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Monday, March 20, 2017

Save the Date and Update on Campus Initiatives

Dear Colleagues,

I hope you were all able to have an enjoyable spring break. If you did not take time off, I hope at least you enjoyed a change of pace. As we head towards the last seven weeks of the semester, I wanted to provide you a brief update on a few on-going campus initiatives and get a few dates on your radar.

As you've likely heard, we are looking forward to welcoming the Board of Regents to campus next Thursday and Friday, March 23 - 24. You can see the Board of Regents meeting materials online. Here are some events that are open and I invite you to attend:
  • Thursday, March 23: Campus community reception with the Regents and President Kaler from 4 - 5 p.m. in the Tweed
  • Thursday, March 23: Work session Meeting Minnesota's Rural and Native American Health Care Needs from 2:45 - 3:45 p.m. in the Kirby Ballroom
  • Friday, March 24: Board meeting in the Kirby Ballroom from 8:45 a.m. - noon, which will include a UMD presentation on community engagement (see agenda for order)

Please save the date for Tuesday, April 25 from 3 - 4:30 p.m. in the Kirby Ballroom for a new end of the year event to celebrate our accomplishments, recognize faculty and staff, and network with your colleagues. More information to come.

You received an email earlier this week from Susana Pelayo Woodward and the Campus Climate Survey Working Group with an update on campus climate. The team has compiled the results from the idea sessions and starting next week will hold multiple sessions to discuss how those conversations map to the campus climate survey results. They will also discuss the next steps for our campus community to continue progress in furthering our mission of being a welcoming and inclusive campus community. Thank you to those who have participated in previous discussions, and I encourage you to find time to participate next week. Here is a copy of the text of that message with the session dates and times.

With regard to the budget, we are working to finalize our budget compact request to the University of Minnesota for the upcoming biennial. This includes reporting how we were able to meet the budget reduction goals set forth fromPresident Kaler last July. We still need to identify $300,000 in savings beginning July 1, 2017 to meet our goal for the next fiscal year. That is in progress, and we will share more information once those decisions have been finalized.

Strategic planning efforts are ongoing at both the campus and the system levels. Here at UMD, we are compiling feedback received from the campus community, identifying areas of completion or progress from the last plan, and working on an updated draft plan to share with campus. We expect to be able to share more information with you in the next month. Information on the system-wide strategic plan may be found on this website. We will be sharing a draft of the system-wide strategic plan and getting feedback from campus sometime in April.

Earlier this week, I attended the American Council on Education annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Sessions with chancellors and presidents focused on the Trump administration's priorities and how those might impact higher education. As more information is released regarding President Trump's proposed budget, I am concerned about the multiple negative impacts many of the proposed reductions would have on our students, faculty research, the Duluth community, and many other areas. I will keep you informed about these potential cuts as the process moves forward. Also, at the ACE meetings, there was much conversation among university leaders about free speech, inclusion, and the university's role in encouraging balanced debate on sensitive topics. I will communicate more on this topic to you soon.

There is much to celebrate on campus this spring, and I thank you for your great work. It may still look and feel like winter, but spring commencement will be here soon.

Best wishes,

Lendley Black