CRITERION TWO: PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE
The organization’s allocation of resources and its processes for evaluation and planning demonstrate its capacity to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of its education, and respond to future challenges and opportunities.
Under the direction of the Board of Regents, the University of Minnesota (University) successfully integrates revenue from tuition and fees; revenue from external grants, contracts and gifts; and legislative appropriations to successfully meet the challenges and opportunities in fulfilling the University mission. As a coordinate campus in the system, planning, budgeting and program implementation at UMD are carried out in coordination with and supported by the University system administrators. Issues such as program changes, facilities improvements and graduation and retention targets for the Duluth campus are all forwarded through system administration and then for approval by the Board of Regents.
The UMD administrative leadership team has been very stable over the past 10 years, has many years of experience, and works well together. Chancellor Martin became the campus CEO in fall 1995. A new vice chancellor of academic support and student life (VCASSL) started in fall 2007, replacing a VCASSL who was in the position for 30 years. All of the other members of the leadership team have been in their positions at least five years. Collectively, the other three vice chancellors (Vice Chancellor for Finance and Operations, Vice Chancellor for Academic Administration, and Vice Chancellor for University Relations) have a total of 36 years in their current positions, ranging from 5-19 years. The 10-member Council of Deans and Academic Administrators (CODAA), who report to the vice chancellor of academic administration (VCAA) and provide leadership for the core academic operations at UMD, have been in their current positions ranging from 5-23 years. And, the tenure of the five current collegiate unit deans, who are part of the CODAA, ranges from 5-9 years. Given the stability of the leadership at UMD, members of the group have considerable administrative experience at their current levels and understand the unique environment of working within a coordinate campus system. The UMD administrative team is able to draw from its wealth of experience to provide solid direction and leadership to the campus.
The information presented below describes UMD’s processes for planning and budgeting and its allocation of resources and provides examples that demonstrate its capacity to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of its education, and respond to future challenges and opportunities.
The organization realistically prepares for a future shaped by multiple societal and economic trends.
Planning has played an important role at the University during the last decade by providing a framework for setting goals and dealing with a rapidly changing environment. The overall strategic planning process at UMD and other coordinate campuses must be congruent with the planning process of the University system. The UMD planning process is a continuation of a process that was initiated with a University “transition plan” in 1995, moving to a “compact process” that began in 1998, and continuing with the current system-wide strategic planning process begun by President Bruininks in fiscal year 2005. The University compact and strategic planning processes are discussed in more detail in section 2d, below.
The planning process at UMD begins by gathering background data and information and analyzing demographic, programmatic and fiscal issues facing the campus. This information is shared with the campus leadership and used to frame an academic and fiscal accountability model which drives the long-term strategic planning and accountability process for the campus.
Effective planning depends on the availability and analysis of appropriate information and data. Surveying to determine student opinions on a variety of issues has provided important information for the assessment of outcomes of strategic planning efforts. Student satisfaction surveys provide data that is used to improve UMD’s effectiveness and efficiency. These surveys provide meaningful data by asking about a variety of behavior and attitudes, and the findings help campus administration to identify those areas which have great importance to our students. Numerous surveys including standardized national student surveys such as the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), the University of Minnesota Student Experience Survey, and some in-house surveys are conducted for this purpose.
From 1997-2006 the University system administration administered the Student Experiences Survey (biennially) and the Senior Exit Survey (annually) to assess student satisfaction. Included in the survey were questions on academic quality, instruction, advising, classroom and physical facilities, class size, cost and overall satisfaction. In January of 2007, system administration decided to simplify the student survey process and combined the two student surveys into a single instrument.
The 2007 University of Minnesota Student Experience Survey (SES) conducted via the Internet among students at the five campuses of the University in April 2007 was the first use of the combined survey. The sample of all students, both undergraduate and graduate/professional, completed a common online questionnaire which asked about a variety of behavior and attitudes. The results of the 2007 SES suggest that overall UMD student satisfaction continues to increase. In addition, the overall quality of academic programs has been rated very favorably. Among graduating seniors, 94.3% of UMD students reported being slightly satisfied, moderately satisfied or very satisfied with their college experience. The survey results also reflect positively on a number of UMD priorities. For example, the attempt to diversify its community and provide support for students of color has been met with an increase of general satisfaction from UMD students of color. The campus also has made substantial improvements in its physical environment with the addition of new buildings and upgraded classrooms. While UMD undergraduate and graduate students showed increased satisfaction with the quality of classrooms, their satisfaction with the overall physical environment and the availability of places to study showed modest declines. This may be due to the temporary disruption caused by construction. Also, after a sharp dip in satisfaction regarding the cost of attendance in 2003 (most likely due to significant budget cuts that year by the Minnesota Legislature), satisfaction among UMD students has increased on this measure the past two years.
UMD is committed to the concept of continuous quality improvement. Based on the data collected in the above survey along with in-house surveys in housing, registration, and orientation, the administration has initiated several projects that are expected to increase the level of student satisfaction, particularly in the areas of academic advising, recruitment, registration, and financial aid. Survey results are shared and tracked in an ongoing effort to improve institutional performance.
In addition to student surveys, student input is sought through student representation in all levels of planning and decision making. As described previously in Chapter 3, the governance structure of the University and UMD insure broad representation of students in many aspects of collegiate, campus, and University governance and planning. This includes such areas as the Educational Policy Committee, a UMD Campus Assembly standing committee, all four of its subcommittees as well as representation in collegiate assemblies and standing committees of the UMD Campus Assembly such as Student Affairs, Budget, Physical Facilities, and Athletics Committees. Students are also represented on special task forces dealing with issues which affect the campus, such as the current task force on liberal education. In addition, UMD administration meets regularly with members of the UMD Student Association to discuss key issues of importance.
Information from external sources is sought and used regularly to assist UMD administration in planning for the future. One of the primary ways the various colleges, departments, and other units connect with their constituencies is through work with external advisory boards. External advisory board members represent an active link between UMD and constituents from the community, region, and state and nation. These boards are used to help inform units and their leaders of current, regional, national, societal and economic trends. External advisory boards also play an essential role in strategic planning, program development and fund raising. Examples include the Chancellor’s Council, Labovitz School of Business and Economics Board of Advisors, Swenson College of Science and Engineering External Advisory Board and the advisory groups for the Natural Resources and Research Institute, Minnesota Sea Grant, Center for Economic Development, Tweed Museum of Art, and Glensheen. Additionally, some of the academic departments such as Electrical and Computer Engineering, Health Physical Education and Recreation, and Accounting have departmental advisory groups.
Based on input from advisory groups and other scans of its external environment, UMD constantly looks for opportunities to meet the needs of its constituencies through new programming. Over the past 10 years new programs have been developed across all collegiate units and include programs in areas such as environmental science, health care management, athletic training, Ojibwe elementary and middle school education, studio art, biomedical sciences, and statistics and actuarial science. Engineering has been an area of particularly strong growth over the past decade, with new degree programs in chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, and most recently civil engineering being established.
Many of UMD’s graduate programs were designed to meet the needs of a special segment of the local and regional work force. Examples include the Master of Environmental Health and Safety, Master of Advocacy and Political Leadership, and Master of Special Education programs as well as the master’s and Ed.D. degrees in education which are delivered to American Indian tribal cohorts. In addition, hybrid programs combining online and classroom instruction have seen growth. The Integrated Biosciences (IBS) program began in 2005 as a multi-campus Graduate School program designed to provide opportunities to train graduate students in new and exciting interdisciplinary approaches to solving biological problems. In December 2007 the University of Minnesota Board of Regents approved a proposal to offer a Ph.D. in Integrated Biological Sciences beginning fall 2008. UMD now offers distance education programming for parts of an undergraduate degree in psychology, for masters in education programs, and for the doctorate in education program that started in fall 2007.
