University of Minnesota Duluth
 
 

 Office of the Chancellor

September 2010 Archives

Transition Team

A transition team has been established to advise me during my first year as chancellor.
Under the leadership of Vice Chancellor Vince Magnuson, this advisory group is meeting
regularly to advise me on campus issues and to help me prioritize strategies to solve
immediate challenges.

Members of the Transition Team are:

Praveen Aggarwal, Professor, Marketing
Linda Deneen, Director, Information Technology Systems & Services
Jeni Eltink, Director, First Year Experience and Students in Transition
Denny Falk, Professor, Social Work
Greg Fox, Vice Chancellor, Finance and Operations
John Hamlin, Professor, Sociology/Anthropology
John King, Director, Facilities Management
Lucy Kragness, Executive Assistant to the Chancellor
Vince Magnuson, Vice Chancellor, Academic Administration
Jennifer McCabe, Student Association
Jackie Millslagle, Interim Vice Chancellor, Academic Support and Student Life
Susana Pelayo-Woodward, Director, Office of Cultural Diversity
Jim Riehl, Dean, Swenson College of Science and Engineering
Bill Wade, Vice Chancellor, University Relations

Please join me in thanking them for helping me make a successful transition into my new
role as your chancellor. Feel free to contact members of the Transition Team if you have
comments or suggestions.

Thank you.

Chancellor Lendley C. Black


Posted on September 29, 2010 1:36 PM | Permalink


Planning & Faculty Fellow for Strategic Planning

As I have indicated over the past two months, we will devote much energy and attention this academic year to planning. By the end of the 2011 spring semester, I would like to have a new strategic plan for UMD that articulates a refined vision, mission, statement of core values, and a manageable set of goals and action steps. This new planning process will provide a guideline for moving UMD forward over the next few years within the context of shrinking state budgets and rapid change. It will also provide a sharper focus on the distinctive UMD attributes and unique niche that will place UMD among the best higher educational institutions of its type in the country.

This will be a rolling plan, which is updated yearly as it directs our major activities for the next several years. Our planning process will be systematic, ongoing, and cyclical with linkages to institutional resources and assessment. During this planning process we will consider what changes need to be made in the teaching and learning process at UMD in order to achieve increased quality in a time of dwindling state support. We will look at our campus structures and processes to see what changes need to be made in order for us to be most effective and most efficient. We will dream big and reach toward a vision that will stretch us and help us become the premiere institution we aspire to be.

Soon I will appoint a steering committee to guide our planning efforts. This committee will ensure broad participation among our faculty, staff, and students, as well as meaningful
input from our many off-campus stakeholders, such as alumni and community, business, and government leaders.

In addition, I will appoint a Faculty Fellow for Strategic Planning to serve as project manager for the planning processes and to assist me with other planning projects that impact faculty and staff throughout campus. Please see the announcement below. Encourage qualified candidates to apply, apply yourself, or nominate individuals you feel are good candidates.

More details regarding the strategic planning steering committee will soon follow. I look
forward to our collaborative planning efforts and to charting a clear and exciting course for
UMD's future.

Thank you.

******************************************

UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA DULUTH

Faculty Fellow for Strategic Planning

The Faculty Fellow for Strategic Planning assists the Chancellor by managing the various
strategic planning processes that result in the creation of a new strategic plan for UMD. The Faculty Fellow for Strategic Planning provides executive support to the Chancellor and the Chancellor's Cabinet by overseeing the execution and assessment of the planning process; by acting as a key liaison to a wide variety of constituents both within and outside the university; by providing feedback and advice to the Chancellor on numerous planning issues, and by undertaking special projects as assigned by the Chancellor.

