Committee: Increase U of M undergraduate enrollment

University of Minnesota welcomes new president
Over 700 people, including many in academic robes, applaud as Eric Kaler is inaugurated as the 16th president of the University of Minnesota on Sept.22, 2011, in Minneapolis.
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A University of Minnesota committee recommends a small increase in undergraduate enrollment over the next few years.

The proposal suggests adding a thousand students in science and technology programs, increasing the number of undergrads at the university to about 33,000.

Bob McMaster, university dean of undergraduate education, told the school's board of regents Friday the committee considered adding even more students, but decided that would cause problems.

"A lower-quality student experience, reduced retention and graduation rates, decreased interest from other higher quality students who would want to come here, and we're basically arguing that this would lead us into a bit of a spiral."

The report also recommends increasing the performance of transfer students by admitting fewer of them to the university. Just over 2,000 students transfer to U of M each year. Most come from the state community colleges.

The proposal also puts graduate programs at U of M under more scrutiny.

Provost Tom Sullivan wants the school to better monitor the master's and PhD programs, and consider programs that could possibly be dropped.

"This is a university that wants first-rate graduate programs and to make sure we have funding and investments for those programs, and a process by which we can decide which ones aren't and how we can't afford them any longer," Sullivan said.

He proposes establishing a committee of scholars from across the university to assess the quality of the university's graduate programs.

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