American Indian education has been and continues to be a high-priority initiative at UMD. Within the College of Education and Human Service Professions (CEHSP), American Indian education programs operate under the umbrella of Eni-gikendaasoyang (Moving Toward Knowledge Together), the Center for Indigenous Knowledge Revitalization. The Center supports degree programs serving Native populations, an Institute of Indigenous Knowledge, and efforts toward revitalization of the Ojibwe language.
Degree Programs. To address a critical need for Native teachers, three UMD Department of Education degree programs serve tribal populations: the Gekinoo’imaagejig White Earth Teacher Training Program (enrollment of 12), a site-based K-6 teacher training program offered on the White Earth Reservation in western Minnesota; the Maawanji’idiwag Unified Early Childhood Program (enrollment of 17), which is training Native early childhood special education teachers; and the M.Ed.Tribal cohort III (enrollment 12), with a focus on world language revitalization. Students in the Gekinoo’imaagejig program are in their second year of a three year program. The early childhood cohort will graduate in January and Spring 2008. The M.Ed. Tribal cohort III will graduate Spring 2008. Plans are underway to offer an on-campus cohort of the K-6 program beginning Fall 2008. Tribal M.Ed. Cohort IV will begin in January 2008, and courses for this group will be offered on-site at the Mille Lacs Reservation in central Minnesota.
A handful of Native people in Minnesota are licensed special educators, while nearly 70% of Native children in public schools are receiving special education services. To address this critical need, a post-baccalaureate licensure program to train 15 Native special educators (learning disabled and emotional behavioral disorders) will begin in Fall 2008.
Institute of Indigenous Knowledge. The purpose of the Center’s Institute of Indigenous Knowledge is to offer workshops and seminars on Native educational issues, and to educate the greater public with an online journal. To that end, the Center initiated Bemaadizing: The Journal of Indigenous Life, an interdisciplinary journal (education, social work, psychology, American Indian studies, history, medicine, languages) under the Center’s umbrella. The inaugural issue is due out January 2008. During the 2006-2007 academic term, the institute offered a variety of workshops and seminars. Between January and May 2008, a series of three workshops on Native special education issues will be presented on the topics of assessment, transition, and working with emotional behavioral disorders.
Ojibwe Language Revitalization. Several efforts operate to revitalize the Ojibwe language, which is endangered as a result of past federal governmental policies banning the language and the effects of acculturation. The Center hosts an annual Minnesota Indigenous Language Symposium, bringing over 100 educators and language experts to campus for a two-day symposium. An Ojibwe Movies grant (Department of Education) is being used to develop short movies in the Ojibwe language, which will be accessible online for teachers of the language. The long range goal of Ojibwe Movies it to develop an online clearinghouse for Ojibwe language materials. The Center also sponsors Ojibwe language camps for pre-service and practicing teachers twice a year, in winter and summer. These one- to two-week language immersion camps serve as a way for Ojibwe language students to practice their budding language skills in an immersion setting.
Enweyang Language Nest, an immersion program serving 4-5 year olds, will begin during the 2007-2008 academic year. The program will serve as a training site for the Gekinoo’imaagejig Teacher Training Program.
Other Planned Efforts. Efforts are underway for other initiatives. For example, a Native mental health training program, to train the next generation of Native chemical dependency and mental health professionals, is being considered for the near future; and an administrative licensure program to train school principals and superintendents, with a focus on training Native school administrators, is being considered.
UMD is committed to providing an inclusive, diverse community and has a longstanding commitment to Native American education. In addition to the work in the UMD Department of Education, the following sections identify and briefly describe other Native American initiatives, programs, and resources at UMD. Brief information about most of these and links to web sites with more information is provided at the American Indian Related Programs web site.
Department of American Indian Studies (AIS). The AIS Department in the College of Liberal Arts, offers coursework and a bachelors degree to promote understanding of tribal cultures. Its curriculum provides opportunities to study traditional cultural values, tribal language, tribal social structures as well as social and intellectual relations. It also sponsors the Anishinaabe Student Organization.
Anishinaabe Student Organization. This student-run group provides an opportunity for both Indian and non-Indian students to become involved in several academically oriented and social service activities. The Spring Powwow is a venture that provides socialization and learning situations for all students.
American Indian Learning Resource Center (AILRC). The AILRC exists to enrich the cultural, academic, supportive, and social environment of the UMD campus. The Center's mission is to increase the recruitment and retention of American Indian and Alaskan Native students, while promoting a more culturally diverse campus environment. The AILRC provides services and activities to help American Indian and Alaska Native students succeed at UMD. The student advisors provide academic, financial, and individual support to empower and aid in the success of American Indian students and to enhance their educational experiences.
American Indian Projects (AIP). AIP in UMD’s Department of Social Work enhances the contemporary social work skills of American Indian students while providing an opportunity to participate in cultural activities to enhance cultural knowledge. This program assists American Indian students in bridging these two world views, enabling them to return to the Indian community in leadership roles to more effectively serve children and families. Its goal is to create a network of American Indian social workers who can interpret social work practice using the unique world view and knowledge of Indian people. More information on AIP is provided in Chapter 8.
Center of American Indian & Minority Health. Center of American Indian and Minority Health (CAIMH) provides support for American Indian/underrepresented minority students who are pursuing or possess an interest in health careers. CAIMH seeks to improve American Indian health status by advancing and educating American Indian health professionals through collaborative partnerships with indigenous communities and by offering on- and off-campus enrichment programming designed to boost interest and the knowledgebase concerning American Indian health.
Upward Bound Vision Quest (UVGQ) and Bridges. These two programs are joint efforts of units at UMD on the Twin Cities campus of the University. UBVQ is an early intervention, college preparation program serving 125 students in grades 9-12 in the Duluth and Minneapolis Public Schools. It is designed to meet the academic and motivational needs of students who are from low income families and/or are the first generation of their family to attend college. The Bridges program was created by the two campuses to increase the number of American Indian/Alaska Native scientists.
In 1998 UMD was authorized by the University’s president to expand its undergraduate enrollment. This authorization was driven by two arguments. First, enrollment growth at UMD would be an excellent driver for economic development in Duluth and northeast Minnesota; and second, increasing the first year class in Duluth would provide additional access for students to University of Minnesota degree programs. In order to expand enrollment, an enrollment target of 2100 new high school students (NHS) was established for the fall semester of 2000. While the NHS enrollment target has remained at 2100, the actual NHS enrollments, as shown in Figure 5.1, have fluctuated a bit but generally increased in the ensuing years. As reported in the table, the NHS enrollment for the current year’s fall semester was 2240, approximately 5% above the target of 2100.
UMD NHS Headcount Enrollment
Fall 98 – Fall 07
As shown in Figure 5.2, below, total headcount enrollment at UMD has steadily increased since 1998, reaching 11,184 in Fall 2007. This total includes the professional graduate enrollment in the College of Pharmacy and Medical School on campus. Collegiate undergraduate enrollment now totals 9,184, an increase of 20% over the decade. Some of the increase in total enrollment has been due to the fact that non-degree seeking student enrollment has increased as larger numbers of students are being served by the College in the Schools (CITS) program. Graduate school enrollment for Fall 2007 increased slightly, driven by the 24 students now enrolled in the Ed.D. graduate program. The Fall 2007 enrollment of 11,184 consisted of 9,184 undergraduate students, 1,062 graduate and professional students, and 938 non-degree seeking students, including CITS and continuing education students.
UMD Total Headcount Enrollment
Fall 98 – Fall 07
Plans for facility development emerge from conversations among academic unit leaders, the vice chancellor for finance and operation (VCFO), and staff from the Facilities Management unit within the VCFO area. The Associate VCAA regularly communicates with colleges and departments to determine their needs and to integrate those needs into planning for campus development and renewal. Campus facilities have undergone significant development with the construction of new space and the renovation of existing space since the last accreditation visit in 1997. Major donor contributions and legislative support have been instrumental in this process.
