The University Record, September 21, 1992

Progress report marks 4th anniversary of Mandate

By Jane R. Elgass

A progress report on the Michgian Mandate from 1988 to 1991 has been released by the Office of the President, observing the fourth anniversary of the University’s blueprint for diversity.

The report highlights accomplishments that have been made in meeting the Mandate, described by President James J. Duderstadt as “a vision, a strategy and a series of concrete actions designed to build a multicultural academic community that will be a model for higher education and society at large.”

In a letter accompanying the report, Duderstadt notes that the document “stands as a record of our successes and continuing challenges. It is also a reaffirmation of our commitment to the goals of the Michigan Mandate.

“We have known from the beginning that the Mandate would not change our University overnight. Increasing the numbers of faculty, students and staff of color is only the first step in a long journey. Success will demand great effort and a considerable investment of resources—but we do have the most important thing we need to succeed: we have the determination.”

Among the accomplishments of students, faculty and staff to date:

n Over the first four years of the Mandate, the U-M has increased student-of-color enrollments by 53 percent. Fall 1991 statistics show that the U-M had the largest number of African American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American and Asian American graduate and undergraduate students in its history: 6,636 students, 20.1 percent of total enrollment.

n In addition, the University had the largest number of Hispanic/Latino, Native American and Asian American students at all levels—undergraduate, graduate and professional—in its history, and had exceeded, as well, the largest number of African American students in its history (compared with the prior highest number—2,456 in 1976).

n Graduation rates among students of color are among the best in the nation:

—68 percent for African American students.

—64 percent for Hispanic/Latino students.

Among the continuing challenges:

—Representation of minorities at the highest levels of the administration must be improved, especially after the reassignment of Vice President Henry Johnson and departure of U-M-Dearborn Chancellor Blenda J. Wilson.

— More needs to be done to improve the recruitment and success of minority faculty and students.

— Great challenges exist in the sciences and mathematics and the University has not made as much progress as hoped for.

Duderstadt calls the challenge to meet the goals of the Mandate historic, noting that “facing such challenges is not new to us; it is part of our history.” He adds, however, that “we should not underestimate the challenges ahead. The fact is that we are trying to overcome one of the most persistent and damaging flaws of human character: the need to define oneself by rejecting others.”

Duderstadt says that universities “have an obligation to lead and to provide models for others to follow. We are tied ever more irrevocably into the problems and possibilities of our society,” he said, adding that universities have some special advantages in meeting these challenges.

“Higher education is one of the few places in the segregated metropolitan world ... that is open to all. We have a foundation of values, academic as well as civic. In academia, we understand well that we do not all have to agree or be alike to subscribe to certain fundamental scholarly values and principles.

“In fact,” the president adds, “the very structure of the university is built on the idea that we can work together, judge people and ideas on their merits, thrive on debate, and at the same time protect people’s rights to hold a wide range of views and approaches. We are held together by a shared commitment to apply reason to human affairs—surely one of our greatest strengths in working toward diversity.”

Copies of the report will be mailed the end of this week to a number of academic administratiors including vice presidents, deans, department chairs and directors of academic units as well as all minority faculty members. Others may obtain copies from the President's Office, 764-6270.