Chapter 4

CRITERION ONE: MISSION AND INTEGRITY

 

The organization operates with integrity to ensure the fulfillment of its mission through structures and processes that involve the board, administration, faculty, staff, and students.

 

Both the integrity of operations and mission of UMD are influenced by and products of the fact that the organization is part of the University of Minnesota (University) system. The University Board of Regents and system administration are responsible for developing and implementing policies and procedures that ensure integrity of operations throughout the system, reviewing and updating the University mission statement, and establishing the structure and process for fulfilling the system mission statement. UMD has a separate mission statement that was developed over a period of years based on review and input from members of the campus community and external constituencies. The mission was developed and is carried out to complement and supplement the University mission.

 

Core Component 1a:

The organization's mission documents are clear and articulate publicly the organization's commitments.

 

University of Minnesota

After reviewing it as part of a system planning process in 2004, a task force affirmed the University of Minnesota mission statement that was approved by the Board of Regents in 1994. The Board of Regents accepted this affirmation and did not think it necessary to review the mission further then nor since that time. The current University mission statement is presented below.

 

UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA

BOARD OF REGENTS POLICY

 

MISSION STATEMENT

 

Philosophy. The University of Minnesota (University), founded in the belief that all people are enriched by understanding, is dedicated to the advancement of learning and the search for truth; to the sharing of this knowledge through education for a diverse community; and to the application of this knowledge to benefit the people of the state, the nation, and the world.

 

The University's mission, carried out on multiple campuses and throughout the state, is threefold:

 

  • Research and Discovery. To generate and preserve knowledge, understanding, and creativity by conducting high-quality research, scholarship, and artistic activity that benefit students, scholars, and communities across the state, the nation, and the world.

  • Teaching and Learning. To share that knowledge, understanding, and creativity by providing a broad range of educational programs in a strong and diverse community of learners and teachers, and prepare graduate, professional, and undergraduate students, as well as non-degree-seeking students interested in continuing education and lifelong learning, for active roles in a multiracial and multicultural world.

  • Outreach and Public Service To extend, apply, and exchange knowledge between the University and society by applying scholarly expertise to community problems, by helping organizations and individuals respond to their changing environments, and by making the knowledge and resources created and preserved at the University accessible to the citizens of the state, the nation, and the world.

 

Purpose. In all of its activities, the University strives to sustain an open exchange of ideas in an environment that embodies the values of academic freedom, responsibility, integrity, and cooperation; provides an atmosphere of mutual respect, free from racism, sexism, and other forms of prejudice and intolerance; assists individuals, institutions, and communities in responding to a continuously changing world; is conscious of and responsive to the needs of the many communities it is committed to serving; creates and supports partnerships within the University, with other educational systems and institutions, and with communities to achieve common goals; and inspires, sets high expectations for, and empowers the individuals within its community.

 

Adopted: January 14, 1994

Supersedes: Mission and Policy Statement for the University of

Minnesota dated July 11, 1980.

 

 

 

As stated above, this mission statement has been determined to articulate the University's commitments clearly by representatives of the faculty, staff, and administration as well as the Board of Regents most recently in 2004. The statement is made available publicly to the University’s many constituencies in a variety of ways. For example, it is included in the undergraduate, graduate, and other catalogs of all four system campuses; at the individual web sites of the Crookston, Duluth, and Morris campuses; and as part of the Board of Regents web site. Additionally, when deemed appropriate, the mission statement is periodically distributed to constituent groups in other University publications.

 

University of Minnesota Duluth

Members of the UMD campus community recognize that there are many benefits related to being part of the University system, and they recognize that striving to achieve the UMD mission contributes to achieving parts of the University mission. However, as has been true for their predecessors over the years, current members of the UMD campus community are proud of the uniqueness of their campus and the activities and examples of excellence that are manifest throughout its programs, human and physical resources, and overall operations.  The general guide for the planning and operations at UMD has been and continues to be the mission statement approved by the Board of Regents in 1987 and presented below. The University of Minnesota Duluth is in the process of revising the following mission statement to better reflect our academic programs and degree offerings.

 

 

UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA DULUTH

 

MISSION STATEMENT

 

The University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) serves Northern Minnesota, the state, and the nation as a medium-sized comprehensive university dedicated to excellence in all of its programs and operations. As a university community in which knowledge is sought as well as taught, its faculty recognizes the importance of scholarship and service, the intrinsic value of research, and the significance of a primary commitment to quality teaching.

At UMD, a firm liberal arts foundation anchors a variety of traditional degree programs, outreach offerings and selected professional and graduate studies. Active learning through internships, honors programs, research, and community service promotes the development of skills, critical thinking, and maturity sought by society. Demanding standards of performance for students, faculty, and staff make UMD attractive to students with strong academic potential.

The campus contributes to meeting the area's cultural needs and serves as a focal point for the economic development of the region through community outreach and through an emphasis on the sea-grant and land-grant components of its program.

UMD significantly contributes to enhancing the national stature of the University of Minnesota by emphasizing quality programs central to the University and the distinctive mission of UMD within the University system.

Providing an attractive alternative to both a large research-oriented university and to a small liberal arts college, the University of Minnesota Duluth seeks the student looking for a program that emphasizes a personalized living-learning experience on a medium-sized campus of a major university.