New Construction. New construction since the last accreditation visit include the new Library building, Weber Music Hall, Swenson Science Building, a large recreational sports addition to the existing Sports and Health Center, and the new Labovitz School of Business and Economics building. All of these buildings were in response to serious needs and deficiencies identified by faculty and staff, increases in student enrollment, feedback from students related to facilities’ needs, and general changes in public expectations of higher education.
For example, the new library was designed and constructed to maximize access to digital media and resources as well as to maximize the use of technology in the learning process. The Weber Music hall reflects the increasing interest in the music arts and the development of the UMD music program. The design and construction of the Swenson Science Building supports the increased interest in the life sciences, biochemistry, environmental sciences, and many other biological sciences as well as maximizing opportunities for undergraduate research and active learning. The Recreational Sports addition to the Sports and Health Center is the direct result of student involvement and promotion of the project on campus and in the legislature to meet the demands of students for recreational and fitness activities. Finally, the design and construction of the new Labovitz School of Business and Economics building reflects the increasing demand for business education and changing models of business education pedagogy. Partial funding for a civil engineering facility has been secured from a donor, and the balance is being sought from the legislature in the upcoming session. The plans for adding a civil engineering degree program and a contemporary facility in which to offer it are based on feedback provided by external constituents and reflect the increased interest and demand for engineering programs as well as the integration of these programs. Similarly, as noted earlier, all of the other projects had significant individual and public support; were designed to address existing and anticipated needs, expansion or development of programs, and technology; and reflect shifts in social and higher education priorities in general.
Renovation of Existing Space. Major factors driving the renovation of existing space have included:
To accommodate the above, major building renovations over the past 10 years have included:
In addition, funds have been allocated to projects involving less extensive improvements in space that were not considered major renovations. For example, photography labs have been updated to accommodate digital photography, a lab simulating a live trading room with real time access to market data was created for the Financial Markets program, Graphic Art and Design labs have been developed, and a new computer integrated classroom that allows great flexibility in student group work and includes special software for GIS and other CLA programs will be completed fall 2007.
Classrooms and Technology. The first improvements in classrooms came as the result of a University-wide inventory of classroom space and special legislative appropriations for classroom improvements. There were many issues of deferred maintenance at that time, and the University studied the situation and sought support from the legislature to address the problem. The funds allocated to the UMD campus were used to improve the physical environment (heat control, lighting, ventilation) in as many rooms as possible emphasizing the structure and appearance of the classrooms. Improved furnishings in classrooms are high on the list of priority for future funds.
Technology fees collected from students supplemented the legislative support, so funding was available for the installation of Internet access and digital technology in all general purpose classrooms on campus. More specifically, the technology fees have funded installation of Internet connections, digital projectors, VCR/DVD players, and laptop connections in all centrally scheduled, general purpose classrooms; and some of these classrooms now have integrated control systems for the technology in the classroom. Technology fees have also been used to replace classroom equipment on a scheduled basis and to subsidize student response systems that are now used by many faculty who teach large numbers of students.
Technology is not only important as an instructional tool, of course; it now pervades the campus. Wireless access to the Internet is possible from almost all areas of the campus. Expanded technology and technical support is available to students for educational projects and class team activities (Multimedia Hub in the Library). Students use laptop computers and wireless devices for educational and social purposes almost anywhere and everywhere on campus. More specific information about the excellent technology environment that has been created on campus is presented in the Institutional Snapshot and at the Information Technology Systems and Services (ITSS) web site.
Planning Process. The VCAA office and Facilities Management, under the VCFO, have been working cooperatively to use allocated funds for the maximum benefit of the academic programs and student life of the campus. Representatives of VCAA, ITSS,, and Facilities Management meet regularly to review needs, plans, and anticipated funding and to discuss ways to best address the current and anticipated facilities’ needs of the campus and its students.
The Associate VCAA manages academic space on campus. This includes inventorying space, monitoring the quality of academic space and working with colleges and departments to justify and allocate space according to the Minnesota Facilities Model (MFM). He also manages classroom scheduling and analyzes classroom space utilization to minimize wasted classroom space and to maximize space use and availability. As noted previously, he is also the link between the assessment of space needs and the implementation of solutions.
Plans for the Future. Facility planning for the future will focus on addressing the following issues:
Responsibility for providing, maintaining, and administering centralized technology solutions to the campus is vested in UMD Information Technology Systems and Services (ITSS). The unit’s mission statement and a listing and description of services, facilities, and resources are included at the ITSS web site. These include network and telephone services, email, web services, file storage, student computing, faculty technology tools and assistance, classroom technology, programming and development, research computing, help desk, training, and other specialized services. As noted earlier, additional information about the technology resources provided by ITSS are also included in the Institutional Snapshot.
An important benefit of being part of the University system is the fact that the UMD campus obtains some enterprise technology services from the University Office of Information Technology. These include human resource, student, and financial information systems, as well as support for networking, software licensing, and other services. ITSS provides local support and coordination for these enterprise systems.
ITSS also provides support for specialized needs of the academic and business units on campus. This includes providing servers and system administration for specialized software applications, computer maintenance and software support for desktop and laptop computers, and computer security for all systems and applications.
Trends in Information Technology. Although UMD ITSS has emphasized computer and network security for the past five years, the need for vigilance continues. Complexity creates the need for additional security in the technology area. The ever-increasing complexity of new applications drives the need for better security to protect critical data. To address this situation, ITSS provides virus and security information at its web site.
Customer expectations and new buildings create the need for infrastructure improvements to meet technology needs. Ten years ago, UMD’s emphasis was on providing access to technology for all students, faculty, and staff. At UMD today, everyone has access; and many people use multiple networked devices. Email and web applications are ubiquitous, and new technologies emerge every year. As described previously, UMD has added or renovated buildings each year for the past 10 years. Additionally, students living in residence halls expect network resources to be available in their rooms for both educational and recreational use. These and other changes drive the need for excellent technology infrastructure. ITSS will continue to work closely with Facilities Management to plan infrastructure for new buildings, to improve infrastructure in existing buildings, and to build a new data center for campus servers. The ITSS and Facilities Management web sites contain information about general topics such as: computing, telephone, and planning.
Student expectations are key to changes in the level and type of technology services provided and the use of technology in the teaching and learning process. UMD students today are members of the net generation. They use technology in ways that those in previous generations never imagined. Their expectations have driven 24/7 universal access, web-based self-service applications, and new technology for teaching and learning. ITSS has responded by increasing services for students as well as providing support for faculty to improve their technology tools and skills. The results of these efforts are available at the “For Students” and “For Faculty and Staff” links in the “Resources” area of the ITSS homepage.
Collegiate initiatives drive expansion and specialization in the technology area. Ten years ago, technology support was centralized within ITSS. In 2001 the UMD colleges established their own technology fees, giving them greater control over the ways in which technology is chosen and used in their programs and activities. As a result, the collegiate units have each developed and communicate a set of “computer recommendations and requirements” to their students. The College of Liberal Arts (CLA) now requires all students to have their own laptops, and two other collegiate units are expected to follow with a similar requirement in the fall of 2008. Because of the shift of some of the control and administration of technology resources, collegiate units have added their own technology staff members, who collaborate with and ITSS staff to improve and customize technology. This positive change will continue to drive technology improvements during the coming years.
