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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Regent Budget Input Session at UMD, Wed May 16

Dear Campus Community:

Please see the link to the announcement from the Board of Regents office in regards to the U of M System FY 2019 Annual Operating Budget and opportunities for feedback.  Note that campus and community members are invited to attend and provide feedback during an input session on Wednesday, May 16 from 3:30 - 5:00 p.m. in the 4th floor Library Rotunda. The event will start with a brief budget overview by Senior Vice President of Finance and Operations Brian Burnett.


Lendley Black

Monday, April 23, 2018

Save the Date: Fall 2018 Faculty & Staff Welcome

Dear Colleagues, 

As we get ready to send off yet another graduating class of Bulldogs, we are also looking forward to next semester. Please mark your calendars for the Fall 2018 Faculty & Staff Welcome:
Monday, August 20th from 8:30 - 10:00 a.m.
Ward Wells Fieldhouse

Have a great final two weeks of the academic year. Thank you for all of your dedication this year, and best of luck to our graduates. 

Lendley Black

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A Reminder of Our Values

Dear Campus Community,

As we await the arrival of spring and turn the corner toward the end of another academic year, our UMD community continues to be challenged in our efforts toward equity, inclusion, and social justice. We have once again seen an increase in overt demonstrations of hate and intolerance, behaviors that run counter to our values as a community. None of this is unique to UMD. Across the nation there has been a rise in hate crimes and rhetoric against under-represented members of our communities. However, it is happening here, and we must take a strong stance against it. UMD has overtly stated in our strategic plan , through our values and goals and Campus Climate Initiative a strong commitment to equity and social justice. As a learning community, we must be prepared to call ourselves and each other out when we fall short and educate ourselves as we strive to do better.

Over the weekend, there were several expressions found on social media and geotagged from UMD that fall short of our values and goals. We want you to know that we are aware of these incidents, along with others. We are tracking them and we are doing what we can to mitigate their harmful impact. Incidents of hate and intolerance that appear in certain social media platforms are often difficult to track, making identification of the person responsible not possible. We have taken steps to flag inappropriate content on snapchat that has been geotagged to UMD. Such expressions that are obviously hurtful do not sustain the values we aspire to achieve.

Building a campus climate that encourages and supports equity, inclusion, and social justice is about more than one incident, or one person - it is about systems, structures, and each one of us. It is up to all of us to demonstrate our valuing of equity and inclusion and of each other as members of the UMD community. We ALL have a responsibility as members of the UMD community to educate ourselves, to be leaders toward inclusion, and to do what we can to influence others to act through the lens of Goal 2 of our strategic plan. We want to also remind you of the importance of reporting any incidents that undermine and damage a safe, respectful, and diverse campus climate. Report those incidents here.

If you are feeling unsafe at any time or for any reason you can call 911 immediately. We invite you to seek out additional campus resources

Together, we can be the change we wish to see.


Lendley C. Black

Thursday, April 12, 2018

HLC Reaccreditation Visit April 16-17

UMD Colleagues,

As you know, the Higher Learning Commission will have an evaluation team on campus Monday and Tuesday (April 16-17). Every ten years higher education institutions must undergo a comprehensive review to certify reaccreditation and eligibility to receive and distribute federal financial aid (among other things). This ten-year review comes after the university has prepared an assurance argument, what we used to call a self-study, and a federal compliance packet. This process of collecting institutional information and verifying supporting evidence generally takes a year or more.

UMD has been ably led in this process by Dr. Jennifer Mencl, a group of faculty and staff serving in coordinating roles for the preparation of the documents, and other groups working on the various criteria. I very much appreciate the tremendous work that Dr. Mencl and the team have done to get UMD prepared for what we anticipate to be a very productive and positive site review.

I encourage you all to participate as you can in the various meetings and open forums that are part of the site visit. If you wish to learn more about the process and read our documents, they are available at http://d.umn.edu/accreditation/2018-hlc-visit

Lendley C. Black


Tuesday, April 3, 2018

President Kaler Visit to UMD Friday, April 20

 Dear Campus Community,

President Kaler will be visiting campus on Friday, April 20, 2018. He will spend the day meeting with a variety of campus community members, with a particular focus on research and active learning. Please join me for conversation and refreshments with President Kaler at a campus reception in the Tweed Museum from 4:00-4:45 p.m.

Thank you.