The specific experience, knowledge, skills, and abilities required are:

An earned doctorate or other appropriate terminal degree, with a career history that has
gained the respect of the university's faculty and staff;
Strategic planning and group facilitation skills and experience;
Holding a tenured faculty appointment;
At least five years' experience as a faculty member at UMD;
Capability to perform complex tasks and to prioritize multiple projects;
Advanced verbal and written communication skills;
Capability to present effectively to small and large groups;
Demonstrated leadership, organizational, and management skills;
Ability to foster a cooperative work environment;
Advanced analytical, evaluative, and objective critical thinking skills and the ability to
analyze, summarize, and effectively present data; and
Exceptional interpersonal skills and the ability to interact effectively with public constituencies, senior academic leadership, faculty, students, staff, alumni, donors, and
other constituencies important to the university.

The Faculty Fellow for Strategic Planning will be appointed by the Chancellor immediately
and will serve a one-year renewable appointment defined as .50 faculty duties and .50
administrative duties for the year. The first year's appointment will conclude on June 30, 2011. An administrative stipend will be provided to the person appointed, and funds will be provided to the person's home department to compensate for reassigned duties.

Letters of interest, an updated C.V. and names and e-mail addresses of three references should be sent electronically to chan@d.umn.edu by 5 p.m., Wednesday, October 6. Nominations are encouraged.

Lendley C. Black, Chancellor


Posted on September 27, 2010 1:37 PM | Permalink


Creating an Inclusive Campus Environment: Organizational Structure

Dear Colleagues,

At the end of August, I communicated to the UMD community one of the steps we took
to create an inclusive learning and working environment, and my intention to work
with the Chancellor's Cabinet to provide leadership in this effort. As a result of our
discussions since the two-day workshop on social justice, I am pleased to announce an
organizational structure that will advance our agenda.

The organizational elements of this structure are a Leadership Team that includes
my Cabinet and myself, a Campus Change Team, Unit Change Teams, and External
Consultants. I am committed to accountability, transparency, representation,
collaboration, and innovation as we work toward inclusive policies and best practices,
and expect the efforts of this new organizational structure to reflect these values.

In the coming weeks, I will provide more details about the responsibilities of and the
relationships between each of these elements.

Sincerely,

Lendley C. Black
Chancellor


Posted on September 20, 2010 1:41 PM | Permalink


UMD Convocation Speech 2010 to Campus

Friday, September 3, 2010
1 p.m., Romano Gymnasium

Thank you, Victor, for the kind introduction. It is great to be at UMD.

Now it's my turn to welcome all of you to UMD! And I would like to ask my colleagues who are here to raise their arms and wave when introduced.

The faculty, staff and students of CLA welcome you! (Faculty, staff and RockStars from CLA raise their arms and wave.)

The faculty, staff and students of SFA welcome you! (Faculty, Staff and RockStars from SFA raise their arms and wave.)

The faculty, staff and students of LSBE welcome you! (Faculty, Staff and RockStars from LSBE raise their arms and wave.)

The faculty, staff and students of SCSE welcome you! (Faculty, Staff and RockStars from SCSE raise their arms and wave.)

The faculty, staff and students of CEHSP welcome you! (Faculty, Staff and RockStars from CEHSP raise their arms and wave.)

The faculty, staff and students of UMD's graduate and professional programs welcome you! (Faculty, Staff and RockStars from graduate and professional programs raise their arms and wave.)

The staff and students of Finance and Operations welcome you! (Staff and RockStars from VCFO raise their arms and wave).

The faculty, staff and students of Academic Support and Student Life welcome you! (Faculty, Staff from ASSL and all RockStars raise their arms and wave.)

The faculty, staff, and students of Academic Administration welcome you! (Staff and RockStars from VCAA raise their arms and wave).

The staff and student leaders of University Relations and Development welcome you! (Staff and RockStars from UR raise their arms and wave).

Today, you begin your UMD education. Today, you are on your way to graduation. All of you received tassels when you entered the gym. Put the tassel up in your new room or in another prominent place that will remind you of your goal. You are here to get an education, and we are here to help you succeed!

As you go forward at UMD, you will have opportunities to think carefully, to engage, and to wrestle with ethical problems. You will learn new things that will help you make increasingly informed choices as you work with others in your field.