Approved by the Board of Regents, March 13, 1987

 

The UMD mission statement has been discussed and reviewed periodically by campus administrative and governance groups since its formal approval in 1987. However, the statement has not been changed because there has been and continues to be a feeling that it still serves well as the basis for informing and guiding planning and operations. Additionally, UMD faculty and staff are generally familiar with and supportive of the core components in the statement. Rather than changing the core mission statement, UMD campus administration has sometimes added one or more paragraphs at the end to amplify or indicate an updated emphasis in certain areas.  For example, one or more of the following paragraphs have been included in planning documents submitted to University administration in the past few years.

 

  • Technology continues to provide support and definition throughout the curriculum, operations, and outreach. Integration of cutting-edge technology is a focus in all planning efforts.
  •  

  • The educational experience at UMD is characterized and defined by a belief that UMD must maintain quality without compromising access and with a continuing focus on exemplary undergraduate education.  Central to the mission of UMD is high quality teaching nurtured by the research and artistic efforts of our faculty.  The undergraduate focus is not at the exclusion of graduate programs, but with the keen expectation that UMD’s selected graduate and professional programs will generally mesh with and support its mission and focus on the undergraduate learning experience.  (UMD Report and Strategic Positioning Update, Educational Planning and Policy Committee, Board of Regents, June 8, 2006)
  •  

  • UMD acknowledges its role as a medium-sized comprehensive master’s public university, with the Sea Grant designation and obligations to the history of the land grant university.  Being an inclusive, diverse community, with special emphasis on American Indian education, is acknowledged as a responsibility in all areas of UMD.  (Compact for the University of Minnesota Duluth, FY 2007-08)

 

The core components are considered to be UMD’s commitment to excellence and high standards of performance, identified in the first sentence of the mission and the last sentence of the second paragraph, and the primary commitment of the campus community to quality teaching while recognizing the importance of scholarship and service, the tripartite of traditional universities. The mission also affirms UMD’s commitment to building undergraduate education programs on a firm liberal arts foundation, including active learning through internships, undergraduate research opportunities, and community service, while also offering selected graduate and professional programs. The last three paragraphs of the mission state UMD's commitment to contribute to external constituencies through outreach activities, to be a full partner in achieving goals in the University mission within the context of UMD's unique mission, and to provide students a personalized living-learning experience on the Duluth campus.

 

Given the feeling about and understanding of the mission statement described in the preceding section, those participating in its review and discussions about it have determined the current UMD mission statement continues to articulate the organization’s commitments and provides guidance for planning, conducting current operations, and implementing future developments. University system administrators have stated their agreement with the affirmation of the UMD mission statement and support its continued use.

 

For purposes of clarification, it is important to note that the mission statement contained on page 3 of the printed UMD 2007-2009 Catalog contains only the first two paragraphs of the official statement.  The last three paragraphs were inadvertently cut off when the catalogs were printed at the Twin Cities campus. However, the complete mission statement is included on page 3 of the “fully up-to-date” online version of the current Catalog.

 

The UMD mission statement is made available publicly to the organization’s many constituencies in a variety of ways.  For example, it is available from the bottom link in the “UMD Profiles” list in the “About UMD” section, which is the first link listed at the UMD web site. As noted above, it is also available in the online version of the current UMD Catalog as well as in previous catalogs that can be accessed using the UMD Catalogs link. When deemed appropriate, the mission statement is also included in other UMD publications distributed to constituent groups.

  

Summary of Component 1a

The Board of Regents has approved mission statements for the University system and UMD. The UMD statement identifies the organization’s commitment to excellence in its operations and to high performance standards for students, faculty, and staff. It also identifies teaching, research, and service as core components of operations. The statement goes on to describe a foundation of liberal arts as an anchor of its education programs and active learning opportunities as important supplements. The mission also describes UMD’s commitment to outreach to external constituents; its intention to be a full partner in increasing the national stature of the University within the context of the UMD mission; and UMD’s niche within the University system. The mission statement is made available to the public, particularly to prospective and enrolled students, at web sites, in catalogs, and in other publications. 


 

Core Component 1b:

In its mission documents, the organization recognizes the diversity of its learners, other constituencies, and the greater society it serves.

 

As noted in the first section of its mission statement, as part of its "Philosophy" the University is dedicated to the sharing of knowledge through education for a diverse community and to application of knowledge to benefit people of the state, nation, and world. The mission also states the University conducts "Research and Discovery" and provides "Outreach and Public Service" for state, national, and international constituencies; and the "Teaching and Learning" section indicates University programs are provided in a strong and diverse community of learners and teachers to prepare students for active roles in a multiracial and multicultural world. Finally, the "Purpose" section of the mission states that the University

. . . strives to sustain an open exchange of ideas in an environment that embodies the values of academic freedom, responsibility, integrity, and cooperation; provides an atmosphere of mutual respect, free from racism, sexism, and other forms of prejudice and intolerance; . . . is conscious of and responsive to the needs of many communities it is committed to serving; . . . and inspires, sets high expectations for and empowers the individuals within its community.

 

As explained below and throughout the report, the beliefs and commitments expressed in the University mission are supported by the policies and procedures, programs offered, and actions of the members of the UMD campus community. The UMD community strongly endorses and consciously works to recognize the diversity of its learners, other constituencies, and the greater society it serves in the ways described in the University mission statement. Examples of how the UMD community recognizes diversity are found in the mission statements of the five UMD colleges and other UMD units. Some of the most specific references to diversity are found in the following statements:

  • The second paragraph of the mission statement of the Academic Support and Student Life (ASSL), one of the four major administrative units reporting directly to the chancellor, states that ASSL "values and fosters student development, lifelong learning, healthy lifestyles, and respect for human diversity, the environment and the community."
  • The mission of the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) is "to affirmatively promote a diverse, multicultural environment on the University of Minnesota Duluth campus and to enforce equal opportunity, affirmative action, and sexual harassment policies and procedures for the University of Minnesota Duluth."
  • The mission of the Multicultural Center is "to enhance academic achievement, create a sense of belonging, celebrate diversity, and foster positive relations among UMD students, faculty, and staff."
  • The mission of Disability Services & Resources, located in and a part of the Multicultural Center, states:  “The University of Minnesota Duluth values diversity as a means of enriching the educational experience of all students. To support this mission, Disability Services & Resources recognizes disability as an aspect of diversity and appreciates disability as an integral part of society. To that end, we work with students, faculty, staff and the larger community to create usable, equitable, and inclusive learning environments.”
  • The College of Education and Human Service Professionals mission is “to prepare students for careers in education and human service fields. To achieve this, we dedicate ourselves to the goal of excellence in learning, teaching, research, advising, and service. We strive to engage and empower students, seeking to develop their potential, preparing them to interact with diverse communities at home and around the world, and adding depth to their educational experience.”
  • The last sentence of the first paragraph of the College of Liberal Arts section in the UMD 2007-2009 Catalog (page 171) states that “The college is dedicated to accomplishing diversity through greater representation of minorities and women in the faculty, staff, and student population as well as through the integration of materials relating to cultural diversity in the curriculum.”

 

The beliefs expressed in the unit mission statements are supported and carried out by the actions of those working in these and other units at UMD.

 

Summary of Component 1b

The University mission statement addresses diversity as part of the community of values and common purposes considered fundamental to all of the campuses in the system. Evidence of support for the University’s strong commitment to diversity is found in the mission statements of many UMD units.  The documents describe how UMD works to prepare students to function in a multicultural society and affirms the organization’s commitment to honor the dignity and worth of individuals. The mission statements for UMD also describe codes of belief that guide the expected behavior for the campus community and provide a basis for the organization's basic strategies to address diversity.

 

Core Component 1c:

Understanding of and support for the mission pervade the organization.

 

The paragraphs for Core Component 1a, above, referred to the fact that the continued use of the current UMD mission statement was partially based on the fact that faculty and staff are generally familiar with and supportive of the core components of the mission.  The mission statement is readily available to all members of the campus community at the UMD web site, in the UMD 2007-2009 Catalog (page 3), and as part of some other publications. The leap from stating the mission is readily available to saying understanding and support of it pervades the organization is gigantic, of course.  The following paragraphs describe the basis for the determination that the core components of the current mission are generally understood and supported by members of the UMD campus community.  Among the many positive results of completing the self-study and preparation for the upcoming visit of the comprehensive evaluation team has been the increased focus on the UMD mission statement by all members of the campus community.

 

 

Based on information and data gathered as part of the self-study process and other activities over the years, it is clear that most members of the administration and faculty are generally familiar with, understand, and support the core of the organization's current mission statement as expressed in its first three paragraphs. Consensus exists among these groups about the constituencies served by UMD, how a "university community" and its faculty should function, the importance of a "firm liberal arts foundation" for educational programs, the value of "active learning," and the contributions the campus should make to meeting the "cultural needs of the region" and serving as a "central point for the economic development of the region through community outreach." Virtually all administration and faculty members also understand and support the idea that “UMD significantly contributes to enhancing the national stature of the University” as stated in the mission’s fifth paragraph. And, finally, members of these groups recognize and support the role UMD plays in the array of higher education institutions because of the unique “niche” described for it in the last paragraph of the mission.

 

Probably because they are less directly responsible for its implementation, staff members may generally be less familiar with the UMD mission statement. However, there are some staff members who are very familiar with the mission, and it’s likely that most members of this group would voice their support for the mission’s core components if asked about them. Those staff who have been involved in developing mission statements for their administrative units most likely reviewed the UMD mission when doing so. However, it is clear they have much more familiarity with, understanding of, and support for their unit's mission statement. Since the unit mission statements are generally related to and congruent with the UMD mission, one could conclude that staff who are aware of and support the unit missions indirectly support the UMD mission.

 

As is generally true at any campus, given the fact they are members of the campus community for a relatively short time compared to most members of the administration, faculty, and staff groups, UMD students, in general, are probably less familiar with the campus mission statement than any of the other groups. Given their general lack of familiarity with it, the level of student support for the UMD mission is not easy to determine accurately. The group of students who are most likely to be familiar with and understand the campus mission are the members of the UMD Student Association (UMDSA), the representative governance body of the students. As stated in Chapter 2, UMDSA members participate in the UMD governance process as members of the UMD Campus Assembly and its committees where review and discussion of the campus mission may periodically occur. UMDSA has a mission statement of its own; but appropriately, the UMDSA mission statement is very focused on association purposes and activities. As mentioned previously, discussion of the UMD mission statement as part of the self-study process and in this report may positively influence the awareness of the mission among students and others at UMD.

