Monday Minute (take two): February 10, 2009

Dear Colleagues,

We have learned more about the upcoming budget discussions with the provost that I want to share with you. Every college must address the following eight requests at its compact and budget meeting, which in our case will occur on February 26:

  1. A candid assessment of our strengths and challenges, given the financial outlook for the next several years and our strategic direction.

  2. A prioritized list of legal/contractual, safety, or compliance commitments.

  3. Any multi-year commitments from prior compacts.

  4. One extremely compelling opportunity that could transform our college and keep it on track vis-a-vis our and the University's strategic goals.

  5. A list of our lowest priority activities.

  6. A brief description, including dollar estimates, of current and future cost-saving initiatives and productivity gains.

  7. A list of activities recommended for elimination or curtailment.

  8. Our vision statement and highest priority initiatives for capital campaign gifts.

As President Bruininks' e-mail yesterday indicated, the University has asked each college to model reductions of five percent and eight percent. A five percent reduction to our operations and maintenance (O&M) and tuition translates to $1,169,000, while an eight percent reduction is $1,816,000. While we are keenly aware of the magnitude of the challenge facing the state and University, seeing actual numbers is much more sobering than abstract percentages. These are significant numbers, and to deal with them will require some tough decisions.

I will provide you with more information and some possible options tomorrow in a recorded presentation that you will be able to watch via UMConnect, at your convenience, in preparation for the meetings on Friday. Faculty meet from 10:00 a.m.-noon in 165 Peik (East Bank) and 4 Magrath (Saint Paul), and staff meet from 2:30-4:30 p.m. in 165 Peik (East Bank) and 145 Peters (Saint Paul).

Your feedback and participation in this process is essential.