October 16, 2016 (PDF Summary)

Groups represented:

  • Council of Deans and Academic Administration
  • Vice Chancellors for Finance and Operations/Student Life Directors
  • Student Association
  • Staff Assembly
  • Faculty Assembly
  • Chancellor’s Senior Leadership Council

Benefits of being part of the system

  • We are proud to be part of the UMN System, with its strength of reputation/academic excellence. The UMN brand enhances credibility and reputation. Assists in recruitment of students, faculty and staff and leads to job opportunities for graduates. 
  • Shared resources such as economies of scale in purchasing, instrumentation at low cost that we wouldn’t typically have access to and small internal funding sources.
  • Lobbying leverage with the state legislature - implications for resources.
  • Opportunity for interactions with colleagues system-wide. Colleagues on all campuses can provide guidance to each other and develop research/scholarly/artistic collaborations. Many of these interactions start at “grassroots.”
  • Access to support services and expertise such as UMN Foundation, Office of General Counsel, Office of Human Resources and Emergency Management.
  • Interlibrary resources are good, but why don’t UMD people have access to full library resources?
  • Shared technology solutions such as OneStop and the Moodle platform and access to enterprise software licensing.
  • Student academic experience within the system. Transferring credits is really convenient. Certain campuses have specialty majors so easy to transfer to a different major. Students have opportunity to have continuity if they complete undergrad degree and then do grad degree at another institution. Inter-campus academic graduate programs are great.
  • Career offices collaborate really well with each other, which creates greater opportunities for our students. Combined job fair. Have “Gold Pass” (which started at UMD).
  • Common programs across the system, such as through OVPR (Grant in Aid/UROP).
  • Student access to various centers, Study Abroad, CEI, others.

Drawbacks/limitations of being part of the system

  • Changes to shared systems tend to be driven by what Twin Cities needs, rather than taking into account different needs and calendars on system campuses. Sometimes system programs/initiatives start at the Twin Cities and are expanded to other campuses, but don’t fit or meet system-campus needs. Examples include: PeopleSoft doesn’t understand 9-month campus or recognize UMD’s unionized environment. The job family study did not recognize the many roles of UMD staff members, perhaps because they varied from similar staff positions at UMTC.
  • There is a lack of understanding about UMD. UMD is treated as another academic unit, or a junior Twin Cities, rather than as a separate university. There is a perceived lack of recognition and attention from senior leadership and Regents.
  • UMD is swallowed up by the UMTC brand. Why doesn’t umn.edu direct people to a central site that points to all five campuses?
  • Many feel that UMD is frequently excluded from big decisions and little decisions. Many times UMD is asked after a decision has been made instead of being a part of designing solutions on the front end. Examples include the job family study and the decision to eliminate 15-passenger vans.
  • Left out of major system opportunities because they take place only on the TC campus and are not organized to accommodate travel. Examples include faculty having to drive to the Twin Cities for training/collaboration opportunities, inequities in access to training and development for staff and meetings that are organized for one hour each day instead of consolidated into one day to minimize travel. UMD faculty and staff have to go to the Twin Cities, despite the time and cost. 
  • Lack of clarity about what is a system opportunity and what is a Twin Cities-only opportunity. An example is around Grand Challenges, which was really only for TC, but communicated system-wide.
  • There is competition between UMTC and UMD for resources and for students. When Twin Cities expands its enrollment, it affects other campuses. Ease of transfer/movement hurts student retention and funding at UMD. UMD is dependent on UMTC for certain services (diploma printing, for example), so if there’s a problem, UMD is dependent on a direct competitor, which is awkward.
  • Sometimes the geographical distance slows down processes. There is a long wait time to access shared resources. There are extra steps in construction, dining services, purchasing in general, stores, real estate, contracts, OGC, etc.
  • Not enough clarity about who is ‘system staff’ and who is ‘TC staff’. There is a sense that system officers do TC work first and then address system issues.
  • Relationships help, but there should be a better systematic structure to facilitate collaboration among all of the UMN campuses.
  • UMD is smaller, so often gets held up by bigger projects at the UMTC. UMD issues aren’t prioritized. Lobbying efforts are split.
  • Lack of unity - we don’t really know too much about the other campuses.
  • Conflict of interest between President’s dual roles as president of System and UMTC chancellor.
  • Financial resources are collected at system level and distributed to different units to support their missions. UMD seems to be supported primarily as an undergraduate teaching institution, which means that they do not receive resources to adequately support UMD’s research mission.  A related example is that the Graduate School Cost Pool “taxes” all units, but preferentially invests resources in PhD programs.  This means that UMD, which has not been designated as a PhD-granting unit, makes cost pool payments that essentially subsidize UMTC-based graduate programs. 
  • One of the big strengths of UMD is the size – it is a great atmosphere for rapid change and bringing different groups together. Yet, UMTC decisions and structures may inadvertently stifle the ability to innovate at UMD.

