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Monday, October 23, 2017

Driven - The Campaign for the University of Minnesota Duluth

Dear Colleagues,

During homecoming last week, I felt tremendous pride and excitement about our students, our alumni, and our entire campus community. Not only was our campus filled with activity, but across Duluth you could see Bulldog pride on full display. I know it was a huge undertaking for faculty and staff, and I want to thank all of you involved in the planning and execution in what was an extremely successful homecoming celebration. Watch a short and touching homecoming video.

The week culminated Saturday evening as we formally launched the public phase of our capital campaign entitled Driven - The Campaign for the University of Minnesota Duluth. We are seeking the adventurous and the generous as we bring together support from our alumni, friends, and campus community to further help us fulfill our mission.

We are joining forces with our philanthropic partners and friends to raise $120 million and strengthen our role as the region's premier public research university. The campaign will focus on these four areas:

  • $42.5 million in student support
  • $27.5 million in experiential learning
  • $30 million in faculty & research
  • $20 million in outstanding facilities
I am pleased to share that we are well on our way, having raised $84,839,441 million or 71% of our goal thus far. Along with this, I am extremely pleased to announce that we have secured a generous gift from Kurt & Beth Heikkila to name our new building the Heikkila Chemistry and Advanced Materials Science Building.

Please take a minute to watch this inspiring Driven campaign video. You can also learn more about the campaign at d.umn.edu/give.

I'd like to thank the development team for their impressive work and leadership throughout this campaign, and I invite you to join us in this important effort.

Best wishes,

Lendley Black

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Update on Enrollment and Legislative Bonding Request

Good morning,

It is homecoming week, and campus is filled with activity. I hope you'll find time to experience a number of events. You can find more information on the homecoming website

I'm pleased to report that our fall 2017 total student headcount is 11,168. This is our largest campus enrollment since fall 2013. The official fall undergraduate enrollment headcount is 9,199, which is an increase of 1.6 percent from last fall and three percent from fall 2015. Thank you to everyone who contributed to creating a welcoming and supportive community for this new freshman class of 2,275, our largest freshman class since 2010.

Improving the success and persistence of our current students remains a priority and provides one of our best opportunities to stabilize and grow our undergraduate enrollment. I encourage everyone to consider actions at course, program, unit, and campus levels to further support student engagement and learning. Your SEM Subcommittee member can guide this conversation. It is always worth reminding ourselves that one of the strongest indicators of persistence is whether a student can identify a faculty or staff member who cares about their individual success. This is a role that all of us need to play.
Recruitment of our fall 2018 new students is already well underway. Today and Friday, the Office of Admissions will welcome 2,000 visitors for our annual Campus Preview event. This is a campus-wide effort to help prospective UMD Bulldogs learn more about the tremendous academic and co-curricular opportunities we offer at UMD. Please help welcome these visitors to campus and if you see anyone who looks lost, please help them find their way to the Kirby Ballroom.

Last week, the Board of Regents approved the University of Minnesota's 2018 legislative capital request . The emphasis this year is on asset preservation with a strategy to not ask for any new buildings, but to focus on renovating and preserving existing facilities. The request includes:
  • $200 million in HEAPR (Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement); targeted UMD facilities in this project request are Chemistry, Humanities, and Ward Wells Field House.
  • $10.5 million in Greater Minnesota Academic Renewal, which is a package for system campuses to renew existing space. The targeted project for UMD is AB Anderson.
  • $24 million for Pillsbury Hall on the Twin Cities campus.
  • $4 million for Glensheen, in the form of a challenge to match state funding with outside support. The Glensheen request was added at the last minute due to the critical state of the property and expressed interest from the legislature.
If you have questions about these items or any other matters, please do not hesitate to contact me or one of the Vice Chancellors. 

Happy homecoming! Go Dogs!

Lendley C. Black

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Supporting You In Your Work At UMD

Dear Colleagues,

Your feedback on your experience working at UMD is very important to me and our leadership team. The University will conduct its fourth employee engagement survey this fall and we will begin a new cycle of discussing the results and taking action based on our survey results. This year's survey will allow people who work in groups where five or more faculty or staff complete the survey to see their results, so more people will see survey results that reflect the environment within smaller departments.

Since the 2015 survey, our campus has made a number of changes to how we operate based on your feedback and responses. Individual units have implemented changes based on their specific responses. As a campus, our actions based on the survey results include:
  • Shared our employee engagement results more broadly
  • Implemented a new staff orientation
  • Hosted informal gatherings to bring faculty and staff together in order to foster better relationships within the campus and to enhance collaboration
  • Created a recognition program to acknowledge years of service and employee awards
  • Implemented unit level awards to recognize the hard work done by employees across campus

As we look around, there are many other efforts that support engagement every day that your direct manager or supervisor may share with you over the next few weeks.

When you take the survey, you'll find two open-ended questions at the end which are very helpful to me as a leader who may not be aware of your day-to-day work experiences. Open-ended responses are redacted by Korn Ferry Hay Group so no personally identifiable information is shared with me, but your responses provide important ideas for improvement within UMD. The questions are, "What is one thing that has been done to help you succeed within your department?" and "What one thing, if changed, would enable you to be more successful in your work?" If you prefer, you may pick a more general response from the drop-down menu which will still provide me with important information.

If you have any questions, please reach out to me, one of the Vice Chancellors or Karna Kurtz in HR/EOAA.


Lendley Black