Welcome to the 2017-2018 Academic Year

Welcome to another exciting academic year at Minnesota State universities. This year will present tremendous opportunities and extraordinary challenges.
Recently, Dr. Devinder Malhotra began his service as Interim Chancellor. The IFO is ready to work with Dr. Malhotra toward developing a working relationship built on trust and respect of shared governance, elements that were broken under the previous chancellor. We look forward to moving on from the previous administration and are very encouraged by the tone of Interim Chancellor Malhotra thus far.
IFO leadership, including FA Presidents, had the chance to meet with Dr. Malhotra in June and expressed a continued desire for the system office to truly listen to faculty perspectives as we work together to provide an exceptional education to our students. The Board of Trustees has embraced collaboration as a quality of senior leadership and has included it in the preferred qualifications for a new Chancellor. This was in direct response to the outpouring of input from faculty to the Board of Trustees. We anticipate a search that leads to a permanent hire that will continue to build a relationship with stakeholders built on trust and that recognizes the value of faculty.
We are excited to add Matt Smriga as IFO Director of Organizing to work toward enhancing our efforts to reach out and engage more faculty on each campus. Matt comes with deep experience in organizing and training to ensure we reach a maximum level of effectiveness in advocating for faculty. Please watch for Matt on your campus and if you’re interested in helping organize faculty on behalf of faculty please reach out to him at smriga@ifo.org.
The negotiations team continues to work towards a settlement on the 2017-2019 IFO contract. There is an exciting announcement coming out shortly about the agreement regarding our health and dental insurance. The agreement will greatly enhance our access to affordable high-quality health care. Please watch for an announcement next week.
While we have the opportunity to begin our year with this very good news, there are also storm clouds on the horizon for which you want to be watching. MnSCU is predicting a significant deficit for next year and universities are already beginning to plan for this coming storm by restricting or cutting spending now so as to mitigate the impact of next year. Be aware and please help your colleagues and community by participating in shared governance opportunities on your campus.  We need everyone to help us weather the storm.
We are also facing a challenge from another court case being pushed by anti-worker special interests through the U.S. Supreme Court. The Janus v. AFSCME case could dramatically alter the way unions across the country can organize and may diminish the effectiveness of your collective voice. However, the IFO has taken dramatic steps to combat these efforts and ensure we are organized and strengthened. The only way for us to beat those special interest and corporate interests that wish to weaken unions is through organizing and action.
We at the IFO wish you all the best this academic year. As always, please reach out to us with any questions or concerns. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with advocacy efforts and learn more about the protections of the IFO contract.