The University of Minnesota’s search for a new vice president for University services has been narrowed to three candidates.
Interim Vice President for University Services Mike Berthelsen is vying for the position alongside Steven Iselin, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment, and Matthew Massman, the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Administration.
According to the University’s job description, “the vice president for University services is responsible for creating and sustaining a safe, welcoming environment and service culture that supports and advances the teaching, research, and outreach missions of the University of Minnesota system.”
“As you well know, this is a very important position at the University of Minnesota,” said Liz Eull, deputy chief of staff for policy and initiatives for the office of the president.
Berthelsen participated in a campus conversation Tuesday at Walter Library, where he discussed the position and fielded questions from University faculty, staff and students.
“We exist for the rest of the University,” Berthelsen said. “Our job is to help make that successful, how to make that productive.”
As interim vice president for University services, Berthelsen manages nearly 3,500 employees.
Berthelsen also spoke about student safety in light of recent instances of crime on campus.
“There are 55 officers on this campus and there’s not nearly enough of them to try to cover that space,” he said. “The culture of safety is one that is enormously important for everyone.”
Berthelsen said he wants to create a campus culture “where everybody can come and ... hopefully leave everyday as good or [in] better shape than they showed up,” he said.
Minnesota Student Association Student Body President Trish Palermo joined the discussion with Berthelsen, voicing her expectations for the next vice president for University services.
Palermo said she has previously had difficulty with communicating with administrators.
“It can be very … difficult to navigate the bureaucracy that is the University of Minnesota,” she said.
Palermo added that Berthelsen seems to care about students and their campus experiences.
She said she hopes the positive relationship students have built with University services continues to move forward with the new vice president.
“Myself and any other students are grateful for the progress that we have in University Services,” Palermo said in an interview.