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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Chancellor Black's Welcome Speech to Faculty and Staff 2013

Chancellor's Welcome
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
3 p.m., Marshall Performing Arts Center

Thank you for coming today to the first Chancellor's Welcome gathering for all faculty and staff. I hope you had some time off this summer to relax and refresh. My relaxing time was more limited than I wanted, but I did have the opportunity to travel a little and enjoy summer on the North Shore. I hiked, played some golf, and actually had time to read my weekend NY Times. Connie and I had a West Wing marathon, which I guess is now classic TV. The best part of summer was time to be granddad in Boston, in the Twin Cities, and in Duluth.

This year, instead of having separate welcome events for the faculty and staff groups, we decided to hold one event in the spirit of building community while also being stewards of our limited financial resources. But there's always room for cupcakes! I hope that you will join us after my remarks for a reception in the MPAC lobby to help us kick off the start of another academic year.

As we begin this afternoon, I think it's important to recognize that today is the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, which occurred on Wednesday, August 28, 1963. We should recognize the sacrifice and courage of the Americans who participated in that landmark civil rights event. As we continue our focus and commitment to equity, diversity and social justice we honor those who came before us and especially Dr. King and his inspirational "I Have a Dream" speech that was delivered on this day 50 years ago. Next, I would like to thank you for all that you have done to get ready for the start of the academic year. You can feel the momentum building on campus over the last month, and as usual, it always comes together so well.

Tomorrow, members of the Chancellor's Welcome Team will be helping the new students move into the residence halls. Actually, we will be doing a lot of greeting as well as answering many, many questions. I have heard rumors of how the first couple of years some members of the Chancellor's Welcome Team actually carried students' boxes up to the 7th floor of Lake Superior Hall. Thank you to Housing Director John Weiske and Students in Transition Director Lisa Reeves for putting together the small army of student volunteers who will literally do all the heavy lifting tomorrow!

During move in, it is such an exciting and a fun opportunity to meet the students - and to reassure the nervous parents. Of course, not all of the parents are anxious, but it is indeed an emotionally charged time.

We are pleased to have a large freshman class this year. We are welcoming a new freshman class of 2,080 students, which is up 9.4% from last year. Our increase in new students is great news and reverses the trends of declining new students over the past two years.

The bad news is that our overall enrollment numbers will be down for the second consecutive year. While the projected fall enrollment of new high school students is much stronger this year, the number of continuing students is down significantly. The data we have now indicates that the primary reasons for this continuing student decline are that our four and five-year graduation rates have improved considerably, and we had fewer new students the last two years. Higher graduation rates and larger numbers of new students are positive trends, and we need a larger pool of students to offset the tuition losses from those who leave us because they graduate sooner.

Now that 80% of our operating budget comes from tuition revenues, significant changes in enrollment have a major impact on our budget. Because of enrollment declines last year, our recurring tuition dollars were down approximately 2.5 million at the end of fiscal year 2013, which concluded on June 30 of this year. In fiscal year 2014, we are expecting an additional decline in tuition revenue, because our total student population this fall is projected to be down approximately 250 students from last fall. So, we are anticipating an additional $2.5 million decline in our recurring budget revenues in fiscal year 2014. Each one hundred students accounts for approximately $1 million in tuition revenue.

In addition to the recurring budget deficit, we have a growing shortfall in the non-recurring budget. These are tuition reserves, fund balances, and other one-time funds that pay for, among other things, our course access needs. These non-recurring course access funds should pay primarily for non-recurring, or short-term items, such as adding sections to courses when demand is high. But over the years, UMD has increasingly paid for recurring or "permanent" needs from this non-recurring pool of money. In addition, we have used these non-recurring funds to offset our revenue declines, instead of making permanent cuts. As a result, the non-recurring budget is dwindling, and this approach is no longer sustainable.

