Monday Minute, February 8, 2010

Dear Colleagues,

Some of you may have seen the e-mail from two faculty members in the political science department who called a University wide meeting today to share information about the impact budget cuts and the economic downturn have had on academic units. I think all faculty members also received a response to their e-mail today from the chair and vice-chair of the Faculty Consultative Committee. I wanted to reiterate what the latter said, reconfirmed in a meeting the deans had with the provost this afternoon: the University has absolutely no plan to terminate tenure-track or tenured faculty and, because President Bruininks is still recuperating from his prostate-cancer surgery on February 1, no decision on furloughs will be made until he returns.

Those faculty e-mails had a salutary effect on the University's thinking about how it communicates about the budget. As Provost Sullivan said today, times like these require more two-way communication more often in order to keep everyone informed and to reduce the number of unfounded rumors. I mentioned our weekly "Monday Minute" as a possible model for other colleges and maybe even the University as a whole to follow, since they have served not only as a means to convey information quickly and efficiently, but also as a way for you to get back to me with questions or concerns that you have. I appreciate the time you take to read these missives, and I value your response to them. While more frequent communication cannot eliminate our budget challenges, it can make them easier to understand and resolve.