The University Record, February 28, 1994

Management Institute participants get first-hand view of U’s inner workings

By Mary Jo Frank

Today’s followers seek the basics in their leaders: honesty, vision, competence, inspiration and intelligence.

Speaking recently at the 1994 Business and Finance Management Institute, Sally M. Johnson noted that the institute participants already are leaders or may become leaders in the near future. John-son is assistant director of personnel.

Johnson’s session on “Leadership for the Quality Era” is one segment of the Management Institute’s intensive nine-week program that is designed to provide professional and administrative staff with leadership and management training, as well as a broad perspective about the special needs of higher education.

Participants commit to two weekend sessions and seven full-day seminars. The current institute runs Jan. 14–March 11.

This year’s 35-member class is the third since the program was introduced by Executive Vice President Farris W. Womack in 1991. Five of the participants are from non-business and finance units.

The Management Institute is offered at no cost to participants or their departments, according to organizers Jill S. Blythman, senior executive secretary in the Office of the Associate Vice President for Finance, and Sue E. Burnett, executive assistant in the Office of the Executive Vice President.

Institute participants, they say, are expected to gain a deeper understanding of:

  • The place of higher education in society and the U-M’s place within higher education.

  • The issues facing higher education in the 1990s and beyond.

  • The “balance of powers” and decision-making processes that govern an institution of higher education.

  • The major divisions within universities and relationships among them.

  • Fiscal management in higher education.

  • How to manage people to achieve top quality service.

    Institute presenters share a wide range of perspectives on the University and higher education. They include President James J. Duderstadt, Regent Philip H. Power, executive officers, deans, faculty members, and directors of a number of business and finance units.

    The curriculum covers a wide range of themes, ranging from University governance, the University’s missions, budget planning and fiscal management to occupational safety and environmental health, development and fundraising, management of staff and leadership skills.

    Management Institute participants are enthusiastic about the opportunity to learn about facets of the University with which they weren’t familiar.

    One participant, Susan I. Monroe, architect in Facilities Planning and Design, says “I feel that I’m so much more aware of the various aspects of the University and how my work fits into the bigger picture. Now I know there are people out there I should be contacting. I need to know what is going on in their units.”

    Another participant, Virginia L. Geren, supervisor of photographic services for Purchasing and Stores, says presentations and discussions have given her a whole different view of the place where she works. “I now understand concerns and issues that occur in other parts of the University. It has given me an opportunity to look at what my unit does and how it impacts or impinges on other units,” says Geren, who has worked at the U-M for almost 25 years.

    Participating in the Management Institute has been “challenging and exciting,” says Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator Brian L. Clapham. He says the opportunities to talk with individuals from all parts of the institution and from various levels about issues affecting the University “have exceeded my expectations.”

    Michael A. Anthony, design engineer in Heating and Utilities, cites long-term benefits of participating in the institute: “I will have another group of people with whom I will be able to identify that is outside my own department.” He compares the bonds among Management Institute participants to those that occur among graduating classes in the U-M’s schools and colleges and the bonding that corporations try to engender in new recuits.