As we discussed in the budget forum last February, budget reallocation and recalibration are always difficult processes, but as we go through them again this year they can have positive benefits as well. In order to maximize the positive, we will continue to have open communication about our budget issues. We will continue to make the UMD budget process as clear to you as possible. We will also explore new revenue generating activities. After we know the final enrollment figures for this fall, we will work with faculty and staff to establish new budget targets for both recurring and non-recurring funds that will be approximately 8% less, or $11 to $12 million less, than our current budget. We will set a multi-year timeline, most likely three to five years, to achieve these targets, and we will work together with faculty and staff to determine how we will reach these targeted amounts. Although this is a significant amount of money, it is manageable considering our overall budget, and we don't have to solve this problem in one year. As I've said already, we will not just cut budgets, but also look for increased revenue sources, and we will continue to partner with the Twin Cities to address these issues. We have kept the senior leadership in the Twin Cities well informed about our budget challenges, and they are providing us assistance and advice. So, soon after we know the final enrollment numbers, we will work together throughout the fall semester to develop strategies and timelines to address these budget challenges.

Our new Strategic Planning and Budget Committee, the Faculty Council and Staff Council will advise the administration on this process and we will keep these committees and the campus as a whole well informed each step along the way. The Student Association will also be involved in appropriate ways. Meanwhile, the Board of Regents, President Kaler, and state lawmakers are making sure that the University's administrative costs are appropriate compared to our peers, and we will continue to look at ways to be more efficient and effective.

In preparing for this new budget reality, and to position UMD for long-term sustainability, we began a Program Prioritization initiative. This is a new process that will guide us through a close examination of all units on campus. We began this process in the summer, because we need recommendations by December in order to impact the University of Minnesota budgeting process for next year. However, this program prioritization is not only focused on cutting budgets. This process will also help us determine which programs need additional resources. We will continue to invest in new programs or strengthen programs in areas of particular excellence, or where we have a unique niche, or where student demand is great.

We need to maintain academic excellence, to be relevant, to be mission-driven, and to be fiscally responsible. To thrive in the future, we must seek new populations of students, and continually reevaluate how we provide our students with the high quality educational experiences they expect and deserve.

I am leading UMD through this Program Prioritization initiative. With help from my administrative team, we have put together two committees of staff and faculty to help us closely examine the programs, courses, and services that we deliver to see how they align with our mission and how they position UMD for the future.

This is an important process, and I would like to thank all of the committee members for agreeing to serve. I'd like for the committee members to stand when I call your names, and we will give them all a round of applause as a group:
Members of the Program Prioritization Committee for Academic Units are:

o Jefferson Campbell
o Jannifer David
o Priscilla Day
o Julie Etterson
o Jim Klueg
o Steve Matthews
o Mark Nierengarten
o Dan Pope
o Al Roline
o and Jeremy Youde.

Members of the Program Prioritization Committee for Administrative and Service Units are:
o Sue Bosell
o Mary Cameron
o Kathy Chalupsky
o Kristina D'Allaird
o Sue Darge Lombardo
o Jason Davis
o Mick McComber
o Lori Melton
o and Paula Rossi.

Please join me in thanking them for serving on these important committees. (Applause)
These committee members, as well as all of you here today, are committed to UMD's future. The committees have met several times this summer to lay the groundwork for the process, and there is a website that outlines the process on the Chancellor's home page. Also, I will keep you informed as the process unfolds.

Everyone on campus will be involved at the program level. To truly utilize our resources to their fullest potential, we need to review all of our programs in relation to how they support UMD's mission. This includes all programs and services on campus, both academic and administrative services. Instead of moving forward without the resources to support programs to their full potential, we can provide much needed resources to our priority areas. While the budget situation underscores the need for prioritization, it is also crucial to evaluate our priorities with respect to quality, demand, reputation, and other areas.

We all expect a first-class educational experience for UMD students combined with financial stability for our university.

We are all in this together. This initiative will spark innovative thinking and new approaches to accomplishing our mission and vision. We will emerge from this activity with a stronger, more robust UMD!

I am very optimistic about UMD's future. Compared to many higher institutions around the country, UMD is positioned to prosper and to thrive.

