Chapter 2



The University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) serves northern Minnesota, the state, and the nation as a medium-sized, broad-based university dedicated to excellence in all its programs and operations. As a university community in which knowledge is sought as well as taught, UMD's faculty and staff recognize the importance of scholarship and service, the intrinsic value of research, and the significance of the institution's primary commitment to quality instruction for its students. (UMD Mission Statement)


Central to the mission of UMD is high quality undergraduate teaching nurtured by research and artistic efforts. This undergraduate focus is not at the exclusion of graduate programs, but with the expectation that UMD's selected graduate and professional programs will support the overall mission and the undergraduate learning experience provided. Further, UMD acknowledges its obligations to the history of the land grant university and its more recent Sea Grant designation. The UMD community values and provides an inclusive, diverse community, with special emphasis on American Indian education.


The programmatic focus of the UMD undergraduate programs is on the core liberal arts and sciences, while maintaining a strong commitment to professional programs in the sciences and engineering, the arts, business, education, and medicine. Maintenance of a high quality residential learning program is a major factor contributing to the strength of the undergraduate learning environment on the campus.



The following two quotations from a publication providing a popular account of and celebrating the first one hundred years of the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) seem to be fitting to include at the start of any history of the campus and institution:


The University of Minnesota Duluth did not just happen; it is the product of dreams, hopes, and determination (Storch, 13).


UMD's history expresses the tenacious Bulldog spirit of the campus. We are deeply grateful to all who forged that spirit (Storch,10).


Storch, Neil and Ken Moran. UMD Comes of Age, The First One Hundred Years. The University of Minnesota Duluth, 1996.


The University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) campus traces its origins to April 2, 1895, when the Minnesota State Legislature authorized a normal school in Duluth to train elementary school teachers. The opening of Duluth Normal School was initially delayed by a lack of money and a severe fire that destroyed the school's first building while it was nearing completion. When the first students finally registered in September 1902, they found a one-building campus with a spectacular view of Lake Superior. Seven women received the first diplomas granted by the Duluth Normal School in June 1903. From this inauspicious and humble start, the UMD campus arose; and today the institution is considered to be a major player and partner in many and varied economic and social activities of the city of Duluth as well as in northeastern Minnesota.


In 1921, the Minnesota Legislature, following national trends, reorganized and re-designated its normal schools so they became teachers colleges and were authorized to establish four-year programs leading to a college degree in addition to the traditional two-year programs leading to a teaching diploma. The original Duluth Normal School became Duluth State Teachers College (DSTC) and in 1923 started a four-year degree program leading to the Bachelor of Education degree. When the first bachelor's degrees in teacher education were awarded in 1927, the campus site consisted of four buildings, including two dormitories and an elementary school for practice teaching, located on nine acres. The first programs leading to liberal arts degrees were developed and offered in the 1930s.


During the late 1930s, business and civic leaders as well as many public-spirited citizens from Duluth and the area who were involved with the development of DSTC carried on a campaign for having the institution affiliated with the University of Minnesota.. The effort was put in abeyance during 1941-1945 because of World War II, but community leaders vigorously renewed the campaign for a University branch at the end of the war. Their rationale for additional opportunities for higher education was strengthened by the rapid expansion of student enrollment at the Twin Cities campus of the University, which could not meet the new demand for admissions by returning veterans using the G.I. Bill.


Feeling pressure to expand opportunities for enrollment, the Board of Regents of the University approved a resolution supporting a campus in Duluth at its December 1946 meeting. Following the Regents action, the effort for approval of the campus shifted to the State Legislature. A bill authorizing a campus of the University in Duluth was passed in the closing minutes of the 1947 legislative session. With the signing of the bill by the Governor on July 1, 1947, the University of Minnesota Duluth Branch (UMD) was officially established. In 1959, the Regents voted to drop Branch from the name, and this campus became the University of Minnesota Duluth.


When it was established in 1947, UMD was authorized to grant the associate in arts, bachelor of arts, and bachelor of science degrees. The first UMD Catalog published in 1948 identified requirements for a total of 19 different degree programs as well as 8 two-year pre-professional programs. At the time, the campus had approximately 1430 undergraduate students; 65 full-time equivalent faculty members; 75 administrative officers, civil service, and other staff members; and a library with approximately 33,000 volumes and 300 periodical and newspaper subscriptions. The UMD budget for its first year of operation totaled about $500,000. When the campus was transferred to the University Board of Regents in 1947, DSTC consisted of four buildings located on an 11-acre tract, plus two nearby residences also serving as classroom buildings. The physical facilities inherited from DSTC were hardly adequate for the activities of the campus in 1947 and became seriously inadequate as the post-World War II enrollment bulge continued.


