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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

2018-19 Holiday Break

Dear Campus Community, 

This year, the holiday period from Monday, December 24, 2018 until Wednesday, January 2, 2019, includes 5 holidays, 2 weekend days and 2 regular work days.  Wherever possible, departments are encouraged to allow staff to have the 9 consecutive days off, by utilizing 2 days of vacation.  As in past years, this decision is entirely voluntary for both employees and departments, but strongly encouraged for sustainability reasons.

As in recent years, this holiday break provides an opportunity for the campus to reduce energy costs and prove its commitment to sustainability.  To reduce energy consumption and our campus carbon footprint, UMD will operate campus buildings at temperatures lower than usual (62 degrees F) with limited ventilation during this campus holiday break period.  If you have an adjustable thermostat in your office, you are asked to turn down the temperature to 62 degrees but no lower than 60 degrees.

Facilities Management intends to provide minimal staffing dependent on campus needs.  Please contact Facilities Management at facmgt@d.umn.edu if you plan to close or have events planned that will require our custodial (staff and/or door opening) services during this period.  In order to meet your needs, please respond as soon as possible.

Thank you for your continued support of UMD sustainability initiatives.

Have a great holiday break!

Lendley C. Black

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Presidential Search Update

Dear Colleagues,

Last week our campus community had a chance to participate in listening sessions related to the search for the new President of the University of Minnesota. In Duluth, representatives of the Presidential Search Advisory Committee met with students, faculty, staff, and community members. I want to thank those of you who were able to attend and who provided valuable insight to the committee. Multiple committee members told me the comments and questions from UMD were thoughtful and displayed extreme passion for our mission and our students. Thank you for representing UMD so well.

If you did not have a chance to attend, please consider providing your input online through the presidential search website (scroll down to the form at the bottom of this community input page).

I would also like to recognize and thank Rajiv Vaidyanathan and Lynne Williams who were selected to serve on the presidential search committee. Nearly 400 individuals were nominated to serve on this important and time-intensive committee. If you are interested, you can review the full list of committee members.

As the search proceeds, I encourage you to follow search updates on the Presidential search website.

Best wishes,

Lendley C. Black

Friday, August 24, 2018

Welcome to the 2018-2019 Academic Year!

Dear Colleagues,

This truly is one of the best weeks of the year as we welcome new students and get ready for another academic year. Campus is full of activity and I want to express my appreciation to the staff, students, and faculty who have spent time preparing for and making this week successful. I encourage you to watch this move-in video that beautifully captures the excitement, emotions, and energy from Tuesday.

I thank those of you who were able to make it to the welcome breakfast Monday morning where you donated 281.5 pounds of food and $156 in contributions for Champ's Cupboard. If you would still like to donate to this worthwhile cause, please do so at the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Life, Room 245, Kirby Plaza.

If you were not able to attend the breakfast, I will recap the highlights in this email.

Students are at the center of everything we do, so please take a few minutes to hear what some students have to say about their experience here and their advice for faculty and staff.

Enrollment update
Speaking of students, we have had another strong enrollment year. This fall, UMD received over 10,300 new freshman and transfer applications - the most in UMD's history, and an increase of 5% over 2017. Our outstanding reputation is strong and growing.

We monitor new-student enrollment closely and make adjustments to ensure the highest quality experience for our students. Capacity in high demand programs as well as within co-curricular experiences, like on-campus housing, are at the forefront of our enrollment planning. For these reasons, the decision was made last fall to decrease the size of this year's freshman class to around 2,220, about 55 students fewer than last year. This is still about 80 students more than the fall 2016 cohort. In terms of our overall headcount, we are on target to meet our enrollment and budget goals with a projected total of 11,040 students.

Congratulations to the many staff members, as well as faculty and students, who help keep our student enrollment strong. Successful student recruitment, retention, and graduation works best when we are all supporting academic excellence and students' success. This is not the job of one group or unit in isolation. It's the job of all of us working together.

Review of accomplishments
I want to share a few accomplishments from this last year. The UMD Development team completed the best fundraising year in UMD's history. During the 2018 fiscal year, we raised $18.1 million. Part of that success was the kickoff of the public phase of our ten-year comprehensive campaign that began in 2011 under the theme "Wanted: The Adventurous and the Generous." Watch our inspiring Driven campaign video with voiceover from Tom Isbell.

We're seeking to raise $120 million by 2021. To date, UMD is nearly 80 percent of the way there, having raised more than $94 million since the campaign's soft launch in 2011. We have 5,453 new, first-time donors among the 12,783 donors who have contributed to the campaign. As we have broadened the UMD donor base, 114 new scholarships have been created, which is a 29% increase in the number of scholarships since the campaign began.

