minnesota industry through research and innovation in advanced robotics, sensor, and manufacturing technology
    • Enhance Minnesota’s natural environment and support business growth through innovative, clean production technologies and energy solutions
    • Improve human health and reinvigorate Minnesota’s medical device and related industries with neuromodulation research
  • Fulfill the promise of the Biomedical Discovery District to advance health science research and attract top faculty
  • Strengthen industry partnerships and a culture of innovation
  • Continue to promote MN-IP, in Minnesota and nationally

Stewardship — Funding and ROI

Advance Operational Excellence and a renewed partnership with the state to limit tuition increases and maximize the public’s return on investment

  • Build a compelling case for state investment in the University and develop strategies and tactics to advance the University with state leaders
  • Advance new ideas through the biennial request to reduce the burden of tuition on students and families and strengthen the University’s historic partnership with the state
  • Aggressively and passionately pursue private philanthropy, with raising scholarship funds as the highest priority
  • Articulate the University’s unique mission and role in advancing the state’s economy and quality of life and meeting critical workforce needs
  • Drive Operational Excellence/mitigate administrative costs
    • Create capacity within the organization to better manage change, including culture change
    • Implement Human Resources strategic plan to attract and retain top talent with exceptional employee engagement
    • Work with MnSCU to increase access and completion rates for Minnesota students, reduce duplication, and enhance coordination, including reducing “back office” costs
  • Drive implementation of enterprise system upgrade on schedule and within budget
  • Leverage public-private partnerships to create greater economic impact

Champion our University - Impact and Reputation

Participate in relevant, vital public engagement and advocacy to solve our communities’ most vexing problems and compete globally

  • Tell the University of Minnesota’s story, locally and nationally, using more voices and channels
    • Explain broad-based return on innovation for the common good
    • Champion the value of the liberal arts and humanities
    • Encourage strategic community engagement by senior leaders
  • Strengthen international academic partnerships
  • Expand national undergraduate recruiting to increase geographic diversity and the quality of our student body
  • Implement strategies to recognize more of our outstanding faculty by encouraging nominations for prestigious awards and academy memberships
  • Strengthen Minnesota impact on the achievement gap through leadership in Generation Next, and by better organizing and coordinating ongoing faculty research on related issues
  • Continue to strengthen and reinforce alumni relations on all campuses