Friday, March 2, 2012

Letter from President Kaler

 to University of Minnesota Faculty and Staff 

[Emphasis mine.]

Dear Colleagues,

I delivered my first State of the University address yesterday.
In it, I discussed new initiatives-some of which are moving forward, others that are ideas for exploration. 
The following are among them:

To advance our educational mission, I announced we will be

  • creating a competitive pool to incent faculty to pilot innovative uses of technology; and
  • re-imagining our yearly academic calendar to include three full semesters, beginning on the Twin Cities campus.

In the area of research we will be

  • establishing a much-needed and recurring research infrastructure fund; and
  • developing a new "entrepreneurial leave" program for faculty to partner with the private sector.

Finally, in the broad category of outreach and engagement, we will be continuing to address and reduce Minnesota's alarming educational achievement gap. As part of that effort, we will soon hold a "mini summit" with experts from across our campuses.

I also reviewed how my budgetary decisions last fall and going forward reflect my values and agenda: to do our best to hold the line on tuition increases and keep the U accessible for students from all economic backgrounds, to support excellent scholarship, and to hire more faculty.

I spoke of my commitment to reducing administrative costs, and announced that, for fiscal year 2013, I am proposing a zero percent increase in administrative cost pools, except for salary raises and financial aid. But I have budgeted a 2.5 percent salary increase for all employees to reward you after years of pay freezes, increased health care costs, and furloughs.

I hope you will take the time to read my speech.

I hope, too, you will continue to support our capital request efforts at the Legislature. I will keep you posted as developments unfold.

I've testified before the Legislature six times in the past five weeks. But I can't advocate for the U alone. So, please, let your elected officials know that the U requires strong support.

Thank you.

Eric W. Kaler

I will post some brief thoughts about this letter shortly.

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