You are joining a community where we value ethical thinking and interacting with others with integrity. All of us at UMD strive to be truthful, to be just, and to be caring. We show care and concern for individuals, relationships and the environment that make up this community.

At UMD, you will find new possibilities. You will learn about cultures different from your own. You will be able to use that learning, and all that knowledge, and all those new ways of thinking, as you move forward to changing the world. As a college student, there are many opportunities available. Plan on studying abroad. Start thinking about working on an undergraduate research project with a faculty member. Explore new areas of interest.

I'm sure many of you aren't sure about your major. You advisor will help you. Staff in the college offices will help. Your peer advisors will help you. Many resources are available in the Career Services office. The most recent survey that Career Services staff did of the UMD Class of 2009 shows that 70 percent are employed, with another 19 percent continuing their education after graduating. Research shows that on average, a college graduate earns more than 50 percent compared to others who have a high school degree.

Get involved! You have learned - and will be learning more - about all of the student organizations on campus. Joining an organization will help you to serve the campus community, to learn about your academic field, and to meet new friends.

While I'm telling you to get involved, I'm also reminding you that you need to study. I know that many of you have jobs. You will need to manage your time carefully. It will soon feel overwhelming to make time for everything. Look at your schedule now, and find time 25-30 hours each week to read, to study, to learn, and to prepare for your classroom learning. The UMD Library is an amazing place where you can find comfortable space to study alone or as a group. Claim your space in the library! Many students spend time in the library and return several times each week to "their" special spot.

If you need help, seek it out. Talk with the faculty and the staff members. They are interesting people, and they want to get to know you. They want you to succeed. They will help you solve problems so that you have the tools to succeed.

Make new friends. Take a deep breath and talk with people you might not have talked to when you were in high school. As you just learned, I am also new to Duluth. While I haven't moved into a residence hall, we did move across the country to make our new home in Duluth. I have made many new friends in just one month, and I know that I need to rely on the help of others to help me succeed as your chancellor.

Explore Duluth! You can take the bus from the Kirby Plaza bus hub and go downtown, to Canal Park, or to the Miller Hill Mall. Go walking on the trails in Bagley Nature Center or Chester Park. Ski the hills. Do an internship or volunteer with an organization or business in the Northland.

You are here to learn. We are here to help you. Keep looking at the tassel that you received today. Keep your eyes on the graduation prize!

UMD is a place where you will meet all sorts of people. Before we sing the UMD rouser, I would like to ask you to turn to the people around you and introduce yourself. (students introduce themselves to each other)

Now let's join the UMD Marching Band in singing the UMD Rouser! (words will be on the screen, and the RockStars will lead the singing).

Rouser words
U-M-D
Now let us praise UMD
Ever strong, and true we will be
And to the Bulldogs name
Maroon and gold's our fame
We hail University, Rah, Rah, Rah
U-M-D, Always with our loyalty
Sign and cheer to be victorious, UMD!
B-U-L-L-D-O-G-S. Hey, BULLDOGS!

Chancellor Lendley C. Black


Posted on September 3, 2010 3:21 PM | Permalink


Welcome Breakfast Speech 2010 to Faculty/Professional and Academic Staff

Given to faculty/professional & academic staff
Chancellor Black Remarks
Thursday, September 2, 2010
7:30 a.m., Kirby Ballroom

It is with great enthusiasm that I began August 1 as UMD's chancellor. Your warm welcome has made the transition to Duluth easy for me and my wife, Connie. However, if we had a dollar for every time that someone reminded us how cold it will be in Duluth, we would be rich! We now welcome being cooler by the Great Lake than we were this summer in Hotlanta, and we look forward to getting back to winter activities we knew for many years in Connecticut and Kansas.

