Home / About


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.

September 26, 2016: Please join me for a year-long series of conversations

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students:

I write to invite you to engage with me and others in some collective conversations about individual well-being and our prospects for community. Disturbing events—around the country and on the edge of our campus—have made especially urgent perennial questions about how we can contribute to a more inclusive society, one where each of us has access to the opportunities that lead to productive, satisfying, and meaningful lives.

July 6, 2016: Applications sought for new subcommittee of the Campus Committee on Student Behavior

Dear University Faculty, P&A Staff, and Students:

As you may know, colleges and universities are subject to significant requirements concerning student Title IX and sexual misconduct cases. The federal Campus Sexual Violence Elimination (Campus SaVE) Act, signed into law in July 2015, stipulates institutional requirements regarding prevention, reporting, timeline, and sexual misconduct hearing processes.

March 3, 2016: Alvin Beitz Appointed Director of Center for Educational Innovation

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce that Alvin Beitz will be the next director of the University of Minnesota Center for Educational Innovation, effective May 1. In this position, he will provide strategic and administrative leadership to the CEI, which strengthens instructional and academic technology support and collaboration across the University.

November 18, 2015: Responding to Current Events

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

Recent local, national, and international events have provoked anger, fear, and, in some, despair. We are all affected by these events, individually and as a community. I write today to ask that we find ways to work together to respond constructively to our feelings of anger, to take steps that will assuage our fears, to work together in a way that will engender hope for constructive change. 

October 8, 2015: An Update on Aligning Graduate and Professional Support

Dear Colleagues,

This past spring, I proposed a new model to realign our institutional support for graduate and professional education. The proposal was, in part, a response to concerns expressed by numerous faculty, staff, and students-- concerns expressed to me even when I was interviewing for my position at the University of Minnesota. The proposal is the product of considerable deliberation.