Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,
I write to provide a progress update on child care planning for the Twin Cities campus. The steps we will be taking were shaped by the recommendations of the Provost’s Child Care Advisory Committee (PCCAC) and were outlined in a message that President Kaler and I sent earlier this fall to the campus community.
Integration of the Shirley G. Moore Lab School (SMLS) and the Child Development Center (CDC) into a single, academically rooted program: Dean Jean Quam and I have convened a multi-constituent planning workgroup and a parent-faculty advisory team that will work together to shape a detailed plan for a unified, research-based program in the College of Education and Human Development. Parents, teachers, and staff of the CDC and SMLS will be centrally involved in this collaborative work, which will help to ensure that we create a new program that successfully incorporates the strengths of both existing programs. The CDC and SMLS will continue unchanged during the integration planning process, which is expected to take about 18 months.
As we emphasized previously, the integration of the CDC and Lab School will not displace children currently served or waitlisted in the CDC or Lab School, and all current CDC staff and teachers will be retained within the new integrated program. Information about the process and the committee members, together with a set of FAQs, may be found online at unifiedprogram.umn.edu. This CEHD website will provide informational updates throughout the planning process.
Phase-in of new child care capacity on or near campus: University Services Vice President Mike Berthelsen and his staff have been working with CEHD on expansion of the current CDC building to accommodate the children currently served by both the CDC and SMLS and to provide expanded capacity through additional infant care and part-time care. (This expanded capacity is both desirable for the campus, and it is consistent with academic planning priorities for University research and graduate training.)
Our September announcement emphasized our commitment to support the expansion of child care options through collaboration with external providers. To that end, University Services has developed an RFP for external providers that both minimizes institutional financial commitments and ensures external provider accountability. University Services has already identified two possible University-owned sites for this expansion of child care, one on the East Bank and one on the West Bank.
The University is now issuing an RFP to identify providers who can provide high-quality child care aligned with the guiding values recommended by the PCCAC. Issuing this RFP is the first step in a process that will take some months, but we believe we are in a strong position to identify external providers who can meet the University’s goals: deliver on best practices and meet stipulated quality criteria in programming and curricula; strengthen affordability and access for all families; offer part-time enrollment options; and offer care providers career wages and benefits comparable to those at the University.
Standing advisory committee on campus child care: As recommended by the committee, I will shortly convene a standing advisory committee as a vehicle for continued input on issues and options related to the child care needs of the campus community. The standing committee will also play an advisory role in the ongoing evaluation of child care programs established through collaborations with external providers. To draw on the thoughtful work of the PCCAC, this broader standing committee will include several members from that group, along with representatives from governance, union representatives, faculty and staff with salient perspectives and expertise, and student representatives. The charge and list of members will be posted soon on the Provost’s Child Care Planning Website.
The report of the PCCAC outlined how University actions to support accessible and high-quality child care for faculty, staff, and students benefit the University—by supporting University recruitment, retention, enrollment, and diversity efforts; by enhancing employee and student productivity and success; and by directly advancing the University’s research, education, and outreach, particularly in connection with our renowned academic strengths in early childhood education and child development.
We are happy to be making progress on these issues, and we will continue to consult with you and to provide updates to the campus. For those updates, please look to the Provost’s Child Care Planning Website.
Executive Vice President and Provost
Email sent December 19, 2018 to all Twin Cities faculty, staff, and students.