The University Record, October 23, 1995

An Open Letter to the University Community:

President James J. Duderstadt's recent announcement that he intends to step down from the presidency of the University of Michigan signals the beginning of one of the most important responsibilities the University community undertakes: the selection of its next president. As stewards of the public trust, the Board of Regents approaches this task with unified resolve to find the best person for this most important leadership role, a person in the tradition most recently defined by Harlan Hatcher, Robben Fleming, Harold Shapiro, and James Duderstadt. We approach this task with two import ant principles in mind: clarity and community.

While we are clear that our goal is to find the best possible president for our great University, we also firmly believe that we need to consult extensively within the University community before undertaking the search. We believe that the involv ement of the entire University community is an essential component of this process: envisioning the University's needs over the next decade, defining the qualities the next president must have, and advising us on the best process for conducting a search. The selection of the next president of the University is a shared responsibility, and we intend to consult with all segments of the community---faculty, students, staff, and alumni---before and during the search.

We call upon all of you, therefore, for your input and guidance. To that end, we are asking Provost J. Bernard Machen, Vice President Walter Harrison, and Secretary Roberta Palmer to:

1) Plan a series of public forums for the Regents to hear from various constituencies of the University community. We will also invite letters and other written communication from faculty, students, staff, and alumni.

2) Provide the Board with background information on past presidential searches here at Michigan and review current and recent searches at other institutions within Michigan and around the country.

We are asking Provost Machen, Vice President Harrison, and Secretary Palmer to arrange for these sessions to be held and this information to be gathered within the next two months.

We do want to encourage you all to bring us your ideas and viewpoints. While the ultimate authority to select the president is vested in the Board of Regents by the Constitution of the State of Michigan, your involvement will be vital to our succ ess and to the future of our great University.

The Regents of the University of Michigan