The decisions to approve a Duluth campus of the University were certainly influenced by the fact that the city planning commission had reserved a vacant 160-acre piece of property as a possible site for the proposed campus in early 1947. The Regent from Duluth on the governance board at the time and other prominent citizens from the city had arranged for the purchase of the tract of land a short distance up the hill from the DSTC campus as a site for the new UMD campus. Given that there was a continuing increase in student enrollment and the original campus had no room for expansion at the original 11-acre location, plans for building on the new site, the current campus location, started immediately in 1948. The Science Building, the first structure on the new campus, was built in 1949; and the second building, the Health and Physical Education Building, was opened in 1953. Activities, faculty, staff, and students gradually migrated to the new upper campus as additional buildings were constructed there in the 1950s and 1960s.


Table 2.1 provides a summary of data for key operational indicators of the development and growth of UMD for the 60 years since its establishment. The 10-year reporting periods were selected as markers for the development because they generally correspond to the start of UMD, the periodic NCA/HLC visits, and the ending of the most recent fall semester. Given the relatively long period of time covered, exact comparable data could not be identified for some of the early years. However, every effort has been made to adjust and report data so it is as comparable as possible over the period of years.


Table 2.1

Historical Data for Key Operational Indicators

UMD 1947-2007

















Admin &



Library Holdings





& Other



Rev&Exp (millions)5

Sponsored Funding Expenses (millions)5






















28 + 1








4 + 52






4,800 / 100



49 + 13














6,350 / 400



49 + 14














6,900 / 450



68 + 16














7,100 / 500



73 + 17

















75 + 23














NOTES: School of Medicine and College of Pharmacy data not included. Sources of data include previous self-study reports, campus catalogs, the University and UMD institutional data reports, and UMD Comes of Age (history of the first 150 years of UMD).


1Data not identified for 1947 and 1957

2Four buildings at “lower” campus and five buildings at “upper” (current) campus

3Change to electronic access to periodicals and other sources rendered; on-site count less important

4Includes electronic and print serial subscriptions

5Budget data are not comparable over periods of years because of changes in accounting practices


UMD was accredited by the North Central Association (NCA) as part of the University of Minnesota system accreditation until 1967. As shown in the table, in the two decades from its start until its initial standalone NCA accreditation in 1968, UMD experienced growth in all areas. By 1968, the 11-acre original campus site down the hill had been largely converted to peripheral uses, and institutional activities were being conducted at the current campus site up the hill. The campus site had been expanded to 196 acres, and an all-weather design plan for the physical development of the campus was established by 1968. The all-weather design, which with only a few exceptions is still in place today, was chosen because it incorporates connecting all major buildings on the campus by underground or covered links so students do not have to experience the bite of northern Minnesota's harsh winters.


As shown in Table 2.1, there was continuing growth and development for all of the key indicators during the two decades from the initial NCA visit at UMD until the 1987 HLC visit. As this occurred, the institution made the following changes in organization and administration to provide for more efficient and effective management:

  • 1970, the campus administrative structure was reorganized. Separate units for academic administration, business affairs, and student affairs, each led by a vice provost reporting to the UMD provost, were established. Over time, the titles of the latter two units evolved to be finance and operations and academic support and student life.
  • 1972, the two-year School of Medicine program started.
  • 1974, the campus academic units were reorganized. Six autonomous collegiate units, each headed by a dean reporting to the vice provost for academic administration, were established: College of Education, Duluth; College of Letters and Science; School of Business and Economics; School of Fine Arts; School of Medicine, Duluth; and School of Social Development.
  • 1980, faculty voted to approve collective bargaining.
  • 1983, the Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) was established.
  • 1984, the College of Letters and Sciences restructured into the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Science and Engineering.
  • 1984, the School of Social Development, one of the original six collegiate units established in 1974, was restructured and incorporated as the Department of Social Work within the College of Education and Human Service Professions.
  • 1985, the titles of provost and vice provost changed to chancellor and vice chancellor.



