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August 8, 2017: Change in the 2018-2019 calendar: number of instructional days

Dear Colleagues,

I write to give you advance notice of an upcoming change to the number of instructional days in the academic calendar. Beginning in 2018-19, the spring term will change from having 74 instructional days to having 70 instructional days. From spring 2019 forward, fall and spring semesters will have the same number of instructional days, which will also allow room for an additional study day for students in the spring term.

March 9, 2017: Learning Management System Forums and Vendor Demos

Dear Colleagues,

As you may know, for the past year the University of Minnesota system has been involved in an evaluation of its centrally-supported learning management system (LMS), Moodle. While Moodle has been an effective learning platform for many years, advances in higher education technology and the LMS market, as well as our collaboration with peer universities in the Unizin consortium, have prompted an examination of how best to prepare for the future.

March 7, 2017: Statement on updated executive order on immigration

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

Yesterday President Trump signed an updated executive order on immigration that, among other provisions, stipulates that citizens of Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, and Yemen will not be granted a visa to enter the U.S. for ninety days, effective March 16, 2017. The earlier executive order issued on January 27, 2017, has been revoked.

February 15, 2017: Classes on Support the U Day

Dear Colleagues,

On Wednesday, March 1, students from across the University of Minnesota will take part in “Support the U Day,” an annual, student-led advocacy event at the state Capitol. This event is a chance for students to reflect on the value of their University education and to share their experiences with elected officials. The day includes a rally and afternoon meetings with legislators.

January 4, 2017: Pre-planning Open Forum on Liberal Education

Dear Colleagues,

As mentioned in Provost Hanson's memo of December 15, 2016, the University is starting to discuss a possible redesign of our liberal education requirements.

On January 30, 2017, from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m., we will hold the first of several pre-planning open forums to gather the faculty, instructional staff, and advisors' views on Liberal Education. This first forum will take place in the Great Hall of Coffman Union. At each forum we will ask attendees to gather into small discussion groups to address the following questions:

November 11, 2016: Reaffirming Our Values, Rebuilding the Social Compact: Campus Forum Nov. 17, Noon


Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff

The divisions laid bare by the recent election are stressful, and our campus community is feeling that stress. The electoral process yields outcomes that are celebrated by some, while others feel a sense of loss, fear, and despair. Your departments, colleges and schools, and our campus administrative and health services have provided messages of support and venues for discussion. Please avail yourselves of these services as you feel the need and make use of the opportunities for reflection that are being provided. 

And please consider joining us at an all-campus discussion on Thursday at noon.  As a University campus, we have a responsibility to create a safe, inclusive teaching and learning environment; and as an institution of higher education and research, we also have a special responsibility to address the implications of this election for the future of the social compact that is the foundation of our representative democracy.

The United States seems at the present to be a country divided in so many ways.  How are we at the University of Minnesota—how is the society of this country overall—to (re-)build a sense of shared purpose and shared fate, of mutuality? As we experience changes in political leadership, how are we to address the deep divisions that are so apparent in American society?  What are our roles in and responsibilities to the social compact and the common good?

As we reaffirm our values as a public university and an inclusive learning community, how can we help to address the deep divisions that the nation is experiencing? How can we draw on diverse ideas and perspectives across our campus, the work of researchers and teachers in many departments, and the lived experiences of our students, faculty, and staff, to (re-)build a sense of common ground and shared purpose?

Please join us for a campus-wide discussion of these and related issues:

What:  Reaffirming Our Values, Rebuilding the Social Compact: A Campus Forum
Discussion and open Q&A, hosted by Provost Karen Hanson
Panelists include: John Coleman (Dean of College of Liberal Arts), Fionnuala Ni Aoláin (Professor and Robina Chair in Law, Public Policy, and Society, Law School), Abdi I Samatar (Professor and Chair, Geography, Environment & Society). Moderator: Laura Bloomberg (Associate Dean, Humphrey School of Public Affairs) 
Thursday, November 17 |  12-1 pm
Multi-Activity Court, 4th floor of UMN Recreation and Wellness Center
123 Harvard Street SE, Minneapolis, MN, 55455

I hope you will join this important community discussion, either in person or online via WebEx.


Karen Hanson,
Executive Vice President and Provost

Email sent to Twin Cities students, faculty, and staff on November 11, 2016


About 300 people joined the discussion and forum hosted by Provost Hanson on 11/17/2016. View WebEx video recording of the discussion here.