UMD admin resigns amid enrollment, budget woes

by Brian Edwards

Amid slumping enrollment, financial struggles and lawsuits, a high-ranking University of Minnesota-Duluth administrator announced her resignation on Tuesday
 
In an email to faculty members Tuesday, Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Andrea Schokker said she was proud of her time at the school but felt it was best to leave the position.
 
“After serious consideration I have decided it is time for me to step away from the EVCAA position,” she said in the email. “This is my decision after careful consideration of my work and home life and values,” she said, adding that she was not asked to step down. 
 
Schokker started in the position in 2012 and oversaw academic programs, admissions and financial aid, among other areas, according to a UMD press release.
 
UMD is facing a recurring deficit of about $4 million, said Rep. Jennifer Schultz, D-Duluth. 
 
“I don’t think this resignation is going to solve any of the budget problems,” she said.
 
In October, 13 former UMD students sued the University after a paperwork error by the school prevented them from receiving their teaching licenses. 
 
Schokker’s resignation comes as faculty members at UMD were prepared to hold a no confidence vote in Schokker and Chancellor Lendley Black next week, said John Hamlin, president of the University Education Association.
 
“The process by which decisions get made on campus is always questionable,” he said. “There is not any trust.”
 
But, he said the group will suspend the vote to see if the resignation changes how administrators deal with issues at the school. 
 
“I accept Dr. Schokker’s resignation with regrets but respect her decision,” Black said in an emailed statement. “I will work quickly to name an interim before beginning a national search to fill the position permanently.”