The University Record, September 24, 1996

Goldenberg addresses goals and priorities at LS&A faculty meeting

"Transition" was the cornerstone of remarks made by LS&A Dean Edie N. Goldenberg in her annual address to the LS&A faculty at its Sept. 9 faculty meeting.

In her address, Goldenberg focused on several transitions within the University that will affect the College, including transitions in:

---University leadership.

---Administrative and budgeting systems.

---The organization and funding of the Medical School and Hospitals.

---Space and facilities.

---Fundraising.

"We are in the midst of a significant transition in University leadership," the dean said, adding that the situation is not uncommon today, especially in public higher education.

These transitions, she said, do not present major problems because of the University's "special character and circumstances."

---The U-M is "by far the most decentralized large public university, and that makes us more capable than others of maintaining our practices and our momentum during transition.

"Our priorities and goals in LS&A are fully on track during the transition: attending to the quality of our faculty, staff and student body; advancing the Undergraduate Initiative; improving our research climate; securing our future."

---The University "benefits from constitutional autonomy, which permits this institution to operate with significant independence."

---"Michigan has a long and strong tradition of academic achievement across an amazing array of fields, and enjoys a reputation for enabling interdisciplinary as well as disciplinary learning. This doesn't happen by chance, but results from the relentless efforts of all of us to invest our time and creative energies on behalf of education, scholarship and service.

"Our special character and circumstances---our decentralization, our autonomy and our tradition of academic achievement---make me quite optimistic that the current leadership transition will be successful and will lead to even greater institutional strength in the years ahead."

The second transition cited by Goldenberg is the move to value centered management (VCM). She noted that Provost J. Bernard Machen said last fall that VCM "ought not to be viewed as a fixed model, but one subject to adjustment as we learn from experience."

"The experiment has begun, and we have much to learn about its consequences for LS&A. Some fear that budget decisions will be made mechanistically without regard for academic values such as quality, centrality and interconnectedness, and that would surely be unwelcome. But there is no reason to assume mechanistic thinking.

"While the jury is still out on VCM, I am optimistic that LS&A will thrive in our new budgetary environment. We continue to encourage and reward outstanding cross-disciplinary work and joint ventures," the dean said.

Commenting on a third transition---the organization of the Medical School and University Hospitals with respect to the new context in which health care is being viewed---Goldenberg noted that decisions in that area "will surely have ramifications for our faculty and our College."

These include:

 

The size and character of the governing faculty.

 

Revenues that account for nearly one-half of the University's cash flow.

 

The future of the biological and clinical sciences.

"Because of the inevitable significance of changes on the Medical Campus for LS&A, our College Executive Committee will devote time and attention to these matters in the coming months."

The tremendous strides in changing the physical face of campus also were highlighted by Goldenberg, who noted that "the improvements are leading to facilities that enable our students' learning and our faculty and staff members' work."

The improvements are costly, and "we have to absorb these costs and that puts strain---at least temporarily---on our finances."

Last but not least, Goldenberg noted, is the success of "a very ambitious fund-raising campaign. This month we passed $94 million in gifts and pledges and $32 million in new bequest intentions."

"Private support is an increasingly crucial source of revenue for the College, and depending on private dollars for our margin of excellence is a fifth transition of sorts for our University, one that began more than a decade ago and one that will surely continue into the future."