President's welcome back message — faculty and staff

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dear Colleagues,

The terrific new-semester energy is upon us. Welcome back to all of you.

I have a few important items to share:

  • The Board of Regents is set to meet today and tomorrow. I will be presenting new initiatives to hold down tuition and focus on some of our extraordinary academic and research strengths. View the full Board agenda and docket here (PDF).
  • I invite you to my Campus Conversation Tuesday, October 2, from noon to 1 p.m. I will share my assessment of the U's excellence, and I will discuss my strategic priorities for the coming academic year and beyond. You may attend in person on our Twin Cities campus or participate online. For more information and to RSVP for the Campus Conversation, visit my website.
  • Recently, I have been meeting with key legislators to discuss our 2013 legislative request. I want to reform the partnership between the U and the state. With the historic state budget cuts to the University over the past five years, the conversation must change. That will mean having a direct, data-based analysis of how state disinvestment results in tuition increases. It will also include a proposal to change how the state invests in its future by supporting research that's critical to the state's economy. To stay informed about our efforts, please sign up for State Relations Updates.
  • With our legislative agenda in mind, we are gathering names in support of the U. This is a mobile-device-friendly campaign and once people sign on to support the U, they can quickly Tweet their U of M pride. We want to deliver the names of thousands of University supporters to the Capitol in January. Click here to learn more and share your support.
  • To keep you up-to-date on our progress with Operational Excellence, we've launched a new, helpful, and interactive website to track the progress of our work. I greatly welcome your ideas, suggestions, and feedback. I have been working to implement Op-Ex since my inauguration a year ago. It's not an initiative or buzzword. It's a culture change, it's under way, and it will make us stronger and more effective.
  • For a bit of fun, check out this video we presented to our first year Twin Cities campus students at their Convocation. I hope you enjoy it.

Finally, let's all celebrate the start of another school year knowing that we are here for our students, and for the ideas, curiosity, and great service they will contribute to the future of this state, this nation, and the world. Let's take a moment, too, to celebrate our mission: to teach, to encourage lifelong learning, to change the world with important research, to prepare our students for the jobs of tomorrow, and to engage in innovative and productive ways with our state's and our world's diverse communities. We are all here for the advancement of knowledge and for the common good. I don't think there is any more important work to do than that.

Thank you for all you do for the U. I hope you have a great semester.


Eric W. Kaler