Chancellor's view: UMD does not face a financial crisisMuch has been said, accurately and inaccurately, about the University of Minnesota Duluth’s current budget challenge (“UMD looks to cut $12 million,” Feb. 19). I want to set the record straight and emphasize that while we cannot change decisions made in the past, we are highly capable of addressing the current challenges and focusing on an even brighter future for our students, faculty, staff and regional economy.
By: Lendley “Lynn” Black, Duluth News Tribune
Much has been said, accurately and inaccurately, about the University of Minnesota Duluth’s current budget challenge (“UMD looks to cut $12 million,” Feb. 19). I want to set the record straight and emphasize that while we cannot change decisions made in the past, we are highly capable of addressing the current challenges and focusing on an even brighter future for our students, faculty, staff and regional economy.
UMD’s mission is to integrate liberal education, research, creative activity and public engagement while preparing students to thrive as lifelong learners and globally engaged citizens. The mission is enduring and will not be compromised while addressing financial challenges.
While we face some difficult decisions that require leadership and collaboration across our campus, UMD is not in a crisis. In fact, the
$9.4 million gap in our recurring budget today is $2.5 million smaller than what was projected last fall and amounts to about 6 percent of UMD’s general operating budget. With strategic revenue enhancements and cost reductions, I am confident our campus can bridge this gap over the next few years while continuing to advance our mission.
While needed cost reductions have garnered the most attention, new revenue generation and support from the University of Minnesota system also are integral parts of our overall budget strategy. In fact, we at UMD have received unprecedented cooperation and assistance from University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler and his leadership team.
Program prioritization is one of several tools being utilized to guide decision-making at UMD. This internal review process has resulted in numerous ideas for new efficiencies, has highlighted areas of excellence, and has revealed opportunities for streamlining or eliminating activities as well as reducing administrative costs. All ideas will be carefully considered with our mission and strategic priorities guiding us.
In terms of revenue growth, new-student enrollment is on pace to increase again next fall. UMD faculty and students are conducting groundbreaking research and creative inquiry that creates new knowledge; solves problems; improves the quality of life locally and in many parts of the world; and enhances the economy, cultural life and artistic vitality of this region.
The Bulldogs have had one of the most successful fall sports seasons in the school’s history.
A generous donation by Maurices will give UMD an opportunity to create a campus in Duluth’s thriving downtown.
The future for UMD is bright. UMD’s budget story is similar to what many public universities are facing across the country. However, we have many advantages others do not have. We have outstanding champions among the UMD student body, faculty, staff, alumni and greater community who are committed to excellence. We have a governor and state Legislature supportive of higher education. We are a distinctive and critically important system campus of one of this nation’s top public research universities.
We will continue to champion academic excellence and continue to say with pride, “Go, Bulldogs!”
Lendley “Lynn” Black is chancellor of the University of Minnesota Duluth.