New business models drive web-based applications, with emphasis on self-service. During the past 10 years, UMD has seen an explosion of business applications in its administrative areas that support self-service. These include application for admissions, online registration, electronic library resources, and many service-request applications. Faculty use learning management systems (WebCT and Moodle) as well as other learning tools to improve teaching and learning. Business units on campus use specialized business applications, such as a medical management system for Health Services, bookstore sales application software for UMD Stores, facilities application for Facilities Management, and food service management systems for Food Services. In some cases, ITSS has developed applications software for these units, including the Alumni Office, Housing, and Career Services. ITSS is currently planning an improved customer-service web application that will allow customers to track service requests and assist IT staff with setting priorities. This trend will continue as more units see new ways to deliver services via the web. More information is available at the “Programming & Consulting” link from the ITTS homepage.
The UMD campus is well positioned to leverage technology into the future. ITSS is an organization committed to improvement and open to change. The campus community recognizes the importance of information technology and supports the role of ITSS as technology leader. Nevertheless, there are challenges. Keeping up with changing technology and keeping data and systems secure in an increasingly complex world are constant challenges. Adequate funding for technology infrastructure, building and renovation, and IT staffing will be needed. Throughout it all, ITSS will continue to empower students, faculty, and staff to gain maximum benefits from new technologies.
Figure 5.3, below, shows the current 4-, 5-, and 6-year graduation rates for UMD and the new goals established for UMD by the University Board of Regents in June 2006.
UMD 4, 5 & 6 Year Graduation and Retention Goals
In addition to the challenge of meeting goals established by the Regents, the campus faces the challenge of maintaining enrollment as the number of Minnesota high school graduates begins to decline in 2009. Concurrently, a greater percentage of Minnesota high school graduates will be students of color, a population which has historically been difficult to attract to and retain at UMD. In response to both the new graduation goals and these predicted enrollment pressures, UMD has established an aggressive plan to improve student retention and persistence to timely graduation.
In the summer of 2006, The Chancellor established a team to define UMD’s comprehensive approach for improving retention and graduation rates. The team analyzed previous University studies and reports, conducted a review of scholarly work on the topic of student persistence, identified best practices, and gathered input from UMD faculty, administrators, staff, and students to create a strategic view of student success at UMD. The significant outcome of the team’s work, the Strategy Map for Increasing UMD’s Graduation Rates, provides a shared framework for decision making and action.
The Strategy Map is organized into five core process areas:
FIT - Interests and educational goals of students are aligned with UMD, its programs, and regional setting.
FINANCIAL - Students have access to sufficient resources to plan for and invest in their education.
LEARNING - Students are engaged in challenging learning activities leading to timely degree completion.
SUPPORT - Students are connected to a strong network of caring faculty, staff, and students.
CULTURE - Students, faculty, and staff are valued participants in, and contributors to, a diverse and inclusive community that is educationally purposeful.
Each of the five core process areas are further expanded into three strategic planning categories:
The Strategy Map has been presented to multiple campus groups and has been received favorably by senior-level leadership teams across multiple academic and support units. The ad hoc team had accomplished its charge in February 2007. Implementation of the plan is now being led by the VCSSL and facilitation of UMD’s graduation initiative is currently coordinated by two half-time staff. Other information and documents related to the retention and graduation project are available at web site for the Retention and Graduation Initiative, which is used to provide all members of the UMD community with information about the initiative as well as access to related resource materials..
Development and use of the framework of the initiative’s Strategy Map has spawned numerous student retention initiatives. A significant number of these projects have been led by individuals who were members of UMD’s first cohort of participants in the University’s Transformational Leadership Program (TLP) training during 2006-2007. The TLP training curriculum is based on the process improvement methodology embraced by 3M Corporation, a sponsor of University research and process improvement initiatives. TLP participants utilize tools to clarify strategic objectives, identify various opportunities for improvement, measure the effectiveness of current services and programs, analyze potential process improvements, implement new solutions and standardize improvements over the long term. At UMD, 25 retention related project leaders are utilizing this data-driven methodology. These and other new initiatives are documented within the Strategy Map.
UMD’s Initiative to Improve Graduation Rates has established a communication plan documenting the project stakeholders, the primary message(s) to those stakeholders and a timeline for such communications. The communication plan is monitored monthly by the initiative coordinators.
Improved data collection related to student retention and graduation is currently underway. A retention data collection team has been formed to develop a comprehensive retention data collection plan and to recommend a plan for distributing data reports to key stakeholders. Both operational (enrollment, credit loads, demographic information) and process measurements (measures directly related to the Strategy Map) are being included in the data collection plan.
Assessment of the initiative is taking place on two fronts. First the Strategy Map is used as a framework for documenting new initiatives and progress on those initiatives as well for identifying strategic priorities for future projects. Second, the data collection team is establishing process measurements directly related to the Strategy Map and the overall graduation rate initiative. These measurements will be in place by May 2008.
Since 1997 UMD has made major investments in advising and other student support services. The Chancellor provided leadership for developing and establishing the Chancellor’s Advisement Initiative in 1998. An ad hoc committee conducted extensive interviews and focus groups to develop a comprehensive, campus-wide strategy for improving academic advising. The Advisement Initiative committee recommended UMD administration allocate necessary resources to achieve a reputation as an institution of excellence in academic advisement. To achieve this it was recommended that quality advisement become as significant an enterprise as teaching and research and that quality advisement, once achieved, become one of UMD’s competitive advantages and trademarks for recruitment and retention. Student affairs offices were established in all five collegiate units. These offices now each house one to four professional advisors who support faculty advising of collegiate majors and provide advising for undecided majors assigned to the unit. The current collegiate student affairs offices work to facilitate student learning and success by providing high-quality advising and academic services. The professional staff advisors work collaboratively with faculty and coordinate advising activities for students.
Advising at UMD is more than a simple selection of classes. Advising plays a key role in assisting students to achieve academic success and to become productive citizens as they mature intellectually, personally and socially. Advising helps students identify academic, career, and life goals; to ensure the goals are appropriate to their interests, skills, abilities and values; and to explore possible courses of study which can be pursued to achieve those goals at UMD. Through the advising processes, students make a critical connection to the campus, which research has shown is a major factor in retention and persistence to graduation. Students also learn the policies and procedures of UMD and the nature, variety, and purpose of courses and requirements. Advising is considered to be an important component of the commitment to a quality undergraduate experience for students at UMD. It enhances the overall student experience by supplying the guidance, information, and education necessary to help students participate in UMD as confident, independent learners.
Advisement Coordination Center (ACC). The ACC was established in 1998 and is currently staffed by a director, an associate director, and a 75% time professional advisor. The mission of ACC is to coordinate, support, and be a resource to a campus-wide developmental advising program. Center staff members work collaboratively with the collegiate student affairs offices to provide faculty members with information and resources to help students develop sound educational, professional, and life goals, thereby supplementing and supporting UMD’s faculty-based advising initiatives. The Center also provides walk-in access for any student seeking advising information and help.
Strengths and initiatives of the ACC are focused on developing an institutional culture of developmental, learning-centered advising that is aligned with UMD’s retention efforts by promoting accessibility and excellence in academic advising. Some of the Center’s activities are identified below, and more information about its activities and resources is available at the ACC web site. The ACC activities include:
The ACC has exceptional administrative support from the chancellor and other administrative leaders. An outstanding faculty advisor from each collegiate unit is selected and recognized at UMD each spring. Included with the recognition is a monetary award to the faculty member and to her or his department. UMD staff and faculty have received four national awards as well as University system-wide awards and recognition for their advising efforts.
While it has had success in the areas described above, there are challenges for the ACC. These include continued efforts to determine how to promote, recognize, and reward the role of academic advising by faculty to provide incentive and motivation for high quality participation, and changing the advising assessment methods from primarily student satisfaction surveys (now done regularly in the collegiate units and campus-wide every four years) to including assessment for demonstrated outcomes such as critical thinking and learning. In addition, the ACC will reexamine how it assesses faculty satisfaction vis-à-vis advising support. This assessment is anticipated for spring 2008. Finally, current discussions include looking at different advising models as related to the retention literature.
