Chancellor’s Message: Revenue, overall budget picture is challenging

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Earlier today President Ted Carter shared with you his vision for a 3-year plan that he and the Board of Regents will discuss next Friday at their meeting. Based on the intense level of proactive planning and decision-making during these past months, you were already aware that our revenue and overall budget picture is challenging.

President Carter shared with you that budget reductions are imminent, and that a long-term view is important, to emerge following these challenges in a position of strength. The critical decisions that face UNK must not become overwhelming, especially as we take on this challenge together.

As we shared in our recent remote Cabinet Update, Vice Chancellors Jon Watts and Charlie Bicak have anticipated and been working to lead conversations among the deans and unit leads and have already implemented some decisions to strengthen our financial position as we continue to adjust from the pandemic crisis.

Using our campus strategic plan as a guide, and building from the strong leadership among our Deans Council, Faculty Senate, Staff Senate, Student Senate and our Strategic Enrollment Steering group, UNK will be addressing a 3.9% cut, or $2.8 million, over three years. Decisions will be made collaboratively, while staying focused on our students. You will understand that operations and personnel will not be able to continue at existing levels, and, some positions and supports will need to be eliminated. These decisions are never easy to make; know that I and the leadership team will do our best to treat everyone impacted with greatest respect and in some cases flexibility in meeting personnel changes.

I am eager to join President Carter and the board in leading a new system-wide strategic plan that will prioritize student success and access, faculty salaries, diversity and inclusion, and facility renewal and repair.

We indeed do have hard work ahead and our future holds great promise.

Douglas A. Kristensen, J.D.

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