The Review Committee for the Department of Population Planning and International Health (PPIH) met for the first time March 18.
John H. Romani, professor of public health administration who is on retirement furlough, chairs the review committee.
Also serving: Sheldon H. Danziger, professor of social work and public policy; Albert C. Cain, professor of psychology; Barbara A. Anderson, professor of sociology and and director of the Population Studies Center; and two students, Douglas M. Rammel, president of the Public Health Students Association and a graduate student in Public Health Services Management and Policy, and Beverly J. Layton, president of Public Health Students of African Descent and a graduate student in Public Health Policy and Administration. Alan Rosenfield, dean of the School of Public Health at Columbia University, has agreed to serve as a consultant. Patricia DuCharme, business manager in the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, is providing staff support.
In a March 11 memo to PPIH faculty and students, Provost Gilbert R. Whitaker Jr. encouraged them to participate in the departments upcoming review.
Whitaker outlined the purpose and function of the review committee and added, I will appreciate your responsiveness to the committees requests for information so that its consideration of the issues will be both thorough and timely. I am confident that Prof. Romani and the committee will provide a fair opportunity for the expression of different views about the viability of continuing the program in Population Planning and International Health.
Whitaker also said he believes that the partial lifting of the moratorium on the admission of students by Dean June Osborn and the Schools Executive Committee is a reasonable accommodation to the concerns students and faculty have raised about the review process.
The committee is being established in accordance with guidelines governing discontinuance of academic programs as set forth in Standard Practice Guide Section 601.2.
The committee will be charged to assess the quality and viability of this program as presently constituted.
The appointment of the committee is the first step in the review process. The committees report and recommendations will be made to the dean and Executive Committee, who will forward their recommendation to Whitaker after providing the governing faculty an opportunity to express its views at a formal meeting.
Whitaker will review the recommendations of the dean and Executive Committee, the views expressed by the governing faculty, and the findings and recommendations of the committee before making his recommendation for action to the Board of Regents, which has ultimate responsibility for decisions in this area.
Two PPIH students addressed the Regents at their March 12 meeting about the departmental review.
Andrzej Kulczycki, a doctoral student from Poland and a graduate of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said he came to the U-M because of PPIH and the Universitys worldclass reputation.
PPIH is a recognized leader in its field, according to Kulczycki. You do not go around cutting the most fruitful branches of your tree. It does not save money; it costs money. Its unwise. Its bad management.
The official reason given for closing PPIH was fiscal, Kulczycki said, but the figures do not add up. It defies imagination how the dean and the Executive Committee could chose to close a department which is adding revenue to a deficit-running school. Somewhere, accountability seems to be lacking.
Abigail Hunter, a first-year PPIH masters student, expressed concern that because of the uncertainty of the departments future, the U-M is losing top-notch prospective students and faculty it has been recruiting.
Every day we wait we lose these talented, eager and gifted people who can enrich our department and continue the tradition of excellence that has been established. This process is slowly strangling our departments resources and potential survival. How can we even sit here when this process drags on and on? Our message is simple: lift the moratorium now and reinvigorate our department.