A year ago, I shared with you the new UMD identity of Those Who Can, Duluth. That message has literally spread across campus, from the outside light pole banners to the window clings at the entrance doors. The most meaningful use of this slogan is in the stories of the amazing accomplishments of our students, faculty and staff. The External Affairs team has been sharing stories about members of our campus community who each day live: Those Who Can, Duluth.

We are now more assertive in telling the UMD story and communicating our successes. Our alumni and donors are responding, and they believe in what we are doing. They are showing their support by contributing more than $12.6 million through our development efforts this last fiscal year. This $12.6 million in private contributions was more than a 70% increase over last year's total of $7 million, which was a 40 percent increase over the year before. And I just learned that the Development team has already raised over $2.5 million since July 1, the beginning of this fiscal year, fiscal year 2014. Unfortunately, these funds cannot be used to address our budget deficit, but they provide targeted support for student scholarships, and support for faculty, staff and specified programs.

There has indeed been a lot of good news to share over the past year, especially in the areas of academic excellence and student achievement. We all need to be proud for what we have accomplished this last year, and of all the work that continues each day. Here are just some of the highlights that we need to celebrate, highlights that demonstrate a few of the many pathways to excellence at UMD:

• UMD's first Nobel Prize laureate: Alumnus Brian Kobilka won the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for studies about how cells in our body sense their environments, a key for developing better drugs. Dr. Kobilka graduated summa cum laude from UMD in 1977 with Bachelor of Science degrees in biology and chemistry. He then earned a Doctor of Medicine degree from Yale and is now a faculty member at Stanford. He will be on campus on Friday, September 13, and he will give a public lecture in Chemistry 200.

• A new shared governance process was approved. With overwhelming support of 79 to 2, I was pleased the new Campus Governance system was approved in May. A draft of the bylaws and constitution of the approved new governance structure is available on the Chancellor's website for discussion and feedback. We will move forward soon in establishing the new councils and committees so that they will be in place by October 1.

• An increase in graduation rates: Thanks to your hard work and support, UMD has achieved an increase in our four-year graduation rate from 32.9% to 37.4%, and an increase in our five-year graduation rate from 54.6% to 60.7%. Without you, this significant change in graduation rates would not have been possible.

• Under the Strategic Plan, UMD is relentless in its efforts to create the necessary structures and climate on campus that will lead to the recruitment and retention of additional students of color. We have a new Faculty and Staff of Color Association on campus to give a stronger voice to people of color on campus, provide mentoring opportunities for minority faculty, staff, and students, and to broaden our outreach with our community partners. Our numbers and percentages of students of color continue to increase from 6% a few years ago to 9% last fall.

• We are extremely proud that UMD was recently recognized as one of the top 25 Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender-Friendly Colleges and Universities in the country as measured by the Campus Pride Index, and we continue to work diligently to improve the campus climate for all students, faculty and staff at UMD.

• We have many efforts in progress to diversify our faculty, and we are seeing results. We are also pleased with the success of our pre-doctoral program, which brings to UMD faculty of color who teach for one year while completing their dissertation. We hope more of these faculty members will follow the lead of Dr. George Hoagland, Assistant Professor in the College of Liberal Arts Women Studies department, and stay at UMD after the completion of their doctorate.

• We are continuing our strategic focus on Goal 2 of the Strategic Plan on creating an inclusive campus environment for the full breadth of students, faculty and staff. I continue to expect all leaders, faculty and staff to make progress towards achieving all of our strategic goals and to deepen our capacity to achieve Goal 2. Toward that end, I am convening a two-day working retreat in early September with a group of campus leaders to engage in authentic discussions about how far we have come and how far we need to go with respect to creating inclusive campus environments for everyone at UMD. The attendees will include the Chancellor's Cabinet, Deans, area Directors, Campus Climate Change Team, and the co-chairs of the 19 Unit Change Teams.

• We have established a new Learning Commons on the second floor of the UMD Library. The Learning Commons is a resource-rich area for students to deepen their learning through study, collaboration, and consultation. The integration of library, tutoring, writing center, and Instructional Technology Support Services will support and facilitate the important work of students and faculty at UMD.

