Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Thursday, April 18, 2013

President Coleman reflects on five key decisions during her U-M tenure

Over the course of a dozen years as U-M president, Mary Sue Coleman has been involved in many important decisions that have helped to shape the university.


Main story

President Coleman announces her retirement in 2014

All of those decisions, she points out, were made in collaboration with other university leaders and always in consultation with the elected Board of Regents.

Here she reflects on what she sees as the most significant decisions made during her tenure:

North Campus Research Complex: “This was a once-in-a-generation opportunity, and purchasing this property — the former R&D headquarters of Pfizer — will shape U-M research for decades to come,” Coleman says. U-M completed the purchase of the property in 2009, two years after the pharmaceutical company closed its sprawling research complex, adjacent to North Campus. Today, more than 2,000 people are working at NCRC.

Economic development initiatives: The university has become a major force in economic development in Ann Arbor and across the state. “This encompasses the creation of the University Research Corridor with Michigan State and Wayne State, launching of the U-M Business Engagement Center, increased undergraduate and graduate courses in entrepreneurism, stronger technology transfer efforts, and more — all focused on transforming the economy in Michigan and beyond.”

Residential Life Initiatives: “Upgrading and renewing our residence halls and dining facilities, in addition to building the North Quadrangle Residential and Academic Complex (2010) and the Hill Dining Center (2008), has been a multiyear commitment to the living-learning environment for our students. We are working to truly integrate intellectual pursuits with the living environment — areas that are amenable to group work, faculty engagement, project execution, and the like.”  Read more about U-M housing.

Interdisciplinary Junior Faculty Initiative: “By hiring 100 new faculty members to work in cross-cutting teams, we are building upon U-M’s intellectual hallmark of collaborative teaching and research.” This $30 million effort, announced in 2007, has seen the approval of 101 new positions in 25 different clusters of research and teaching.

Google partnership: “We are proud to have been the first public university to collaborate with Google on digitizing the holdings of our 7 million-volume library system, making vast amounts of information accessible worldwide.” Read more about the digitization project.