Initiatives and Priorities
Since become the University's 16th president in 2011, Eric 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, that is committed to diversity, to a welcoming and respectful campus climate, that is accessible to qualified Minnesotans of all economic backgrounds, and that partners with Minnesota business, industry and non-profits to keep Minnesota a prosperous and healthy state.
In 2017, President Kaler, in the aftermath of incidents on University campuses, charged senior leaders with various tasks to address the epidemic of sexual harassment, assault, stalking and relationship violence. Of course, the University is not alone in this battle. Under the leadership of School of Public Health Dean John Finnegan, an extensive action plan was developed with the goal of preventing sexual misconduct and heightening awareness around bystander intervention.
Meanwhile, as of the fall of 2016, a System-wide Strategic Planning effort is underway.
Once again in 2017, President Kaler is seeking to strengthen the University's partnership with the state of Minnesota. Among his priorities are restoring, repairing and renewing the University's 29 million square feet of infrastructure, keeping a lid on tuition, improving student success to increase graduation rates and reduce student debt, and funding research for key statewide grand challenges — such as clinical trials for the prevention and treatment of cancer, water usage and leveraging the U's strengths in Big Data.
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.
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. Four years into “Op-Ex,” the University is ahead of schedule on reducing administrative costs.