What folks want to ask the U-Minn prez

Here are some of the questions that members of MPR’s Public Insight Network have submitted to us for consideration in tomorrow evening’s discussion with University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks, as part of our Bright Ideas series.

Some have been edited for length:

  • With the increases in tuition costs and the scarcity of financial aid for people “in the middle” (who can’t pay for college but make too much for getting help), how can we address the lack of higher education opportunities for the average student/parent?
  • In light of the recent attempt to censor the airing of the Troubled Waters river pollution documentary, a climate of declining state aid, and increased reliance on corporate money, does the University risk having as many “taboo topics” as it has departments?
  • Given the severe shortage of primary care physicians in the United States and the projected increase in shortfall, why isn’t the U of M expanding the class size of its medical school, and why isn’t it focusing on recruiting students who will become primary care physicians through incentive programs?
  • Why is the relationship between the U and the state legislature so bad and what do you propose to do about it?
  • What do you think about the importance of community and technical colleges?
  • Instruction in the undergraduate classroom is increasingly being undertaken by adjunct (part-time, non-tenured) faculty. Does the University of the 21st Century continue to deal with adjunct faculty as temporary academic labor, or does it acknowledge that a new class of non-tenure track academic has been created that must be approached as such?
  • With double-digit tuition increases, how can you justify your salary?
  • The State of Minnesota support for the University of Minnesota has declined from nearly 50% of the University budget some years ago to 18% today. In particular, the College of Liberal Arts, which is the largest unit in the entire University system has the lowest funding levels of all. How can the University sell itself better to the public and to the legislature, to protect this most important educational and research asset for the state?
  • some great questions! I hope that he will be pushed to answer them beyond platitudes.