 

More positively, there is extensive evidence to indicate that the UMD mission was reviewed and served as the starting point and basis for the development of current mission statements of units within the organization and as part of many curriculum development activities and deliberations by campus governance groups. The mission statements and the goals of administrative and academic units are congruent with the UMD mission; therefore, it appears that the administrative, faculty, and staff members involved in developing them are familiar with and supportive of the organization's mission. For example, the mission statements of each of the vice chancellor areas, each of the collegiate units, and the support units listed below provide evidence of congruency with the UMD mission:


The references to mission in each of the following documents provide evidence that strategic decisions are mission-driven and that planning and budgeting priorities flow from and support the organization's mission at UMD. As is often the case in systems such as the University, the strategic planning and budget processes at UMD are generally dictated by policies and processes developed and implemented by and for University system administrators and the Board of Regents. Therefore, all of the documents referred to below are reports to the University president, system officers, or the Board of Regents:

 

  • UMD Report and Strategic Positioning Update, presented to the Educational Planning & Policy Committee of the University Board of Regents, June 8, 2006
  • UMD Strategic Positioning Summary, submitted to the President of the University, November 29, 2006
  • Compact for the University of Minnesota Duluth FY07-08
  • Compact for the University of Minnesota Duluth FY06-07
  • Accountable to U; 2007 University Plan, Performance, and Accountability Report, September 2007; Coordinate Campus Reports, University of Minnesota Duluth, page 87

 

Summary of Component 1c

The Board of Regents, University administrators, and UMD administrators understand and support the University and UMD missions. Strategic decisions and planning and budgeting priorities at UMD are driven, flow from, and support the University and UMD missions. Based on informal assessment during the self-study process, it was determined that there are varying levels of familiarity with and understanding of the UMD mission among members of the campus community. There is support for the core components of the UMD mission once individuals and groups are made aware of it. Mission statements have been developed and adopted by most administrative and academic units at UMD. These unit missions are generally congruent with the UMD mission.

 

 

Core Component 1d:

The organization's governance and administrative structures promote effective leadership and support collaborative processes that enable the organization to fulfill its mission.

 

The administrative and governance structures of the University and UMD were described in Chapter 2. The system and UMD administrative organizational chart structures clearly indicate how organizational responsibilities are assigned, reporting lines, and where authority for making decisions resides. Job descriptions for UMD administrators provide additional clarity. The individuals selected to fill administrative and governance leadership positions possess many different skills and talents that they have used to create an environment conducive to effectively leading UMD and achieving campus goals. Both the administrative and governance structure and the effective leadership provided by those serving as administrative and governance leaders have enhanced the capacity of UMD to fulfill its and the University’s mission. Policies and procedures adopted by the Board of Regents to guide the management and administration of operations of the system are developed and implemented with a focus on the organization's mission.

 

Policies and Structures

As stated on its web site, "The policies of the Board of Regents are umbrella policies that provide the framework under which the administration is responsible for implementation of and compliance with the intent of the board policy." While it is not always explicitly stated in the end products, those who work with the Board of Regents as they review and adopt policies and practices developed by administrative officers of the University are aware of how the Board focuses on ensuring policies and practices are supportive of and congruent with the organization's mission. In some cases, such as the following, there is explicit reference to the mission in Board policies:

 

  • The second part of the Code of Conduct policy of the Regents reads: "Section II. Guiding Principles. Subd. 1. Values. In carrying out the institution's research, teaching, and public service mission, members of the University community (community members) are dedicated to advancing the University's core values."
  • The second subdivision of the Targeted Business, Urban Community Economic Development, and Small Business Programs policy of the Regents reads: Subd2. Public Service Mission. Moreover, the University's outreach and public service mission mandates that it foster economic growth in the urban communities of which it is a part."

 

Figure 2.1 and Figure 2.2 in the previous section, show the administrative structure and identify the individuals currently serving in administrative positions for the University system and UMD. The Reservation and Delegation of Authority policy of the Regents provides the basis for the delegation of responsibility to lead the University to the president and other administrative personnel. The policy states that "The Board delegates to the president the authority to act as chief executive officer of the University, with such general executive management and administrative authority over the University as is necessary to carry out the policies and directives of the Board . . ." The document also states that "the president shall be responsible for delegating general executive management and administrative authority to other executive officers and employees as necessary and prudent . . ." This delegation of responsibility and authority is clearly understood and supported by all internal and external constituencies of the University. It empowers the University president, other system officers, campus chancellors, and other administrative employees throughout the system to carry out activities that are focused on institutional improvement and integrity while striving to achieve system, campus, and unit missions.

A review of the operating guidelines for the University Board of Regents as well as minutes from their meetings and the Board's four standing committees provide evidence that the Board distributes responsibilities as defined in its policies and provides an environment that enables and encourages chief administrative personnel of the University to exercise effective leadership. For example, the section of "Board Operations" related to monthly Regents' meetings states that the development of the agenda and docket materials for the meetings is "a collaborative process involving numerous individuals and several stages." More specific information identifying the individuals and timelines involved is also described in the description of "Board Operations." Minutes of meetings of the Board and its four standing committees identify the administrative officers and staff who make presentations to the various groups. These minutes indicate that members of the UMD administration and community in general are able to share information and make recommendations related to policy, practices, and programs directly to members of the University Board of Regents. For example, the University Board of Regents minutes from 2007 meetings indicate that over time the UMD chancellor, one of the four vice chancellors, or others from UMD were presenters at meetings of the Board or one of its four standing committees during the past year.

