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Board of Regents meeting summary, June 2011

At its June 10 meeting, the Regents heard an overview of the president’s recommended FY2012 provisional budget

By Adam Overland

Regents Seal

June 13, 2011

At the June 10 Board of Regents meeting, the Board heard a formal presentation of the president’s recommended FY2012 provisional budget. The Board also recognized a number of individuals, including President Robert Bruininks and his wife, Susan Hagstrum, for their service to the University, as well as the recipients of the 2011 President's Award for Outstanding Service. The board elected Linda Cohen as its new chair and David Larson as its new vice chair.

Recommended FY2012 provisional budget
On June 10, the board was presented with an overview of the FY2012 provisional budget. Balancing the budget will be done with approximately two-thirds of the reductions coming from reallocations and productivity gains, and the remaining one-third in tuition revenue, said the president.

Due to deep reductions proposed by both chambers of the legislature and the conference committee, the budget takes into consideration the projected worst-case scenario, as the governor and legislature have so far not yet agreed on a balanced state budget.

Bruininks said that the U must plan for a worst-case scenario, but emphasized that "the budget cut is too deep. The proposed budget rolls us back about 15 years, when our freshmen were entering kindergarten."

The budget plan includes more than $40 million in unit reductions, including elimination of staff positions (largely through voluntary strategies), reduced expenses, reduced reserves, restructured operations, and elimination of programs.

One such example of a voluntary strategy that President Bruininks called attention to in a June 6 letter to faculty and staff is the most recent retirement incentive option (RIO), which prompted nearly 350 eligible faculty and staff to participate, with projected long-term savings (salary, wages, and fringe benefits) of more than $30 million.

In addition, more than $23 million will be found in productivity gains, including current year tuition revenue from growth in student credit hours and enrollment. The U will also freeze wages and salaries for the year (subject to collective bargaining), which would result in a $21.4 million savings.

Planned changes to fringe benefits (also subject to collective bargaining) include increased medical premiums and co-pays for employees; restructured administration of healthcare benefits to reduce costs; and higher retirement contributions from new faculty and academic staff. More specific changes to health and retirement benefits can be found in the May Regents meeting summary.

The president’s proposed budget also includes a framework to allocate any additional resources appropriated beyond the current legislative proposal: one-third would go to reduce tuition, one-third to reduce budget cuts to academic units and one-third to minimize impacts expected in the second year of the biennium.

The Regents will take action on the plan at a June 20 meeting in order to have a budget in place at the start of the new fiscal year July 1.

New chair of the Board of Regents
The Board of Regents elected Linda Cohen as its new chair and David Larson as its new vice chair. Cohen will replace current chair Clyde Allen, who completes his two-year term at the end of June. Larson replaces Cohen, who is the current vice chair. Both Cohen and Larson assume their new roles at the board’s July meeting.

Building demolitions
The board approved plans to demolish 10 buildings totaling 220,000 square feet, saving $974,000 per year in operating costs. Buildings include 1701 University Avenue S.E., four former residential properties, Klaeber Court, Norris Gymnasium and Field House, Wesbrook Hall, and the Veterinary Anatomy Building.

Awards and recognition
The board recognized President Bruininks and his wife, Susan Hagstrum, for their service to the University. The Regents appointed Robert Bruininks as 15th president of the U in 2002. They expressed deep appreciation to President Bruininks and conferred upon him the title of President Emeritus, effective July 1, 2011.

The Regents also recognized Susan Hagstrum for her exemplary service to the University and the citizens of Minnesota.

2011 President's Award for Outstanding Service
The Board recognized recipients of the 2011 President's Award for Outstanding Service. The award is presented each year in the spring and recognizes exceptional service to the University by any active or retired faculty or staff member.

J. Brian Atwood, former dean and professor (on leave), Humphrey School of Public Affairs
Jean Bauer, professor, Department of Family Social Science, College of Education and Human Development
Stephen Benson, executive director, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, College of Continuing Education
Victor Bloomfield, professor, Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics, Medical School and the College of Biological Sciences
William Durfee, professor and director of design education, Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Science and Engineering
Elizabeth “Beth” Isensee, undergraduate student services coordinator, International Student and Scholar Services Office
Mary Koskan, director, One Stop Student Services, Academic Support Resources
Susan Balow Miller, program associate, Department of Legal Writing and Oral Advocacy, Law School
Jerry Rude, landscape maintenance supervisor (retired), Facilities Management Department, Crookston
Thomas Scott, professor emeritus, Political Science, College of Liberal Arts and director emeritus, Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA), System Academic Administration
Yared Tadesse, senior building and grounds worker, Facilities Management, East Bank District
Martha Thurlow, director, National Center on Educational Outcomes, Institute on Community Integration, College of Education and Human Development

Other board news
President Bruininks used some of his time to thank more than 550 U volunteers—students, faculty, and staff—for their time assisting with tornado relief at the University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach/Engagement Center (UROC) in north Minneapolis. A recent U news story, "Reaching out to Northside neighbors," details that effort.

The board also heard an annual update on the 2010–11 accomplishments of the University of Minnesota Alumni Association from CEO Phil Esten.

Professor Kathryn VandenBosch was recognized by the board for her leadership of the Faculty Consultative Committee for the 2010–11 academic year.