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Monday, November 25, 2013

Message from Chancellor Black

Dear Campus Community:

As we look forward to the Thanksgiving holiday, I want to extend to all of you my best wishes and to let you know how thankful I am to be Chancellor of the University of Minnesota Duluth. This is an outstanding academic institution focused on student success and making a difference in the intellectual and cultural life of our surrounding communities. We are a significant economic force in Northeast Minnesota and our faculty, staff and administrators are called upon regularly to advance business excellence and to promote the overall quality of life in Duluth.

Our teaching, research, and public engagement not only enhance this region, but reach communities across the U.S. and many parts of the world. Our students, faculty and staff volunteer and give their time, talents and resources to our neighbors who need our help. We are having a phenomenal fall season of athletics with football, soccer, volleyball, and cross country among the top teams in the nation.

UMD is an incredible place with an even brighter future. We must not lose sight of that as we deal with the challenges facing us and most higher education institutions across the country. As I said to the campus in August and again in October, we will build on our successes and strengths with an awareness that we cannot do everything we want to do, and that we need to be proactive and focused on continued innovation with academic excellence as our guide.

Program Prioritization is progressing well, and I want to again thank the members of the two committees who have conducted a thoughtful and thorough review of all programs and services at UMD. The vice chancellors and I will be reviewing the results of the committees' work over the next few weeks, and the vice chancellors will be consulting with deans, department heads, and directors. I should have preliminary recommendations from the Chancellor's Cabinet before the end of December, and I will share those recommendations with the campus and solicit input prior to making final decisions. As I've said previously, our goal is to have a financial plan in place before we submit our budget requests to the University of Minnesota System around the first of February. This financial plan will consist of strategies to address the $11.9 million budget target through such things as cost reductions, increases in revenues, consolidation of services, shared services, and additional assistance from the Twin Cities.

I want to emphasize that although some cuts are inevitable, we will also find ways to grow revenues and find efficiencies as we partner with the Twin Cities in new ways. We will not just cut our way out of this budget challenge.

Thank you for all you do to make UMD such a vibrant community. Please accept my family's best wishes for a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving.


Lendley (Lynn) Black

Chancellor's Office
University of Minnesota Duluth
515 Darland Administration Building
1049 University Drive
Duluth, MN 55812
218.726.6535 (fax)
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Friday, November 8, 2013

Voluntary Layoff, Voluntary Non-Renewal, and Voluntary Reductions in Appointment

To: Labor Represented, Civil Service and Professional and Administrative staff (non-faculty)

From: Lendley C. Black, Chancellor, University of Minnesota Duluth

Cc: Vice Chancellors, Deans, Faculty and Department Heads
Curt Swenson, Teamsters Local 320
Kathleen Abrahamson, AFSMCE Local 3800 & 3801

Subject: Voluntary Layoff, Voluntary Non-Renewal, and Voluntary Reductions in Appointment

During the past several months I have talked with faculty, staff and labor representatives about the significant financial challenges facing UMD in the immediate and foreseeable future. As part of those discussions, I asked each of you to look at all potential cost saving options and evaluate them in the context of our mission and goals.

To minimize the involuntary reduction of staff, I am announcing today that UMD will offer to staff who meet the eligibility requirements, the opportunity to apply for a voluntary layoff, voluntary non-renewal or a voluntary reduction in appointment if they so desire. These requests would have to meet unit needs and be approved by the unit vice chancellor, by me for the units that report directly to the chancellor, and by the Department of Human Resources & Equal Opportunity. If approved, employees who elect to take a voluntary layoff or voluntary non-renewal will be entitled to a severance payout and continued medical and dental coverage, as defined by University policy and/or their collective bargaining agreement.

This program does not apply to faculty.

Employee and Supervisor information sessions have been scheduled for later this month. Information regarding times of the information sessions, eligibility, the specific options, the request form and some frequently asked questions and answers can be found on the UMD Human Resources & Equal Opportunity website at http://www.d.umn.edu/umdhr. Should you have any questions, please talk with your immediate supervisor or contact the Department of Human Resources & Equal Opportunity.

There is a deadline of January 31, 2014 to apply for one of these voluntary options. If you are interested in pursuing this, please discuss it with your supervisor by December 13, 2013.

In offering these options, the hope is that we can reduce costs, while minimizing the potential of involuntary staff layoffs. We are also looking at a wide variety of creative cost savings and efficiencies across campus, and I encourage you to continue your unit discussions as well. I know you share my commitment and desire to see the University of Minnesota Duluth succeed and become an even greater institution for decades to come.


Lendley C. Black