The data for key indicators in Table 2.1 also shows that there has been continued growth at UMD for the past two decades. The increases were somewhat slower for the 1987-1997 period; but as shown, the data for all areas except for the number of undergraduate degree programs offered have increased rapidly during the decade since the NCA comprehensive evaluation visit in 1997. For example, undergraduate enrollment increased by almost 3,000 and graduate enrollment by 300 students; and to serve the increased enrollment, the number of faculty increased by about 33% and staff by about 20%. Holdings in the new library have increased by about one third; and because of the continuing change to electronic access, library users are now able to search and use more than 10 times as many periodical and serial subscriptions than was true in 1997. The addition of 15 new buildings in the past decade has truly changed the physical look of the campus as well as improved the teaching and learning environment. Finally, as indicated in footnote 5 of the table, financial data in the last two columns is not directly comparable between periods because of changes in accounting procedures by the University over the years. However, the increase of more than 80% in the total budgeted revenue and expenditures for the campus in the past 10 years is certainly indicative of the relatively rapid growth in all areas.


As was true for each of the decades between self-study and accreditation evaluation team visits, the milieu at UMD has changed in many ways since 1997. An overview of the current profile and environment at UMD is presented in the next section.


UMD Today

The Institutional Snapshot provides more complete current data and information for UMD than was included in "UMD at a Glance" at the end of Chapter 1. In addition to discussion of the contents of the Institutional Snapshot, this section identifies and describes the current organization, governance structure, committees and bargaining units, accreditation and memberships for UMD. Under the most recently revised Carnegie Classification of universities, UMD is considered a Masters M institution. This reflects the fact that in addition to the numerous baccalaureate programs offered, the campus awards at least 50 masters degrees per year.


Organization. The University of Minnesota (University) was established in 1851 by an act of the Minnesota territorial legislature. It is governed by an autonomous Board of Regents that enacts laws governing the institution, controls expenditures, and acts on staff changes. The board is composed of 12 members appointed by the state legislature. The president of the University is the ex-officio head of the board and is directly responsible to the regents as the University's chief executive officer. The offices of the president and other system-wide administrators are located on the Minneapolis campus of the University. The Minneapolis campus and the one located in St. Paul are referred to as a single unit, the Twin Cities campus.

In addition, as indicated in the overall organizational structure of the University shown in Figure 2.1, (University of Minnesota Organizational Chart), the University system consists of four other campuses located in Crookston (northwest), Duluth (northeast), Morris (west central), and Rochester (southeast), Minnesota. As shown, the chief executive officer of UMD, Chancellor Kathryn A. Martin, like the leaders of the other campuses, reports directly to the University president, Robert H. Bruininks, as well as to the senior vice president for system administration of the University, Robert J. Jones.

Figure 2.1

University of Minnesota Organizational Chart

University of Minnesota Organizational Chart

The overall organizational structure of UMD is shown in Figure 2.2. (UMD Organizational Chart) As indicated there, the institution is organized into four broad functional areas identified as academic administration, academic support & student life, finance and operations, and university relations. Each of the units reporting to the respective campus vice chancellors are identified in the chart. As indicated at the bottom center of the chart, there are five programs with offices and staff located on the UMD campus that are considered to be part of University system-wide programs. The leaders of these units report directly to individuals in units located on the Twin Cities campus; and except for the UMD Graduate School associate dean, they have only limited reporting responsibility to UMD administration.

Figure 2.2

UMD Organizational Chart

University of Minnesota Duluth Organizational Chart


University Governance. As stated in the previous section, the University of Minnesota was established by an Act of the Minnesota Territorial Legislature in 1851. The resulting charter delegated to the Board of Regents the right to govern the University, and when the Minnesota Territory became a state in 1858, the Minnesota State Constitution perpetuated onto the University all the rights, immunities, franchises, and endowments granted by the charter. Based on these events, the University declared its autonomy in the management of its internal affairs; and in a legal action known as the Chase Case, the Minnesota Supreme Court in 1928 held that in managing the University, the Board of Regents is constitutionally independent of all other executive authority. Realistically, of course, as is true for other state agencies, the University is very much affected by the educational and political climate in the state because of the large proportion of its funding coming from the legislature.


  The Board of Regents, as the governing body of the University, has as its chief responsibilities the selection of the president; the enactment of rules, regulations, and policies governing the University; control of University expenditures; and technical approval of all staff changes. The 12 Regents are chosen by the state legislature; and by custom, one Regent is selected from each of Minnesota's eight congressional districts, and four are selected from the state at large. Additionally, at least one regent must be a University student or have graduated from the University within five years prior to selection. Currently, the Regent representing the Eighth Congressional District in which Duluth and northeast Minnesota are located is Dr. Anthony Baraga. Maureen Cisneros (At-Large Representative), who completed the Masters Program in Advocacy and Political Leadership at UMD in May 2007, was appointed as the "student regent" by the 2007 legislature.


