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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Campus Wide Meet-and Greet with President Kaler on May 2

Dear Campus Community,

On Monday, May 2nd President Eric Kaler will be visiting UMD. All campus community members are cordially invited to an End of Academic Year Celebration meet and greet with President Kaler and Chancellor Black on Monday, May 2, from 2 - 3 pm in the Kirby Rafters.

We hope you will join us.


Lendley C. Black


Power Outage 25 April

As you know, campus experienced a power outage for about 2.5 hours yesterday. I wanted to take a minute to provide you with a quick update and overview of the situation.  
At around 10:00 a.m. on Monday, April 25 there was an unexpected power outage to most of the UMD campus. Some of our community neighbors also lost power during this time.  
Our facilities team immediately made contact with MN Power.  MN Power did their best to assess the situation and work as quickly as possible to remedy it.  The original source of the outage appears to have been a fallen tree.  MN Power provided us updates throughout the morning, but we were not 100% sure of the timeline to restore power so our updates to campus were kept more general.
Campus leadership pulled together a group to assess the situation, discuss scenarios and design plans. Given that this is our last week of class and we expected a relatively short outage, the decision was made not to cancel classes at that time.  As in any situation, we continued to monitor and make adjustments as needed.  
For the most part, our backup systems worked well. Emergency generators kicked in to provide emergency lighting and mostly uninterrupted network access.  Individuals who were trapped in elevators received the notices and were able to communicate their location. Situations like this allow us to implement our operational continuity plans and identify areas for improvement.  For example, we were able to identify areas that need additional wireless coverage, and improper emergency lighting in certain areas of campus.
I want to thank you all for your patience. From Dining Services who quickly worked to adapt their menu, to Facilities Management who jumped into action, to ITSS ensuring minimal network interruption - several areas of campus demonstrated quick responsive and expertise. Many of you were able to be creative and figure out ways to still provide instruction and services.  Thank you for your efforts.  
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or one of the Vice Chancellors.
Lendley C. Black


Monday, April 18, 2016

Update on retention, marketing, and climate survey

Dear colleagues,

As we near the end of the semester, it is that busy and exciting time of year. So many things have been going on it is hard to cover them all but I want to share a few with you.

On April 10, the impressive student award nominees and winners were celebrated and they never fail to amaze me. Speaking of award winners, LSBE financial markets junior Travis Eisenbacher not only won UMD student employee of the year but he also won Minnesota's student employee of the year. Read about his story . Our dance team took second place at nationals. And our engineering students showcased their PyroGlove Air Force invention project to local media.  Yesterday, I saw an outstanding UMD theatre production of Spring Awakening and you can watch the show trailer. There are several other fine arts performances and additional campus events over the next few weeks, and I encourage you to support them.

There has also been a lot of activity and progress with our faculty administrative restructuring task force.  I expect to receive their recommendation this week and will communicate more about that after I've had a chance to review their recommendations.  

Retention Update
Speaking of students, I'd like to share an opportunity from our Strategic Enrollment Management committee and encourage your participation. Visit the SEM website to learn about their call for grant proposals to support action items aligned with improving student success and retention. Your efforts in this area will help us achieve our goal to increase first to second year undergraduate student retention from the current 76% to our goal of 80% by Fall 2018. Proposals are due May 2.

I also want to thank everyone involved in helping to create and implement action items as part of our retention efforts under the 4-Pros framework . There is a lot of impressive work being done to strengthen student success and I look forward to continuing to watch these and other initiatives unfold. Please take a few minutes to review the SEM retention action plan and if you have questions, ideas, or would like further discussion please contact Mary Keenan.

Marketing Update
Along with retention and recruitment comes messaging. As you know, we are working on a new UMD marketing campaign to replace Those Who Can, Duluth. The University Marketing and Public Relations office in conjunction with Admissions has been working with an advertising agency to develop three potential concepts for our new campaign. Efforts have been underway all semester and some of you may have already seen the creative concepts.

At the moment and for the next couple weeks, the team will continue to share and collect feedback on three different marketing concepts.  Both prospective and current students along with faculty and staff will be involved in this process. Some of you have been in discussions about this already and the rest of you will be provided an electronic survey with the creative samples for your feedback. You are our brand ambassadors and we need your input and support in this effort.

Climate Survey - Save September 13
As well, I wanted to put a date on your calendars for the Fall.  The Campus Climate Survey Working Group has been working on plans to share the results of our campus climate survey.  We have flagged Tuesday, September 13 as the date to conduct two sessions for students, faculty, and staff to learn and discuss the results.  More information on time and location to come.  

I hope you all have a wonderful week and enjoy the nice weather.  


Lendley C. Black