• We celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Royal D Alworth Institute for International Studies and the 40th Anniversary of the American Indian Studies Program.
• The first Master of Tribal Administration and Governance class graduated from UMD in May. This is the only graduate degree program in the U.S. that trains people specifically in the best management practices for tribal governments.

• Three major events were held last fall to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Morrill Act and UMD's tradition as a land-grant university. They were:

o A panel on the impacts of mining in Minnesota and the key role UMD and the Natural Resources Research Institute plays,
o A presentation, "Land, Law and Education: An American Indian Perspective on Land-Grant Universities;"
o And a presentation by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. on "Freshwater and the Environment."

• We have two new learning communities in Housing and Residence Life - an Honors Community and a Sustainability Living Community, or the "Green House." These are in addition to our already successful Multicultural Living Community.

• Student Life also launched the U Make a Difference campaign, and the Student Life Unit Change Team started the "Inclusive Ally Program."

• In response to many requests from the campus community, the Food Court launched the Fresh Works salad bar last year, and the option has been very popular. This past summer Fresh Works included produce from the University farm.

• New street signs with UMD colors and a Bulldog emblem now help guide drivers on and around campus. Members of the Student Association led the project to get the new colorful signs in place and celebrated their unveiling with Mayor Don Ness, who is a UMD graduate and former president of the UMD Student Association.

• Tom Isbell, professor of theater, wrote the play, The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg, which held its world premiere at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. last November.

• Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan C. Page was on campus last fall as part of a panel discussion on "57 Years After Brown v. Board of Education: The Current and Future State of Black America."

• Three UMD faculty are recipients of the Chancellor's Teaching, Research, and Service awards for 2012-2013. They are:

o Lyle Shannon, instructor in the Department of Biology and recipient of the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching;
o Steve Colman, director of the Large Lakes Observatory and recipient of the Chancellor's Award for Distinguished Research;
o and Ladona Tornabene, associate professor in the Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation and recipient of the Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Public Service.

• Dr. Adyn Durgunoglu, Professor and Interim Department Head of Psychology, is a recipient of the 2013 Award for Global Engagement for her many years of outstanding international contributions to the field of literacy acquisition and bilingualism. This all-university award is given to the current faculty and staff in recognition of outstanding contributions to global research, education and engagement.

• Dr. Jon Pierce, Professor of Organization and Management, was a finalist last year for the Academy of Management's George R. Terry Book Award, for his co-authored book, Psychological Ownership and the Organizational Context: Theory, Research and Application. Dr. Perce was previously selected as one of the 33 scholars from around the world to be inducted into the Academy of Management Science's Hall of Fame for his substantial contributions to the discipline of management.

• A team of researchers led by Geological Sciences Professor John Goodge and supported by the National Science Foundation are designing and building a new mobile drilling platform for use on the ice sheets of Antarctica. Named the Rapid Access Ice Drilling system, this type of platform/drilling system has never been attempted on ice sheets such as those found in Greenland and Antarctica.

• UMD is featured in The Princeton Review's Guide to Green Colleges, which was released during Earth Week.

• Although we have been criticized for high tuition, UMD has been listed as one of the most affordable Minnesota colleges by The College Database, a website dedicated to providing accurate and valuable college and career information. To be included in this list, schools must have an annual tuition rate below $20,000 and have new graduates who earn more than $40,000 per year on average. According to The College Database, UMD students enter the workforce earning an estimated $42,300 per year after graduation, ranking it among the top five of all Minnesota post-secondary schools. Also, the value of a UMD education is evidenced in the low 3% student loan default rate of UMD graduates. The national average is 13%.

• The University of Minnesota Board of Regents has approved a unique interdisciplinary major in the College of Liberal Arts. The Cultural Entrepreneurship program is the first of its kind in the United States. The program prepares students to fulfill this need by combining the traditional lessons of business schools with the creative thinking that is most often cultivated in the liberal arts. The Board also approved a new Bachelor of Social Work degree, which will help UMD address the need for greater numbers of well-trained social workers in Minnesota.

• In one of many efforts to bring additional revenues to our athletics programs, Josh Berlo, our new athletics director, negotiated an athletic apparel agreement with Under Armor. Our hockey teams will be the first sports to have Under Armor uniforms this season, and the other sports will follow in 2015.

