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Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Shattering Expectations campaign impact

CLA’s Shattering Expectations campaign, part of the University’s Driven campaign, officially came to a close on June 30, 2021. More than 21,000 alumni, friends, faculty, and staff gave over $182 million to support the college, departments, students—21 percent above our $150 million goal. Those are impressive numbers and we reach them only because donors are confident they are investing in important work and investing in the success of faculty, staff, and students. Groundbreaking research, inspiring educational opportunity, and meaningful engagement with communities. That’s what donors see. Everyone in the college has a hand in making that happen, in making CLA a place that attracts support.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Balanced budget and enrollment update

It’s been wonderful to see the campus active and energized during this first week of the semester. Throughout the summer, concerns were raised about various aspects of the return to campus and the return to classrooms. Raising these concerns helped us highlight issues to bring to the attention of offices in central and generated the sharing of ideas across CLA on how units were handling particular challenges. Many thanks to everyone — and there are many in departments, in shared governance bodies, and across college offices — who have worked so hard to get us to this point. I’d like to offer a special note of appreciation for the work of Anika Carlsted, CLA Assistant Director of Facilities and Capital Planning, for her absolutely tireless efforts this summer working across the college, communicating with department leaders, and conveying to offices what was needed to ensure buildings and classrooms were safe for the fall.

We are back to the campus, but not back to the campus of 2019. Our experience during the pandemic demonstrated ways in which the Future of Work was going to differ from the workplace as it was. Most notably, that difference has shown up in more provision for work schedules that are partly on campus and partly remote. It has been interesting to observe that change in action as well this week. These changes may have been kickstarted by the pandemic, but they are more truly a new way of work that will continue to evolve. 

Friday, August 6, 2021

The Return to Campus

It has been wonderful to see the bustle on campus and in offices this week as the Work From Home order expired and we were able to see each other in person again. Thank you to all of you who have facilitated this return. 

We are in new times. That day in March 2020 when we left campus to begin working from home was the last time when more or less everybody, in the general though not literal sense, was on campus together. 

The new times have important continuities from the past. We remain predominantly a residential, place-based institution. Our commitment to the work, to each other, and to our teams and colleagues means we collaboratively take each other’s interests and needs into account as we arrange our work plans. Laura, my wife, has an Aunt Jenny, and one of her Aunt Jennyisms is that your presence is important to others, that it is important to others and their experience that you are there. I’ve thought of that wisdom during this week.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Budget and Compact results for FY 2022

The Board of Regents is discussing the University’s proposed budget at this week’s meeting and will take final action at the end of June. For the college, part of this annual cycle is the conclusion of the Compact process. I’ve noted previously that this year the Compact process instructions required each college and administrative support unit to develop recurring reallocation options (i.e., spending reductions) of 3%, 6%, and 9% of what’s referred to as O&M (basically, tuition and state appropriations) to address the anticipated budget pressures for the upcoming biennium.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Shared governance update for 2020-21

Across the long trek of the academic year, the college’s navigation through the pandemic benefited significantly from our shared governance groups. 

These groups include long-standing and vital constitutional governance bodies such as the Assembly; Council of Chairs; Administrators Forum; P&A Board, Student Board; Promotion and Tenure Review Committee; Curriculum, Instruction, and Advising Committee; Course Review Committee; and Executive Committee. Each of these groups made substantial contributions throughout the year. To give but one example, the Assembly, the college’s most widely representative governance body, made significant contributions through identifying and communicating principles and guidelines for collegiate statements on diversity and equity, collaborating with the Center for Education Innovation to identify effective strategies for inclusive teaching in a distance-learning environment, and developing and reaffirming the Assembly’s values and principles for budget reallocation to meet the challenge of pandemic-era budgeting.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

One year after George Floyd's murder

Today marks one year since the murder of George Floyd. On this day, I join other individuals and communities who are thinking of Mr. Floyd’s family and loved ones, who dearly miss their father, brother, and friend. It will be a day when people across the globe pause and reflect. Here in the Twin Cities and on our campus, we take this moment to reflect on the historic movement his murder sparked in Minnesota and around the world. We take this moment to reach out and listen to our Black colleagues, students, and friends who have been deeply affected by Mr. Floyd’s death. We take this moment to acknowledge the particular distress that the painful events of the past year have caused our colleagues and students from BIPOC and other marginalized communities. And we take this moment to reaffirm our commitment to moving forward on the issues of race, justice, dignity, and respect, as a college and as individuals. 

Visit CLA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion page for more information about our collective efforts, projects, progress, and initiatives in this area. And as President Gabel shared in her message this morning, the University has compiled a list of support and educational resources that you may find helpful today and throughout the year. 

Thursday, May 6, 2021

CLA's future of work goals

I know many in our CLA community are anxious to understand what the future of work will look like when the University’s work-from-home restriction expires in August. As a college community, we don’t yet have all the answers, but I’d like to summarize the feedback we’re receiving from faculty and staff and share the interests and concerns at the heart of Future of Work discussions underway in the college. This message also indicates how you can contribute to these conversations. 

Thinking through these issues is a work in progress. August 2 will be a start, but only a start. Almost certainly there’ll be a need to revise, assess, and adjust as we move along. That’s okay. I also note that the discussion below focuses largely on the supervisor and staff experience that has been predominantly discussed in the Future of Work group. Nonetheless, units thinking through issues of faculty work may also find this discussion of assistance.