Ideal future

  • System actions would be designed to work for all five campuses. If it doesn’t make sense to do something on a system-wide basis, it wouldn’t be done at all campuses.
  • Equitable representation and power of all of the campuses. When decisions are made at the system level, it would be clear how much input chancellors will have, each campus will have, etc. All the campuses would be at the budget table. Campuses would represent themselves to the BOR directly.
  • The input of all campuses would be valued and there would be recognition that they are telling the truth about their experience. Each of the campuses would be given enough time to participate in decisions and implement standards as appropriate to their unique needs. 
  • Branding would be system-wide, but maintain specific identities. University of Minnesota would mean all five campuses, not just Twin Cities.
  • Each campus would have its own identity and brand. We (students, faculty, and staff) know exactly who we are and why we are at UMD. We are proud of who we are and of our contributions to the UMN system. We want to enrich the system and hold on to the Duluth identity of a regional comprehensive institution with a distinct identity.
  • UMD would have more direct control for vision and planning directly at UMD. The system would be more like a confederation. UMD would be looked at as its own campus, rather than a collegiate unit.
  • UMD would be at the table with the Foundation, helping to set priorities and take the lead in developing relationships with various companies/foundations/funders. (Geography and size tend to trump all the decision-making, when this doesn’t always make sense.)
  • Signature programs at each campus would be appropriately resourced. Duplication of signature programs would be reduced, and each campus’s unique strengths would be supported as a way to enhance the system.
  • There would be a digital campus that is truly throughout the University of Minnesota System. This is where the best programs would be put online in one place.
  • Communications that are system-wide would be cognizant of all campuses. Goldy Gopher should be not on system-wide messages.  
  • Roles of system-wide officers and administrators would be clarified.
  • The expertise of people on all campuses would be leveraged, not just those at UMTC.
  • UMD’s size would be maintained to promote innovation. UMD wants to be able to leverage system resources but have autonomy to innovate. UMTC moves at too slow a pace for UMD.
  • Conflicts created by having a system president who is also the TC chancellor would be eliminated. This includes appointing a separate TC chancellor and designating a number of other positions as system positions, not overlapping with TC.
  • System-wide services would be housed at each campus, or have services on-site occasionally.
  • Students who apply would do so to the whole system. There would be a common application where people get to rank their choices by campus and maximize enrollment across the system. Have system-wide scholarships. Admission to system campuses would not be a consolation prize to people who are wait listed at UMTC.
  • There would be ways to build system community such as having a University transport system between UMD and UMTC or a U of M day that takes students get together across campuses. Have meetings between groups (students and faculty) who have similar roles on the multiple campuses. Capitalize on research; students from different campuses doing research together. How might a question be considered across the five campuses? A bigger job fair that incorporates all campuses and is accessible to students. Use virtual teams to enhance communication across system and support collaboration.
  • There would be equal access to resources and professional development opportunities offered at the TC campus for staff, faculty and students.
  • More and better relationships with our disciplinary peers on other campuses. While can be done at individual level, “greasing of the skids” by administration would be helpful.  We should foster a culture that values the strengths of each campus, recognizing that the UMN intellectual community is stronger as a whole than as a collection of individuals on separate campuses.
  • All campuses more recognized by board and administrators. BOR members would visit all of the campuses regularly. President of the System would spend time on campuses commensurate with the sizes of the campus. System administration would rotate their locations.