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Board of Regents May 2010 meeting summary


The Board of Regents held its monthly meeting May 13 and 14

By Adam Overland

Regents Seal


May 18, 2010

The Board of Regents held its monthly meeting May 13 and 14. The agenda included a work session to discuss the presidential search process, approval of the budget resolution related to employee compensation, and a tour and ribbon cutting of the U's new Urban Research and Outreach Center on Minneapolis's north side.

Awards and appointments
The board honored a number of award winners at its May meeting, including recipients of Distinguished McKnight University Professorships, the Morse-Alumni Awards for Contributions to Undergraduate Education, Awards for Outstanding Contributions to Postbaccalaureate, Graduate and Professional Education, John Tate Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising, Josie R. Johnson Award for Human Rights and Social Justice, Outstanding Community Service Awards, and President's Award for Outstanding Service. For more information on the recipients of these awards, see previous coverage at Faculty and Staff: People.

Additionally, the board and the president recognized new CEO of the University of Minnesota Alumni Association, Phil Esten, outgoing vice president for equity and diversity, Rusty Barcelo, and senior VP Robert Jones, who recently received the Michael P. Malone International Leadership Award.

The board approved the appointment of Lendley (Lynn) Black as the next chancellor of the University of Minnesota Duluth. Black will succeed Chancellor Kathryn Martin, who retires July 31. Black comes to the U from Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia, where he served as vice president for academic affairs from 2002 until he was promoted in 2006 to his current position as provost and vice president for academic affairs. For more information, see UMD chancellor selected.

Resolution Affirming Financial Stringency and Steps to Address Financial Stringency approved

During its Friday meeting, the board approved the budget resolution related to employee compensation. This step finalizes the plan, approved by the faculty senate in March, for reductions in faculty pay and further authorizes the president to implement the same level of pay reduction for non-tenured faculty and academic staff The resolution was passed by a 10-1 vote.

Under the plan, civil service and bargaining unit employees will take three days of unpaid furlough—equivalent to the same 1.15 percent temporary salary reduction that P&A employees will take (via a wage reduction, not reduced hours). Senior administrators' pay will be cut 2.3 percent, although Bruininks said that some colleges are reporting that their own leaders are stepping forward to take additional cuts.

In addition to passing the resolution, the Board learned of the plans to increase base salaries over this next year. Civil service and bargaining unit employees will receive a 2 percent salary increase six months prior to the furlough period, allowing for some financial planning. A 6-month delay in a planned 2 percent compensation pool increase for P&A employees will save the U an additional $9.7 million. A weeklong shutdown of the U in late December will save energy and operating costs, bringing the total savings under the plan to more than $28 million. Bruininks said that employees have also been asked to take additional voluntary days, and that that money, as other savings, would stay within the college or administrative support unit.

Bruininks told the board that implementation of a strictly voluntary plan would have fallen between $10 million and $20 million short of balancing the budget.

Bruininks emphasized that a comprehensive plan will contribute not only toward balancing the budget this year, but also into the future, as the reductions in funding from the state are likely to persist. "In the past, you could say a cut in state funds would be restored with the economy—that is not the case here."

He cited a procurement reform strategy as a major part of the efforts to reduce costs at the University now and in the coming years.

Additional details about the plan and implementation can be found on the Office of Human Resources' frequently asked questions page and at compensation planning.

President's report to the board
In his report to the Board, President Bruininks shared that despite the Minnesota Supreme Court's decision that the governor had misapplied his unallotment authority last July, the final outcome for the University was not expected to change. The University’s state base budget has been cut from $703 million to $591 million—the lowest level in a decade—in just two years, and with Minnesota facing a state budget shortfall of $4 billion to $6 billion in the 2012-13 biennium, the budget pressures facing the University today are likely to persist for the foreseeable future.

The president explained that in addition to short-term actions to balance the budget, the University continues to plan for the longer-term financial future by setting clear academic priorities and investing accordingly; reducing overhead, operating costs, and cost increases; working to stabilize and protect state funding; and creatively growing non-state revenue.

Presidential search
During a Thursday work session, the board discussed the formal search process for selecting a successor to President Bruininks, who will step down at the end of his term in June 2011. The next president will be only the 16th in the U's 150-year history.

The board will use a national search consultant as adviser on potential candidates.

A presidential search advisory committee, appointed by the board and chaired by a regent, will consist of internal and external stakeholders. Regent Clyde Allen said it will "reflect the diverse demographics of the University and the state of Minnesota."

Steps outlined in the search process:

  • Board approves search plan
  • Board selects desired leadership characteristics for a new president and appoints a search advisory committee
  • Search advisory committee recruits pool of candidates, reviews their qualifications and selects candidates for initial interviews
  • Search advisory committee conducts interviews and forwards semi-finalists to board
  • Board reviews semi-finalists and publicly names finalists
  • Finalists visit campus for public interviews by the board and meetings with campus community
  • Board selects president

An informational website about the search process can be found at Presidential search.

Other board news
The board reviewed the recommended six-year capital improvement plan, which includes individual projects costing more than $500,000. Projects must have completed predesign, be fully funded, and have been approved to move into design or construction. Projects included in the plan:

•    Duluth: Chester Park remodel
•    Morris: construction and installation of a second wind turbine
•    UMTC: completion of renovation of Folwell Hall (interior); Cancer/Cardiovascular Facility; Recreation Center addition