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Friday, October 22, 2010

Campus Budget Update

In the next several months we will be asked to begin budget planning for the next two years. While we have been given no specific instructions concerning the planning process, there are some things we know which should be taken into consideration as we begin the process.

Current budget projections suggest that the State of Minnesota has a budget shortfall of $5.7 billion for the next biennium. Three years ago UMD received $50 million of its total budget of approximately $200 million from the State. Now our state allocation is $37 million, and it is likely that additional cuts will be made. To provide a sense of scale, the retrenchment that occurred during the current biennium was $11 million. However, that figure significantly understates the true impact on the campus, because we also had to make adjustments to cover increased costs in compensation, utilities, student scholarships, etc. At this time, we do not know how much our additional cuts will be for the next biennium, but we anticipate the cuts will range from 3% to 6% of our operations and maintenance (O&M) budget.

I am committed to broad-based involvement in developing the budget for next year. However, that commitment comes with the caveat that often budget decisions need to be made quickly. To date, we have received no budget instructions from the State or the University of Minnesota system. When we receive those instructions I expect our timeline for response to be brief.

That being the case, I am meeting with the deans next week to begin the budget discussions. In addition, I have invited Richard Pfutzenreuter, Vice President for Budget and Finance for the University of Minnesota, to come to the campus on November 5 and meet with the Chancellor's Cabinet, deans and other administrative leaders, and the Campus Assembly Budget Committee. He will give us his perspective on what are likely to be the budget planning parameters for the University System. The administrators, faculty, and staff who meet with Vice President Pfutzenreuter will then share the information with their constituent groups. Since that meeting follows the November election, the outcome of those elections will likely give us more clarity about the way the State will decide to address its financial priorities.

Soon after the November 5 meetings with Vice President Pfutzenreuter, I will meet again with the Cabinet, the Council of Deans, other administrative leaders, and the Campus Assembly Budget Committee to seek their input and advice regarding budget strategies for the next budget cycle. I will send additional campus budget updates and keep you informed on budget information as it becomes available.

In spite of these challenging and uncertain economic times, UMD's overall financial health is strong.

We have many needs and aspirations for many things that we cannot afford at this time. However, we are fortunate to have a solid financial foundation which will help us respond well to the difficulties ahead.

Please contact me or the campus leaders in your area if you have questions or would like additional information.

Lendley C. Black, Chancellor

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Strategic Planning Update/October

On September 27, I announced my plans for a comprehensive strategic planning process and announced the creation of the Faculty Fellow for Strategic Planning position. Within the next week to 10 days, I plan to announce the new faculty fellow and announce the membership of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee. I have a strong candidate pool from which to choose the Faculty Fellow for Strategic Planning.

Today I'm writing to ask for your help in creating the Strategic Planning Steering Committee. Based upon my experience, a strategic planning process can only be effective to the extent that it involves a large majority of the campus in the planning process. Much of that work will be done at the collegiate or administrative unit level, but it is also important that a steering committee be appointed to assist in the structuring of the work assignments and in the evaluation and prioritization of the opportunities that present themselves through the various phases of the planning effort. Many of you have had important roles in the campus and others are emerging leaders who would like a more active role in planning our future. Please send nominations or self-nominations for the Strategic Planning Steering Committee directly to me at chan@d.umn.edu by noon Monday, October 18. I am hoping for a committed group of people from all campus governance and employee groups. Students will also be represented on the committee. We will begin meetings soon and will meet regularly between now and the end of the spring semester.

Last week, I announced an organizational structure to create a more inclusive campus environment. This effort is in response to racial, homophobic, and sexist incidents on campus. These events should provide all of us with the opportunity to measure our own actions and to create a campus climate that is welcoming and inclusive to all of our faculty, staff, and students. Through this process we will develop action plans to improve the climate on campus for everyone.

Both initiatives, strategic planning and inclusive campus environment, will be integrated into our campus governance structure. For example, drafts of the new strategic plan will be shared with our governance groups for input. If new policies are suggested related to campus environment, these policies will be vetted and formalized through our current campus governance procedures. During a recent meeting with the Executive Committee of the Campus Assembly, I was asked if there were other initiatives that I would be announcing soon. My somewhat facetious answer was, "I hope not." These are the two main initiatives for 2010-2011. Of course there are other areas which need our attention. However, it's most important this academic year to focus first on planning and on creating an inclusive environment within which we can do our best work.