FYE & SIT works collaboratively with students, faculty, staff, and families to provide new students and those in transition with personal connections, knowledge, and resources that will foster lifelong learning and participation in a diverse community. The program is committed to the belief that a new student’s growth and academic experience are enhanced when special attention and support are provided. Therefore, FYE & SIT works to assist new students through their period of transition to college, sponsors programs and services that enhance new student success, and works to promote persistence from the first college year toward graduation. A major goal is to assist new students in making a successful academic, social and personal transition to UMD. Students themselves are ultimately responsible for their educational achievement; however, that achievement is enhanced when students have as many connecting points as possible early in their student experience at UMD and a working knowledge of campus resources and success strategies.
The programs and services offered through FYE & SIT are planned and executed in collaboration with more than a dozen UMD departments and units, both within the ASSL area and from the other three vice chancellor areas. Following is a listing of the primary programs and services offered by FYE & SIT; more information about each of the listings is available at the FYE & SIT homepage and through links from the web site.
FYE & SIT program staff are committed to working collaboratively, feeling this is the most effective way to serve students and families as well as intra-UMD partners. Forming and maintaining strong working relationships with faculty and staff members from departments across UMD is considered a key strength of FYE & SIT. These strong working relationships allow the unit to offer more comprehensive programs and also provide a means to assist individual students with the best resources possible at UMD. Based on findings from annual assessments, students feel that FYE & SIT offers a welcoming place for students and the program has developed a reputation among students as a place where they can find help, no matter how complex their concern.
While FYE & SIT has achieved notable successes and program growth over the past few years, it also faces challenges while going forward. UMD’s increasing focus on retention and graduation of undergraduate students means that the demands on FYE & SIT programs are sure to increase, especially since freshman-to-sophomore retention is of special concern on campus. Program offerings, while successful, will need to expand and adapt to the changing needs of new students at UMD while retention plans are implemented. Many programs will need to be rebuilt from the ground up. Few of FYE & SIT’s current programs take place during the students’ second semester on campus. It is anticipated there will be a need to add additional services to address the needs of students beyond their first semester. FYE & SIT staff consider the preceding to be real and important challenges; however, they also feel these challenges present opportunities to be at the forefront of student-persistence efforts on the UMD campus. Therefore FYE & SIT staff look forward to working through these challenges and to improving the services being provided to UMD students.
The ePortfolio application and the Graduation Planner are complimentary software systems available through the University enterprise computing system. These on-line tools are readily available for students to efficiently plan for their learning experiences, document their learning outcomes, and manage their learning artifacts through secure on-line tools. UMD has championed and supported the development and implementation of both of these University system tools.
ePortfolio. The University ePortfolio project began in 1996 and was designed to support the vision of creating an environment in which staff and faculty work together to provide innovative, exceptional services to lifelong learners anytime, anywhere. It was designed to do this by giving students, faculty, and staff the means for generating and managing their own on-line learning records. Since the pilot was begun, there have been five versions; the one completed in 2003 became the base code of the Open Source Portfolio. A sixth University version is in the process of being created during the 2007-2008 academic year and will be released as open source software.
Portfolio is a secure web-based electronic information management tool providing University students, faculty, staff, and alumni the opportunity to create and share their educational and professional records and supporting documents. It is an online, integrated database where a variety of student records, work samples, and planning documents are electronically housed. Available to all University students, faculty, staff, and alumni, Portfolio provides a dynamic and efficient mechanism for integrating official University with self-reported academic, career, and personal information. Users can easily store, view, and selectively share this information with others anywhere, anytime via the web.
Portfolio is assessed in part on its overall usage and its integration into the curriculum. There are currently 59,000 individual users, who may store up to 5 GB per account. Total storage has doubled each year since 2003. The number of entry wizards (templates for academic programs) has increased from 23 to 47 over the past year. Development costs for ePortfolio at the University have been a challenge since the user interface needs continuous improvement to keep pace with rapidly changing user expectations.
Graduation Planner. The Graduation Planner project began in October 2002 as a University Enterprise project to:
General information about Graduation Planner is available through a link at the project’s homepage.
To build a system to display all degree requirements and course details, UMD needed to also build two additional databases. The first, ECAS (Electronic Course Applicability Systems), is a database which houses course information such as “term course offered.” The second, PCAS (Program and Curriculum Approval System), is a database which houses degree program requirements as well as course sequencing information. The course and degree requirements for each major and minor are displayed to the student from the APAS (Academic Progress Audit System) report. This allows the system to display requirements based on catalog year and not display course requirements that have been met through transfer, Advanced Placement, Post Secondary Education Option, or College in the Schools courses.
When Graduation Planner launched in fall 2007, members of the UMD and other University campuses were provided an easy to use, online web tool that puts all degree requirements at the fingertips of students and advisors. This tool allows them to have all the information the University has about a student’s completion of courses required for a degree program. The planner also provides a safe environment for students to learn the planning process involving how to use and incorporate all information displayed to make informed decisions, how to build a plan and allow for flexibility, and how to collaborate with their advisers and other mentors to make sure the plan is solid. The generally helpful and supportive University atmosphere along with advisers and this online tool empowers students by giving them a chance to learn “how to learn” with guided support.
Since the Graduation Planner was just launched in fall 2007, UMD does not have a significant level of use numbers; however, weekly reports are generated that give basic statistical overall information such as the number of plans created, number of advisers who have viewed plans, total number of comments and responses, total number of plans with at least one comment, and total number of notes. University administration will be adding additional reporting features in 2008 and 2009.
UMD planning is framed around the changing needs of society and feedback from its internal and external constituents. The organization has made significant investments in its future through new initiatives in undergraduate and graduate programming, academic facilities, Native American education, information technology, advising, and graduation and retention. These investments demonstrate the organization's responsiveness to demographic trends and regional needs and its ability to successfully prepare for the future.
The organization’s resource base supports its educational programs and its plans for maintaining and strengthening their quality in the future.
As is true for all institutions of higher education, a sound financial base is vital to UMD’s ability to successfully fulfill its mission and its plans for maintaining and strengthening the quality of its educational programs in the future. Since the last accreditation visit ten years ago, the UMD budget model has maintained adequate flexibility to address the needs of the campus as changes have occurred and new priorities and initiatives were identified. From the 1995 transition report, through Vision 2000, to the current compact and strategic planning initiative, UMD has invested strongly in undergraduate and graduate programming to meet the needs of the state of Minnesota. Advising, facilities improvements, and a strong student recruitment and retention team have been essential elements of the UMD plan. The key to the future remains, as it was ten years ago, hiring and retaining high quality, energized, and committed faculty members who are supported by an outstanding staff.
The following sections identify and describe the processes related to determining allocations and monitoring finances for the UMD campus.
University policy mandates that “tuition assessments within the University of Minnesota as a public institution must reflect the shared responsibility, benefits, and needs of the state and of the individual student.” The Board of Regents establishes tuition rates annually and factors in issues of access, choice, retention, progress toward degrees, the competitive environment, applicable state and federal policies and laws, and state appropriations to the University.
Similar to many states, Minnesota has reduced its proportionate funding to higher education over the last two decades. The data in Table 5.1 below, show the relative proportion of UMD revenue derived from state appropriations and student tuition and fees for the three most recent fiscal years. State support represented 39% of UMD revenue in FY 2007. UMD relies more heavily on tuition and fees for needed revenue.
Fiscal Years 2005-2007
NOTE: This table includes Current Unrestricted and Restricted Funds
As shown in the above table, tuition income has assumed a larger role relative to state support in the last decade. Increases in tuition at UMD have been higher than the inflation rate and have ranged from 2.4% to 13.6% annually for undergraduate tuition since 1997 and from 4.7% to nearly 18.1% for graduate tuition. Also, a base tuition assessment of $75 per semester was charged in FY2002 and that assessment has increased to $500 per semester in FY2008. Overall, tuition rates have increased by an average of 229% since FY1999. The tuition increases from FY2007 to FY2008 for UMD students average 2.4% . Whether a similar relatively low rate of increase can be maintained beyond the current year has yet to be determined, of course. In addition, there have been increases in existing fees at UMD such as the student service fee and the basic computer and technology fee. On the other hand, UMD has nearly eliminated all course fees.