For those of you not familiar with my background, I have spent the last eight years as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Kennessaw State University, which is a regional university of 23,000 students just outside of Atlanta. As the university's Chief Academic Officer, I led the university's transition to a doctoral-granting institution and added several academic programs at the undergraduate and master's levels. Before moving to Georgia, we lived in Emporia, Kansas, for 20 years, where I served in a variety of positions at Emporia State University. I began as a "temporary lecturer" in theatre, and I left as a full professor and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. I grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, and I earned my bachelor's degree in English at the University of Tennessee Martin, a campus of the UT system where I received an excellent liberal arts education. I earned my master's degree in theatre at the University of Connecticut, and completed my PhD in theatre at the University of Kansas. My research area was Russian theatre and drama.

Many people have asked me what drew me to UMD. When I began responding to opportunities for chancellor positions, I was looking for strong educational institutions with a promising future. UMD indeed has a rich academic tradition, dating back to its founding as the Duluth Normal School in 1895. When I looked closer at UMD, I learned that the campus is a focal point for regional economic development, while also serving as a major cultural center for northeastern Minnesota. Outstanding faculty and staff leads to an excellent student body. UMD's enrollment has remained strong, attracting high quality students. In fact, I recently learned that this fall, the average high school rank of incoming students is 72 percent. Of those freshmen, 18 percent were in the top 5 percent of their high school class and 22 percent were in the top 10 percent. Many of you will be involved with some of these new students on undergraduate research projects, which has a 60-year history of success at UMD. Academic excellence and expanding academic opportunities have been the hallmark of my administrative career, and I look forward to working with you to find new avenues of academic excellence at UMD. There seem to be many opportunities to expand at the graduate levels and in undergraduate programs were we have particular strengths. We need to continue and capitalize on our achievements in undergraduate education, as we explore new graduate opportunities. As I've said to the deans, I want us to be first class in everything we do, and to be world class where we can.

Another thing you should know about me is that I grew up in a segregated neighborhood in Memphis and was in high school in the late 1960s when Memphis became a focal point of the civil rights movement. I remember very clearly the night Dr. King was killed and the shameful way many in my all-white suburb reacted. I grew up in a family of privilege. We were privileged not because of our economic status, because my father, who was wounded in WWII, had to stop working in his 30s and passed away when he was 49. Financially, we struggled. We were privileged not because of higher education, because neither of my parents went to college. They were smart people and wise people, but their education, like our economic status, was quite modest. We were privileged, because of the color of our skin. It took many years for me to understand this and to come to terms with this privilege and with what happened in my home town in the late 1960s. I share this with you today to emphasize my commitment to a campus of inclusion and opportunity for all of our students, faculty and staff. There is much to be done and this is a new day of commitment to social justice on our campus. We have an outstanding faculty and staff, but we all, myself included, have much to do and to learn in order to create the inclusive and civil environment that we all deserve. We will not reach our full potential academically until we have a campus that values the contributions and understands the differences that we all bring to our distinctive learning environment. Also, we will not reach our full potential until we all demonstrate a zero tolerance for exclusionary and hurtful behaviors and practices.

In thinking about my new role as chancellor and your roles as faculty and P&A staff members, I'm reminded of the following parable:

A man in a hot air balloon realized he was lost. He reduced altitude and spotted a woman below. He descended a bit more and shouted, "Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am."

The woman below replied. "You are in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You are between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude."

"You must be a faculty member," said the balloonist.
"I am," replied the woman, "How did you know?"
"Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is technically correct, but I have no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I am still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help so far."

The woman below responded, "You must be a chancellor."

"I am," replied the balloonist, "but how did you know?"

"Well," said the woman, "you don't know where you are or where you are going. You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise that you have no idea how to keep. You expect someone else to solve your problem. And the fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it's my fault."

Unfortunately, the parable captures occasional interactions between faculty members and administrators, and interactions among many on campus when we are too focused on egocentric comments and finger pointing, resulting in miscommunication and widening distances between us. 30 feet separation can quickly become much farther until it's very difficult to get two parties back together and on the same plane.