Lendley C. Black, Chancellor

Thursday, October 7, 2010

UMD Organizational Structure to Create a More Inclusive Campus Climate

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to articulate the responsibilities of and the relationships between the elements of a new campus organizational structure that will support and advance social justice values of inclusion, equity and diversity. This is an ambitious and worthy goal that will require campus-wide engagement and commitment. I expect efforts to focus on organizational change, fostering collaboration, and aligning actions and priorities to optimize effectiveness and resource utilization.

I announced two weeks ago that the elements of this new organizational structure are the Leadership Team, Campus Change Team, Unit Change Teams and the External Consultants. I am pleased to announce that Bilin Tsai, Interim Associate VCAA, and Susana Pelayo Woodward, Director of the Office of Cultural Diversity, will Co-Chair the Campus Change Team. They will report to me directly and through the work of the Leadership Team.

I. Leadership Team for an Inclusive Campus Climate
a. Membership: Chancellor, Vice Chancellors for Academic Administration, Academic Support and Student Life, Finance and Operations, and University Relations, a dean, a tenured faculty member, a staff member, an Executive Committee of the Campus Assembly member, and the Co-Chairs of the Campus Change Team.
b. Provide campus leadership.
c. Receive, review and prioritize recommendations and goals.
d. Allocate resources (funds, space, personnel, etc.).
e. Manage communication plan for internal and external constituents.
f. Lead discussion and revision of mission, core values, and goals with respect to inclusion.
g. Provide oversight for implementation of approved recommendations.

II. Campus Change Team (CCT) for an Inclusive Campus Climate
a. Membership: CCT Co-Chairs, one member from each vice chancellor unit, one member from each collegiate unit, three students, and representatives from current commissions.
b. Report to the Leadership Team
c. Foster development of campus equity and diversity action plans. Research plans with
respect to feasibility, cost, and timeline. Make recommendations to the Leadership Team.
d. Build and maintain liaison, alignment and communication with other campus units, campus populations, and the community.
e. Facilitate publicity and promotion of events and programs that contribute to an inclusive
campus environment.
f. Provide regular reports to Leadership Team and campus.

III. Unit Change Teams (UCT) for an Inclusive Campus Climate
a. Membership: To be determined at the Unit level.
b. Develop and recommend equity and diversity action plans to Unit and/or to CCT as appropriate
c. Report to Dean, Vice Chancellor or Director
d. CCT member serves on UCT as appropriate
e. Responds to and works with CCT

IV. External Consultants: Kathy Obear and Jamie Washington
a. Provide technical expertise to build internal capacity to sustain change efforts
b. Provide workshops and leadership development as appropriate

Our success in creating an inclusive campus environment will rest to large extent on the commitment by the members of the various teams and their willingness to work diligently, respectfully and collaboratively. I will initiate a process for seeking nominations and then identifying members of the Leadership and Campus Change Teams, and I will ask unit heads do the same for the Unit Change Teams. In addition, I am well aware that that without broad support and engagement by many others, we will not achieve our aspirational goals. The following quotation reflects my own view of how we can be successful.

"Equity and diversity efforts must be led not only by people with formal authority, but also by faculty, staff, students, and administrators at every level of operation and responsibility."

From Reimagining Equity and Diversity: A framework for transforming the University of Minnesota

Please let me know if you have comments, suggestions, or questions. Thank you for your cooperation and ongoing efforts to create a premiere inclusive campus environment.


Lendley C. Black

Friday, October 1, 2010

Civility in the Classroom

The University of Minnesota Duluth is dedicated to maintaining a positive learning
and working environment for our students, faculty, and staff. The manner in which all
parties interact within the classroom must respect our collective commitment to social
justice, inclusion, equity, and diversity. The University of Minnesota is committed to the
policy that all persons shall have equal access to its programs, facilities, and employment
without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status,
disability, public assistance status, veteran status, or sexual orientation. Both instructors
and students have a fundamental obligation to regard the instructional setting as a
place for civil, respectful behavior. For example, student behavior that is disrespectful,
harassing, or aggressive is grounds for removal from the classroom.

Individual faculty members are encouraged to address these important issues in course
syllabi and through discussion in their classrooms. Honest and genuine acknowledgment
of individual faculty commitments to these critical expectations will help to create
the kind of classroom environment that will optimally contribute to student success.
Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to take advantage of lectures and other
cultural events that will broaden experiences and foster understanding and respect.

Thank you for your efforts in helping us to maintain an optimal teaching and learning
environment for all.

Lendley C. Black, Chancellor
Vince Magnuson, Vice Chancellor for Academic Administration
Jackie Millslagle, Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Support & Student Life