Morris

November 8, 2016 (PDF Summary)

Groups represented:

  • Community leaders
  • Faculty
  • Staff
  • WCROC and Extension
  • Students

Benefits of being part of the system

  • The great reputation of the University of Minnesota brings prestige to the community and helps recruit students, staff and faculty to Morris.
  • There are many great system resources and benefits that faculty can access including tenure in the UMN system, support for research (which is not supported in the same way at private liberal arts institutions), IAS, grant in aid, library resources, lab facilities, IT systems and system-wide awards. This helps recruit and retain faculty at Morris.
  • Students benefit from system resources including: graduate school pipelines, connections to TC campus for summer programs and internships, research grants, study abroad programs, system-wide awards and networking with students on other campuses – particularly around sustainability and lobbying.
  • The Morris campus benefits from shared system services such as ISSS (visa applications, support for international faculty), the Office of Conflict Resolution, technology, libraries, OneStop, Foundation, OGC, HR.
  • The pre-doctoral program is great for bringing diverse faculty to the Morris campus and providing a rich experience for students. 
  • Multi-institutional registration is a great opportunity for students to take courses on other campuses.
  • Academy of Distinguished Teachers is a very positive system program. It allows Morris faculty to share knowledge, resources and processes with faculty on other campuses.
  • The shared health insurance and purchasing power of the system benefits the Morris campus greatly.

Drawbacks/limitations of being part of the system

  • The distinctiveness of UMM’s mission is not highlighted and marketed effectively in system-level communications. The distinctiveness of the Morris campus gets lost in the U of MN brand. Morris does not seem to be recognized by system leaders and UMM recruitment is hurt by this dynamic.
  • Many systems are put in place to fit the Twin Cities’ needs because they are so large, but those systems do not fit Morris’ needs or culture. The size of the Morris campus and community mean that some practices that work at TC simply won’t work at Morris. Examples include: study abroad programs, HR decisions (job family study), HR practices (automatically kicking out applicants if they don’t meet exact specifications), recent enrollment policy and success metrics for common functions like grants management.
  • There is a lack of awareness for the impact that TC-specific decisions have on the Morris campus. Examples are the Twin Cities’ enrollment management plan and job family study.
  • Large strategic initiatives from any campus potentially impact others and there are few mechanisms to gauge and evaluate these impacts.
  • Competition with a sister campus for students, resources and attention. This is particularly awkward when the ‘competition’ holds the purse strings.
  • Sense that Morris is ‘less-than’ the Twin Cities. UMTC-centric messaging from the system promotes this feeling.
  • Attempts to bring Morris into system conversations seem half-hearted. Morris faculty/staff feel like outsiders and are frequently forgotten about. 
  • Locating central services on the TC campus makes many services unnecessarily slow for Morris. Examples include: passing motions to support social movements, reserving rooms, or changing a light bulb. There is a need to improve clarity and consultation regarding cost pool planning and service allocation between central administration and system campuses.
  • Morris does not have a strong voice at the table related to capital projects. The TC campus regularly overshadows Morris. This is particularly an issue related to making Morris buildings more accessible.
  • Morris is systematically underfunded. Morris pays a ‘disproportionate share’ of the American Indian tuition waiver; underfunding makes it hard to compete with private institutions for students and faculty and leads to outcomes like relatively low faculty salaries at UMM.
  • There is not a separate chancellor for the Twin Cities campus, which means that the president (who serves in that capacity) is overly focused on TC at the expense of system campuses.
  • There are unnecessary hurdles put in place for students to take advantage of system resources. Examples include: scholarships restricted to one campus and administrative barriers to taking classes on multiple campuses.

