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Monday, February 1, 2016

Chancellor Black's Message to Campus February 1, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

I hope you were all able to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather this last weekend.  I'd like to provide you with a few updates on the interim EVCAA, HR/EO transition, engagement survey results, and the upcoming diversity summit.

Last week, we welcomed three experienced executive candidates from The Registry for the Interim Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs position.  I have carefully reviewed all of the feedback and want to thank those who participated in the interviews.  I am pleased to announce that after receiving very positive support, I have extended an offer to Dr. Brian Levin-Stankevich.  He has accepted the offer and will start his interim position with us Wednesday, February 10.

Dr. Levin-Stankevich, a professor of history, brings a vast amount of useful experience from several universities.  He is currently at University of New Mexico serving as a Research Professor for the Center for Educational Policy Research.  Before that he was President at Westminster College in Utah from June 2012 - May 2015.  He also brings us regional experience having been the Chancellor of UW-Eau Claire from June 2006 - June 2012.  Please join me in welcoming him to campus.

As well, the search committee for the permanent EVCAA will be chaired by Vice Chancellor Steve Keto.  The composition of the rest of the committee is nearly complete, and I will send you another update when the committee begins its work.  We will maintain an aggressive timeline with hopes to complete that search by the end of May.

In regards to the Director of Human Resources and Equal Opportunity position, I have had conversations with our HR/EO team, the Twin Cities OHR staff and others to develop a comprehensive plan for UMD.  As of today the HR/EO office will report to Vice Chancellor Keto on an interim basis.  Mary Cameron has generously agreed to oversee the office staff and day-to-day operations.  Melissa Honkola will continue to work with us part-time and will be the first point of contact for labor relations and primary contact on investigations.  In addition, Margaret Yzaguirre from the Twin Cities campus will continue to work closely with the team.

Members of The Commission on Equity Race and Ethnicity (formerly known as The Diversity Commission) cordially invite you to attend the Summit on Equity Diversity and Multiculturalism: Connecting through Dialogue on February 24th, in Kirby Ballroom.  The name change of this commission reflects the evolution of its direction and its focus on issues related to race, ethnicity and intersecting identities. The Commission on Equity Race and Ethnicity (CERE) members join with all UMD commissions to continue the work of creating an inclusive and socially just campus community.

Results from our Fall 2015 employee engagement survey are in.  Overall our response rate continued to increase with 57% of faculty and 62% of staff responding.  We made solid progress with overall more favorable responses, while continuing to identify key areas of improvement. Unit reports have been distributed, and I would encourage you to talk with your Vice Chancellor on how to best utilize this information and build action plans.

You likely remember that in conjunction with this survey, campus was asked to participate in a Campus Climate Survey as well.  The results of the Climate Survey will be presented to campus Fall 2016.  The Climate Survey working group will be meeting monthly this semester in preparation of sharing those results.

Please contact me if you have questions or thoughts on these or other matters.  Have a great spring semester!


Lendley C. Black