The Magazine of the University of Minnesota Duluth

Volume 16 • Number 1 • Winter 1999

 

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Building for the Future
Letter from Chancellor Kathryn A. Martin


As we celebrate the New Year, it is with great pride and anticipation that we envision the future of UMD. Through the continued support of our many alumni and friends, UMD will continue to providan outstanding educational experience for all of our students.

Campus visitors the last six months have noticed the quick progress that is being made on UMD's new library. The rising concrete walls in the huge hole will provide the foundation for the new state-of-the art facility, and the first floor is now being poured. The library is scheduled to open in the fall of 2000.

In addition to the library, we are also involved with architects in the pre-design phase for a Music Performance Laboratory, the Women's Ice Center and a Science Laboratory Building. Each of these facilities will extend the campus commitment to excellent facilities to support our students and faculty.

The library leads our technology initiatives, with the addition of 800 to 1,000 study stations equipped with data and electrical ports for laptop computers. Several departments are also integrating the use of laptops into their curriculum to meet the changing technological demands of their disciplines. Classrooms continue to be upgraded to accommodate laptops, with all of the campus residence halls wired for access to the campus network and the Internet.

The 1990s brought us email and the World Wide Web, with today's students and recent graduates relying on the fast electronic forms of communication. The information explosion demands that educators prepare students to harness and sift through the technological advances. Through our new visualization and digital imaging laboratory, graphic design and engineering students will find themselves working side by side on computer modeling projects. The traditional lines between these and other fields have blurred, creating curriculum challenges and rapidly changing opportunities for our students. For example, new degree programs -- a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems and Technology and a Bachelor of Business in Management Information Systems -- will soon be available. The Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design and a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in Art and Technology have also been added.

UMD's partnership with the City of Duluth in the Duluth Technology Village has positioned us to enter the next century ready to help our students prepare for as yet undefined careers in information technology. Through the Department of Education, we are also preparing students and practicing teachers to apply a variety of software in their classrooms and workplaces through the certificate program in technology. Through the use of virtual reality technology, students become participants in abstract spaces, whether the bottom of Lake Superior or ancient Egypt. In either instance, virtual reality technology allows students to interact with people and space previously inaccessible.

Our development efforts are 100 percent ahead of last year in reaching toward our goal. We thank the many alumni who responded so generously to the calls from students during the Annual Fund phonathon drive. The students enjoyed making the calls and look forward to being members of the Alumni Association upon graduation. Many of the student callers rely on financial aid, which includes scholarship opportunities provided through many of your generous donations.

In 1998, we met old friends and made new ones during visits to the Twin Cities, Florida, California, Denver, Milwaukee and New York City. This year we will be returning to many of these areas, and we hope to soon visit alumni in New England.

In December, 11 UMD faculty members were named to the University's new Academy of Distinguished Teachers. They are: Thomas D. Bacig, Sociology-Anthropology; Ron Caple, Chemistry; Joseph A. Gallian, Mathematics and Statistics; Linda Rae Hilsen, Instructional Development Service; Virginia T. Katz, Communication; Richard W. Lichty, Economics; Linda Miller-Cleary, English; A. Maureen O'Brien, Economics; Richard W. Ojakangas, Geology; Helen Rallis, Education; and Eileen Zeitz, Languages and Literatures. These outstanding educators exemplify the high standards that define our dedicated faculty members.

Our faculty are also involved in diverse research projects and currently are involved in $26 million in sponsored research projects. The number of students involved in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) continues to grow, with 94 students currently working with faculty members from across the disciplines. Our goal is to continue to expand the undergraduate research opportunities.

While we prepare for a new century, UMD continues its 104-year-old history as an undergraduate university with selected graduate programs. We also proudly continue our history as a teacher preparation college. The lab school partnership between Chester Park Elementary School and the UMD College of Education and Human Service Professions continues to flourish. The teachers and students are defining a best-practices elementary school, with a special focus on the arts and technology. We are hopeful to expand this initiative next year.

In many ways it is hard to believe that the calendar reads 1999. As alumni and friends of UMD, we hope that you will share in our excitement as we look forward to continued growth during the next 100 years.

 

 
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