What a U-Minnesota faculty leader says about Kaler

Just got off the phone with Kathryn VandenBosch, chair of the University of Minnesota’s faculty consultative committee. She was at the meeting when Kaler was named.

Here are some of her thoughts. I’ve edited some of her comments.

On her first impressions:

My first impressions are very good. I was hoping we’d have a senior officer from a strong research university, hopefully a public university, and someone with academic chops who’s run a research program and been in the classroom and held leadership responsibilities of increasing scope. (Kaler seems to fit the bill in these areas.)

On his academic chops:

I couldn’t have hoped for his level of scholarly achievement. I’m enthusiastic about his faculty background. He’s a strong researcher, he has been in the classroom and has such a high profile in research. He has patented research, which is important to understand a university like this. He is definitely a good grant-getter in his area of expertise.

On his administrative chops:

He understands the working parts of a university. He sat in our seats, and he understands the workings of a complex institution. It’s half our size, but it’s comprehensive, with a medical school, liberal arts school and business school. There’s no ag school, but then there are only 2-3 universities that have the breadth we do. But he has a pretty academic kind of CV, so I haven’t been able to set yet what his accomplishments were in his administrative positions.

On areas of his background that are still unclear:

His CV is silent about fund-raising experiences (outside of grant-writing.) Also, we haven’t yet seen anything like a vision statement for the university. He doesn’t bring diversity, but the question is what his track record is of promoting diversity. And we need to know whether he has the ability to value and develop a shared vision with the non-science areas of the university.

On his U of M ties:

Coming back to his PhD institution I think indicates a level of interest and achievement. … He clearly knows something about the university.

  • Anonymous

    It always amuses me that people with Dr. VandenBosch’s background simply roll over when obvious questions about equal opportunity arise:

    Yet another PR disaster…

    Pretty blatant attempt to get around open meeting law.

    If the semifinalists were not willing to be in the pool, then they should not have been picked as semifinalists.

    The visit by a sole finalist, pretty much makes faculty and student questions of candidates irrelevant, because all the sole finalist has to do is “get through it.”

    I am not sure that the Regents really understand how this is going to be perceived by U of M faculty, students and staff as well as the general public. Many first rate academic institutions including Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Harvard have presidents who are female.

    There were 44 candidates who were women. Do you mean to tell me that not a single woman was suitable to interview as a finalist? I don’t believe it. I am very disappointed in my university.


    I got mine, now go get yours… ?

    • Cold Front

      Seeing all the comments and blog postings by Gleason suggest he is always disappointed in his employer. So, why do you stay if negative energy is all you can muster? After awhile, his comments are only white noise.

      • Anonymous

        Cold front –

        It’s a free country. No one makes you read my posts. Just pass ’em by.

        At least some people seem to like ’em. My mother, my kid …

        [Actually I get a lot of hits on my blog from the U of M, including the

        president’s office.]