President's Draft Recommendation Update

May 8, 2018

Dear Campus Community,

As we end our academic year, I want to thank you. When I arrived in January, I knew UM was a special place. After four months, I have gained a deeper understanding of what makes our institution so special: your tireless commitment to students, to our wider community, and to our shared mission.

Change is on the horizon for UM. This reality poses a challenge and opportunity. In the coming year, we will create a UM that reflects a deep respect for the past and a serious commitment to a re-imagined future. As we consider this future together, I want to make clear some important points.

  • First, I am excited by our collective commitment to a re-imagined and innovative UM Core and to our strong Communities of Excellence. We have an opportunity to rethink how we deliver our core liberal arts and sciences education and to position ourselves as the institution that delivers this education exceptionally well. Together, we will reshape how we educate all of our students. The feedback I’ve received thus far gives me confidence that faculty are ready to build a UM Core and Communities of Excellence that set UM apart.
  • Second, I believe in our collective capacity to both address our structural deficit and sustain the high quality of our programs. These are not mutually exclusive goals, and we are the right people to achieve them. We are not debating the quality of our programs but rather exploring how we can deliver them in ways that ensure their sustainability and continued quality. Your good ideas are shaping my revisions to the draft recommendations. For example, I’ve heard the call to offer languages through the lens of culture and to offer a single major in World Languages and Cultures. I’ve heard the call to maintain our graduate degree in anthropology. These are just two of many examples. We will get this right because you are engaging.
  • Third, I want to be clear that solving our structural deficit requires a two-pronged approach. 
    • We will adjust and align our academic programs to allow for sustainability and quality. I thank all of you who have provided detailed feedback on my draft recommendations. This work will continue into the fall.
    •  Meanwhile, we will work to build revenue through increased enrollment. This spring, we launched a successful re-recruitment campaign that placed a laser focus on student persistence. We also developed new efforts to encourage students to register for summer, and we are on track for one of the largest summer enrollments in recent years.  Also, I am working to identify exactly where in our recruitment and admissions work we need additional resources to bring in new students. I am seeking external funding to address these recruitment needs, and I am confident that we will find new resources to support our recruitment efforts.
  •  Fourth, I have worked with Acting Provost Paul Kirgis, our incoming Provost Jon Harbor, the Executive Committee of Faculty Senate, and the University Faculty Association to outline a clear timeline for our collective work around my draft recommendations. I share this timeline below.

Here is why I am confident in the UM of tomorrow: we are a resourceful, persistent, creative, and bold community of faculty and staff. The challenges ahead are not small, but our ability is great.



May 12 The deadline for submitting feedback through the online survey is May 12. Meanwhile, ECOS will continue to analyze the feedback they’ve collected from faculty and will share that feedback with the President.

May 23 The President will provide an update at the Board of Regents meeting. The only item up for approval by the BOR in May will be the new Mission Statement. Everything else presented will be informational. The President will share that he has presented draft recommendations and that the faculty and wider community have reviewed and provided input on these draft recommendations, which will be refined over the summer in response to the input received. He will share that we have started important conversations around potential reorganizations, discontinuances, and curtailment.

Summer 2018 The President will work with the deans and the provost to consider the feedback collected to date, using this feedback to revise his recommendations. These revised recommendations, which include the workforce reduction plan, may reflect increases or decreases in FTE reduction numbers by area.

Early Fall 2018  The President will submit his revised recommendations to the campus community and will give Faculty Senate a final opportunity to review and make recommendations on the reorganizations, discontinuances, and curtailments.Proposed reorganizations that entail curricular changes will go through the appropriate Senate committees. 

The Administration will work with the UFA and Faculty Senate to develop a timeline for officially noticed attrition.

Late Fall 2018 After considering the feedback on his revised recommendations, the President will submit his final version of the Strategy for Distinction

If, after considering officially noticed attrition, curtailment is necessary for particular units to achieve the requisite faculty reductions, retrenchment plans for those units will be developed and submitted to the Review Committee, in accordance with the terms of the CBA. 

Spring 2019 The retrenchment plans will be submitted to the Commissioner, then go to the Board of Regents.