In addition to the student Regent, seven current students are selected for one-year terms as representatives to the Board by the official student legislative bodies on the University campuses. These representatives to the Board present the student voice to the Board, providing a unique perspective that assists the Board in its deliberations. Student representatives participate on Board committees and attend Board meetings and other functions. Four representatives are selected by students at the Twin Cities campus, and one is selected by students at each of the coordinate campuses. The current student representative from UMD is Meghan Keil, a senior, majoring in political science. Keil is also the chair of the group of student representatives to the Board of Regents this year.


The University Senate is an elected body of faculty, academic professionals, civil service staff, and students that discusses and approves matters that affect the entire University. The University Senate delegates authority and responsibility for matters that concern only one campus to local campus assemblies. Each campus determines its own assembly and adopts its own constitution and bylaws, which must be consistent with the constitution and bylaws of the University Senate and Board of Regents policy.


Faculty from the School of Medicine and College of Pharmacy, UMD students, and some UMD staff currently serve on University Senate committees and participate in Senate activities. With the implementation of faculty collective bargaining at UMD in 1981, participation in Senate activities by UMD faculty members of the collective bargaining unit was discontinued. University Senate policies that existed prior to collective bargaining are considered binding on the UMD campus; but changes in these policies and adoption of new ones are not applicable to unionized UMD faculty because they are considered Senate policies, and UMD faculty are not part of the University Senate. These policies may be negotiated into the bargaining agreement or may become applicable through a meet and confer process conducted by faculty union leaders and campus administration. More commonly, policies that relate to nonnegotiable issues are considered by and become applicable through actions of the UMD Campus Assembly.


UMD Governance. As stated previously and shown in Figure 2.2, the chief executive officer of UMD is the chancellor; and there are four administrative units generally consisting of functional areas, each headed by a vice chancellor reporting directly to the chancellor. Except for the five academic college and school units headed by deans, the other units reporting to the vice chancellors are headed by directors. As the organizational structure indicates, the internal affairs of one of the four functional areas or one of the units within the vice chancellor areas that do not materially affect the interests or activities of other units are considered to be within the administrative purview of that area or unit and its head.

In October 1980, UMD's faculty voted for the University Education Association (UEA) to be its representative for collective bargaining with University administration. In 1981, the Minnesota legislature amended the Public Employees Labor Relations Act (PELRA), supporting the UMD faculty's request to be considered its own bargaining unit separate from the Twin Cities campus. When the UMD faculty voted for collective bargaining in 1980, the Board of Regents suspended all UMD campus governance structures involving faculty as well as faculty participation in all-University governance. The first bargaining agreement reached between UEA and the Regents in 1982 and subsequent agreements have included a section related to governance. Section 300.000 Governance in the most recently approved bargaining agreement covering 2006-2009 states:


The Employer and the Association agree that discussions regarding curriculum, educational policy and related matters shall occur in accordance with the constitutions, if any, for faculty at UMD, as they may be approved and amended by the Regents from time to time, and in accordance with the meet and confer provisions of Minnesota law. However, the Employer and the Association agree that certain subjects concerning Members' employment are not negotiable including, but not limited to, curriculum, educational policy and governance. All negotiable terms and conditions of employment shall be negotiated by the Employer and the Association or shall be arrived at in accordance with the provisions of this Agreement and the provisions of PELRA. (Agreement between the Regents of the University of Minnesota and the University Education Association, July 1, 2006-June 30, 2009).


Based on years of experience working together, faculty and administration have generally agreed the governance provision means that the University must negotiate terms and conditions of employment (e.g., workload, salary, benefits). All other matters are determined through the governance and administrative processes of the University, campus, colleges, and departments.


Following approval of the first bargaining agreement in 1982, a new UMD campus constitution was developed and initially approved by the Regents in 1983 to address the governance process and relationship between faculty and administration in the newly created collective bargaining environment. A number of revisions have been made to the constitution in subsequent years. The current Constitution and Bylaws of the University of Minnesota Duluth and the Duluth Campus Assembly was approved April 1, 2002. As described in the articles and sections of this document, the Campus Assembly (CA) is the representative body that provides the constitutional governance structure for the UMD campus. The CA is composed of the president, chancellor, the chancellor's senior officers, the deans, the president of the University Education Association, the president of the UMD Student Association, and all members of the assembly's standing committees. Faculty, students, professional staff, and civil service staff are eligible to serve on CA committees.