• And another significant Those Who Can, Duluth story: UMD students are highly successful in finding jobs after graduation, according to a recent Career Services survey of nearly 2,000 alumni from the class of 2011-2012. Nearly all - or 96 percent - of the graduates surveyed are employed or are continuing their education. This is a 3 percent increase from the previous year, and 83 percent of those employed working in Minnesota. We are not a trade school and not focused only on job training, but this is important data that proves the economic value of a UMD education.

Let's give all of us a round of applause for all of the successes of the last year! (Applause)

Now I would like to introduce to you the newest members of the Chancellor's Cabinet, as well as to several new campus leaders.

Twin Ports native Gina Katzmark joined UMD last December as the director of External Affairs. She came to UMD from the Wake Forest University Schools of Business in Winston-Salem, N.C., where she was the associate director of communications.

Dr. Paula Pedersen, Assistant Professor of Psychology, began August 1 as the Faculty Fellow for Intercultural Initiatives. In addition to being an accomplished teacher, scholar and diversity trainer, Paula is a licensed psychologist. Please watch for the broader campus climate theme called "infinite sides of the story" and be ready to join us in building a culture of compassion and curiosity where we suspend judgment, challenge our own assumptions, and engage in courageous conversations.

Josh Berlo, our new athletic director, has a sincere commitment to the success of students in both athletics and academics. I know that he was thrilled to learn soon after he came to UMD in May that last academic year, UMD's 409 student-athletes posted an average GPA of 3.11, an all-time high. Of that group, 102 achieved GPAs of 3.5 or above and eight turned in perfect 4.0 figures. Josh came to UMD from the University of Notre Dame, where he was Senior Assistant Athletics Director for Guest Relations and Event Marketing. We also have two new deans this summer, and I would like them to stand while I introduce them.

Dr. Amy Hietapelto is the new Dean of the Labovitz School of Business and Economics. Amy joined us from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, where she was Dean since 2009. She also served as Acting Dean and Associate Dean at Northeastern Illinois University and has been a faculty member at Michigan Technological University and Clarkson University. She received her Ph.D. from the Carlson School of Business on the Twin Cities campus, with a focus in the area of Organizational Studies.

Dr. Jill Pinkney Pastrana joined UMD as the new dean of the College of Education and Human Service Professions. She came to UMD from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire, where she was chair of the Department of Education Studies. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of California Los Angeles, where she also holds master's degrees in Curriculum and Teacher Studies and Latin American Studies. In 2009, Jill served as a guest faculty member in the Psychology Department at the Catholic University in Valparaiso, Chile, through the Fulbright Scholar program. Let's welcome Amy and Jill to UMD! (Applause)

I would also like to ask Matt Rosendahl and Tim Caskey to please stand.

• Matt Rosendahl is the new director of the UMD Library. He started in June and came from Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College in Superior, where he was the Director of Learning Resources. In addition to directing the library at WITC, he developed their Learning Commons and served on the IT executive committee.

Tim Caskey is the new director of Human Resources and Equal Opportunity. He also began in June and comes to UMD from the St. Paul Public Schools, the largest urban school district in Minnesota. For the last three years he served as the Executive Director for Human Resources/Labor Relations. Matt and Tim, thank you for joining the UMD community. (Applause)

We are pleased to welcome all of new members of the UMD campus community. A complete listing of new faculty and staff is available online and located on the Chancellor's Office website. I encourage you to review the list and welcome all of the new members of the UMD community.

Thank you to those who brought food today to donate to the new Champ's Cupboard, the food shelf for students that was recently created by Student Life. Contact the Office of Student Life if would like to make additional donations.

We all make a difference in our students' lives. We are all integral members of the UMD community. By working together, I know that we will continue to be well positioned to achieve our vision of being a premiere comprehensive university recognized as world class for its learning-centered student experiences, research, creative activities, and public engagement. This is a bold vision, but one that is very much within our reach. Thank you for coming today and have a great academic year!

Please join us for cupcakes in the lobby!