Lendley C. Black

Friday, March 16, 2018

Continued support for diversity, inclusion, and Bulldog athletics

Dear colleagues,

The athletics trial with former Women's Hockey Coach Shannon Miller concluded today.  The jury found UMD liable on Shannon Miller's claim that her gender was a motivating factor in UMD's decision not to offer her a new coaching contract. UMD was also found liable on her claim that UMD retaliated against her for complaining about discrimination. With these findings, the jury has awarded damages of roughly $3,744,832 in past wages and emotional distress.

While I respect the judicial process and the jury's decision, I respectfully disagree with the verdict. I remain confident that our decision was not based on discrimination or retaliation. I stand by my decision. I understand that some members of our campus community may feel differently than I do and I respect that. This is an emotional matter that I take very seriously.

UMD leadership is committed to ensuring that UMD continues to provide a diverse and inclusive campus community. I am personally committed to keeping our campus focused on ways in which we can grow and better ensure that all members of our campus community feel respected, safe, and welcome at UMD.

Our priority has always been to provide our students with the best educational experience. That will continue to be our priority. Our campus has a lot to be proud of and we will continue to provide quality teaching and learning experiences, research that positively impacts our region, and engage in public outreach.

I also recognize that we are already in a budget deficit and there are many questions about the impact of the monetary damages awarded.  We are responsible for the first $10,000 of the judgment, which athletics has funding in place to cover. We will know if there is more to be covered when the final details are worked out.

As well, I need to reiterate my continued support for Athletic Director Josh Berlo and his leadership. I am incredibly proud of him, the athletics staff, and the student-athletes who have remained focused throughout this time and seen tremendous success in the classroom, competition, and community.

Thank you,

Lendley Black

Monday, February 19, 2018

Required Sexual Misconduct Training for all Employees Coming Soon

Dear UMD Faculty and Staff,

President Kaler introduced the President's Initiative to Prevent Sexual Misconduct to all employees on all campuses in early November, and recently he shared that a required training for all faculty and staff will be rolled out across the University soon.
The Preventing and Responding to Sexual Misconduct Training is an important step in providing us with the tools to respond compassionately and seriously when any of us learns that a University community member has experienced sexual misconduct. It also explains every employee's obligation to report possible sexual misconduct to the campus Title IX office, as required by recently approved Board of Regents and administrative policies.
Beginning February 19, the training will be available to access online. Watch for an email from training@umn.edu with a link to access the training. You can expect to receive the email sometime during the period of February 19 - 25. The online training includes an introductory video and takes approximately 60 minutes to complete. You do not need to complete the training in one sitting. You can save your work and complete the training later as long as you fully complete it by June 30.

When you log in to the training, you will have access to a training introductory video. If you have questions about the training, please consult this training guide and FAQ, or reach out to your Human Resources & Equal Opportunity Department.

Thank you for making the training a top priority. This training is vitally important to the health, safety, and wellbeing of our University of Minnesota community.


Lendley C. Black

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Employee Engagement Survey Results

Good morning,

Last fall our campus participated in the systemwide employee engagement survey. I am
pleased that we saw an increase in both staff and faculty response rates since the last 2015
survey. The faculty response rate was 67%, an increase of 5%. Staff saw a response rate of 78%,
which is an increase of 10%. Thank you for your participation.

Although it has its limitations, the engagement survey provides valuable feedback as a tool for
local leaders, as it applies to their individual units. I encourage you to use the survey results as
a starting point for discussion. As a reminder, the key metrics for the survey measure
commitment, dedication, and an effective work environment. I hope that with this resource you
will be able to celebrate your team's strengths and identify areas of opportunity. The Vice
Chancellors and I are ready and willing to support the efforts of teams across campus.

This week supervisors will receive reports for their individual units. Reports are produced for
units that had at least five completed survey respondents. Visit the Office of Human Resources
Employee Engagement
website for resources and more information about the survey. If you
have any immediate questions, please contact your dean or director.

Thank you again for your participation in the engagement survey.

Go Bulldogs,

Lendley Black

Monday, January 22, 2018

Save the Date – Faculty, Staff and Years of Service Awards Ceremony

Dear Campus Community,

We are excited to announce the unification of what was previously three award ceremonies into a single Faculty, Staff, and Years of Service awards ceremony.

Please save the date:
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Kirby Ballroom

Awards include:
Faculty Advisor Awards
Graduate Faculty Advisor Award
Tezla Teacher/Scholar Award
Outstanding Staff Awards
Outstanding Staff Team Award
Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching
Chancellor's Award for Distinguished Research/Creative Activity
Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Public Service
Faculty & Staff Years of Service Awards for 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, and 40+

Refreshments will be served. Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of our UMD employee community!