What intrigues me most about this parable, or lame joke if you prefer, is that by nature the chancellor and the faculty member operate on different planes. The chancellor can be viewed as aloft. I've already heard references to the fifth-floor of Darland. And in some ways the chancellor should be aloft, because his perspective needs to be broader. He must scan the horizon, or monitor the boundaries, and bring that information back to the faculty. The faculty member is by nature more grounded, or some would say, "in the trenches." I don't like that metaphor, because it suggests warfare. My grandfather was literally in the trenches in France during World War I. I don't like to think that I'm doing battle with the faculty or that faculty members are fighting their students. But I understand that at times faculty members feel like they are being attacked and under siege. So what can we do together as a scholarly community of life-long learners to get on the same plane? What can I do to pull the faculty member up to higher ground and what can you do to keep me grounded and in touch with your concerns and needs?

When looking at UMD's future, I believe that it is important for me to help create an environment where you can do your best work. I do not have all the answers. But I am an optimist, and I promise to work with you as we solve the challenges facing all higher education institutions. We are in uncharted waters today in higher education. You may have heard President Bruinicks refer to the "new normal" for higher education. As my colleagues in the American Association of State Colleges and Universities have outlined, the new normal in higher education has created three major challenges. First, we need to change how we operate in light of shrinking state financial support. We can expect several years of declining, or at best flat, budgets from the state, and we can't continue to do everything the same way as in the past. Second, evolving technology has led to new competition and a rapidly changing learning environment as free access to course content from around the world is available on the Internet. Changing the ways knowledge is acquired and distributed, technology could lead to substantive, fundamental and ultimately productive changes in teaching and learning. Finally, we face increasing political and societal pressure to provide access to higher education for more students with less funding and to demonstrate more clearly how we add value to students' lives. Assessment of student learning outcomes and explaining those assessments to the general public is becoming more and more important. Bottom line, we are increasingly told to do even more with less, but we also need to find ways to do things differently in our classrooms and laboratories, so that we maintain quality and serve an increasingly diverse student body within this environment of shrinking resources and rapid change.

While I have only been at UMD for one month, I have been listening, and I have learned from many of you about the substantial cuts that have been made. We are all feeling the pain of the reduced funding levels. You have all experienced at least a 1.15 percent salary reduction this year, with others receiving a 2.3 percent cut. While these funding measures have helped to balance this year's university budget, the state financial outlook continues to be bleak. We have to expect and prepare ourselves for the possibility of future reductions in the state budget for the next few years.
It is time that we look at new ways to continue to deliver a quality education. It is time for us to take a close look at our strengths and opportunities. We need to work together to make sure that what we are focused on a vision and mission that serves us well now and in the future.

That's where I need your help. By the end of September, you will hear the details of a new strategic planning process that will help us craft a new vision for UMD and help us meet the challenges of this new higher education environment, the "New Normal." I am here to listen, to learn and to work with you and your colleagues to ensure that UMD continues to be a strong leader in providing higher education opportunities that our students deserve and expect. By listening to you and gathering opinions from across the campus and with our external stakeholders, we can think creatively and examine how we deliver instruction and how we will use our budgets and other resources to make UMD even stronger.

While we do face serious challenges, I want to close by recognizing all the talented faculty members and the experienced team of academic professionals who are here at today's breakfast. I also would like to welcome the new faculty and staff members who are introduced today. Let's commit together to continue our efforts to get on the same plane the administration standing in the balloon and the faculty members standing on the ground. In addition, we must have strategic alignment among all units of UMD, and our scholarly community must work together to create a culture of academic excellence, collaboration, and student success.

We have a lot of work to do and we have our share of challenges. But we have the potential, and the tools, and the knowledge, and most importantly, we have the PEOPLE to get the work done and to do it with great joy. Let's get in this balloon together and see how high we can rise and how far we can go.

As we kick off the start of the school year, I want to thank you for all that you do on behalf of our students. You have my best wishes for continued success.

Thank you.

