The University Record, September 10, 1997

Climate and Character, report on Mandate, Women's Agenda, available

By Mary Jo Frank
Office of University Relations

Copies of a recently published report focusing on the University's diversity initiatives---Climate and Character, Perspectives on Diversity---are available from the Office of the President.

In the publication's opening letter, President Lee C. Bollinger writes: "Having students, faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds, representing a wide range of perspectives and talents, is critically important not only for instilling a positive sense of community within and beyond the University but also for creating the most vital intellectual and educational atmosphere. Racial, ethnic and gender diversity are critical components of this broader goal."

The 163-page report features interviews with more than two dozen faculty, students and staff, and their opinions regarding diversity efforts at the University's Ann Arbor campus. The publication includes progress reports on the Michigan Mandate, which w as launched in 1987, and the Agenda for Women, which was announced in 1994, as well as statistical data regarding the racial and gender composition of faculty and students by school and college and staff for the University as a whole.

With the Michigan Mandate, the University announced its goal to be a leader known for the racial and ethnic diversity of its faculty, students and staff, and a leader in creating a multicultural community capable of serving as a model for higher education and for society at large. The Agenda for Women committed Michigan to take the necessary steps to assure that all women on campus-faculty, staff and students-enjoy equal opportunities with men and are treated fairly and equitably.

Lisa A. Tedesco, presidential associate for special projects, who was asked by then-Interim President Homer A. Neal to oversee publication of Climate and Character, says, "This report is meant to inform and stimulate campus conversations. It is designed to encourage readers to examine their assumptions and values as they consider differing viewpoints offered about diversity at Michigan."

The statistical data, compiled by the Office of Academic Planning and Analysis, compare two points in time. Charts about racial and ethnic counts compare statistics from 1987 and 1996, the most recent available. Statistics used in the charts about gender are from 1990 and 1996. The comparison years were chosen to illustrate the state of diversity at the University now and in years prior to the announcements of the Michigan Mandate and the Michigan Agenda for Women.

"I also am pleased that we were able to include a memorial tribute to two wise and compassionate faculty members, Betty Jean Jones and Susan Lipschutz, who, through their personal lives and professional careers, contributed much to the climate and character of the University," says Tedesco, who in addition to being presidential associate for special projects, is professor and associate dean, School of Dentistry.

Jones, associate dean in the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies and professor of theatre, died in an airplane crash in January while returning from a professional conference. Lipschutz died in April following an extended illness.

For a copy of Climate and Character, Perspectives on Diversity, call 764-6270, send a request via e-mail to thardy@umich.edu or pick up a copy at the Office of the President, 2074 Fleming Administration Building, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays.