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Thursday, March 14, 2019

The final issue of the SCU

The System Campus Update (SCU) newsletter has run every other month for the last five years. It has helped us to share information across campuses and stay informed of projects and staff comings and goings.

However, things have changed. In a recent survey we sent to newsletter recipients, we found that the newsletter was no longer a critical component to cross-campus communication. Readers most valued project updates and system council news, but indicated that they get these kinds of information in other, more timely ways such as through project communications, meetings, and regular contact with their peers.

After careful consideration, we have decided to discontinue the System Campus Update newsletter. The SCU blog will remain available as an archive. We will also maintain the All Campus Google Group. Eleanor will continue to keep a pulse on system campus matters and has the ability to reach this audience on short notice. You may contact her directly with any needs.

We encourage you to continue sharing information in meaningful ways with those who need to hear it. This includes communicating with stakeholders in your projects, making sure to deliver critical information from system council meetings to your staff, and building relationships with colleagues across units. As always, system project statuses are available.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Eleanor's update (January 2019)

The holidays are over, the new year has begun, and we continue our projects and work. At the December BOR meeting, the draft of the 2018 University Performance and Accountability Report was shared. It was very interesting to see in a consolidated way what the system has been working on over the past year. There were some impressive accomplishments to which we have all contributed.

Sue's update (January 2019)

Spring term is off and running even though it still feels like winter. Thanks to all of you that have continued to finish fall term and prepare for the start of term activities. The government shutdown hasn’t impacted the University as much as other external areas, however, students have more hoops to climb through and some guardians and students may experience difficulty in paying their tuition bill. Hopefully, it will end soon.

Spring term is a time of preparing for administrative transitions. Also, Provost Hanson has taken leave until April and Vice Provost McMaster is filling her role. (Interestingly, Provost Hanson has been in the office every other day.) Jennifer Reckner and I are filling the vice provost role until Provost Hanson returns.

The University’s Strategic Enrollment Management group continues to meet monthly. They are looking at issues that impact all of us across the state.

The Twin Cities campus has a Liberal Education Redesign committee revisiting the requirements and developing one or more possible designs/models for a revised curriculum. An update was presented at the December BOR meeting.

I hope all of you are doing well and excited about all the change ahead of us.

December Board of Regents meeting

The December Board of Regents meeting was packed with several items of interest. They presented a near-final draft of the annual 2018 University Performance and Accountability Report (pg 178). The final will be presented in February’s meeting. The report is a reference guide to the University’s progress toward strategic goals. It is very comprehensive and includes all campus’ vision/mission, strategic planning, and Maroon & Gold progress.

As part of the Finance docket, nonresident/nonreciprocity UMTC tuition was presented. The resolution recommended nonresident/nonreciprocity UMTC tuition for 2020. While the full proposed budget will not be presented to the Board for review and action until June, over the last three years the University has increased the Twin Cities nonresident tuition rates at an annual average rate of 11.7%. For FY19, that rate ranks 12 out of 14 schools in the Big Ten.

The President recommends a 10% increase in the Twin Cities’ NRNR undergraduate tuition rate for FY 2020. This rate would apply to incoming students only. This is based on an analysis of comparative rates in the Big Ten, the quality experience offered to students, the potential impact different rate increases would have on recruitment and the effectiveness of corresponding discounting strategies. This recommendation includes a commitment to continue the practice of the last several years for continuing nonresident nonreciprocity students: holding their tuition rate increase to no more than 5.5%.

Department of Education Negotiated Rulemaking

Tina Falkner has been selected to serve as an alternate negotiator representing four-year public institutions for the current round of Negotiated Rulemaking with the federal Department of Education (ED). As an alternate, she will sit in on all the negotiations and confer with the primary negotiator about the proposed regulatory changes to the Higher Education Act (HEA) drafted and circulated by ED.

The ultimate goal of this kind of rulemaking is that all parties involved reach consensus on the proposed regulatory changes. This round of rulemaking covers a wide variety of topics ranging from eliminating the definition of the credit hour to expanding the types of institutions that are eligible to participate in federal Title IV financial aid programs.

You can read the proposed redlines of the portions of HEA that are being negotiated. Since this will take months, Tina will provide updates as the process unfolds. Please feel free to reach out to her with questions, concerns, or ideas for the negotiated rulemaking.

System Registrar Council (SRC) updates (January 2019)

Several Academic Policies are under review. The Academic Calendars policy, Class Scheduling policy, Holds on Records policy, and Using Email as Official Communication policy have each been reviewed and will be sent to the faculty committee for comprehensive policy review.

The updated Grading and Transcripts policy is now published. The policy was reorganized for clarity and we changed the deadline for resolving incomplete grades for undergraduates. The Policy Library includes a note that the new deadline for incompletes becomes effective for grades assigned in spring 2019 or later. There is a small group of staff working on changing the lapsing processes to reflect the new incompletes deadline for campuses other than Duluth.

Finally, the SRC will be reviewing a business case document about whether we should do any technical work to reflect the policy language for X and K grades.

System Student Finance Council (SSFC) updates (January 2019)

In December Nelnet gave the University permission to work with Wells Fargo to set up new Merchant Identification Numbers (MIDs) to facilitate credit card processing using the Nelnet payment gateway. Once the MIDs are assigned, ASR-IT Student Finance will work with the Nelnet Account Manager who will migrate the new MIDs to production. Once a MID is in production, ASR-IT will monitor to ensure that payments are processed under that number for each campus. The update takes just a few minutes and will not result in downtime. Billing and payment cycles will be kept in mind when scheduling the change.

Staff on each campus who use the reporting in UMPay to do reconciliation will have access to the totals processed under the new numbers. Until the new MIDs are in place, we will keep the current workaround we’ve had for the past several terms.