The University Record, February 27, 1996

Duderstadt pleased with governor's higher ed budget recommendations; concerned about capital outlay

By Jared Blank

 In a self-described "swan song," President James J. Duderstadt testified before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education on Feb. 17, expressing his satisfaction with Gov. John Engler's recent budget recommendation of a 4.4 percent increase for the Ann Arbor campus that has the potential to be a 5 percent increase.

Duderstadt did voice concern that the governor recommended only $63 million for capital outlay projects when the University had requested $79 million. The money, Duderstadt said, is needed for renovations of "core undergraduate buildings," including the LS&A Building, the Frieze Building, the Perry School, and Mason and Haven Halls. Duderstadt asked the subcommittee for restoration of the $16 million not found in Engler's bud get.

Subcommittee members Sens. John J.H. Schwarz, R-Battle Creek, and Jon Cisky, R-Saginaw, attended the hearing held in the Michigan League.

In addition to his comments on the budget, Duderstadt presented his vision of changes that will be necessary for public universities in the 21st century.


On Engler's budget recommendation:
"Let me express how pleased and supportive the presidents of Michigan's public universities are of the recommendation made by the governor this year. I think in a year and a time where dollars are extremely limited and needs across the state are quite significant in many areas, the potential of a 5 percent increase for higher education and a 4 percent increase across the board at a minimum for all institutions is very gratifying, indeed, and very encouraging."


On the large appropriation increases recommended for Grand Valley State University (14.7 percent), Saginaw Valley State University (15.4 percent) and U-M-Dearborn (11.6 percent):
"We recognize that some of the institutions have experienced significant enrollment growth that has not been recognized by state appropriations and it is quite appropriate to address those needs. We also support the effort to recognize the various efforts of institutions and in particular identify the particular missions of graduate institutions."


On the future of higher education...
"We need to look to the future, to make the investments today needed for our institutions for tomorrow. It is in this perspective that we must realize that very significant changes in our society and our state's needs are driving very significant changes in our institutions ... There is a lot of speculation in higher education of what the paradigm of the comprehensive university will be in the years ahead. A lot of people, a lot of my colleagues have speculated a great deal on this. Let me suggest one possible model that, rather than creating a profoundly new entity, draws a great deal from the past.

"I'm becoming increasingly convinced that our great public universities may draw significantly from the land grant theme that has characterized the 20th century, but perhaps in a different way ... In the last century our institutions have created an applied knowledge, provided human resources and conducted services to address the needs of the societies they serve. If there is a land grant-like theme of service for the next century, it will be de signed not to address our natural resources in the way we normally think of them, but instead a far more important resource---our human resource ... It will be positioned to develop the skills, the knowledge, the ability of our people to compete in an intensely competitive world ... I sense there will be an entirely different field of a highly interdisciplinary nature that will provide skills to people necessary to meet the changing needs of our world."


On the U-M's role as a
public institution:

"It is true that the University of Michigan belongs to the people of the state of Michigan---it is their University. But it is a university that has been created because of the sacrifices of previous generations. It is an institution that must be preserved and sustained to service future generations. It is a partnership with the people of the state that involves not simply the needs of the moment, but, in a sense, a stewardship for commitments made in the past and a need to prepare for future generations. As I step down from the role of president, I think it's that responsibility of the University of Michigan to serve the people of the state, not just for the moment but for the years and the generations ahead, that must be the most important focus of our institution and the other public institutions of our state."