Thursday, January 20, 2011

Regent candidates

The Daily just published a nice piece with profiles of the regent finalists.

Some highlights:

Steve Sviggum, candidate for the 2nd Congressional District “stressed the importance of reform and diversity.”

Laura Brod, the only female candidate, is also up for the 2nd Congressional District. She gushed about the positive impact of a good education. Maybe she’ll advocate for shifting money from administration to instruction? Oppose disproportionate cuts to units that teach undergrads?

Tom Devine, also for the 2nd District, is an insurance executive who likes to hang out with frat boys. He was praised for his knowledge of student life.

My money is on Brod…

Norm Rickeman, a candidate for the 3rd Congressional District, focused on diversity and equity. “Equity doesn’t mean treating everyone the same. You’ve got to recognize everyone needs an equal opportunity to succeed.”

Dr. Roby Thompson Jr, also for the 3rd District, used to be on the faculty of the Medical School. Unclear what substantive views he has—from the article it seems that he decided to run on a whim.

David Larson, up for reappointment as a Regent from the 3rd District, stated that he didn’t do enough during his first term and considers himself to be a “change agent.” As a former Cargill exec, he wants the University to be run more like a private business, for example, by adopting a new “policy ensuring every employee receives ‘candid, written, annual reviews,’ and the coaching they need to be fully engaged at the University.” He also wants to keep tuition affordable (Failed big time on that one last time around, buddy…)

Prediction: Larson will be reappointed…

Robert Ostlund is a candidate in the 8th Congressional District. He boasted about his “calming influence” on others. He’s served as a superintendent at schools across the metro area.

William Burns, also up for the 8th District regent post, seemed to be unsure whether he had enough time to be a Regent. Not much in the way of specifics about his stances on higher ed, other than his desire to make the U LESS reliant on state funding while remaining affordable to students. (Um, how will you do that?)

Robert Kennedy, the outgoing prez of the University of Maine, is also a candidate for the 8th District spot. The Committee focused on his budget cutting savvy, efforts to increase research, and experience commercializing the products of university research. (He also admitted that he was an applicant for the U’s presidency.)

The final candidate for the post, David McMillan, used to chair the MN Chamber of Commerce. He thinks the U should endeavor to commercialize more of its research by partnering with the private sector. Wait…Do I hear the motor for the state’s economy cliché coming? Vroooom!

If Kennedy meets the residency requirement, I think he’ll be the pick…

For the At-Large seat, there’s Allen Anderson (ag background, volunteers at the MN Agri-Growth Council, unclear what his stance is on higher ed issues), Steven Hunter (reappointment, AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer, he stressed the pain the U will endure with the budget cuts and emphasized the need to “rightsize”—i.e. cutting programs, reducing admin costs via staff reductions, and focusing on areas of strength—and of keeping tuition affordable). Given the anti-union sentiment of the Republican majority, my bet is that Anderson will be selected.

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