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Friday, February 5, 2016

Update on diversity, budget, and enrollment. Town Hall Feb 23

Dear colleagues,

This is a busy and important semester for campus, and I am encouraged by the conversations we've had and your willingness to work together.  I'd like to provide you with updates on a few of our strategic priorities around diversity, budget, enrollment and the EVCAA search.

With regards to diversity, the staff members in the Office of Cultural Diversity have developed a new name that is more reflective of their work with students and on campus. The office will be known as the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Goal 2 of our strategic plan calls for creating a positive and inclusive campus climate. We've made progress in achieving Goal 2, and I've been working on a plan to ensure that this strategic priority continues to be a focus for our campus.

I am happy to announce Susana Pelayo-Woodward's role to lead university-wide diversity and inclusion efforts has been expanded from 10% of her time to 30%.  She reports to me for this expanded 30% and to Vice Chancellor Lisa Erwin for her other 70% (providing leadership to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, which will remain part of Student Life).  Susana will also be joining the Chancellor's Senior Leadership Council.  Please join me in congratulating Susana.  I am confident she will do a great job as our primary diversity leader.  

Paula Pedersen has done tremendous work in advancing our campus community in goal 2 and cultural competency and I thank her for the work she is playing as Faculty Fellow for Intercultural Initiatives.  While her faculty fellow position is set to expire this summer, she will continue to work with Susana.  Paula will return to the classroom in the fall, while receiving reassign time to continue diversity and inclusion training and development for campus.  Please join me in thanking Paula for all her work and continued leadership as we move forward.

I want to thank the campus community for their involvement, powerful discussion and feedback received at the recent faculty and staff town halls.  I will have the opportunity to meet with the Student Association next week. The Strategic Planning and Budget Committee met last week and is meeting again next week to continue discussing campus feedback and possible next steps.  I will continue to push hard on identifying a plan to address our remaining deficit. 

Please mark your calendars and join me on Tuesday, February 23 from 3-4:30 p.m. in the Kirby Ballroom for our scheduled campus-wide town hall meeting.  At this meeting I will present to campus more information on our budget strategy moving forward. 

I am also pleased to share with you some great news about special funding that we are receiving to support our recruitment and retention efforts.  The University of Minnesota is allocating recurring funds to all system campuses designated to support retention and graduation goals.  As part of this effort, UMD will annually receive $650,000 to enhance our admissions, financial aid, and marketing efforts.  This is a great example of how we will continue to get strategic support from the U of M as we continue to make progress on our budget deficit. 

As you know, recruitment and retention are strategic priorities for UMD, and we all play a role in helping make a positive impact.  In 2015, we saw a 12.4% increase with 14,480 prospective students and their guests visiting UMD.  Congratulations, especially to our admissions team, for providing this solid quality work to generate interest in UMD.  We are also seeing positive signs in our application numbers for next fall, but we must remain focused on student retention to reach our enrollment targets and to give our students the best experience possible. 

Admissions hosts visitors on an almost daily basis.  In addition, you may have seen and will continue to see the following events on campus: 
  • Admitted Student Days
         January 29 Engineering / CS / Math
         February 5 CEHSP / SFA
         February 12 CLA
         February 19 SCSE Sciences
         February 26 LSBE
  •  Junior Day- February 15

Please be aware of these important events and how you can help support them.  For example, greet and welcome the visitors that you see to campus and be prepared to talk about your department/offices "Points of Pride."

Here is a link to the search committee members for the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.  This is a large committee and it well represents the faculty and other key components of Academic Affairs.  The committee begins its work next week. 

Well, this was a lengthy message, but filled with a lot of positive momentum.  As always, please contact me or one of the Vice Chancellors if you have questions or thoughts on these or other matters.


Lendley C. Black