Each of the academic collegiate units also has a constitution. The governance structures vary slightly among the units, but each has an assembly or senate with representation from faculty, students, and staff. The Campus Assembly deals with issues having campus-wide impact, while collegiate assemblies deal with issues specifically related to the respective academic unit.


As noted above, UMD students participate in collegiate, campus, and University governance groups. In addition, the students have their own governance structure through the UMD Student Association (UMDSA). UMDSA has an elected president (Thomas Deminico, a sophomore, majoring in business) and vice presidents for academic affairs (Ashley Brown, a junior, majoring in business and psychology), finance and administration (Ben Kirk, a senior, majoring in finance and administration), and student affairs (Laura Lindberg, a senior, majoring in marketing). The UMDSA Congress is composed of senators who represent collegiate units, at-large representatives, and freshmen representatives. The UMDSA president is a member of the UMD Campus Assembly Executive Committee; and UMDSA appoints students to serve on UMD Campus Assembly standing committees, which makes them members of the assembly. As stated previously, there is also one UMD student representative on the Board of Regents who reports students concerns, opinions, and positions on issues to the board and reports information back to UMD students. All senators in the UMD Student Congress are also members of the University Student Senate, and one UMD student representative serves on the University Senate Consultative Committee.


Committees and Bargaining Units. The UMD Campus Assembly is the governance body for the campus The CA consists of the following six standing committees: Executive Committee, Campus Budget Committee, Campus Physical Facilities Committee, Campus Planning Committee, Committee on Educational Policy, and Student Affairs Committee. The Executive Committee oversees all of the activities of the CA, takes the initiative in assigning policy formulation and review tasks to other assembly standing committees, and may establish special committees when appropriate. The titles of the other committees generally reflect their areas of responsibility. In addition to the standing committees, the CA has established a Commission on Women, a Commission on Human Diversity, and a Commission on Disabilities.

The faculty collective bargaining unit, University Education Association Unit 9 (UEA), with its 482 members comprises the largest bargaining unit at UMD. Other employees of UMD, except for excluded professional and administrative employees, belong to one of the bargaining units identified in Table 2.2.


Table 2.2

Collective Bargaining Units and Membership

Fall 2007

Bargaining Unit


Bargaining Unit


AFSCME Unit 6 Clerical


AFSCME Unit 4 Health Care


Teamsters Local 320


Plumbers/Steamfitters Local 11


AFSCME Unit 7 - Technical


Police LELS


Electrical Workers Local 242


Radio/TV IBEW Local 292


University Education Association Unit 9 (UEA) = 482



Each bargaining unit has a contract that states terms and conditions of employment. Members of the university administration and representatives of the bargaining units regularly meet and confer on matters of mutual concern or issues that the contracts do not definitively address.


Accreditation and Memberships. Because it is widely recognized as the best evidence of quality assurance and continuous effort to achieve institutional and program improvement, UMD values its institutional accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission and its membership and affiliation with the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Similarly, because they reflect a high level of quality by a variety of individual programs, departments, or units at UMD, the campus community values each of the accreditations identified in Figure 2.4. Each of these is an indication of the current high level of operations and educational outcomes involved as well as the work done to assure continuous quality improvement. In addition to these accreditations, UMD is an active institutional member of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), and the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges.


Figure 2.3



Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC)

Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)

Council of Academic Accreditation (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)

   Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB)

Board of Teaching, Minnesota

Commission on Accreditation for Athletic Training (CAATE)

Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA)

Council for Exceptional Children

Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)

Engineering Accreditation Commission and Computer Science Accreditation

International Association of Counseling Services (IACS)

National Association of Schools of Music

National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)

National Council for Teaching Mathematics

National Science Teachers Association

SOPHE/AAHE Baccalaureate Program Approval Committee (SABPAC)

   (SOPHE/AAHE=Society for Public Health Education/American Association for Health Education)


* Note: Does not include College of Pharmacy or Medical School accreditations.


Programs. As reported in "UMD at a Glance" at the end of Chapter 1, in the fall of 2007, UMD offered 75 different programs leading to the granting of 13 different baccalaureate degrees and 22 different graduate programs leading to the granting of 11 different graduate degrees from the University of Minnesota Graduate School as well as 4 collegiate masters degree programs. Administration and the granting of degrees for the collegiate masters programs is vested in a UMD collegiate unit. The first doctoral program offered at UMD was started when students enrolled in the Ed.D. program in fall 2007. At its December 2007 meeting, the University Board of Regents approved the offering of a Ph.D. program in Integrated Biosciences (IBS) to be centered on the UMD campus. The unique, cutting edge IBS will begin in fall 2008 and will be one of only four such programs in the nation. Some students and faculty are also involved in programs offered in cooperation with the Twin Cities campus granting M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in the areas of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics; Cellular and Integrative Physiology; Pharmacology; and Geological Sciences. UMD students are also enrolled in all-University graduate programs granting M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Toxicology and Water Resource Sciences.