Lendley Black

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Budget Update and Deficit Reduction Model

Good afternoon,

I hope you all had an enjoyable and refreshing semester break. It sure feels good to have student energy back on campus. Over break I was able to get away and spend time with family, get schooled in Legos by my 7-year old grandson, and reflect on the last semester while looking forward to this new one.

Thanks for those of you who were able to make it to the budget town hall meetings today. This email is intended to recap that conversation and provide you access to the information presented.

We have come a long way in balancing our budget, from the $9.4 million recurring structural imbalance at the end of fiscal year 2014 to the $3.2 million imbalance we anticipate at the end of this fiscal year. But, we still have difficult work left to do.

This information relates only to the Operation and Maintenance (O&M) budget. This budget consists of tuition revenues and state allocations coming to us from the University of Minnesota leadership. This budget funds most of our salaries, instructional costs, and other general operational costs.  Not included in this discussion are our fee-based budgets, which fund activities like dining, residence halls, the bookstore, etc. The fee-based budgets are balanced, and for the most part, we are required to keep them separate from the O&M budget. We charge various fees for services, and we spend those revenues on the items for which we collect the fees.
It is important to emphasize that UMD is not broke, and we are paying our bills. We have large carry-forward accounts, and we receive ongoing support from the University of Minnesota system. There are many positive signs of our progress with increased enrollments, new and innovative academic programs, new facilities, and the ongoing excellence of our students, faculty, and staff. At this time, our Spring 2018 enrollment is up about 140 undergraduates and about 25 graduate students over this time last year. Our problem is that we have a structural deficit caused by our recurring expenses exceeding our recurring revenues.

The Deficit Reduction Model we are now sharing with you reflects our current plan to resolve the budget deficits within the next five years, and hopefully sooner. Please pay particular attention to the footnotes in the model. As well, Steve Keto has prepared a narrative to help explain the model. This and additional budget information can be found on the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Operations website.

In spite of the positive signs I just mentioned, the budget issues we have are real and we must resolve them. This model I am sharing with you is a guideline for how we will reach our goal of balanced budgets. We are now beginning to develop strategies, using good data and our strategic goals as guides. Your deans and directors will be working with you over the coming weeks to determine how we can best reach this 2023 balanced budget vision.
I must emphasize that the model is based upon our best assumptions at this time. It is also based upon our ongoing dialogues with President Kaler, Senior Vice President Burnett, and his financial team. The vice chancellors and I have had numerous frank and detailed conversations with our system leaders over the past several months, and Vice President Burnett and his team were at UMD Monday and held an all-day finance academy for our campus. 

I was frustrated with the way UMD's budget from the system unfolded last spring. However, I was pleased that President Kaler, Senior Vice President Burnett, and the University's budget team responded to our advocacy for new investments and allocated almost $2 million in recurring new revenues to UMD for Fiscal Year 2018.  These new investments included, among other things, new mental health counselors and $1 million for our strategic enrollment management initiatives. In addition, they allocated $1.7 million in nonrecurring repair and renovation funds for the UMD Sports and Health Center project and $500,000 for the Coleraine Energy Labs water line replacement. The UMD administration will continue to advocate for additional state revenues, both recurring and nonrecurring, as we continue to work toward resolving our budget structural imbalance and sequestered deficit over the next few years.

Each fiscal year going forward, we will adjust the Deficit Reduction Model and make decisions about what reductions need to be made based upon the changes in both recurring revenues and recurring expenses. For example, we are now planning for $600,000 in recurring reductions for Fiscal Year 2019 that will come from Academic Affairs, Student Life, Finance and Operations, and the Chancellor's Units. 

We anticipate there will be additional reductions of $1 million to $1.5 million each year in these areas for FY 2020-2023. However, these amounts will change up or down depending on changes in recurring revenues and expenses and depending on the multi-year approach we take to solve this $5 million problem. At the same time, we are planning to eliminate the nonrecurring sequestered deficit.
It is important to emphasize that we will not stop innovating and offering an outstanding education at UMD as we resolve these budget issues. Every day I see much excitement on campus, around the state, across the nation, and in many parts of the world about the growth and excellence of our programming and the incredible accomplishments of our students. Our future is bright, and we are well positioned to meet these budget challenges, as well as other challenges that may confront us.

This will not be easy, but we will get it done working together and staying focused on what is best for our students and for our long-term success.

Thank you for all you do for UMD.


Lendley Black