 

Governance

The structure and operating procedures of the University and UMD governance are identified and described in Chapter 2. The distribution of responsibilities as described in the governance structures, processes, and activities is generally understood by members of the UMD community and is implemented through delegated authority identified in the constitutions of the various governance groups. As described previously, the work and activities of the UMD Campus Assembly (CA) and its standing committees are recognized and respected as playing an important role in the continuing operations and planning of the campus. There is a generally positive feeling about CA and how the elected members representing faculty, staff, and student groups and members of the CA who are UMD administrators have collaborated and worked together to carry out the important business of campus governance.

 

There are many examples of how the shared responsibility among and work of various groups has been carried out and produced positive outcomes at UMD. Most importantly, perhaps, given it is at the core of operations of a university, is the work on curriculum development. At UMD, faculty play the most active and important role in the development of proposals for curriculum changes in both undergraduate and graduate programs. The faculty role in curriculum change is described in each of the collegiate unit constitutions  The role of faculty is an important part of assuring the integrity of academic processes and programs at UMD.

 

In addition to their role in curriculum development in the collegiate units, faculty are key players in the campus-level work of the CA Committee on Educational Policy (EPC), where 15 of the 23 members are faculty. As stated in the CA constitution,

 

The Committee on Educational Policy shall consider educational goals and priorities for the total campus and shall make recommendations appropriate to this end to the assembly. It shall develop policies concerning overall degree requirements including liberal education requirements and policies concerning all educational programs which have substantial impact on more than one collegiate unit. . .

 

Minutes from EPC meetings provide further evidence of the active participation and leadership of faculty on this committee.

 

Frequent, open, and honest communication among the participants is a major component of the governance processes and activities at UMD. Further, communicating with all members of the UMD community about actions to be considered at upcoming meetings and actions taken at meetings is a key component of the process. Announcements of CA meetings and agenda items are widely circulated through media such as Currents, the newsletter for faculty and staff at UMD; The Statesman, UMD's student newspaper; and umd.business.announce, an electronic mail alias for all UMD faculty and staff who wish to be included. Minutes of CA and CA standing committees describing discussion and actions from meetings are available at the CA web site.

 

Summary of Component 1d

Overall, the administrative and governance structures through which decisions are made and the individuals who are in positions of leadership in these structures at UMD promote effective leadership and support collaborative processes that enable the organization to fulfill its mission. A major reason for this is the presence of the group of qualified professionals currently working within the governance and administrative structures and the level of commitment they have to achieving the UMD and University missions.

 

 

Core Component 1e:

The organization upholds and protects its integrity.

 

Since the University's inception in 1851, citizens, the state legislature, the federal government, alumni, students, parents, employers, and many others have held the organization accountable for fulfilling its fundamental land-grant mission of teaching, research, and public engagement. The University's original charter places this accountability role clearly with the Board of Regents:

[The regents shall] make a report annually to the Legislature … exhibiting the state and progress … of the University … and such other information as they may deem proper, or may from time to time be required of them.

 

Over the years, the Board of Regents and University leaders have reported on the organization's accountability and its progress in achieving mission-related goals in many ways, including legislative reports and testimony, financial reports, accreditation reviews, and collegiate and unit annual reports to their constituencies.

 

Related to being charged with responsibility for accountability of an organization with an annual budget of over $2 billion and such a wide scope and diversity of programs and operations, the Regents and others at the University have developed and put in place a strong collection of policies and procedures to foster the integrity of operations. Many of the policies and procedures are required by federal or state law.  Those policies apply to operations and activities of the University system as well as at UMD and the other campuses. Given the many policies and the breadth of the topical areas covered, the Regents have established a policy library web site specifically for identification and access of its many official, unofficial, and administrative policies. As stated there,

 

The policies of the Board of Regents are umbrella policies that provide the framework under which the administration is responsible for implementation of and compliance with the intent of the board policy. Administrative policies which provide the rules and guidelines for implementing many of the Board of Regents policies are also available on-line.

 

The most convenient way to find and access University and UMD policies in today’s environment is to do so electronically from the web sites that have been set up for Board of Regents Policies, other University policies at the University-Wide Policy Library web site, and at the web site for UMD Policies.

 

Most of the policies and procedures are continuously reviewed and updated and are easily and conveniently accessible via University or UMD web pages. Some examples of the many policies and procedures directly related to ensuring integrity in some key areas of UMD's overall operations are identified and discussed in the following sections. As noted previously, the list of policies and procedures relating to integrity of operations at the University and UMD is extensive; the following are only meant to provide examples.

 

Audit and Control

Audit and control of financial and other operational areas and processes are foundations for upholding and protecting the integrity of any organization. The Regents and administration of the University have established and implemented a sound system of external and internal audit and control to document to the public that the Board of Regents exercises its responsibility for ensuring the organization it governs operates legally, responsibly, and with fiscal honesty.

 

As is true for other organizations, the annual audit completed by an external, independent audit group relates primarily to assuring that the financial processes of the University have appropriate controls and that the annual financial statements are accurate. However, other areas of operations are inevitably reviewed as part of these audit activities because financial activities relate to virtually all operations of an organization. The University Office of the Controller facilitates the completion of audit activities by external groups and plays a crucial role in assuring that financial processes of the organization have appropriate controls.

