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Feature

2006-07 CAPA senators (left to right) Jim Hildebrand, Colleen O'Neill, Wendy Friedmeyer, Barbara Jensen, Erin George

Five of eight new P&A senators, left to right: Jim Hildebrand, Colleen O'Neill, Wendy Friedmeyer, Barbara Jensen, and Erin George.

CAPA prepares for a year of change

By David Bernstein

Brief, May 10, 2006

With the University of Minnesota's continuing process of self-transformation as a backdrop, the Council of Academic Professionals and Administrators (CAPA) recently went through a transition of its own, albeit a much more modest one. At its April 21 meeting, CAPA members elected next year's executive committee and eight University senators. Election results are in the box, left.

2006-07 CAPA officers and P&A senators

Chair

Jaki Cottingham-Zierdt

Vice chair
Stacy Doepner-Hove

Committee Chairs
Benefits and Compensation
Frank Douma

Communications
John Borchert

Professional Development and Recognition
Pam Stenhjem

Representation and Governance
David Bernstein

P&A senators
Lynn Burbank
Wendy Friedmeyer
Erin George
Jim Hildebrand
Barbara Jensen
Mary Laeger-Hagemeister
Colleen O'Neill
Jill Trites

These elections, while certainly less dramatic in scope than strategic positioning, nonetheless have an important connection to that process. For, as the process moves from the broad strokes painted by this year's task forces to the specific policies, practices, and programs needed to realize the overall vision, the recently-elected CAPA leadership is already thinking about proactive ways to insure that academic professional and administrative (P&A) employees participate in the next steps in the University's transformational journey.

CAPA and strategic positioning:
next year's challenge

One of the biggest challenges the 2006-07 CAPA officers and representatives face will be to involve P&As in the nuts and bolts of implementing the ideas produced by the strategic positioning process. Since P&As perform such a wide variety of functions all across the University, it is arguably the case that P&As will be the employee group most widely affected by the coming changes, as well as the group that can potentially contribute most broadly to remaking the institution. The University of Minnesota has more than 4,000 P&As, who teach and advise students, conduct research, direct programs, manage budgets, administer departments, and reach out to citizens all over Minnesota. So P&As will play a central role in implementing many of the task forces' strategic recommendations, especially those that address the need to strengthen teaching and research infrastructure; to recruit, retain, and advise a diverse group of students; to increase the University's commitment to public engagement and public service; and to provide an excellent, responsive support structure for all members of the University community.

It is clear that P&As as a group will be very strongly affected by many of the proposed changes. And, as the University-wide governance body representing P&As, CAPA has thus made it a priority to advocate for a significant P&A voice--and strong P&A participation--in the implementation phase of transforming the University.

With so much happening, the newly-elected CAPA officers and senators expect next year to be a challenging one, focused on change. To help us make this change a positive one for P&As, we invite you to share your thoughts with us about how we might best participate in the ongoing strategic positioning process. Or to find out more about CAPA. Or simply to learn how to contact your CAPA representative.

Please visit our Web site at http://www.capa.umn.edu.


David Bernstein is the development coordinator and a teaching specialist for the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance, Twin Cities campus. He serves as one of two CLA representatives to CAPA, as a University senator and as chair of CAPA's Representation and Governance Committee.