Press Release: Supporting the University of Minnesota's Strategic Vision
20 Feb 2006

Press Release: Supporting the University of Minnesota's Strategic Vision

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (Minneapolis, February 20, 2006)

20 Feb 2006


(Minneapolis, February 20, 2006) – Arthur Harkins and John Moravec today released action steps they believe the University of Minnesota should take to become one of the world’s top three public research universities within the coming decade.

Their effort is independent of the University’s official strategic repositioning process.  It is intended to provide a list of proactive suggestions to help guarantee the University’s strategic positioning outcome.  In the spirit of open sourcing, they encourage feedback to the ideas put forward.

The problem:

The University of Minnesota is currently ranked #32 in the Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s Academic Ranking of World Universities. Minnesota places ninth among U.S. public universities.

The top ten U.S. public universities according to 2005 Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s Academic Ranking of World universities:

1.      University of California – Berkeley (4th)

2.      University of California – San Diego (13th)

3.      University of California – Los Angeles (14th)

4.      University of Wisconsin – Madison (16th)

5.      University of Washington – Seattle (17th)

6.      University of California – San Francisco (18th)

7.      University of Michigan – Ann Arbor (21st)

8.      University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign (25th)

9.      University of Minnesota – Twin Cities (32nd)

10. University of California – Santa Barbara (34th)

(Full report is available online at:

China is now engaged in a ten-year process of constructing one hundred (100) new universities.  China intends these institutions to be competitive with the world’s best.  India has its own version of MIT.

Universities around the globe are following the same path as China and India.  Their leaders have recognized that western dominance in research, knowledge production and innovation can be successfully challenged.

The University of Minnesota, which seeks to become one of the world’s top three public research universities, can no longer afford to engage in practices intended to “catch up” to the world’s leading institutions.  As global universities become increasingly more competitive, Minnesota must become a center of creative innovation in research and education. 

The opportunity:

The University of Minnesota needs to “leapfrog” ahead of the competition – to build a preferred future through new forms of knowledge production and creative vision.  This requires a leapfrog approach that addresses Minnesota’s challenges and needs ten years from now and much beyond.

“The bottom line is that playing ‘catch-up’ won’t work,” said University of Minnesota doctoral student John Moravec.  “If the rest of the world is racing to be the best, we should never expect to keep pace.  We need to demonstrate our unique leadership in both national and global contexts.  We must build a University that is inherently creative and willing to take strategic risks to propel itself to the top of the world’s rankings.”

“We can vault into a leadership role by looking over the horizon, not just toward it,” said University of Minnesota associate professor Harkins.  “By involving our students, faculty and staff, together with our committed alumni and stakeholders, we can do this starting immediately. We’re advocating Open Source Development as a parallel process supporting the University’s existing planning efforts.”

About the initiators:

Arthur Harkins, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Policy and Administration and faculty director of the Graduate Certificate in Innovation Studies program at the University of Minnesota. 

John Moravec is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Educational Policy and Administration at the University of Minnesota.  Moravec’s doctoral dissertation research is focused on the future of knowledge production in Minnesota higher education.

The initiators request that the University community and the public provide comments, corrections and additions to their position on achieving the University’s goal. Their next draft, to be released on March 1, 2006, will take into account feedback received up to that time.


Arthur Harkins, University. of MN,, 612/743-7528

John Moravec, University. of MN,, 612/325-5992

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