U president Robert Bruininks speaks to the Rochester Rotary Club on Nov. 16, shortly after announcing signifcant enhancements to the University of Minnesota Rochester.
U announces enhancements in Rochester
UMR designated official campus; chancellor to be named
Nov. 16, 2006
The University of Minnesota's presence in Rochester received a further boost Thursday (Nov. 16) when President Robert Bruininks announced that the University of Minnesota Rochester (UMR) is being designated as an official campus of the University system, joining the Twin Cities, Duluth, Morris and Crookston campuses. Bruininks made the announcement when speaking to the Rochester Higher Education Development Committee (RHEDC).
In addition, Bruininks outlined other significant enhancements to UMR, including new and expanded academic programs and research partnerships, plans for new Rochester faculty and a new corporate relations center dedicated to Rochester and southeastern Minnesota.
The University of Minnesota/Mayo
Another way that the U's presence is felt in Rochester is through an innovative partnership designed to make Minnesota a world leader in medical biotechnology.
The Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics is a collaborative venture between the University of Minnesota, the Mayo Foundation and the state. The partnership's goal is to position Minnesota as a leader in biotechnology and medical genomics applications that will result in important new medical discoveries, and support the development of new businesses and jobs in the biosciences industry in the state.
The Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics has already awarded $15 million in state-funded research support--appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature in 2004--to nine new research teams and infrastructure support for five teams of successful applicants.
The nine research winners will share roughly $9 million for research on pancreatic cancer, tuberculosis and brain tumors, as well as cardiovascular, neuromuscular and autoimmune diseases. Other projects will focus on transplant rejection, drug addiction and cancer development. The remaining $6 million will support equipment, software and other infrastructure needs to enhance molecular research, genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics.
Of the $15 million appropriated to the partnership by the 2006 legislature, $6 million will be made available for new faculty recruits to the two institutions--the U and Mayo. The remainder of the funds will be used for additional research and infrastructure proposals.
"We see the University of Minnesota Rochester as an integral part of our ambitious aspirations and the drive to discover that make the University of Minnesota unique," Bruininks said. "UMR has great potential to benefit not only southeast Minnesota, but also the state--particularly its health care infrastructure and resources."
As an official campus of the University, UMR will have more control over resources and programs under a new clarification of roles and responsibility from the U's central administration. Bruininks will also ask the Board of Regents in December to create a new position of chancellor of UMR.
Bruininks also announced the following enhancements for the UMR campus:
- UMR will be a major hub of the new statewide Center for Allied Health Programs, designed to meet future state workforce needs. The center will include an undergraduate program in medical technology/clinical lab science and a masters program in occupational therapy. "Rochester will be a key part of helping to improve health care throughout Minnesota through the education of much-needed allied health care professionals," Bruininks said.
- UMR will create a core full-time faculty--perhaps numbering 10-20--to be located in Rochester. The faculty would consist of new appointments as well as experienced professionals already in the area, including four faculty members from the Hormel Institute in Austin, Minn., who will be teaching at UMR.
- UMR will establish its own physical campus in Rochester--at an interim space to be determined--to meet its projected short-term needs and growth.
- The University is undertaking a collaborative master planning process with the city of Rochester, Olmsted County, health care providers, high-tech businesses and the community to determine long-term facility needs. Current plans are for a master plan to be approved by the Board of Regents in fall 2008, with the first permanent campus facility to be completed by about 2012.
- UMR's Academic and Corporate Relations Center is now serving as a "front door" to the University for businesses and other organizations in Rochester and southeastern Minnesota interested in technology transfer and the commercial potential of research in biomedical technology, renewable energy, nanotechnology and other areas of discovery.
- Work has begun on creating the Center for Bioinformatics and quantitative studies in the life sciences to meet critical research needs.
Previously, the U announced 10 new academic programs to be created in the next year at UMR, including two doctoral programs and three masters programs, one of which is a Master of Health Care Administration (MHA) program for working professionals.
"These enhancements represent a major step forward in achieving the vision set out by this community, the University and state policymakers," Bruininks said. "We're proud to be leading the expansion of higher education in the Rochester area sought by the community and its elected officials."
Added Bruininks: "I don't know of a community in the entire country that has worked as tirelessly as this one to grow higher education."
--From University News Service