But even with such an impressive goal, LS&A Dean Edie N. Goldenberg says its a small part of our needs. We cut back on our target to what we can achieve, to focus more and more on priorities in the face of a decent sense of reality. This is a major stretch for us, given what we have been raising in the past few years.
Goldenberg says LS&A decided on the stretch because the unit really is a superb liberal arts school progressively squeezed by budget problems. To maintain our excellence we need private, corporate and foundation funds to replace public funds the state cannot provide.
The dean says the results of underfunding can be seen in a number of areas:
Student-faculty ratios higher than those of peer institutions.
Insufficient financial aid for graduate and undergraduate students, particularly in the face of rising tuition.
The sorry state of the Colleges buildings, which average 60 years of age, displayed in crumbling ceilings and walls and burst pipes.
Inadequate quarters for many units, including the academic advising area, Comprehensive Studies Program and Womens Studies Program.
Limited facilities for students, such as breakout rooms, etc.
Our priorities are student support, faculty support, renovations and program support, and we are gearing up to be a success, Goldenberg states.
There is a large unrealized potential in our alumni, many of whom have a real affection for Michigan. They have an interest in maintaining the Colleges and the Universitys excellence because they reflect that excellence in their diploma.
The centerpiece of those priorities is a major push to reinvigorate undergraduate education. The kind of education that can be received at a strong research institution is unparalled, she says, and we must deliver that to all our students.
Students need to know more than ever before how to learn, to feel a joy about learning, to develop skills in critical thinking, quantitative reasoning and communication. These are needed just to be an educated person.
The best people to teach these things, Goldenberg states, are our faculty. Theyve spent a lifetime in education and are at the forefront of their fields. They know what questions to ask and how to answer them.
Im very excited about the positive payoff in having a superb research institution support undergraduate education. In order to function, a graduate school needs a strong liberal arts core.
Goldenberg is pleased with the overall emphasis on the undergraduate experience that is being reflected in Campaign goals in a number of ways, noting that some of the pieces may be small, but all contribute to make the whole a reality.
Among those pieces are support for an innovative undergraduate research program that this year will involve approximately 400 students. She hopes to see that grow to 1,000 students.
Also included are funds targeted for outstanding graduate student teaching assistants to help them make good progress toward their degrees.
Goldenberg feels the interdisciplinary nature of LS&A is one of its strongest points, and several Campaign goals are designed to enhance that strength.
These include a neuroscience program in conjunction with the Medical School; the Global Change project, which involves faculty, researchers and students in eight schools and colleges; and humanities programs.
A lot of schools are good at one or two things, she states. The U-M is good at many and superb at some. There is an astounding breadth of quality activities.
LS&A contains all of the liberal arts, she explains. The sciences, social sciences and humanities are in one college. There is ease of movement across fields for both faculty and students. The University is extraordinary in its support of interdisciplinary activities.
Our faculty care about their role as educators as well as scholars, Goldenberg says. They could be anywhere but they choose to be here because they care about the University. They give a special edge to our excellence and provide a truly exciting environment.
Our faculty can give students a sense of Ah ha, of shared discovery. They do it all the time and in a way that cant be done by schools that dont have research faculties.