Last year, we also had excellent success in our reaffirmation of accreditation process with the Higher Learning Commission. Their final team report indicates that UMD meets all five criteria and all of the 21 core components under these criteria. In addition, we meet all of HLC's Federal Compliance requirements. Many thanks to Dr. Jennifer Mencl along with a large group of dedicated faculty and staff who served in coordinating roles, prepared documents, and hosted our site visitors.

Student success
Our students had remarkable achievements last year as well. UMD production of Antigone was one of seven productions invited by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival to perform at the Region 5 Festival in Des Moines. Students in LSBE's Financial Markets Program were crowned champions of the Americas and then traveled to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and competed in the global final.

Students in SCSE took second place in their division of the Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition in New Mexico this summer. With only two semesters to design, build, and test their rocket (which went up to 30,000 feet) the Bulldogs placed higher than teams representing entire countries with far greater resources. Student members of the SUN Delegation led the effort to have solar panels installed on part of the Oakland Apartment Complex. The array will produce more than 50,000 kilowatt hours each year, equal to about $3,500 in electricity savings for UMD.

UMD student athletes excelled this past year by posting an average GPA of 3.25, an all-time high. In addition, they had great competitive success, including a national championship in Men's Hockey, UMD Softball advancing to the Super Regional, and two Bulldogs playing for the USA Women's Hockey Olympic Gold Medal winning team. In addition, student athletes logged over 3,600 hours of community service last academic year.

New programs

We have new innovative programs to better serve our students. In CEHSP, a new Bachelor of Individualized Integrated Studies will allow students to "build their own degree" in the Human Service Professions. Education also had the non-licensure Early Childhood Studies major approved. In January 2019, the Teaching English as a Foreign Language Certificate (TEFL) and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and Multilingual Education Minor will start.

In CLA, the Masters in Tribal Resource and Environmental Stewardship has launched. We have a Public History track starting in the History program that will give students a pathway into museum, state park, national park, and other arenas in the public humanities. There is a new Cognitive Science major beginning in Philosophy that is at the intersection of STEM, social sciences, and the humanities.

In LSBE, we've established an Accelerated 12-Month MBA and a 4+1 Integrated MBA. In SCSE, we've launched a Master of Science - Applied Materials Science degree.

Facilities update

We have new facilities to better serve our campus. Renovation on Romano Gymnasium is going very well, and UMD Volleyball will kick off competition in Romano on September 21 when they host MSU-Moorhead. Construction on the Heikkila Chemistry and Advanced Materials Science Building is proceeding ahead of schedule with partial opening in January and full occupancy by August 2019.

We received only roughly $4 million in HEAPR renovation funding from the state legislature this last session, which was not enough to totally upgrade one of our older buildings. That funding will be spread out over various smaller projects such as HVAC in Tweed, sprinklers and ADA upgrades in Darland, a water line replacement in Kirby Student Center, and the replacement of the Ward Wells Field House floor. We are working with the Twin Cities to again have an upgrade of AB Anderson on the next capital projects list.

Upcoming priorities
Some of our priorities for the coming year include:

1. Reinforcing our commitment to a healthy campus climate and building on the prevention of sexual misconduct training.

I am pleased that we have over 99% participation on the recent training to prevent sexual misconduct. Over the summer, the UMD Sexual Violence Response Team worked on follow up sessions to be held this fall. Those sessions will be announced in the next several weeks. The Team will also be consulting with the UMD Sexual Assault, Stalking, and Relationship Violence Committee about other training and educational opportunities for faculty, staff, and students.

We all need to reaffirm our commitment to make UMD more diverse, more inclusive, and to decrease and ideally eliminate bullying at UMD. Each of us is responsible for creating a healthy work environment and for supporting the retention and success of faculty, staff, and students of color, of diverse cultures, women, GLBTQAI and all members of the UMD community. We also need to call out bullying when we see it and support those who are bullied.

As an example of how one unit on campus is working to improve campus climate, The Listening Project was initiated by staff at UMD's Kathryn A. Martin Library who were seeking a way to foster communication and understanding between members of the campus community. We invite you to join this effort and the rest of the Campus Change Teams in the many initiatives and events, like this one, designed to help move us closer to realizing Goal 2 of our Strategic Plan.

2. Continue to make progress on the implementation of the UMD strategic plan and coordinate with systemwide strategic planning efforts.