Students. As reported previously in "UMD at a Glance" at the end of Chapter 1, a total of 11,184 students were enrolled at UMD in fall 2007. Of the 11,184 students, 10,122 were undergraduate, 739 were graduate students, and 323 students were enrolled in the School of Medicine and College of Pharmacy programs. Of the total enrollment about 900 were non-degree continuing education students.


Faculty and Staff. As reported in "UMD at a Glance," the total faculty headcount at UMD for fall 2007 was 525, 439 full-time faculty and 86 part time faculty. Additionally, there were about 975 non-faculty academic and support personnel working in the various administrative units on campus in fall 2007. Other basic descriptive data related to the faculty and staff composition such as gender, ethnicity, ranks, and administrative unit will be presented in the Personnel section of the Campus Data Book, Fall 2007, which will be available in March 2008.


Institutional Accreditation History

The Duluth State Teachers College (DSTC) was accredited by the North Central Association (NCA) from 1918-1921 and again from 1941-1947. When DSTC became part of the University of Minnesota as the University of Minnesota Duluth Branch (UMD), in 1947, it shared in the total institutional accreditation by NCA until 1967.


As noted previously, the first stand alone NCA accreditation for UMD was granted in 1968, and the accreditation has been renewed each subsequent 10 years. Pertinent sections of the current HLC Statement of Affiliation Status (SAS) identifying the conditions of affiliation are presented below. As indicated there, in addition to being accredited to offer degrees at the baccalaureate and master’s levels, UMD is accredited to offer the Ed.D in Teaching and Learning, a Six-Year Certificate program, and international offerings in Birmingham, England. Further, the institution can offer undergraduate and graduate programs throughout Minnesota and graduate degree programs in Education via distance education.




Conditions of Affiliation:


Stipulations on Affiliation Status: Accreditation at the Doctoral level, limited to the Doctorate of Education (Ed.D) in Teaching and Learning; Post-Master’s offerings limited to the Six Year Certificate; and International offerings limited to courses in Birmingham, England.


Approval of New Degree Sites: No prior approval required for offering undergraduate and graduate programs throughout Minnesota.


Approval of Distance Education Degrees: Prior approval required for offering programs other than graduate degree programs in Education.


Date of Last Action: 07/11/2007


Following is a summary of information for NCA and Higher Learning Commission (HLC) activities from 1967-2007. As indicated, the most recent comprehensive evaluation visit occurred September 22-24, 1997; and two focus visits have occurred since then.

  • Visiting Committee visit April 21-23, 1968; accreditation granted for 10 years
  • Evaluation Team visit October 9-12, 1977; accreditation continued for 10 years without conditions
  • Evaluation Team visit October 26-28, 1987; accreditation continued for10 years with confidence
  • Evaluation Team visit September 22-24, 1997; accreditation continued for 10 years. (Team recommended that a progress report be submitted to NCA in September 2000, documenting the implementation of the institutional assessment plan in all disciplines and indicating the curricular modifications that have been made. UMD requested and was granted an extension in order to submit a more complete report in September 2001.)
  • “Progress Report on Assessment of Student Learning” submitted September 2001; report accepted, reviewed, and no further reports or action required, October 2001.
  • Application to offer undergraduate and graduate programs throughout Minnesota submitted August 2002; evaluation team visit September 16-18, 2003; accreditation extended to include undergraduate and graduate programs throughout Minnesota, January 2003.
  • Application to offer specific graduate programs online submitted September 2006 (Master of Education, M.Ed; Master of Special Education, M.Sp.Ed; Doctor of Education, Ed.D); requested Focus Visit November 13-14, 2006; accreditation extended to include distance delivery of graduate degree programs in Education, July 2007.
  • Application to offer a doctoral level program (Doctor of Education, Ed.D) submitted September 2006; requested Focus Visit November 13-14, 2006; accreditation extended to include the Ed.D program, March 2007.




