StudentsReview :: The University of Minnesota Twin Cities - Extra Detail about the Comment
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The University of Minnesota Twin Cities

How this student rated the school
Research QualityA Research AvailabilityA
Research FundingB- Graduate PoliticsF
Errand RunnersC Degree CompletionA
Alternative pay [ta/gsi]C Sufficient PayB+
CompetitivenessA Education QualityF
Faculty AccessibilityA Useful ResearchA
ExtracurricularsC Success-UnderstandingF
Surrounding CityA Social Life/EnvironmentC
"Individual" treatmentF FriendlinessF
SafetyC Campus BeautyA
Campus MaintenanceA University Resource/spendingF
Describes the student body as:
Friendly, Approachable, Broken Spirit

Describes the faculty as:
Friendly, Helpful, Arrogant

Lowest Rating
Graduate Politics
Highest Rating
Research Quality
He cares more about Success-Understanding than the average student.
Date: Dec 31 1969
Major: Biology (This Major's Salary over time)
I completed my Ph.D. at the U of M. The program I was in was pretty awfully-run. The University as a whole seems to be pretty awfully-run. However, my department was exceptionally great and really took care of its students. This was a huge plus and made the experience "worth it". It's abundantly clear that research is NOT THE TOP PRIORITY of the U of M. This is a big concern since one would think that this would be near to a top priority of a large research institution. The red tape you have to go through to get anything done is obscene. Also, it seems pretty clear that the U of M does many things to accelerate its sports programs (which seem to often be administrated by ethically questionable individuals) while at the same time doing little to actually recruit excellent faculty that can advance the research mission of the U of M.

The U does do some things that, in name, sound like great things for research. Take the biomedical discovery district. New research space needed to be built. This was critical, and I'm glad they did it. However, they built this new space very far from the hospital. And, ostensibly, the "BDD" is supposed to support a translational research mission. Just at the base level, how the hell are you going to translate something between the bench and the bedside when these two entities are physically separated by a half mile and a giant football stadium? It smacks of poor planning, to me at least. Especially when a few years later, the U eminent-domained a few blocks right next to the hospital to build a new clinic. So, why not just have eminent domained a few more blocks and put the "BDD" right next to the hospital as well? It's odd.

Also, the administration at the U of M is seriously recalcitrant to any discussion of what the hell they are doing. They clearly do not value the input of anyone at the U. For example, they removed a stop sign from the street right in front of the research building that I work in. I emailed president kaler and explained that this seemed really dangerous to me and that I would like to discuss it further. He emailed me back a few weeks later and essentially responded by saying he would forward the issue to his VP, Pam Wheelock. Pam never got back to me, so I emailed her about the same issue directly. In so many words, she implied that I should just fuck off. Now, I realize that there are a lot of moving parts at a giant university, but all I wanted was a discussion. There was no way that a discussion would be entertained. It was abundantly clear that these two administrators had no interest in my input (in this case, to a totally valid campus safety issue). Suffice it to say, this is a challenging system to work with.

Finally, the HR and admin personnel seem to be really challenging to work with. For example, when I started my postdoctoral fellowship (also at the U), I didn't get paid for more than a month! This was basically due to a long line of screwups and failed communications on the part of the HR in our department. These guys really don't seem to give a shit if you are being paid or not. And i'd get emails from them like "well, you will be paid soon, so I'm sure it's OK"…well, I don't get paid very much and I need to pay my rent lest I get evicted. So no, it's not "OK". THis is not the sort of HR that you want to be dealing with. In my opinion, these folks are supposed to be on your side. In our department, it was definitely the case that the HR guys were NOT on your side. So this is really tough to deal with too, and from what I understand, endemic to the U of M.

Good luck! Grad school is tough anywhere, and the U does very little to make it easier. That said, certain departments can be real gems, and may be worth the incessant U of M bullshit.

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