 

The annual "Independent Auditor's Report" of the consolidated financial statements of the University is included as part of the Annual Report of the University.  The 2007 Annual Report for the University containing the “2007 Independent Auditor’s Report” is available in printed form as well as online from the Office of the Controller. As noted in the cover letter of the 2007 auditor's report, which is on page 24 of the Annual Report, the University prepares "consolidated" financial statements; thus, there is no separate financial reporting for UMD and the other University campuses. The cover letter dated October 16, 2007, from Larson Allen LLP, the University’s external auditor, also indicates the University received a "clean" opinion for the most recent year. More specifically, the letter states:

 

In our opinion, based on our audits and the reports of the other auditors, the consolidated financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the respective financial position of the University, as of June 30, 2007 and 2006, and the respective consolidated changes in financial position and cash flows, thereof for the years then ended in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.

 

Independent auditor's reports for the University for years prior to 2007 are also available from the Office of the Controller or online as part of University Annual Reports.

 

In addition to the audit of financial statements, the Controller's office oversees and facilitates an external audit of the University's compliance with the types of requirements that are applicable to each of its major federal programs described in the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-133 Compliance Supplement. This audit and review relates to the University's responsibility for establishing and maintaining effective internal control over compliance with the requirements of laws, regulations, contracts, and grants applicable to federal programs. The findings of the most recent "Circular A-133" audit are available online. Most importantly, the audit firm states in the 2007 cover letter transmitting the findings that, "The results of our tests disclosed no instances of noncompliance or other matters that are required to be reported under Government Auditing Standards."

 

Given the size and scope of operations and activities within the University, the Board of Regents and administration determined there was a need for an internal audit unit to supplement and complement the external audit of activities being coordinated by the Office of the Controller. To meet this need the Office of Internal Audit was established "to provide independent, objective assurance and advisory services designed to add value and improve the operations of the University of Minnesota." The mission, scope of work, unit charter, and other information related to its operations are presented at the internal audit unit's web site. The Office of Internal Audit Charter has sections describing its accountability, independence, responsibility, authority, and standards of audit. The description of the internal audit unit's activities clearly indicates that its structures and processes are intended to allow it to ensure the integrity of the University and UMD's co-curricular and auxiliary as well as its academic and administrative activities.

 

To ensure the independence and integrity of the internal audit unit, the Director of Internal Audit reports and is accountable directly to the Board of Regents Audit Committee and to the University president. Further, the charter states that:

  • The Board delegates directly to the Director of Internal Audit the authorities necessary to perform the duties set forth in the unit's mission and scope of work.
  • The President delegates administrative and operational authorities to the Director.
  • The Director and internal audit staff "have unrestricted access to all University functions, records, property, and personnel, subject to state and federal law."
  • The Director and internal audit staff are authorized to "allocate departmental resources, set frequencies, select subjects, determine scopes of work, and apply techniques required to accomplish audit objectives."

 

The Office of Internal Audit annually develops and implements an "Internal Audit Plan" that can be accessed from a link at the audit unit's homepage. This plan identifies units that are scheduled for review during the year, reports results of unit audits, and provides other information related to internal audit activities. The major purpose of the plan and auditing of units is to provide understanding of the University's internal control environment and the extent to which controls are being assessed by regular audit activities, addressed proactively through advisory services, and investigated as a result of issues raised.

 

While the Office of Internal Audit is physically located in Minneapolis at the Twin Cities campus, one of its principal auditors and a staff member are located at UMD. These two staff members are directly involved in audit activities involving UMD units. Following is a listing of the most recent unit audits completed at UMD:

 

  • College of Liberal Arts
  • Continuing Education
  • Food and Vending
  • Intercollegiate Athletics
  • Medical School Duluth
  • Recreational Sports and Outdoors Programs (RSOP)
  • Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI)

 

 

Student Conduct and Academic Integrity

Clear and fair statements regarding the rights and responsibilities of each of UMD's internal constituencies are provided through a combination of University and UMD policies. Some examples of the policies related to student conduct are identified and discussed in the next sections. These policies have been developed collaboratively by students, faculty, and administration.

 

A student conduct code applying to all University students and student organizations was first approved by the Board of Regents in July 1970; the most recent amendment of the original code was approved in December 2006 and is available with other policies at the Regents policies web site. This conduct code as well as a supplement referred to as "Duluth Campus Proceedings,” revised in April 2004, are available in a single document referred to as the University of Minnesota Student Conduct Code from the UMD Office of Student Behavior and on pages 52-54 in the UMD 2007-2009 Catalog.

 

The code approved by the Regents has sections identifying its jurisdiction, guiding principles, disciplinary offenses, sanctions, and hearing and appeals of sanctions and discipline. It is important to note that the jurisdiction section states the code applies to student conduct that occurs on University premises or at University-sponsored activities; and, at the discretion of the president or a delegate, the code can also apply to off-campus student conduct when the conduct, as alleged, adversely affects a substantial University interest, constitutes a criminal offense, or indicates the student may present a danger or threat to the health or safety of the student or others. The "Duluth Campus Proceedings" supplement governing implementation of the code at UMD has sections identifying the definition of a student, jurisdiction of alleged violations, the due process of rights provided to students, and the step-by-step procedures for providing due process through four different levels of review.

 

In addition to the document presenting the student conduct code and campus proceedings, there are links at the Office of Student Behavior web site to the following sources of information related to student conduct:

 

The first item in SECTION III. GUIDING PRINCIPLES of the University student conduct code states that "The University seeks an environment that promotes academic achievement and integrity, that is protective of free inquiry, and that serves the educational mission of the University." Related to this, SECTION V. DISCIPLINARY OFFENSES of the code identifies "scholastic dishonesty" as one of the items of misconduct covered and describes what constitutes this type of misconduct. To supplement and enhance this part of the University student conduct code and to provide more information on expectations related to this key area of the organization's operations, UMD has developed and implemented a clear policy regarding the rights and responsibilities of students and faculty related to academic integrity.

