Congratulations and Thank You

Dear Colleagues,

I write to share with you some good news, news we also announced to the Board of Regents at their September 13 meeting. The University of Minnesota has been chosen as one of two finalists for the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities' first-ever "Most Visible Progress National Degree Completion Trailblazer Award." The APLU designed this award to recognize universities that are, through conscientious attention and concerted educational efforts, successfully retaining and graduating students. APLU wants to promote the efforts of these schools as models for other institutions to follow.

While we have been touting the dramatic increase in our graduation and retention rates, the APLU recognition adds external validation for our efforts. This turnaround required a long-term and multi-faceted commitment across the entire institution, and I want to extend my sincerest congratulations and thanks to the thousands of faculty and staff who work so hard to ensure the success of our students.

In particular, I'd like to note the excellent work of the collegiate leadership, faculty and academic advising staff, and our student services across the University. I also want to acknowledge the leadership and vision shown by current and former Vice Provosts Bob McMaster, Craig Swan, and Jerry Rinehart, as well as the work of their teams.

I would also like to share the video that we were asked to produce for the November APLU award ceremony in Washington, D.C. The featured students make plain the important difference you make to our students' lives. The words of these students should inspire us to continue our efforts to support student retention and timely degree completion.

This award serves as proof that a university as large and decentralized as ours can work together to implement dramatic changes and to solve problems. I have every confidence that we can accomplish a great deal more, and I look forward to working with you to achieve our many goals.

For example, this fall we are working together to improve our University in a number of areas, including:

On these and other issues, I welcome your thoughts and concerns. Please feel free to email me at


Karen Hanson signature.

Karen Hanson,
Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

email sent September 24, 2013 to all Twin Cities faculty and staff.