Chancellor Lendley C. Black


Posted on September 2, 2010 3:29 PM | Permalink


Meet the Chancellor Speech 2010 to Civil Service and Bargaining Unit Staff

Chancellor Black Remarks to Civil Service and Bargaining Unit Staff
Meet the Chancellor
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
2:30 p.m., Kirby Ballroom

It is with great enthusiasm that I began August 1 as UMD's new chancellor. Your warm welcome has made the transition to Duluth easy for me and my wife, Connie. However, if we had a dollar for every time someone made a joke about cold weather or reminded us how cold it will be in Duluth, we would be rich! We now welcome being cooler by the Great Lake, than we were this summer in Hotlanta, and we look forward to getting back to winter activities we knew for many years in Connecticut and Kansas.

For those of you not familiar with my background, I have spent the last eight years as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Kennessaw State University, which is just outside of Atlanta. KSU is a relatively new comprehensive university with over 22,000 students. Before moving to Georgia, we lived in Emporia, Kansas, for 20 years, where I served in a variety of positions at Emporia State University. I began as a theatre "temporary lecturer," and I left as a full professor and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. I grew up in Memphis, and I earned my bachelor's degree in English at the University of Tennessee Martin. I earned my master's degree in theatre at the University of Connecticut, and I completed my PhD in theatre at the University of Kansas, with a research focus on Russian theatre and drama.

Many people have asked me what drew me to UMD. When I began responding to opportunities for chancellor positions, I only considered strong educational institutions with a promising future. UMD indeed has a rich academic tradition, dating back to its founding as the Duluth Normal School in 1895. When I looked closer at UMD, I learned that the campus is a focal point for regional economic development, while also serving as a major cultural center for northeastern Minnesota. Outstanding faculty and staff leads to an excellent student body. UMD's enrollment has remained strong, attracting high quality students. In fact, I recently learned that this fall, the average high school rank of incoming students is 72 percent. Of those freshmen, 18 percent were in the top 5 percent of their high school class and 22 percent were in the top 10 percent.

Duluth is a beautiful city, and Lake Superior is a powerful draw. Our campus is a premier regional employer, with more than 700 faculty and academic staff members dedicated to the highest quality teaching, research and service.
In addition, as this full room shows, UMD has a dedicated full-time staff of more than 800, who take pride in their important role in support of UMD's academic mission.

Today, I would like to thank you for all that you do to make UMD so successful. While students come to UMD to get an education, I know that their college experience is much more than time spent in the classroom. Each of you plays an important role in educating our students and each of you is part of our community of learners. I discovered early in my academic career that I could not be successful unless I had the assistance of quality staff members working alongside me and creating a campus environment that is safe, clean, well-equipped, and conducive to learning.

I was impressed to learn about how many staff members have been here for many, many years. That's not always true at other campuses. We tried to come up with a firm figure of how many years of experience we have on the staff. I'm told that it's in the thousands of years. Let's try something. Do we have anyone who's worked at UMD for 30 years or more? If so, please stand and remain standing. Would all of you who have been at UMD 25 or more years please stand, and remain standing. Now, let's have those with 20 years or more of service please stand. And now 15 years or more. And 10 years or more. And 5 years or more. And everyone else. Let's give all of you a hand for your dedication to UMD and for your contributions to the success of the students! (applause)

Let's take a quick look at how many staff members a new freshman living in the residence halls at UMD might run into on the first day of classes. A custodian cleaning the floors. Dining Center staff. Cashiers in the Deli, in the bookstore and in Darland. A librarian. An academic department staff member. A first year experience professional. Staff members in Rec Sports. The ITSS help desk staff. When I first activated my UMD email account earlier this summer, I called the ITSS help desk and was asked if I was an incoming freshman! While I learned that the staff member was embarrassed to not recognize my name, it was a lot of fun to talk with her and to see how professionally she handled my request.

Many of you work behind the scenes to make the campus function so smoothly. The campus grounds are beautiful, and the pride that all of you take in your work shows. While we might not see the staff members who work in the heating plant very often, we would sure know there was a problem if there was no heat in January.

