Monday Minute, May 26, 2009

Dear Colleagues,

Mark Twain once said, "Action speaks louder than words, but not nearly as often." One action the college has taken has certainly registered with the University.

Our leadership group -- Associate Deans Kate Solomonson and Marilyn DeLong, Assistant Dean Kate Maple, Chief of Staff Kathy Witherow, and I -- may be the only college deans at the U taking a 10 percent reduction in our appointments next academic year in order to help balance our budget. That reduction equals 26 days without pay, which some of us will spread out across the year and others will take mostly during the summer. I commend my four colleagues for joining me in this voluntary reduction; such an action does not happen nearly as often as I think it should among the leaders of organizations in times like these.

That voluntary reduction has brought attention to the budget dilemmas we face as a college. The provost's office has appointed a three-person task force -- Lincoln Kallsen from the budget office, Joe Kelly from human resources, and John Ziegenhagen representing the provost -- to work with us to find a sustainable solution to our budget challenges. I meet with them later this week.

We hope that we can secure some bridge funding from the University to provide start-up money for our most promising new revenue-generating ideas. While some of that revenue may come from existing University students, I think the real opportunity lies in serving the needs of non-traditional students in non-traditional ways, through weekend, summer, and on-line learning. So far, the discussion about this has been mostly words, but we hope to convert that to action very soon, and as often as possible.