Bruininks lays it out for the House

University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks is testifying at the state Capitol again today, making the university’s case in a time of budget cuts. This time he’s in front of the House of Representatives’ committee on higher education.

I’m covering the hearing just in case he says anything new. So far he’s hitting the usual themes. Some points he has made:

  • The university is critical to a vibrant economy and tech dominance. “It has taken 50-60 years to build this kind of world leadership, but it can slip in an instant. … Business will move. … It can happen overnight.”
  • Cutting often hits newer fields first (such as certain sciences), and leaves the university behind the cutting edge. It’s a costly struggle to catch up. That happened to the U in the bio-sciences field, he said.
  • Simply commercializing research is not the way to generate regular revenue. It’s too unpredictable.
  • The U offers a “tremendous rate of return.” (Bruininks in the past has mentioned a ratio of something like $4.50 in gains for every $1 invested in the U, but after he discussed it with a committee member, it doesn’t sound like a direct, formula-like connection.)