As indicated in the listing of HLC activities above, the most recent requested focus visit to UMD occurred in November 2006, just a year prior to preparation of this report.  Since part of that visit related to UMD’s request for approval to include distance delivery as part of graduate degree programs in education, a self-study and report of the online component of those programs was completed.  The report, “Institutional Self-Study on Online Distance Delivery of Graduate Programs Delivered by Faculty in the Department of Education,” was submitted to HLC in September 2006.  Given the recency of the submission of the 2006 report, the review by the HLC visit team as part of the November 2006 visit, the subsequent approval of the request to include online delivery for the programs identified, and the relatively small number of online courses offered and students enrolled during fall 2007, HLC staff advised UMD that the review of online delivery of courses would not be part of the upcoming visit to campus in March.  Essentially, the 2006 self-study, report, and visit serve as the review of this component of UMD’s education programs.  Therefore, no additional review of online activities was completed as part of the 2007 self-study, and there is only passing reference to such activities in this report.


1997 Comprehensive Evaluation Visit Report.   As indicated above, the most recent NCA comprehensive evaluation visit to UMD occurred September 22-24, 1997.  Following is the listing of strengths, concerns, and recommendations the visit team included in the REPORT OF A VISIT TO UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA DULUTH, September 22-24, 1997. 


Institutional Strengths   (from page 47 of report)


1.      UMD has a committed and dedicated faculty and staff who are supportive of the University’s mission and goals.

2.      UMD enrolls a well-prepared student body that feels a great loyalty to the institution.

3.      UMD has a well-respected and highly experienced administrative team able to provide direction and leadership to the institution.

4.      The Board of Regents and the System President are supportive of the special needs of UMD.

5.      The University has a physical plant that is well maintained and appropriate for the climate of northern Minnesota.

6.      The financial and business operations of UMD are well organized and highly efficient.

7.      The institutional plan for the phased renovation of classroom and laboratories is quite thorough and should be followed.

8.      UMD has several high quality research and service centers such as NRRI, the Sea Grant Institution and the Center for Economic Development.

9.      UROP is an excellent initiative and a special strength of UMD.

10.  UMD’s many cross-college and interdisciplinary programs are an excellent addition to the curriculum

11.  ORTA is extremely responsive to faculty needs and has been instrumental in helping to increase the volume of grant-funded activities.


Concerns   (from page 48 of report)


1.      Although an assessment plan with multiple outcomes measurements exists, the actual assessment of learning outcomes is not consistent across disciplines or in the general education program.

2.      Despite the recommendation of the last NCA team, UMD still does not have a program review process for undergraduate degree programs.

3.      The Library is a substandard facility that should be replaced.

4.      Although the University has made efforts to promote gender and ethnic diversity among faculty and staff, progress has been slow and renewed efforts are required.

5.      There is confusion as to the role and mission of the University College on the UMD campus and this should be clarified.

6.      The planning process at the University is complex and appears disjoined.  It should be streamlined and clarified.


Recommendations   (from page 49 of report)


1.      The graduate program review process should be modified so that the university administration responds to the findings and recommendations of the program review committee.

2.      The University should take special notice of low-enrollment graduate programs and determine their future priority.

3.      The University should consider having on-site contracting authority to support grant activities as well as a local human subjects review committee.

4.      The University should consider ways to position itself more strongly and visibly as a cultural anchor of the Duluth region building on the enormous potential of the Tweed Museum, Glensheen, and the University’s performing arts programs.


Accreditation Recommendation and Rationale   (from page 50 of report)


The team recommends that the next comprehensive evaluation of UMD occur in 2007-2008.  The team also recommends that a progress report be submitted to NCA in September 2000 documenting the implementation of the institutional assessment plan in all disciplines and indicating the curricular modifications that have been made.


Although the team found that UMD had developed an appropriate assessment plan, it was evident that the university had not made a great deal of progress in implementing the plan.  The team believes that a written progress report will focus the university on the need to implement its assessment plan and document the curricular changes that have been made as a result.


(From REPORT OF A VISIT TO UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA DULUTH, September 22-24, 1997, transmitted via letter dated March 3, 1998, from North Central Association of Colleges and Schools)



Response to 1997 Comprehensive Evaluation Visit Findings.  Leaders and members of the UMD community and its constituents who met with NCA evaluation team members while they were on campus in September 1997 and those who subsequently read and reviewed the visit report appreciate the contribution of time and effort made by evaluation team members that resulted in the findings presented in the 1997 visit report.  The findings presented by the group of external peers constitute an important and valuable part of the 1997 accreditation self-evaluation process and have been used as part of the baseline for continuous quality improvement in the areas of operation to which they relate at UMD.  Effort has been made to continue and build on the strengths the team identified, to address the concerns, and to respond to the recommendations as deemed appropriate.