 

The "University of Minnesota Duluth Student Academic Integrity Policy" was approved by the UMD Campus Assembly, the representative body consisting of students, faculty, staff, and administration, in April 2005. The academic integrity policy is included on pages 46-48 of the UMD 2007-2009 Catalog; and like the student conduct code, it is also available from the Office of Student Behavior.

 

Following an introduction section, the academic integrity policy has sections identifying scope and purpose, prohibited conduct, the procedure for handling violations, timelines, role of the academic integrity officer, and confidentiality. There are also links at the Office of Student Behavior web site to the following sources of information related to academic integrity:

 

UMD Students are made aware of the Student Conduct Code and Academic Integrity Policy in the following ways:

  • Faculty are required to include the URL for both the conduct code and the academic integrity policy on syllabi.
  • An ad is placed in the first issue of the UMD Statesman, the official student newspaper of UMD, each semester notifying students they are responsible for information contained in the conduct code and academic integrity policy The URLs are included, and students are informed that both policies are printed in the UMD Catalog.
  • All students receive a printed UMD Catalog and the catalog is available online.  The conduct code is on pages 52-54 and the academic integrity policy is on pages 46-48 of the UMD 2007-2009 Catalog.
  • Links to both the conduct code and academic integrity policy are provided at the Office of Student Behavior web site.

 

The Office of Student Behavior web site also has a link to information for faculty and staff and a link to information for students related to the academic integrity policy.

 

UMD has a "Student Academic Grievance Policy" to ensure integrity and the rights of students to obtain due process related to the student conduct code, academic integrity policy, or any other academic policies. The grievance policy is included on pages 48-49 of the UMD 2007-2009 Catalog. Sections of this policy identify and describe its scope and purpose, the informal resolution process, the formal resolution process, and timelines related to the handling of student academic grievances.

 

The UMD Office of Student Behavior, a unit in the academic support and student life area, has primary responsibility for administrative functions related to student behavior on campus. A staff member in this office serves as Conduct Code Coordinator and Academic Integrity Officer. In most cases this staff member facilitates an informal resolution of issues. However, as described in the policies, there are steps available for more formal handling of issues where informal resolution cannot be reached at the first step. These include hearings before the Student Behavior Judiciary Committee (level 2), consisting of students, faculty, and staff; the UMD Campus Assembly Committee on Student Affairs (level 3); and the chancellor (level 4). The chancellor is the final authority on matters related to student conduct and academic integrity at UMD.

 

 In an email addressed to UMD faculty members dated August 27, 2007, the UMD Academic Integrity Officer noted that 2007-2008 would be the third year of having the student academic integrity policy in place and that there were 26 cases reported the first year and 44 cases reported in the second year, 2006-2007.  The message also stated that “Faculty have expressed their appreciation for the policy and the support they have received.  The process has worked well.”

 

Summary data included in the “UMD Student Conduct Code Annual Report for 2006-2007” indicates there were a total of 464 “student referrals” to the Office of Student Behavior for student conduct code violations during 2006-2007 and a total of 421 referrals in 2005-2006.  Comparing data for the past two to data for years prior to 2005-2006 is not meaningful since there have been changes in reporting categories. For example, “scholastic dishonesty” data were not included in total student conduct referrals prior to 2005-2006.  Almost 80% of the student conduct code referrals for 2006-2007 (368 of the 464 total) were for “violation of federal or state laws,” which means engaging in conduct on campus that violates a federal or state law, including, but not limited to, laws governing alcoholic beverages, drugs, gambling, sex offenses, indecent conduct, or arson.    

 

Employee Conduct and Relationships

A second important and valuable internal constituency for UMD is its employees. Comprehensive information on policies, practices, and procedures related to the rights and responsibilities of employees at UMD is available from the UMD Department of Human Resources (UMDHR). There are links at the UMDHR homepage that provide access to the each of the following areas related to employment and employees at UMD:

 

More specific information related to the topic identified is found at the site indicated and at additional sites for which links are provided. For example, the Benefits link leads to the section of the University Office of Human Resources in the Twin Cities  where prospective, current, new, and retired employees can find information about employee benefits for all University employees. The Policies link leads to an indexed listing of University-wide and UMD policies and procedures related to employment. And the Academic / P&A Search link leads to an area that provides policies and procedures as well as information and aids related to completing the search and hire of academic and professional and academic employees. Providing information related to the hire, continuing employment, training, evaluation and appraisal, grievances, and other areas of importance to employees in this open and public way is an attestation to the commitment UMD and the University have to developing and implementing clear and fair policies regarding the rights and responsibilities of their employees.

 

Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action

The definitive statement on equal opportunity and affirmative action for all members of the University community is the Regents policy on Diversity, Equal Opportunity, and Affirmative Action. As stated in its mission statement, the UMD Office of Equal Opportunity (UMD OEO) was established and functions "to affirmatively promote a diverse, multicultural environment on the University of Minnesota Duluth campus and to enforce equal opportunity, affirmative action, and sexual harassment policies and procedures for the University of Minnesota Duluth." UMD OEO staff are committed to administering policy guidelines and procedures for equal opportunity, affirmative action, and sexual harassment set by Regents' policies and state and federal laws and regulations for faculty, staff, and students.

