Money crunch wounds U Medical School

  • Article by: TONY KENNEDY , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 1, 2011 - 7:14 AM

Financial perils follow years of big payouts in pursuit of faculty stars.

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luxaeternaApr. 30, 1111:00 PM

My sources tell me that there's a problem with tenured but unproductive faculty who don't bring in any research funds to support their research activity and their salaries. Makes you wonder who's paying for all of that blogging and tweeting.

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d44332211Apr. 30, 1111:16 PM

The problem with these stupid national US news and reports rankings is that it results in schools making odd decisions - like irresponsibly chasing faculty members who excel at research. Rankings are based largely on research grant dollars received. Yes, research is important, but by and large, a school can turn out fantastic physicians even if it receives slightly less research grant dollars. Thus, hiring these superstar faculty members won't make better doctors for the U. Check out Saturday's NYTimes for an interesting article on how obsession with rankings is really doing a diservice to law school students.

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mnfishrmanApr. 30, 1111:32 PM

The Medical School's difficulties resulted in part from outsized ambitions. In 2006, 2007 and 2008 (this is before the recession), the Medical School recruited six department heads and three directors of major research institutes. Their incentive packages, or "dowries," consisted of allowances to build research programs with additional faculty. Mitsch said the recruitment packages exceeded $120 million over seven years. Big plans for a research park in the shadows of TCF Bank Stadium have been scaled back. Sounds like flat out mismanagement. This is only one department at the U of M. And they can straight faced ask the legislature for more money and cannot figure out where to make cuts. Shameful ! Once again actually educating students is second to the business of the business

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jtmoney1May. 1, 11 1:22 AM

If you care on betting on money as your life's view of worth and karma. By all means go compete against Bill Gates, Donald Trump, Warren Buffet, Steel TYCOONS, the oil industry, wall street, everyone who leeches from Sam Walton and beyond- because- after all, if you want money. See what others have and see what you can do.

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acidradioMay. 1, 11 1:23 AM

The U of M tries to be all things to all people. The fact that they do this and that Minnesotans in general try to take care of everyone as best as possible is very admirable. But we can't afford it. It seems like the U of M either has a very vague but large mission or has many different missions that it tries to accomplish. The U of M takes in ALL kinds of students from those needing remedial help to the academic rock stars. Most other state school systems do this differently - they reserve the real prime state university for their "top 10%" students and have the other state schools handle the rest. Let the U of M be that school for the best of the best. Instead of funding the remedial students we need to be funding medicine, biotechnology and advanced sciences that we all know that the U of M is renowned for. Let everyone else who isn't quite up to par go to the Minnesota State schools. That doesn't mean that the Minnesota State schools are not good schools, it's just that they have a different kind of emphasis. We need more specialty in our schools. Being everything to everybody doesn't truly give the best to everybody.

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aladdinsaneMay. 1, 11 3:23 AM

@d44332211. You've hit it on the nose. There's nothing wrong with aspiring to improve the quality of the U, but national rankings mostly incentivize the wrong things. When an institute is saddled with insecure leadership intent on keeping up with the Joneses like Bob Bruininks and Tom Sullivan have been and then couples that with a rubber stamp Board of Regents, you've got what we have now: a U that is is quickly imploding. If recent interviews are any indication, Bruininks remains unrepentent over the carnage he's caused there. When he retires, let's hope the media and U stakeholders take a long, hard, critical look at his tenure rather than showering him with the usual Minnesota Nice pleasantries. Failure to do so only risks affirming his direction and continuing down this path during the next administration.

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RF6700May. 1, 11 3:25 AM

"My sources tell me that there's a problem with tenured but unproductive faculty who don't bring in any research funds to support their research activity and their salaries. Makes you wonder who's paying for all of that blogging and tweeting." ******* Great point!

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jeffportMay. 1, 11 5:51 AM

Sounds like the U of M encountered a bubble of it's own and it burst. Either raise tuition, let high priced staff go, reallocate your money away from sports (better yet, your high budget teams never win anyway so drop them) or some combination of all and /or make a budget and stick to it just like us regular folk do. How much was Tubby Smith making? Get back to reality. How many outdoor concerts can be done in the new Stadium? Rent it out and make some $$$.

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localguyMay. 1, 11 6:31 AM

The U of M Academic Health Center is essential to educating most of the health care professionals in the state. It’s also an economic engine, creating new companies (for example, Medtronic started there) and producing the high-quality work force that’s essential for a vibrant biomedical business community. How can the legislature find money to build professional sports stadiums where millionaire players perform so that billionaire owners can rack in more profits to their already-swollen bank accounts while they’re sacrificing Minnesota’s future by cutting funding the an institution that’s vital to our health care and to our economy and the creation of new jobs?

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fishdecoyMay. 1, 11 6:53 AM

Informative article. I am surprised that private donations were not included in the news writer's financial analysis. The Schultz Family Foundation's $40 million gift and Caroline Amplatz's $50 million gift are examples.

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