A troubling pattern emerged over the past 10 years resulting in the undergraduate tuition rate on the Duluth campus being higher than the comparable rate on the Twin Cities campus. UMD received an additional $900,000 allocation from the University administration in FY2008 to mitigate that trend. The UMD undergraduate tuition rate is now approximately $125 per semester below the tuition rate on the Twin Cities campus; and as noted above, the rate of increase for UMD students this year averaged approximately 2.4%. The overall increase in tuition over the past 10 years has been $206 per credit.
Reflecting its concern about the rate of increase in tuition, UMD has taken some steps to lessen the burden of these rate increases on its students during the past decade. First, the base financial aid budget at UMD has increased every year by at least the rate of the tuition increase, attempting to use the additional financial aid dollars to offset the increased tuition rates. Second, UMD has increased the financial aid budget by $1 million to ensure that any Minnesota resident who is PELL-eligible, receives the equivalent of a full tuition scholarship to attend UMD. While the tuition rate remains high in relation to peer institutions, this action ensures that those Minnesota students least able to afford an education have the opportunity to attend UMD with less concern for the cost of tuition.
In addition the preceding, two merit-based aid programs have also been established at UMD. The Best in Class program provides 50% tuition scholarships to any student in the state of Minnesota graduating first or second in his or her high school class. Currently UMD has approximately 250 of these students on campus, which has improved our academic profile and makes us competitive with peer and private institutions that compete for those students with varying financial aid packages. The campus has also added $328,000 for the Iron Range scholarship program which each year makes $2000 scholarship awards to students from the state of Minnesota. The fund source is royalty payments paid by mining companies who conduct some portion of their operations on state lands owned by the University. Finally, two years ago, UMD received a supplemental allocation $1 million from University administration to increase the amount of financial aid on the campus. The admissions office identified a method of distribution which was felt to be most effective and attractive for bringing students to the campus. In addition to normal merit-based programs, they recommended that a significant portion of the funds be used to attract diverse populations and transfer students.
In order to compare data and information as well as performance on a number of measures, each of the campuses of the University has identified a group of peer institutions for comparison purposes. Figure 5.4, below, lists the institutions that currently make up UMD’s “peer group.”
University of Minnesota Duluth
Table 5.2, below, shows areas of expenditures per FTE enrollment for fiscal year 2006 for UMD and its peer group. As indicated in the table, the total expenditure per FTE enrollment for UMD and its peers for FY06 is approximately the same, $15,491 for UMD and $15,681 for its peers.
Expenditures per FTE Enrollment
UMD and Peer Institutions
(Fiscal Year 2006)
Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)
Table 5.3, below, reports the sources of and total revenue for FTE enrollment in fiscal year 2006 at UMD and its peer group. As reported in the table, total revenue for FTE enrollment at UMD is approximately 8% lower than at the peer institutions, $16,854 at UMD and $18,110 at the peers. The data also present the case made earlier that tuition and fee revenue at UMD is relatively high compared to tuition and revenue at its peers because state appropriations are relatively low. As shown, tuition and fees revenue per FTE enrollment is approximately 25% ($1,256) higher at UMD than for the peer group, while state appropriations per FTE enrollment are more than 50% higher ($2,252) for the peer group than is true at UMD.
Revenue Sources per FTE Enrollment
UMD and Peer Institutions
(Fiscal Year 2006)
Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)
The UMD campus has 54 buildings and nearly 1.7 million assignable square feet. The University and UMD continuously invest in maintaining and improving these facilities through capital improvement projects.
The University identifies its major physical resources needs within a six-year planning framework. This framework sets priorities and directions for continued capital and academic planning efforts, identifies the impact of additional University debt, assigns responsibility for capital fundraising, and forecasts additional building operational costs. The framework takes the form of a six-year capital plan, divided into three prospective biennial budget requests to the Minnesota legislature. The plan is updated on an annual basis and is presented by the University president to the Board of Regents who ultimately approve it. The six-year capital plan is shaped by five guiding principles:
Capital planning at the University begins with academic planning and identifying programmatic priorities and needs through a “compact” process, which will be described and discussed in more detail in section 2c. The capital planning process merges campus, collegiate, other unit and disciplinary priorities, needs, and conditions into distinct project proposals.
New capital projects progress through a four-phase identification and planning process. First, chancellors, vice presidents, deans, faculty, and officers from academic or administrative units identify potential projects. During this phase general program and facility needs as well as potential risks are assessed. In the second stage, academic, finance, and operations staff review the academic and programmatic needs and principles, facility condition, financial and legal constraints, and project logistics. Third, based on this review, the University president then recommends a six-year capital improvement plan to the Board of Regents. The president’s recommendation includes planning and feasibility, resource acquisition, and pre-design details. During the fourth stage, funding approval is secured and the design and construction process is finalized.
As noted previously, UMD has successfully worked with University administration and the legislature to obtain funding for construction or renovation of several buildings on campus since the last accreditation visit. Table 5.4 identifies the construction projects and provides information about each.
Major Construction Projects at UMD
legislative request is for the entire system, and it generally is not campus
specific. In other words, there are not legislative allocations designated for
UMD. There are two exceptions. First, the major capital allocations
process described above identifies buildings and projects specifically for a
campus; and second, funding of "state specials" is designated
specifically for programs by campus. UMD received a state special allocation of
$3.25 million for the current fiscal year to help support the work of the
Natural Resource Research Institute (NRRI) and the Bureau of Business and
Economic Research (BBER) in LSBE.
Aside from capital
and state special allocations, the legislature gives the University relatively wide
discretion in how state funds are spent. The University's legislative request
outlines its goals and specifies the funds believed necessary to achieve them.
The actual legislative appropriation is in very broad categories, and the
University is responsible for allocations for specific purposes within the
that UMD receives from University administration are now in almost every case
recurring in nature and can be used for long-term projects. The campus has taken a position that it will make some decisions on a recurring basis and others on a non-recurring basis. The majority of non-recurring allocations for the campus are made in two area, course access and facilities improvements. This decision has given the
campus the ability to respond quickly to changing student needs or curricular
demands and to provide needed facilities improvements that are large-scale in
nature rather than addressing facilities needs on a small project by small
project basis. In the past 10 years, this has resulted in the campus being able
to completely renovate the old library space and purchase and renovate Chester Park School with 100% campus-based resources, requiring no special legislative
funding request. UMD was also able to provide the required one third of the
financing for the legislatively supported capital projects identified
Private fundraising is an increasingly important source of funding within the University’s diverse revenue mix. Voluntary support of UMD by generous donors takes many forms and plays an important role in supporting the organization’s mission.
During the last 10 years UMD has averaged $7 million per year in gift income. Given that the prior ten years averaged $1.7 million per year in gift income, there has clearly been good news related to this increase this increasingly important source of funding for UMD. Information on how these gifts have assisted UMD in moving forward is available in hardcopy form from the Development Office. Following are some of the most important facts and figures related to the incredible success achieved by the UMD Development Office in generating gifts for UMD in the past decade.
To help achieve these results, UMD conducted three campaigns:
Goal $28 million; achieved $37.5 million
Goal $1.2 million; achieved $1.4 million
Goal $21 million; achieved to date, $19 million
UMD’s future fundraising efforts will be built on the strength of the past. There is currently an effective and experienced development team in place. With the hiring of a new development director for the College of Liberal Arts, all of the key collegiate units and other units have development staff. In the fall of 2008, the silent phase of UMD’s next campaign will begin. At that time and for the next seven years, UMD will be a part of the University of Minnesota Foundation’s plan to raise $2.5 billion. Neither the goal for UMD nor the overall campaign theme has been determined yet. UMD’s plan for the campaign is to:
i.e., CAPACITY + PROPENSITY = GIVEABILITY.
