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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Chancellor's Update - October 21, 2015

Good afternoon,

I hope you all have been able to get out and enjoy this beautiful fall weather.  This semester sure seems to be flying by quickly.  Chief Development Officer Tricia Bunten and I were out last week visiting with donors and will be back on the road next week doing the same.  It is great to be able to share the impressive work of our campus community with supporters and hear their memories as well.  

We have had a busy year thus far and while I could write about many things, I am going to focus in and provide an update on a few topics including budget, campus surveys, enrollment, and our upcoming campus town hall meeting.  

Budget Update
We have received our final budget allocation, and it was consistent with our preliminary numbers.  Our new Vice Chancellor of Finance and Operations Steve Keto has been with us for a few weeks now.  By the end of the semester we will have a specific plan for resolving the budget deficit and moving forward in a strategic and productive way. Please be assured, the campus community will be involved in that process.

Campus Surveys
We are currently in the middle of two very important surveys for our campus community.  Please find time in your workday to complete these two surveys.  Your input is valuable and appreciated.   
  1. The  Campus Climate Survey is open to all students, faculty, and staff.  This survey will help to measure and identify opportunity to further our goal of maintaining a positive and inclusive campus climate.  Complete the anonymous  Campus Climate Survey.  
  2. The Engagement survey is open to all faculty and staff.  This survey will help measure your perspective on the workplace environment.  Look back in your email for your unique link to the confidential survey.

Across the University of Minnesota system, total headcount enrollment is down by 1.2% compared to Fall 2014.  While we met our overall enrollment target, it's important to remember enrollments strategy is not just about quantity it is about finding the right student who will be successful here at UMD.  As predicted, primarily due to the decrease in high school graduates, our overall enrollment is down slightly.  Total headcount for Fall 2015 is 10,878 which compares to 11,093 in Fall 2014.  We are up slightly in new transfer numbers, and down in new freshman with a total of 1,997 new freshman this fall.  SCSE has reached an all-time high with a total of 3,098 undergraduates.  LSBE also saw an overall increase in enrollment this fall with 2,040 undergraduate students.  See the full UM enrollment presentation  from the recent Board of Regents meeting.  

Town Hall - November 4
Speaking of enrollment, I am excited to announce that we have an upcoming town hall meeting where I am going to ask the campus community to actively participate in a discussion about retention.  Retention and graduation rates are critically important to our enrollment story and we all play a role in retention.  Please mark your calendars for 3 p.m. on Wednesday, November 4 in the Kirby Ballroom.  We will spend time working together to come up with ideas and develop actions to help our campus retention efforts.  

I also want to share with you that we are welcoming University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler to campus this Friday.  He has a full schedule and will be starting his visit up on the Iron Range before spending the afternoon on campus touring our newly renovated Kirby Student Center, our legislative bonding requests, visiting an active classroom, and enjoying some time in the MMAD Lab.  He will also meet with students, the Duluth News Tribune editorial board, and host a legislative dinner at Glensheen.  President Kaler will also meet with alumni and donors for breakfast and join us at the football game Saturday.  This is a great opportunity for us to showcase UMD and highlight some of what makes our campus so unique and special.  

As always, please contact me or a member of my senior leadership council if you have questions, thoughts, or suggestions about these topics or other campus matters.   Have a great rest of your week.  


Lendley Black