Twin Cities

December 1, 2016 (PDF Summary)

Groups represented:

  • Faculty
  • Deans
  • Staff
  • Faculty Consultative Committee
  • Students
  • Senior Leaders

General observations

  • UMTC is so big that even though there are good things happening on other campuses, it is hard to know about, let alone take advantage of, collaborations with system campuses.
  • UMTC students report having the resources and opportunities they require without needing to look to system campuses. UMTC faculty report that they were hired for different reasons than faculty on system campuses and do not feel compelled to collaborate.
  • The existence of MnSCU in the State makes it difficult to determine the appropriate role of each campus.

Benefits of being a part of the system

  • Together we are able to realize efficiencies such as fewer administrators and fewer service duplications than you might see among separate entities.
  • There is the potential for program-specific research collaboration because campuses share many processes (i.e. same IRB) and technology systems, although in reality this happens rarely and with mixed results. Often these are ‘personality-specific’ collaborations and not adequately systematized.
  • Having a presence around the state is critical for legislative relations and funding.
  • There are UMTC doctoral students who have the opportunity to teach students on system campuses. This is especially successful at system campuses that put a high priority on teaching vs. research.
  • Multi-campus programs to meet State workforce needs are possible. The Pharmacy (UMTC/UMD) and Nursing (UMTC/UMR) programs are exemplars.
  • System-wide collaborations exist, with some more successful than others. The collaboration around public engagement is an exemplar for how campuses can work together towards a common goal. There is an opportunity for campus collaborations through existing University governance processes. The external Minnesota Campus Compact offers collaboration opportunities for campuses.
  • Smaller campuses can serve as pilot site for new processes and systems because they can implement something on a limited scale before it is rolled out to the rest of the system.
  • There are some student pipelines between system campuses and UMTC graduate programs.

Drawbacks/limitations of being a part of the system

  • Collaboration between UMTC and other campuses is limited for the following reasons:
    • Campuses are far apart geographically making collaboration difficult. When it does happen, the brunt of travel falls on non-TC campuses. Using IT systems to collaborate is not ideal and makes connection difficult.
    • Faculty and staff often don’t know enough about other campuses to find collaboration opportunities.
    • There is a sense that UMTC should not serve Greater Minnesota because there are campuses there and TC should not step on their toes.
    • Non-TC campuses do not focus on research in the same way that UMTC faculty do, making their research/research work and proposals not always of the same caliber.
    • UMTC faculty are more aligned with and similar to faculty at other R1 institutions, not faculty on other UMN campuses.
    • Different email systems create a technological barrier to collaboration.
  • Duplication of signature programs on multiple campuses is not efficient. As higher education resources get tighter, these duplications are draining precious resources. Duplicative programs need to collaborate and coordinate rather than compete.
  • There is the perception of differential financial support; system campuses might feel that they don’t have equitable resources, but the system is called on to financially support system campuses.
  • Getting information to everyone who needs it is difficult just on the UMTC campus. Sharing information with the entire system is even more difficult.
  • Policies and processes that need to be standardized (especially in HR) are interpreted and practiced differently across colleges, departments and campuses. This causes unnecessary angst and inefficiencies.
  • There are instances where cost efficiencies/service-levels for UMTC faculty and staff are diminished because system-wide contracts must be negotiated. An example is the system contract for health insurance which must account for Greater MN needs.

Ideal future

  • The system would be guided by the question: ‘How can we make the UMN system strongest and most viable?’ This includes reducing and/or rationalizing duplicative programs, thinking strategically about the placement of programs and finding opportunities to use on-line programing to reduce costs. In addition, we would be clear about our capability to do more simply because we are a system.
  • The value of the full SYSTEM (meaning all campuses) to the State would be clearly articulated. We would behave like an enterprise, not an economy. We would recognize the many places of distinction, all within the context of advancing the system. We would put a priority on complementing one another, not competing with each other.
  • There would be resources/structures to facilitate interaction in real time for people across programs and functions to create meaningful and productive interactions. This could include better technology tools, innovation funds, improved access to research facilities by non-TC faculty and faculty exchanges.
  • UMTC’s R1 status would be maintained. It makes our system unique, is core to the U brand and drives many things in the system.
  • The student experience would be a system experience. This includes more distance learning, seamless transfer credits, a shared definition of ‘liberal arts education’ and better access to courses on other campuses.
  • The University of Minnesota online course strategy would be well-defined with system-wide coordination and quality standards.
  • Faculty, staff and students from all campuses would come together around shared values like equity and diversity. Collaborations would be built that leverage all of the campuses’ strengths and reduce duplication of effort.
  • All members of the UMN community, including those at UMTC, would realize that system-wide planning is important. TC faculty and staff would be able to brag about each of the other campuses.
  • System-wide enrollment strategies would be in place to better serve Minnesota students, particularly for under-represented groups.
  • There would be a collective language for our system and its relevant parts.
  • Non-TC campuses would feel valued by UMTC as an equal partner. All campuses would be a part of developing the legislative agenda and annual budgets. Important meetings such as Board of Regents and governance meetings, would rotate among all campuses.
  • System officers would be well versed in all campuses (including regular visits) and their responsibilities and accountabilities to all campuses would be clear.