Regents focus on the future at meeting

A glass apple with the regents seal on it

Throughout the last year, the University of Minnesota worked to deliver on its mission, enhancing the wellbeing of the state, its economy and all Minnesotans.

At its meetings this week, Regents considered and acted on opportunities to ensure continued advancement of these goals, including:

Review of President Eric Kaler’s recommended FY18 annual operating budget
The budget reflects President Kaler’s commitment to providing an affordable, high-quality education; excellence in instruction, research and public engagement; and reducing administrative costs. It is sensitive to the financial burden tuition and fees place on students and families, while recognizing the need for the University to remain competitive and maintain excellence. You can read the full budget proposal in the meeting docket materials and/or a press release summary.

Regents are seeking feedback on the proposed operating budget from the public and members of the University community via a new online feedback form. More details can be found on the Board’s website. Regents are expected to act on the operating budget during a special meeting on June 20.

Approval of the FY18 annual capital improvement budget
To ensure the University is equipped to deliver on its mission and Kaler’s vision, Regents approved capital projects totaling $275.5 million to begin design or construction in FY18. Many of the projects were previously included in the institution’s 2017 capital request to the state, including the Chemistry and Advanced Materials Sciences Building on the Duluth campus. The capital budget primarily includes internally-funded projects, such as general renovations and routine repair and replacement intended to preserve the University’s capital assets.

Discussion of continued progress toward being an effective and efficient organization
Since taking office, Kaler has focused on increasing the University’s efficiency and effectiveness. Through the Operational Excellence initiative, the University has committed to reallocating $90 million in administrative costs by 2019 to higher priority uses. With two years remaining, $68.5 million has been reallocated. Regents discussed this progress and next steps, and reviewed how Kaler’s proposed operating budget will impact the institution’s financial picture during the next five years.

Approval of the System-Wide Strategic Plan framework
Regents approved the System-Wide Strategic Plan framework, which includes feedback received since their review at the May meeting. The framework will be utilized to guide further planning and implementation by President Kaler’s and campus chancellors’ leadership teams.

Consideration of new sexual misconduct policies
Regents reviewed sexual misconduct policies intended to advance the University’s sexual misconduct prevention and response efforts. Together, these policies provide definitions, prohibited conduct and disciplinary procedures as well as resources system-wide. Action is expected in July. 

Continued work toward inclusive excellence
Regents discussed unconscious bias in hiring and promotion. The presentation included Executive Vice President and Provost Karen Hanson and representatives from the Office for Human Resources and Office for Equity and Diversity. Also, in a work session on diversity in undergraduate enrollment on the Twin Cities campus, Board members discussed how the University can better channel its resources to address the growing needs of minority communities in the Twin Cities and across Minnesota.

The Board also:
Elected new leadership. Regent David McMillan was elected chair and Regent Ken Powell vice chair. Also, Brian Steeves remains as corporate secretary and Senior Vice President of Finance and Operations Brian Burnett as treasurer. McMillan and Powell will assume their roles on July 1 for a two-year term.

Received a report from the Faculty Consultative Committee (FCC). In this annual update, FCC Chair and Associate Professor of Pharmacology Colin Campbell reviewed work on student mental health, equity and diversity, the system-wide Strategic Plan framework and more, as well as future leadership of the FCC. Following his report, Campbell was recognized for his service as chair the past two years.

Read President Kaler’s report to the Board.

The Board will meet again June 20 in a special meeting to act on the FY18 operating budget. For more information, including meeting times and locations, go to the Regents website.

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