UMD has demonstrated its ability to adapt to decreased state support over the last decade while continuing to manage its operations in a fiscally responsible manner that focuses on providing high quality education as identified in the current mission. The fact that UMD’s revenue per FTE enrollment is considerably lower than its peer institutions presents a challenge for continuing to achieve this and other parts of the mission. However, as has been the case recently, through diligent planning and management of resources, UMD will continue to be successful in strategically allocating its resources in alignment with the organization’s priorities and the needs its constituents.
The organization’s ongoing evaluation and assessment processes provide reliable evidence of institutional effectiveness that clearly informs strategies for continuous improvement.
Evaluation and assessment processes related to determining the effectiveness of academic activities are described in Chapter 6. These include areas such as teaching evaluation, academic program review, assessment of learning outcomes, and the faculty promotion and tenure process. The sections that follow here identify and describe some of the other ways and areas where UMD determines institutional effectiveness and uses data and information for continuous improvement.
In 2000, the University Board of Regents approved the creation of the University Plan, Performance, and Accountability Report. In its resolution the Board noted its “[accountability] to the public for accomplishing the mission” and that the report should be the principal documentation of that accountability. The first University Plan, Performance, and Accountability Report, prepared for 2001-2002, was followed by an update for 2002-2003. In 2003, the Minnesota legislature took action making these reports the University’s “principal accountability report to the legislature and the state” and the reports were prepared using a substantially re-designed format for 2003-2004, 2004-2005, and 2005-2006. The most recent of these reports is referred to as the 2007 report. Since each of the reports includes a section dedicated to each of the University campuses, the UMD “Plan, Performance, and Accountability Report” for each of the years this reporting process has been used can be found using the “Duluth” link from the contents list of the online versions.
Each year, an early draft of the above report is presented to the Educational Planning and Policy Committee of the Board of Regents for review and comment at its December meeting. Based on these comments, as well as analysis of substantial additional data and performance measures received during December and January, the University administration then prepares the final report for submission to the Regents and the Minnesota legislature in February.
As described in Chapter 4, the University Office of Internal Audits, is responsible for providing independent, objective assurance and advisory services designed to provide internal control and add value and improve operations of the University. In carrying out its mission the internal audit unit utilizes a framework which considers factors such as risk assessment, ethical values, competency of personnel, unit mission, and quality of communication about policies and procedures. They conduct internal audits of all University units on a 3-, 4-, 5-, or 10-year cycle, depending on four risk assessment categories ranging from high to low-risk situations. Audits are conducted out of cycle if questions are raised about a unit’s financial practices. An auditor and one staff member of the University Office of Internal Audits are located at UMD and are directly involved in audit activities involving UMD units.
Members of UMD’s administrative leadership group and others on campus recognize and value the important role relevant and accurate data and information play in making informed decisions. In particular this is true for those involved in the areas of strategic planning and measuring institutional effectiveness. Having and using relevant and accurate data and information is the key to making informed decisions related to improving educational and business processes and maximizing the use of resources at UMD. Members of the University system administrative leadership group also subscribe to the preceding as evidenced by the establishment of the University Office of Institutional Research (OIR). Figure 5.5 includes a description of the function of OIR at the University and includes links from the OIR homepage to illustrate some of the types of data and information the office collects and provides.
Data and information from OIR are used regularly at UMD for monitoring performance on key measures of institutional effectiveness, to inform campus planning, as a basis for policy formation, and generally to improve decision-making at all levels. The data and information available from OIR provide a reliable overview of performance and inform planning and budgeting processes at UMD.
To better use the many sources and relatively large amounts of information and data available from the system-wide OIR and to help analyze and interpret what is available, UMD has a Director of Institutional Research who is a member of the VCAA staff. The director is knowledgeable about various University databases and data sources and provides information and analyses for UMD administrative leadership, other key campus decision-makers, and anyone seeking University or UMD data and information. Additionally, the director designs, directs, and supervises data collection and analysis as needed by members of the campus community and coordinates the preparation and submission of campus data and information for University and other surveys and reports.
The UMD Institutional Research Office annually produces three major data reports for the campus: Campus Data Book, Student Credit Hour Report, and All Student Profile. The Campus Data Book information and data related to programs, students, personnel, budget, and other areas specific to UMD. While much of the data included in University reports is aggregate data for UMD overall, the Campus Data Book breaks the data down and presents it for each vice chancellor area, collegiate unit, and so on. The Student Credit Hour report provides summary data on student credit hour attribution production for the campus overall, by collegiate unit, and by department. The All Student Profile provides summary demographics for the UMD student body. The breakdown of data and information provided by these reports is useful for UMD decision makers who have come to depend on it and is available online as well as in hardcopy from the UMD Institutional Research Office.
The ongoing evaluation and assessment processes conducted by the units and staff in the Academic Support and Student Life (ASSL) area provide the best example at UMD of using a more formal and structured approach for achieving continuous improvement in areas outside of academic administration. As noted at the bottom of the “Links” section at the ASSL homepage, the area has identified two initiatives, “Continuous Improvement” and “Vision and Strategy.”
The continuous improvement initiative relates to the units and staff adopting and using the Baldrige National Award for Quality (BNAQ) criteria for performance excellence and the BNAQ process for assessing performance. The process involves developing, identifying, and continuously assessing performance on measures and standards in the following seven key areas: leadership; strategic planning; customer and market focus; measurement, analysis, and knowledge management; human resource focus; process management; and results. Those in the ASSL participated in BNAQ process over a period of several years. One of the outcomes of this was the emergence of the “ASSL Learning Cycle,” which “incorporates organizational learning by sharing across and within units via Group Leaders meetings, ASSL and Unit Process and Support Teams, Quarterly Reviews, and Group Leaders Quarterly Retreats.” The ASSL Learning Cycle provides a structure for units and staff to continuously focus on the needs of their major stakeholder, students.
The most recent comprehensive review and evaluation of ASSL using the BNQA process was completed in 2005. The “Feedback Report” from that review stated that, in general, consistent strengths were found in the BNQA categories of leadership; strategic planning; customer and market focus; measurement, analysis, and knowledge management; and human resource focus. Opportunities for improvement were found in the areas of process management and business results.
Information provided for the “Vision and Strategy” initiative indicates that ASSL has developed and adopted a set of core values, a strategy, and measures to track progress in accomplishing its strategy. The web site information states that ASSL has adopted the following as key activities or strategy for 2007-2008:
Measures to track performance on the above areas have also been identified and are included as part of the web site information.
Administrators and others at UMD use data and information from evaluation and assessment processes to determine institutional effectiveness and achieve continuous improvement. As evidenced by the array of sources and uses of data and information, members of the UMD campus community firmly believe that one of the keys to informed decisions is the availability of relevant and accurate information and data. The examples given in this section demonstrate that data and information available from University and UMD sources is being used for evaluating and assessing processes and performance to determine institutional effectiveness, achieve continuous improvement, and provide information for planning for the future. UMD administration and others on campus are committed to and promote the use of ongoing evaluation and assessment at all levels to prepare for the future.
All levels of planning align with the organization’s mission, thereby enhancing its capacity to fulfill that mission.
As a result of its effort to continuously improve processes, the University has developed and used a variety of planning processes over the years. As a coordinate campus in the system, UMD’s planning at the highest level must align with the University planning process. However, UMD and the other University coordinate campuses have been able to develop and use processes that fit their unique environments while working within the broader University process. The following sections explain the most recent University planning processes and how UMD has worked within them.
