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Updated 2:30 PM September 19, 2005




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Gramlich reconnects with U-M, SACUA

From learning about new University programs and initiatives to aiding U-M's ongoing response to Hurricane Katrina to the challenges of beginning a new academic year, Edward Gramlich has experienced a lot in two short weeks back on campus.

Gramlich has been a professor of economics and public policy at U-M since 1976; but was in Washington, D.C, from 1997-2005, serving as a Governor of the Federal Reserve Board. Now, he is back at U-M as interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

In his first meeting with the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs (SACUA) Sept. 12, Gramlich answered questions from the faculty governance group on a range of topics—many he addressed as a faculty member and administrator prior to leaving for Washington, D.C., in 1997.

"I was here fighting these same battles eight years ago, and now have come back and can see how they have turned out," said Gramlich, who served as the first dean of the School of Public Policy from 1995-97, and chair of the economics department in 1983-86 and 1989-90. The battles he references are how to deal with a continual decline in state support while addressing aging facilities, and the need for new and relevant programs with adequate facilities to accommodate them.

"I am impressed with the 'can-do' attitude here. Yes, money is tight; but we have to be strategic and not lose the vitality of the University."

Gramlich said he has met with all deans and has spent time helping coordinate
U-M's response to Hurricane Katrina.

"We put together a pretty extensive effort in a short amount of time," he said. "A lot of people should be commended. I am proud to be a part of it."

He shared his thoughts on a new flexible tenure proposal, saying if there are good academic reasons to extend the tenure clock for faculty, it would be considered. He also said faculty evaluations implemented last year by a SACUA committee could help administrators do their jobs better.

Gramlich also said U-M is more diverse than when he left, and that he hopes to keep faculty morale high while continuing to deal with decreased state funding.

"It's all part of the job," he said. "You have a lot coming at you every day, and have to have a 'quick bat,' as they say."

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