University of Minnesota
Office of Human Resources

Transforming the University Culture

Sponsor: Linda Thrane

Culture Task Force has identified two related PEL projects. They are:

  1. Current Culture Analysis Project
    1. Data mining
    2. Focus Groups
  2. Culture Benchmarking Project

Current Culture Analysis Project

Define the culture of the University of Minnesota as it stands today. Identify the norms, values, beliefs, strengths, and weaknesses.


  • Conduct analysis of University data sources to define culture (status quo).
  • Conduct focus groups to drill down on analysis results, refine norms, values and beliefs; and capture stories and legends about the U of M that demonstrate the desired culture.

Culture Benchmarking Project

Define the culture that supports the University of Minnesota's aspirations to rank among the top three public research universities in the world.


  • Conduct benchmarking research of the culture of current top research universities.
  • Describe cultural attributes that support the U of M's top three aspirations.
  • Perform gap analysis of current U of M culture and desired culture.

Team Members

Kari Branjord
Director, Enterprise Application & Web Development
Office of Information Technology
Coach: Al Sullivan

Erin George
Assistant to the University Librarian, University Libraries
Coach: Arlene Carney

Twila Jensen
Administrative Professional - Energy Management & Accounting Services
University Services - Facilities Management
Coach: Rosie Barry

Emily Johnston
Grassroots Coordinator, University Relations
Coach: Lori Ann Williams

Shelley Carthen Watson
Associate General Counsel, Office of the General Counsel
Coach: Terry Bock
Supervisor: William Donohue