New ‘chief cheerleader’ for the University
On Sept. 22, Eric Kaler officially became the president of the University of Minnesota, coming back to the place where he received his chemical engineering PhD in 1982. By all accounts, he is thrilled to be here.
The former provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Stony Brook University in New York, Kaler has jumped into his new duties with a smile on his face and unabashed enthusiasm for the job. “I’ve now become the chief cheerleader for the University,” he says. At the beginning of his tenure, his highest priorities are sharpening the University’s focus on what it does best and ensuring access.
“It’s critically important that the barriers to the students who do not have the financial means to come to the University be as low as possible,” he says.
To achieve what he calls a healthy “excellence-to-cost ratio,” Kaler believes that the University must concentrate on its firstrate programs to help it manage expenses, improve the education it offers, and increase its national standing as a public university. For Kaler, robust health sciences programs are essential if the University is to realize its academic potential.
“There is no top-flight public institution that doesn’t have a strong leadership position in academic health,” he says “We can’t succeed without the Academic Health Center being excellent.”