 

The web site of UMD OEO provides links to the following sites which include policies and procedures and many sources of information related to the equal opportunity and affirmative action topics indicated:

 

 

Providing funding for the staffing and continuing operations of the UMD OEO is evidence of the organization's commitment to developing and implementing clear and fair policies regarding the rights and responsibilities of members of the UMD community. Providing easy and public access to these policies and other sources of information related to equal opportunity and affirmative action at UMD is additional evidence of this commitment.

 

Information Technology Systems and Services

UMD Information Technology Systems and Services (ITSS) is responsible for operational continuity as well as monitoring appropriate use and maintaining the integrity of the use of information technology on campus. The ITSS home page has links to areas providing information related to services and facilities it provides as well as links to resources available for students and for faculty and staff. Among the resource links are the following, leading to policies and information regarding the topics indicated:

 

 

The first link is to an "appropriate use" policy originally approved by the UMD Campus Assembly in February 1996 with a most recent revision approved in April 2005. As the topic title indicates, information identifying what constitutes copyright violation, related University policies, and actions taken against those in violation is presented at the second link. Similarly, the third link leads to information related to terms and conditions of a student ResNet connection, including identification of restricted activities and disciplinary action resulting from violations. The last link leads to a site that identifies rules for computer use at UMD and consequences for breaking the rules. The establishment and monitoring of these and other policies by UMD ITSS provides examples of how UMD functions to ensure it is operating legally and responsibly and maintaining integrity in the use of information technology on campus.

 

Other Examples of Upholding Integrity

Information describing two other examples of how the University and UMD have developed and implemented policies to uphold and protect integrity in operations are included at the end of Chapter 7 for Core Component 4d.  One of the sections there describes steps UMD has taken to encourage responsible use of knowledge and information by students, faculty and staff. A second section in Chapter 7 describes how UMD uses available policies, procedures, and programs to ensure ethical conduct in research and instruction.  The responsible use of knowledge and ethical conduct in research and instruction by members of the UMD campus community are considered to be related to upholding and protecting the integrity of operations and UMD overall.  

 

Summary of Component 1e

As identified and described above, the integrity of UMD and the University is upheld and protected in several ways. Two of the most important components of the process of upholding and protecting the University are the approval and implementation of written policies and procedures by the University Board of Regents, administrators, and campus governance groups and the continuous internal and external review and audit of operations to ensure there is understanding of and compliance with applicable local, state, and federal laws and regulations. UMD also strives to develop and consistently implement clear and fair policies related to student conduct and academic integrity, the rights and responsibilities of employees, and equal opportunity and affirmative action in all its operations. Finally, there is concerted effort to monitor and maintain the integrity of the use of information technology on the campus. The policies, procedures, and activities described are examples of the organization's many and varied efforts to ensure that it operates with integrity in all areas.

 

Conclusions Related to Criterion One:

 

The information presented in this chapter described how the University and UMD have developed and use structures and processes that involve the Board of Regents, University system administrators, and UMD administration, faculty, staff, and students to operate with integrity while fulfilling their missions. The current UMD mission statement identifies the organization’s commitment to excellence in all its programs and operations and identifies teaching, research, and service as core components of operations.  The UMD mission articulates the organization’s commitments publicly by being conveniently available to internal and external constituents.  The University’s mission addresses diversity as part of the community of values and common purposes considered fundamental to all campuses in the system, and the missions of UMD units are generally aligned with statements affirming the campus commitment to honor the dignity and worth of individuals.  There are varying levels of familiarity with and understanding of the UMD mission among members of the campus community; however, there is support for the core components of the mission once individuals are made aware of it.  Overall, the administrative and governance structures through which decisions are made and members of the UMD administration support collaborative processes that enable the organization to fulfill its mission.  Approval of written policies and procedures by the Board of Regents (designed to ensure integrity in operations, and implementation of the policies by University and UMD administration), and the continuous internal and external review and audit of operations to ensure compliance with laws and regulations are two of the most important ways integrity is upheld and protected in operations throughout the University system.

 

While reviewing the structures and procedures the University and UMD have developed and implemented to ensure integrity in all operations, the following strengths and areas for improvement were identified.

 

Strengths:

(order of presentation does not indicate level of importance)

  • Although it is beginning to “show its age,” the current mission statement has served well as a general guide for planning and operations at UMD over the years of its existence.
  • Virtually all of the academic and administrative units at UMD have developed and use mission statements to guide unit planning and operations overall.  The unit missions are generally aligned with the UMD mission, and members of the unit are more familiar with the unit mission than UMD mission.
  • There is understanding of and support for the mission among the members of the UMD and University system administrators.
  • UMD and the University have developed and implemented governance and administrative structures that promote effective leadership and support collaborative processes.
  • UMD and the University have thoughtfully developed and implemented policies and procedures that inform students, faculty, and staff of expectations related to upholding and protecting the integrity of the organizations.

 

Areas for Improvement:

(order of presentation does not indicate level of importance)

  • While it has served well as a general guide for planning and operations over the years, the current UMD mission statement could again be reviewed to determine if the core components and priorities can be identified more concisely.  If it is determined that there is no need to change the overall message of the mission, perhaps some change in organization of ideas and wording would more effectively communicate the message.
  • There is no direct reference to diversity in the current UMD mission statement.
  • The level of familiarity with and understanding and support for the mission among UMD faculty, staff, and students could be assessed and improved where necessary.

 

Continue to Chapter Five: Criterion Two