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University of Minnesota picks finalist for new president

December 7, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The woman who may become the next University of Minnesota president is a collaborative and approachable leader, according to education officials and colleagues.

Joan Gabel is the only finalist interviewing to succeed Eric Kaler, The Star Tribune reported . The university’s Board of Regents on Wednesday selected Gabel to continue with the interviewing process. She was one of three higher education administrators the search committee recommended.

Gabel is currently a provost at the University of South Carolina, which has about 34,000 students and a $1.6 billion budget, compared to the University of Minnesota’s 50,000 students and $4 billion budget.

While in her leadership role at USC, Gabel faced protests regarding student and faculty diversity, concerns over rising costs and a push to increase innovation with fewer resources.

“I saw her grow in her role,” said Marco Valtorta, who chairs the USC faculty senate. “She has become a very confident academic leader.”

Gabel is “a down-to-earth, highly knowledgeable and well-spoken person,” said John von Lehe Jr., chairman of USC’s board of trustees.

Jennifer Schultz, a professor on the University of Minnesota’s Duluth campus and a state lawmaker, said she likes Gabel’s experience as a faculty member and the time she’s spent on multiple campuses.

“I’m also excited that she would be the first woman president,” she said.

Gabel will visit all five University of Minnesota campuses and interview with regents next week.

Simran Mishra, the undergraduate student body president on the Twin Cities campus, said she hopes students will attend the events and ask Gabel tough questions about her plans. Mishra said she wants to learn how Gabel plans to advocate for the university at the Legislature, invest in student mental health and continue sexual misconduct prevention efforts.


This story has been corrected to show that the school is the University of Minnesota, not University of Wisconsin.


Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com

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