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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Message from Town Hall Meeting

Dear Campus Community,

Thank you to all who participated in this afternoon's budget deficit discussion.

The take-home message, in case you couldn't join us, is that there will not be across the board cuts. The decisions that we make will not only be collaborative, they'll also be informed by data, metrics, and, most importantly, with our students' best interests as the priority.

The specific direction that we take will be clear when we receive the preliminary budget decisions from the system in May. Up until that time, any changes will be under review.

Here's what we're doing right now:

1. All units have been asked to take a look at what they do and prepare suggestions for how they might contribute to UMD reducing its deficit.
2. The suggestions are being discussed among the chairs, deans, directors, vice chancellors, and the Chancellor.
3. We'll submit our budget request to the system office at the end of this month, providing an overview of actions that are under review.
4. On March 11, we meet with system leadership.
5. We'll share the likely reductions that are under consideration with you soon after the March 11 meeting.
6. We'll have two or three weeks of campus discussion.
7. We'll receive our preliminary system budget decisions in May, which will give us a clear idea of what actions need to be taken.

This is hard work. I understand the anxiety that this situation has created and I empathize with your concerns.

We're positioning UMD for the new realities in higher education. Doing things the same way and expecting different results won't work. Shifting expenses and putting off difficult decisions are no longer options.

Our budget deficit continues to challenge us, but I want to remind you that we've made great strides in its reduction. In one year, UMD has gone from a $12 million recurring deficit to a $6 million recurring deficit.

The deficit reduction has been a collaborative effort throughout, from program prioritization to today. Gone are the days of a centralized funding pool. You're working with us. Together we've created a more open process and the end of this budget challenge is in sight.


Lendley C. Black