The following section briefly identifies actions taken to address each of the areas of concern identified in the 1997 evaluation team report.  More specific and detailed information related to the actions is included in other sections of this report; the following is intended to be a brief summary.


1.      Although an assessment plan with multiple outcome measurements exists, the actual assessment of learning outcomes is not consistent across disciplines or in the general education program.


This concern was the basis for the team recommendation that a written progress report documenting implementation of the assessment plan and the curricular changes made as a result be prepared and submitted to HLC in 2000.  UMD requested and was granted an extension on the date for submitting the report because of the major curricular changes that occurred as a result of the University of Minnesota system changing its calendar from quarters to semesters effective fall 1999. Many faculty and staff participated in making revisions to the original assessment plan and its implementation following the conversion from quarters to semesters. A progress report on assessment of student learning was submitted to NCA in September 2001. The report was reviewed and accepted by NCA in October 2001. 


2.      Despite the recommendation of the last NCA team, UMD still does not have a program review process for undergraduate degree programs.


An undergraduate program review policy was formally adopted by UMD in October 2000 and revised in March 2006. The undergraduate program review policy governs the procedures to be used in preparing a self-study document, selection of external reviewers, timelines, final report expectations, and other areas related to the completion of reviews. Reviews for programs with both undergraduate and graduate components are scheduled so both components are reviewed at the same time. Programs are reviewed on a periodic basis, or when requested by the dean or department head. Six programs have been reviewed under the existing policy over the past three years. In addition, ten programs have been reviewed by national accreditation agencies. A tentative schedule for program review has been developed.


3.      The Library is a substandard facility that should be replaced.


A new Library building was built and opened on campus in September 2000. The $25.8 million building combined with the Library Annex provides 167,570 gross square feet of space, including electronic classrooms, computer labs, adaptive technology rooms, group study rooms with network connections, and wireless network throughout. Considerable effort and resources have been dedicated to securing access to electronic journals, databases, and search services.. Library reference personnel are well trained in order to provide students, faculty, and staff assistance in using electronic resources as well as print materials. The new library building is well equipped to provide users wired or wireless access to the Internet and library materials as well as AC power to recharge laptops.


4.   Although the University has made efforts to promote gender and ethnic diversity among faculty and staff, progress has been slow and renewed efforts are required.


Renewed efforts have been made to promote gender and ethnic diversity among faculty and staff by recruiting, hiring, and retaining faculty and staff members from underrepresented groups. From 1997-2007, the percentage of tenured and tenure-track faculty from underrepresented groups increased from 11.1% to 18.8 %, and the percentage of females in the teaching faculty headcount increased from 34.4% to 42%.  The gender composition of the non-faculty administrative and civil service and bargaining unit staff changed from being 50% females in 1997 to being 63.2% females in 2007.  The percentage of staff from underrepresented groups among this latter group of employees changed from 7.2% to 8.4% during the same period. The relatively low number of staff members from underrepresented groups reflects the relatively small population of underrepresented populations in the region. However, Human Resources works diligently with units to increase minority hires.


5.   There is confusion as to the role and mission of the University College on the UMD campus and this should be clarified.


The role and mission of the Continuing Education (CE) unit at UMD has changed considerably since it was cited as a “concern” by the 1997 NCA visit team.  The unit is now administratively housed and reports to the VCAA at UMD, rather than being a part of and reporting to a Twin Cities’ campus unit as was true in 1997.  Further, the number of undergraduate students enrolling in courses delivered through the evening on-campus CE program as part of their day school program has decreased significantly, because a more adequate base of funding to offer the number of courses needed to meet the demand during the day has been secured.  These two changes addressed the two major areas of apprehension about CE that lead to the 1997 visit team expressing their “concern.”  Additionally, with these changes, the role and mission of CE has been clarified.


6.   The planning process at the University is complex and appears disjoined.  It should be streamlined and clarified.


The planning process at the University has changed a number of times since the last site visit. Most recently the UMD campus operates under the University’s compact process (described in Chapter 5), which is completed annually.  This process involves a coordinated effort by UMD administration and University central administration to identify high priority goals and resource allocations to achieve those goals. The high priority goals identified in the compact process are selected from the UMD strategic positioning statement (described in Chapter 5).  Recommendations made by campus deans and directors are used in formulating and updating the strategic positioning statement and then the compact.  Final decisions regarding the annual compact content and items are made by the UMD chancellor in consultation with the vice chancellors.


Continue to Chapter Three: Self-Study Process