3. Moving our retention and graduation rate to new levels of success.
We are taking part in the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) Transformation Clusters Initiative. APLU has placed 100 interested universities into 10 clusters and each cluster will focus on a specific challenge to retention and graduation, then work together to refine, implement, and scale innovative practices among the participating institutions.

4. Expanding UMD's International Education programs and alliances.
We are expanding our international partnerships in several countries. During the fall semester, we will revisit Vision 2020, the international strategic plan we adopted a few years ago.

5. Expanding UMD's public engagement reach.
Building on our public education mission, we will work across campus and collaborate between units to build on our engagement work with critical issues related to sustainability, homelessness, and food insecurity on and off campus.

6. Expand research and doctoral education.
Academic Affairs will continue its exploration into ways to expand the success of our research and to explore the possibility of additional doctoral programs. In addition to internal work at UMD, we are in the discussion phase with the Twin Cities to learn more about the path and options moving forward.

Additional Activities for this Academic Year

A. New and Renovated Facilities:
In order to continue to meet our enrollment goals, we recognize that we need to increase our capacity as we improve our academic facilities. Staff from Student Life and Finance and Operations are working with the Twin Cities capital projects management group on plans for a new residence hall, expanded dining options, and increased parking.

B. Presidential Search:
The Board of Regents is currently choosing members of the presidential search committee, which will be chaired by Regent Omari, with the goal of choosing a new president by January.  I am pleased that the committee's leadership will visit UMD in September and conduct listening sessions with faculty, staff, and students to get your input into the qualifications and characteristics we need in the next President of the University of Minnesota. The Board of Regents is committed to conducting a search that includes much input from various stakeholders, and I encourage you to share your opinions.

C. Budget:
We will share information with you about your Fiscal Year 2019 budget after we receive our final allocation letter for this fiscal year.

Thank you for your commitment to our students and to the work each of you do. Your drive and dedication is the energy that makes UMD thrive.

Have a wonderful semester and Go Bulldogs!


Lendley C. Black

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Bulldog Yard Contest | $2000 in Prizes!

Dear UMD Students,

We are excited to have you back on campus for the 2018 - 2019 school year and to welcome the UMD class of 2022. We hope you all enjoyed your well deserved summer break, had fun, and made lasting memories with your loved ones. We were thrilled to welcome all of you back to a new school year of learning and growing.
One of the most exciting days of the year is move-in day. Not only are newly enrolled students moving into their new home, but current staff and students join hands and welcome them to the UMD family. Though this experience is usually overwhelmingly positive, we know that in the past, the conduct of a few students has sent an unwelcoming message to the UMD and Duluth community.

This year, the UMD Student Association and the Office of Student Life are partnering to host the first ever "Bulldog Yard Contest". We invite students who live in the areas surrounding campus to decorate their yards with Bulldog pride, and help us welcome our new incoming students. Prizes will be awarded to the best yards, including a grand prize of a $250 gift card to SuperOne. UMD Student Association judges will visit the participating houses between the hours of 11am and 3pm on move-in day, Tuesday, August 21st.

Learn more about the Bulldog Yard Contest and sign-up to participate. Whether or not you and your roommates choose to participate in this event, we look forward to an exciting, fun, and safe move-in day and Bulldog Welcome Week.

Best Regards,

Mike Kenyanya
UMD SA President

Lendley C. Black

Monday, July 30, 2018

Chancellor's Welcome for All Staff and Faculty 2018

Chancellor's Welcome for All Staff and Faculty 2018

When:    Monday, August 20, 2018

Time:      8:30 - 10:00 a.m.

Where:   Ward Wells Field House (follow the ramp down to the field house on the side where the tennis courts are located)

Chancellor Black invites you to join him in kicking off a new fall semester. A continental breakfast will be served (pastries, fruit, and yogurt).

We will be collecting nonperishable food for Champ's Cupboard, the UMD Food Shelf located in 245 Kirby Plaza. Unused/unopened items specifically needed are:
  • Canned chicken/tuna
  • Boxed noodles, pasta, etc
  • Pasta sauce
  • Boxed meals and dinner sides
  • Canned meals: spaghetti's, ravioli, etc
  • Canned fruit
  • Peanut butter, jelly, condiments
  • Lighter meals/snacks, granola bars, etc
  • Miscellaneous toiletries, such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo
  • Diapers and laundry detergent

For information contact: 218.726.7106 or chan@d.umn.edu

Getting Ready for UMD! Parent Information

Dear UMD Parents and Family Members:

As the University of Minnesota Duluth's Chancellor, it is a pleasure for me to welcome you to our outstanding university community. The faculty, staff, and students of UMD join me in our commitment to making your student's new university home an intellectually stimulating and enjoyable place to learn and grow.

