Go to the U of M home page

Friday, November 21, 2014

Budget Message to Campus

Dear Campus Community:

I am writing to give you an update on our continued progress toward resolving the remaining budget deficit at UMD. Although we still have challenging work to do, I remain optimistic that we will solve the remaining issues soon, and I remain pleased with the progress we have made over the past year.

Since the beginning of the fall semester, I have been working with the Strategic Planning and Budget Committee on developing specific strategies for the remaining $6 million structural deficit. We continue to focus on a three-prong approach, using a combination of trimming expenses, finding new revenues and partnering with the Twin Cities campus. Our intention is for budget reductions to be achieved primarily through strategic consolidation and trimming and not through drastic cuts.

A financial planning team with representation from our three vice chancellor units is building a multi-year budget framework as the foundation for discussing and addressing our remaining deficit. We are focusing on a plan to reduce the deficit as quickly as possible while modeling a sustainable budget for future years. The multi-year model draws from budget data for all units across UMD. This allows various revenue and reduction scenarios to be modeled to determine their effect on the deficit. The model, which also includes projections for new and continuing students, will be piloted by the end of this semester.

In the meantime, the Strategic Planning and Budget Committee is conducting brainstorming sessions to identify potential revenue and reduction ideas. A campus-wide survey will soon follow to gather input for additional suggestions. During January and early February, we will model various scenarios to develop a budget that meets the goal of eliminating the budget deficit in the next few years. The multi-year budget model will be presented to President Kaler in spring semester, prior to the compact budget process.

We are approaching this budgeting process with a focus on how this work positions us for the future, and how we advance the University of Minnesota Duluth's quality and competitiveness through targeted and timely investment in mission-critical academic and capital priorities. We are exploring new processes and new ways of delivering an outstanding UMD education, as we explore new student populations. This work is difficult, but we will emerge from these budget challenges stronger than ever.


Lendley C. Black