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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Update on Search for Director of Alumni Relations

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing to share an update on the search for a new Director of Alumni Relations.  This is an important leadership position on campus that works to engage our graduates and keep them connected with UMD throughout their lives.  After consulting with leadership at UMD and other universities, and after careful examination of alumni engagement, I am excited to share with you a new approach and structure for alumni relations.  To strengthen the connection from student to alumni, and further integrate alumni relations into the campus community, I have decided to realign the Alumni Relations Office from the Chancellor's Unit to Student Life.

The Director of Alumni Relations will report to Vice Chancellor of Student Life and Dean of Students Lisa Erwin.  I'm very excited about the opportunities that arise from this new structure, as are the Alumni Relations and Student Life staff.  The Alumni Director will serve as a member of Dr. Erwin's leadership team while continuing to have a close partnership with key partners such as university marketing and public relations, and the development team.  

Tricia Bunten will continue her role as Interim Alumni Director and will chair the search for the new Director.  We will be posting the job opening soon and are in in the process of inviting members of the campus and alumni community to be part of the search committee. 


Lendley C. Black

Friday, September 4, 2015

Chancellor's Update - September 4, 2015

Greetings and welcome to the start of a new academic year at UMD!

This is such an exciting time of year and I want to first thank all of you who were involved in the Bulldog Welcome Week activities and other events that helped get our new and returning students engaged.  Well done!  There is no shortage of action on campus this time of year.  Take a peek at the Welcome Week photo album to see some of the smiling faces.

One my goals for the year is to have more regular communication with faculty and staff. This is the first of what will be regular communication from me.  I welcome your thoughts and ideas on campus communication and the content of this newsletter.  I won't be able to cover everything here, but I will do my best to keep these messages pertinent and succinct.

Last week, our welcome meeting for faculty and staff started off with a bang - literally.  The UMD Marching Band got the meeting rolling with great energy and excitement.  These students are excellent musicians and I appreciate them using their rehearsal time to entertain us.  I also want to briefly recap my comments from the welcome speech.

We are proud of the many achievements at UMD.  Take a minute to look through the opening slideshow which featured a selection of our recent media coverage and points of pride.

I have heard your feedback, and as a result, I will focus on the following this next year:
  • Being more transparent
  • Providing clear direction and increased pace and clarity of decision making
  • Opening additional lines of communication
  • Being more visible to faculty and staff on campus

To help these priorities succeed, I have implemented some new structures.  The previous Chancellor's Cabinet had too much confusion and mystery surrounding it.  I have formed a new Chancellor's Senior Leadership Council which includes the previous cabinet members and expands to include the chairs of faculty and staff councils, a representative from the dean's council, the director of human resources and equal opportunity and the director of information technology systems and services.  As well, I will create meetings each semester with department heads and unit directors and will meet regularly with Faculty Council, Staff Council, and Student Association.

During the welcome speech, I discussed some of the major macro trends in higher education that are and will continue to impact us.  Those trends include state funding challenges, increased calls for accountability and performance-based funding, greater competition for students, new trends in  technology-enhanced instruction, sexual assaults on college campuses, and student loan debt.

This summer at the first meeting of the Chancellor's Senior Leadership Council, we focused our theme around academic excellence and student success.  The action items that we identified and continue to monitor circle around communication, budget, and morale and engagement.
Take a look at my communications archive to read my presentation notes from the meeting.

I closed my presentation with reflections about two theatre productions I saw in New York recently and how the themes and images from these Broadway shows relate to our campus climate successes and challenges.  We need to remember that we truly make a difference in the lives of our students, in others at UMD, and in our communities.  But we will not reach our full potential until we see beyond our differences, assume the sincerity of others, and respect the dignity of all people.

Next week Andrea Schokker and I will attend the Board of Regents meetings in the Twin Cities.  One of our meetings is with the system Capital Oversight Group to discuss UMD's facilities needs and projects in planning stages.  September will be a busy time for us to advocate for new capital projects at UMD.  The Senate bonding tour will be in Duluth September 15, The Minnesota Management and Budget's Northeast Minnesota bonding tour will visit UMD September 18, and the House Capital Investment Committee will be on campus September 22.  Our two main capital bonding priorities for the 2016 legislative session are the Chemistry and Advanced Materials Science building and Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement (HEAPR) funds for building upgrades.

Have a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend,

Lendley C. Black