We take every part of the UMD experience very seriously, and we are committed to making a difference with our students. Most of our students excel, but many of them also encounter challenging situations involving alcohol. Most relationships among students are positive and supportive. However, there are times when abusive relationships appear between students.  When abuse occurs, it is often related to alcohol use. We've implemented a comprehensive prevention program to help our students make the safest, healthiest decisions possible.

  • Our health services and student life staff offer resources and programming designed to heighten student awareness of the dangers of alcohol abuse and underage drinking. A comprehensive resource page may be found by visiting this website.  
  • When violations of university alcohol policies occur we have disciplinary procedures in place to address these issues in a manner focused on education and changing behavior. The emphasis is on helping students be successful in every aspect of their college experience.
  • At UMD, we value our partnership with parents regarding the health and safety of our students. To that end, we will contact the parents of any UMD student who has been taken to the hospital emergency room or to a local detoxification facility by UMD police for an alcohol-related emergency. On a case-by-case basis, we may also contact the parents of underage UMD students who have violated the university's alcohol policy, on or off campus.
  • This summer every incoming student will be required to complete AlcoholEdu for College, a 2-3 hour online course that uses the latest prevention techniques and research to educate students about the impact of alcohol on the mind and body. Whether or not your student drinks alcohol, AlcoholEdu for College will empower your student to make well-informed decisions about alcohol and help them better cope with the drinking behavior of peers.
We also understand that parents are the first line of defense against alcohol misuse and abuse.  There are several things you can do this summer to help your student get ready for the decisions they'll be making after they get to UMD. We're providing a brochure to serve as a resource and a guide if you decide to discuss the dangers of underage drinking and excessive alcohol use with your student. 

Minnesota State Law requires that every incoming student must participate in training on sexual assault prevention. One way our students will receive training is through another online course called Sexual Assault Prevention

Our partner for providing the AlcoholEdu and Sexual Assault Prevention is a company called EverFi. (By the way, EverFi also provides online training required for every UMD employee). We're providing you with a link to an EverFi website that has information for parents of college students. The site includes downloadable resources to support conversations with your student about these important topics. In addition, this UMD website has links to an overview for each of the required courses.

The deadline for completing the AlcoholEdu and Sexual Assault Prevention courses is August 20, 2018. We hope you will encourage your student to meet that deadline.

We are proud of the safe and supportive learning environment at UMD, and we thank you for helping us educate students about the dangers of behaviors that put them at risk and that detract from their academic achievements. 


Lendley C. Black

Friday, July 13, 2018

Completion of Preventing and Responding to Sexual Misconduct Training

Dear UMD Faculty, Staff, and Administrators:

I would like to express my sincere appreciation and thanks to the UMD community for completing the Preventing and Responding to Sexual Misconduct online training. As of today, 98.94% of UMD employees and 99.76% of UMD supervisors have completed the training, which translates to only 11 employees and 1 supervisor at UMD who have not yet finished the training module. The Office of Human Resources for the University of Minnesota System will follow-up with those who did not complete this requirement. In addition, they will develop a process for all new employees to take the online training as part of their onboarding at UMD.

Combating sexual assault and sexual harassment continues to be a priority at UMD, and this one training alone will not be enough to achieve our goal of a campus that is safe and welcoming to everyone. However, it is a positive beginning in the right direction. I will follow-up on the recent and productive discussion I had with the UMD Commission for Women about the training and what next steps we can take to reinforce the principles found in the training module.  

The UMD Sexual Violence Response Team is also developing follow-up initiatives to the online training in order to give faculty and staff ongoing opportunities to further develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to combat inappropriate behavior. We also need to continue our efforts to ensure that victims know how and when to report incidents and how to acquire the support they need. We also need to equip supervisors with the skills and knowledge necessary to assist employees and to create ever better work environments. Additional information about the UMD Chancellor's Initiative to Prevent Sexual Misconduct can be found here: http://d.umn.edu/sexual-assault/prevention.

Like the prevention of racism, homophobia, xenophobia, and other forms of discrimination, preventing sexual misconduct begins with understanding when behaviors are inappropriate. In addition, individuals should take an honest look at their own biases and commit to not engaging in harmful behaviors or excusing the bad behaviors of others.

Thank you again for your efforts to create the welcoming and inclusive campus climate we all deserve.

Lendley C. Black

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