The University Record, January 10, 2000

Self-study report completed

From the Office of the Provost

A Universitywide self-study report has been completed on collaborative, integrative and interdisciplinary teaching and learning. Organized by the Office of the Provost, the report is part of the University’s preparation for institutional reaccreditation by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges (NCA), which is scheduled for this year. As part of the reaccreditation process that takes place every 10 years, the University prepares a review of the institution for NCA and for its internal and external constituencies.

In early March, a team of faculty and administrators from other institutions around the country will visit campus. Chaired by Mark G. Yudof, president of the University of Minnesota, this team will evaluate the University for reaccreditation and consult with administrators, faculty and students about the self-study.

President Lee C. Bollinger and Provost Nancy Cantor have placed a priority on advancing the collaborative and interdisciplinary work that are a hallmark of the University. Cantor notes that as a great public research university, “Michigan maintains a commitment to be inclusive and wide-ranging, and that cross-cutting interdependencies and collaborations are the basis of a valuable heritage of institutional excellence.”

Preparation of the self-study began last spring, when four working groups were organized by Provost Nancy Cantor to consider the ways in which the University’s commitment to collaborative and interdisciplinary research and learning raises issues for faculty development, graduate and professional studies, undergraduate learning, and the organization and support of research. Sixty faculty from around the University took part in the working groups, as did a number of administrators, undergraduates, and graduate and professional school students.

The working groups were asked to report on issues associated with different kinds of cross-cutting academic work; to identify successes, best practices, and opportunities for improvement; and to provide ideas that can generate further discussion and thought about ways to strengthen the University at a time of rapid change in higher education. Working with information gathered by the Office of Budget and Planning, the working groups held focus group discussions, spoke with faculty and administrators and looked at practices and programs of peer institutions.

John Godfrey, assistant to the provost, says that the self-study is an opportunity to look at connected issues of broad significance to the University.

“Michigan is widely recognized for the quality and diversity of its collaborative and interdisciplinary academic work,” Godfrey says. “This work takes place through the research and creative work of individual faculty, in the activities of many institutes, programs and centers, and in the efforts of schools and colleges to develop interdisciplinary learning at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Over the past 15 years,” he notes, “the number and variety of these border-crossing activities have grown. Many of them connect faculty and students in different schools and colleges in both informal and formal ways. The self-study provides a way to consider the implications of this kind of change for how the University meets its commitment to excellence and leadership in research and teaching.”

The reports of the working groups have been brought together for the University’s self-study, “New Openings for the Research University: Advancing Collaborative, Integrative, and Interdisciplinary Research and Learning.” This document, with links to supporting documents and sites across the University, is available on the Web at Deans and executive committees of the schools and colleges have been asked to provide feedback. Faculty, staff and students also are encouraged to contribute their thoughts and ideas by sending e-mail to These contributions may be posted on the Web as updates.

A faculty group is helping frame overarching questions and issues in preparation for the visiting team. They also have been asked to consider the role of “public goods” units—libraries, museums, and other facilities that serve the whole University—in the context of the self-study.

Abigail Stewart, professor of psychology and of women’s studies and director, Institute for Research on Women and Gender, chaired the Working Group on Faculty; Max Wicha, professor of internal medicine and director of the Cancer Center led the Working Group on Research; Philip Hanlon, professor of mathematics, chaired the Working Group on Undergraduate Learning; Steven Darwall, professor of philosophy, chaired the Working Group on Linkages; and June Howard, associate professor of English, led the Working Group on Graduate and Professional Studies.

The reaccreditation visiting team will be on campus March 6–8. Dates and times of meetings will be announced at a later date and posted on the Web.

In addition to Yudof, other members of the visiting team include: Richard Alkire, professor of chemical engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; William H. Chafe, dean of arts and sciences, Duke University; Cora B. Marrett, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Daniel Neuman, dean of the School of the Arts & Architecture, University of California, Los Angeles; A. Marcus Raichle, co-director Division of Radiological Sciences, Mallinkrodt Institute of Radiology, Washington University Medical Center; Bernard Roizman, professor of molecular genetics and cell biology, and biochemistry and molecular biology, University of Chicago; Catherine R. Stimpson, dean, Graduate School of the Arts and Sciences, New York University; Orlando Taylor, dean of the Graduate School, Howard University; Edward Jennings, president emeritus and professor of finance, Ohio State University (co-chair); Kenneth Gros Louis, vice president for academic affairs and chancellor of the Bloomington Campus, Indiana University; Phillip Jones, vice president for student services and dean of students, University of Iowa; and Suzanne Ferguson, professor and chair, Department of English, Case Western Reserve University.