Ideal future

  • System roles and accountability would be clarified. In particular, the Twin Cities campus would have a chancellor separate from the system president. At minimum, a high-level system administrator would be assigned to provide a consistent voice for the ‘system campuses’ as a constituency.
  • A culture of “system first” would lead to a structure that prioritizes system-wide decision-making.
  • System-wide web presence and marketing would recognize individual and collective identities. System campuses would be featured on the system-wide landing page (as well as in a drop-down menu) and the distinctive mission of each campus would be clear. Goldy Gopher would not appear on system emails and the University of Minnesota would be the focus of the main page, not UMTC.
  • System policies and practices would reflect the unique needs of system campuses. There would be awareness of all of the campuses, especially when making policy decisions, financial decisions, plans for the future, etc. Morris would be involved in the design phase instead of just in implementation.
  • Communication would be greatly enhanced so that all people in the system -- and ideally all people in the State -- know or are able to easily find information about ALL of the campuses within the system. The system’s search engine would provide information about all campuses as well as information about student fees and student affairs resources for each campus.
  • There would be a system enrollment focus that promotes all system campuses.
  • Resources would be distributed to maximize excellence across campuses, considering size, mission, strategic intentions and sustainability. In particular, the Native American tuition waiver would be shared across the system and Morris would be given more consideration with capital projects.
  • ROCs and Extension would be the recognized conveners of university system resources to address community needs. Their role in outreach and extension would be well understood and valued. It would be acknowledged that ROCs are the public’s gateway to University of MN resources.
  • Student exchanges across the system would happen frequently. Students would learn about other campuses at orientation. System conferences on topics like sustainability would be a regular occurrence. It would be easy to start at one campus and study away for a semester or transfer to another campus. Financial aid would not be a barrier and credits would easily transfer.
  • All campuses would be diverse in terms of race, nationality, gender and rural, suburban, urban.
  • The small community feel, 4-year residential cohort and shared governance model of Morris would be maintained within the larger system.
  • Morris would be celebrated for its unique strengths. The expertise at Morris would be sought and acknowledged. The success stories from this campus would be told. Morris would be marketed as “the U of M’s public liberal arts university.” The humanities would be celebrated and advocated for. Morris’ rural Minnesota setting would be considered explicitly as an asset.
  • Morris would be a top choice for Minnesota high school graduates.
  • Members of all campuses would actively participate in governance. Governance committees would fairly represent all campuses.
  • Important meetings (trainings, convenings, BOR meetings) would rotate among the campuses to make it easier for everyone to participate. Senior leaders would regularly visit.
  • Ties between campuses would be strong – faculty would know each other and staff would collaborate regularly. Awareness of what each campus does would be enhanced. There would be more and clearer pathways to graduate programs from Morris.
  • Strong employee benefits would continue for all staff and faculty. Tuition reimbursement would be in place for dependents. (This is a key recruiting tool for faculty who could choose to work at MnSCU or private institutions instead.)
  • Extension would be more tied in with the student experience throughout the system. This could really help each campus manifest their land grant mission.
  • To enrich recruitment and retention, faculty benefits like autonomy and control over curriculum and courses they teach, the 3-2 teaching load and the research pipeline would be retained.
  • Knowledge and expertise would be shared across the system and barriers would be removed. One area of focus should be around mental health resources. There are also opportunities with the ROC’s.
  • Opportunities for professional development at Morris would be increased without having to travel. This could mean bringing the training to UMM or delivering it online.
  • System-wide pathways would be promoted and optimized to achieve prerequisites for graduate study in a variety of programs.
  • Opportunities for cross-campus collaborations, such as large grant applications, would be pursued and supported.
  • There would be a shift in messaging to a ‘greater Minnesota’ strategy by recognizing that fostering excellence in all campuses brings value to all of Minnesota, not just for specific districts in the Twin Cities.
  • There would be concrete recognition of and support for the value features of UMM’s mission provide to the system, including our high diversity, esp. in terms of Native students, and leadership in sustainability and green initiatives.
  • A critical mass of system administrative units would be located on system campuses, including Morris.
  • UMM would be regularly included in lobbying strategy and efforts, including a stronger lobbying strategy targeted to generating greater support for the U in rural/Greater Minnesota.