As noted earlier, in 1998 the University developed a system of agreements or “compacts” in an effort to coordinate planning and accountability within academic and administrative units. The intent of the process is to provide a framework for discussing past and future strategic goals, fiscal issues, and responsibilities. The written compact documents are essentially agreements between a University senior manager and each of the coordinate campus chancellors, each of the collegiate unit deans at the Twin Cities campus, and the executive officer at most of the support units at the Twin Cities campus. The general intent or purpose of the compact is to better align the directions, investments, and actions of campuses and units with broad University goals. Key areas of content in the annual compact documents include:
More specifically, the compacts outline each unit’s direction and performance indicators in areas such as strategic planning and goals, programs, and evaluation procedures. Figure 5.6, below, identifies purposes of a compact and presents an outline of components to be included.
Compacts have been submitted by UMD administration each year since 1998-99, except for 2003-2004. An important advantage of the compact process is that it results in a rather general dialog between UMD campus administration and University central administration concerning strategic goals, objectives, and outcomes as well as processes. The compact document includes a proposed financing plan associated with the stated goals involving both revenue sources from the campus as well as from University central administration. Revenues may be either recurring or non-recurring. After a spring compact meeting, University central administration sends UMD a revenue allocation commitment for the upcoming year. The 2007-2008 UMD compact was submitted to University central administration in early April 2007, and discussion with University central administrators took place in mid-April 2007. A total allocation of $2.9 million new recurring funding and non-recurring funding was made to UMD in May 2007 which allowed UMD administration time to complete budget and program planning for 2007-2008. As noted previously, perhaps the most important part of the University compact process is the dialog between UMD and University administration which results in them working together to successfully arrive at a set of goals for key operations for the following year and revenue sources for achieving the goals.
The University is now engaged in a new system-wide strategic positioning process that was outlined in a strategic positioning report titled The University of Minnesota: Advancing the Public Good, Securing the University’s Leadership Position in the 21st Century, A Report of the Strategic Positioning Work Group, February 2005. In March 2005, the Board of Regents unanimously approved a resolution related to the strategic positioning plan they had discussed with the administration at their February 2005 meeting. Additional recommendations related to the strategic positioning plan were made to President Bruininks in reports from two task forces at the end of March 2005: Academic Task Force Report and Recommendations: Academic Positioning, Report to the President, March 30, 2005 and Administrative Strategic Planning Task Force, Report to the President, March 30, 2005. Based on the preceding reports and other reports and activities, President Bruininks presented his strategic positioning recommendations to the Board of Regents in a report titled Transforming the University of Minnesota, President’s Recommendations in May 2005; and the Regents approved the plan that began to be referred to as “Transforming the U” in June 2005.
Considerable information about the development and current status of this strategic initiative is presented at the Transforming the U web site. The web site provides links to the reports referred to above and to a variety of other reports and sources of information related to the initiative, including a timeline of project activities from August 2004 to the present. Perhaps the most relevant and informative report for readers is one titled “Transforming the U for the 21st Century,” a September 2007 strategic positioning report to the Board of Regents by President Bruininks.
As work on Transforming the U has progressed since its formal approval, it has become the major system-wide strategy initiative and comprehensive plan for the future. As stated in reports and information describing the initiative, “The expressed goal of Transforming the U is to become one of the top three public research universities in the world and to achieve an equivalent standard of excellence for our coordinate campuses and other statewide resources.”
Most of the strategic positioning work at the coordinate campus level was carried out in response to the charge from University President Bruininks in his May 2005 recommendations to the Regents that:
Under the leadership of the Senior Vice President for System Administration, each coordinate campus should initiate or complete a process to establish a financial and academic accountability framework under which it will operate and its annual progress will be evaluated—within its own context and consistent with its history and mission. . . . The process will begin by gathering background data and analyzing a series of demographic, programmatic and fiscal issues the campuses face. . . . The data will then be used to frame an academic and fiscal accountability model and operating assumptions and to drive a long-term strategic planning and accountability process for the campus. (Source: President’s Recommendations to Board of Regents, May 6, 2005, pages 19-20)
Based on the framework set forth and direction given by President Bruininks, in late 2005 the Chancellor established a number of subcommittees to draft a response to the President’s request for a UMD Strategic Positioning Plan. Subcommittees comprised of faculty, staff, and administration were constituted for the following areas:
The charge given to each subcommittee was to prepare a response to the following four questions:
The following outline identifies the timeline and types of activities involved for completing the UMD strategic positioning work:
Currently, UMD administration never assumes a planning report is final. Therefore, all submitted reports are stamped Draft because they will be under constant review and subsequent change. The current draft "UMD Strategic Positioning" document outlines goals, proposed plans for carrying out the goals, and a set of assessment procedures.
The UMD budget request process begins by asking each vice chancellor to identify budget needs and requests for the upcoming year. Each vice chancellor determines and uses whatever method is considered appropriate for collecting this information and aggregating it for his area. The requests from the vice chancellors are aggregated to create a draft of a UMD campus request in a single document. The vice chancellors review the draft UMD budget request document to ensure it is complete and includes the highest priority items for the campus. They then meet with the chancellor to discuss which items should be funded and at what level they should be funded. While the chancellor consults with the vice chancellors regarding items in the budget request, given her responsibility and authority as UMD’s chief executive officer, the Chancellor makes the final decision on the budget request.
As is true for every organization, there are a number of budget needs that are essentially nondiscretionary. They include utilities, employee compensation, and facilities operation. After determining the level of funding needed for nondiscretionary expenses, the requests for discretionary expenses are reviewed. Principles used to guide the decision on discretionary expenses are related to priorities established by the chancellor and vice chancellors during the planning process leading up to soliciting final requests from the vice chancellors. Every effort is made to make budget decisions after the full budget picture is known including but not limited to the size of the University budget, projected tuition and fee revenue, and an estimate of the UMD allocation from University administration, as well as fiscal information about the individual unit requesting financial support within each of the vice chancellors’ requests. Once completed, the budget decisions are shared with the Budget Committee of the Campus Assembly.
As the overall UMD budget allocations are being made, a spreadsheet is developed each year to identify the strategic priorities of the campus that have been allocated resources, both recurring and non-recurring, to support those priorities. The discipline of this process has resulted in significant recurring and non-recurring budget carry-forward balances both at the campus level and within the collegiate and major administrative units. The total carry-forward balance in FY08 is $45 million; however, many of these carry-forward funds are, in essence, designated for use or encumbered. These balances have provided considerably more discretion for use of the central funds than had been the case 10 years ago. Implementation of the current compact planning process in coordination with university-wide strategic positioning has resulted in the most rigid connection of the coordinate campuses to system-wide University processes.
A spreadsheet documenting historical allocation of central campus resources to unit needs presented by each vice chancellor for FY 1997 to FY 2007 was recently reviewed for planning purposes. The review found that during these ten years approximately $81 million from central campus resources has been allocated to campus units. System-wide special assessments, retrenchments, and more recent cost pool allocations for central services have totaled $63 million during the past 10 years. Less than 3% of central campus expenditure were made to a budget area not identified in the planning discussions and documents.
An institution’s priorities are made evident though its budgeting choices. UMD has been successful in aligning financial planning with its mission as described in the annual compact and budgeting process and the strategic planning process. The budget is developed in conjunction with administration at all levels and is responsive to the current needs of the campus. UMD has invested in strategic areas based upon the needs of our constituents and has been successful in meeting its goals.
This chapter described UMD’s allocation of resources and its processes for evaluation and planning. The information and examples provided demonstrate UMD’s capacity to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of its core activity, educating students, and its ability to respond to future challenges and opportunities. While reviewing the planning processes, allocation of resources, and preparation for the future at UMD, the following strengths and areas for improvement were identified.
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