Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Provost names panel to address cost cutting

Provost Teresa Sullivan has appointed members to a special panel that will be asked to identify ways the University could further reduce General Fund costs. The Prudence Panel, with members representing faculty, staff and students, will meet several times over the next two months, and will seek input from the entire campus on how the University can reduce expenditures.

The naming of the panel is in response to the current economic crisis facing the state and nation. Although U-M has weathered the storm fairly well, Sullivan says it is not insulated from the financial woes that have mounted in recent months, and that some analysts predict will get worse before they get better.

Although the federal Economic Stimulus Plan money targeted for Michigan has reversed a previous plan to cut funding to higher education, Sullivan says it is clear U-M must look at all possible avenues for cost savings.

“The University has done a tremendous job over the past six years cutting operating expenditures by $135 million, but in the current economic climate we must examine all of our operations to see if there are more efficiencies we can identify,” Sullivan says. “Maintaining the quality of our academic programs, and accessibility for students will be at the forefront of the panel’s work.”

Sullivan will chair the panel that includes the following members:

• Brad Canale, executive director of college relations, College of Engineering

• Robert Fraser, assistant director Mardigan Library, U-M-Dearborn

• Janet Gerson, senior lecturer in economics, LSA

• John Gohsman, director, Business Intelligence and Student Administration and Human Resource Management Systems, Michigan Administrative Information Services

• Theodore Goodson, Richard Barry Bernstein Collegiate Professor of Chemistry, LSA, CoE

• Michael Kalasinski, assistant dean for finance and administration, School of Public Health

• Dennis Lopatin, senior associate dean and professor of dentistry, School of Dentistry

• Brendon Mika, graduate student, Law School

• Edward St. John, Algo D. Henderson Collegiate Professor of Education, School of Education

• Leslie Zaikis, undergraduate, LSA

• Catherine Seay-Ostrowski, business administrator lead, U-M Transportation Research Institute

Sullivan will ask panel members and the community to think about three questions as they approach cost cutting:

• Are there things we could stop doing?

• Are there things we could be doing less of? and

• Are there things we could be doing more efficiently or cheaply?

The community is encouraged to send responses to these questions and any suggestions through April 10 to the panel via a dedicated e-mail address, Prudence.panel@umich.edu.