I want all of you to know that you are an integral part of the campus community, and your dedication and professional attitude makes a difference. It is important to me that we create an inclusive campus environment where each of you can do your best work and where every individual is valued.

Another thing you should know about me is that I grew up in a segregated neighborhood in Memphis, Tennessee and was in high school in the late 1960s when Memphis became a focal point of the civil rights movement. I remember very clearly the night Dr. King was killed and the shameful way many in my all-white suburb reacted. I grew up in a family of privilege. We were privileged not because of our economic status, because my father, who was wounded in WWII, had to stop working in his 30s. Financially, we struggled. We were privileged not because of higher education, because neither of my parents went to college. They were smart people and wise people, but their education, like our economic status, was quite modest. We were privileged, because of the color of our skin.

It took many years for me to understand this and to come to terms with this privilege and with what happened in my hometown in the late 1960s. I share this with you today to emphasize my commitment to a campus of inclusion and opportunity for all of our students, faculty and staff. There is much to be done and this is a new day of commitment to social justice on our campus. We have an outstanding faculty and staff, but we all, myself included, have much to do and to learn in order to create the inclusive and civil environment that we all deserve. We will not reach our full potential academically until we have a campus that values the contributions and understands the differences that we all bring to our distinctive learning environment. Also, we will not reach our full potential until we all demonstrate a zero tolerance for exclusionary and hurtful behaviors and practices.

When looking at UMD's future, I believe that it is important for me to help create an environment where you can do your best work. I do not have all the answers. But I am an optimist, and I promise to work with you as we solve the challenges facing all higher education institutions. We are in uncharted waters today in higher education. As my colleagues in the American Association of State Colleges and Universities have outlined, higher education nationally is facing three major challenges. First, we need to change how we operate in light of shrinking state financial support. We can expect several years of declining or at best flat budgets from the state. Second, evolving technology has led to new competition as free access to course content from around the world is available on the Internet. Changing the ways knowledge is acquired and distributed, technology could lead to substantive, fundamental and ultimately productive changes in teaching and learning. Finally, we face increasing political and societal pressure to provide access to higher education for more students with less funding and to demonstrate more clearly how we add value to students' lives. Bottom line, we are increasingly told to do even more with less, but we also need to find ways to do things differently, so that we maintain quality and serve an increasingly diverse student body within this environment of shrinking resources and rapid change.

While I have only been at UMD for one month, I have been listening, and I have learned from many of you about the substantial cuts that have been made. We are all feeling the pain of the reduced funding levels. While you have received a 2 percent raise this summer, you are all facing the mandatory three-day furlough in December. It is not easy, and I appreciate the sacrifices that you are making. While these funding measures have helped to balance this year's university budget, the state financial outlook continues to be bleak. We have to expect and prepare ourselves for the possibility of future reductions in the state budget for the next few years.

It is time that we look at new ways to continue delivering a quality education. It is time for us to take a close look at our strengths and opportunities. We need to work together to make sure that we are focused on a vision and mission that serves us well now and in the future.

That's where I need your help. By the end of September, you will hear the details of a new strategic planning process that will help us craft a new vision for UMD and help us meet the challenges of this new higher education environment, the "New Normal" as it's often been called. I am here to listen, to learn and to work with you and your colleagues to ensure that UMD continues to be a strong leader in providing higher education opportunities that our students deserve and expect. By listening to you and gathering opinions from across the campus and with our external stakeholders we can think creatively and examine how we deliver instruction and how we will use our budgets and other financial resources to make UMD even stronger.

While we do face serious challenges, I want to close by again thanking you for your dedication to UMD. It matters, it shows, and it is appreciated. Although we have many challenges in front of us, I look forward to being your partner as we discover ways to meet these challenges and as a result be even stronger.

Thank you.

Chancellor Lendley C. Black


Posted on September 1, 2010 1:55 PM | Permalink