The Board of Regents has appointed a committee of faculty, staff, students and alumni to assist with the search for the University of Michigan’s next president and to collect feedback from the university community.
The announcement came in a Feb. 8 message to the university community from Regents Sarah Hubbard and Denise Ilitch, who will serve as the committee’s co-chairs.
Hubbard described the committee as “widely representative of our diverse university community” and made up of faculty, staff, students and alumni from across the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses and the health system.
“We are grateful for their willingness to engage in this important work,” Hubbard said.
In addition to the eight members of the Board of Regents, the committee members include:
- Lizabeth Ardisana, CEO, ASG Renaissance; U-M alumna.
- Ketra Armstrong, University Diversity and Social Transformation Professor, professor of kinesiology, School of Kinesiology; faculty athletic representative and professor of women’s and gender studies, LSA.
- Brandon Bond, graduate student in the School of Public Health and School of Social Work; U-M alumnus.
- John M. Carethers, C. Richard Boland Distinguished University Professor of Internal Medicine and Human Genetics, John G. Searle Professor of Internal Medicine, professor of internal medicine and human genetics, and chair, Department of Internal Medicine, Medical School.
- Colleen Conway, professor of music education, School of Music, Theatre & Dance.
- Sharon Glotzer, Anthony C. Lembke Department Chair of Chemical Engineering, John Werner Cahn Distinguished University Professor of Engineering, Stuart W. Churchill Collegiate Professor of Chemical Engineering, and professor of chemical engineering, materials science and engineering, and macromolecular science and engineering, College of Engineering; and professor of physics, LSA.
- Kirsten Herold, lecturer IV, School of Public Health; president, Lecturers’ Employee Organization.
- Mike Jandernoa, former CEO and board chairman, Perrigo Co.; U-M alumnus.
- Paul Lee, F. Bruce Fralick Professor of Ophthalmology, chair, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, and professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences, Medical School.
- Alison Narayan, Mary Sue Coleman Collegiate Professor in the Life Sciences, research associate professor in the Life Sciences Institute; and associate professor of chemistry, LSA.
- Will Sherry, director, Spectrum Center; and interim director of strategic initiatives, Student Life.
- Huda Shulaiba, undergraduate student in the School of Information.
- Michael Solomon, dean, Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies; vice provost for academic affairs-graduate studies, Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs; professor of chemical engineering, and of macromolecular science and engineering, College of Engineering.
- Dug Song, chief strategy officer, Cisco Security; U-M alumnus.
- DeLean Tolbert Smith, assistant professor of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science, UM-Dearborn.
- Hiba Wehbe-Alamah, professor of nursing, School of Nursing, UM-Flint.
- Kaaren M. Williamsen, director, Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center.
According to the announcement, the Presidential Search Committee will work with regents and Isaacson, Miller, an executive search firm, to identify and review candidates and make recommendations to the full Board of Regents. The Michigan constitution stipulates that the board is responsible for electing university presidents.
Regents have said they hope to hire the university’s 15th president as early as this summer. President Mary Sue Coleman has been serving on an interim basis since the board removed former president Mark Schlissel on Jan. 15, and has agreed to continue in that capacity until a new president is selected.
To solicit input on “the most critical opportunities for the university moving forward” and the qualities needed in a new president, the committee will work with the search firm to host a series of six virtual listening sessions for the university community throughout February.
While each session will focus on a particular university constituency, anyone can attend any session that works with their schedule. The sessions will be conducted via Zoom on the following dates and times:
- Feb. 16, 4:30-5:30 p.m., UM-Flint focus.
- Feb. 18, noon-1 p.m., Ann Arbor faculty focus.
- Feb. 18, 4:30-5:30 p.m., Ann Arbor staff focus.
- Feb. 21, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Michigan Medicine/Medical School focus.
- Feb. 22, 5:30-6:30 p.m., Ann Arbor student focus.
- Feb. 23, 4:30-5:30 p.m., UM-Dearborn focus.
Links to the Zoom sessions are available on the Presidential Search website, as is an online survey for those unable to attend. University community members can also submit confidential nominations and applications for president on the site.
“The leader of the nation’s top public research university is one of the most prominent and influential positions in all of higher education,” Ilitch said. “The committee’s work will rely on the university community’s insight into the challenges and opportunities that may face our university and its new president in the coming decade, as well as the personal characteristics and experiences needed to lead the university at this moment in time.”
(Editor’s note: This article has been updated to remove Tabbye Chavous from the list of Presidential Search Committee members. Chavous resigned from the committee to avoid any conflict with her new roles as vice provost for equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer. As chief diversity officer, she will serve as an adviser to the president. She starts her new position Aug. 1.)
I write this note with a heavy heart.
I am a graduate of the UM (PhD 1967) and began my teaching career here in 1965. My wife spent her career at what is now Counseling and Psychological Services. Our three children graduated from the UM with a total of five degrees (LSA, School of Information , School of Music Theater and Dance). I have taught in the School of Social Work and have written numerous books on meetings, organizational governance,
and Boards of Directors.
Regrettably, the Regents have fallen into the “Boards go Bad” department. Of course I do not know all the dynamics behind the recent set of problems, but I do know that it has harmed the UM’s public reputation, made it much more difficult to-get a President of stature, and made us look awkward, foolish, and vindictive. Who would want to assume such a job knowing that the Board is so dysfunctional?
Of course, there are many people who would, and that is, exactly the point.
And now you have compounded the errors, e.g., an egregiously large retirement package for the former President; an apparent attempt to reclaim it by firing him, while at the same time humiliating him; and claiming “transparency” by appointing a search so large it could not possibly function (the larger the committee the more the process is run by a cabal). I fear we are in what organizational analyst Jim Collins calls “The Doom Loop,” so why send out a cheerful “excited” note about getting someone by summer! This situation is indeed an organizational crisis. What to do?
My suggestion: Appoint an interim (not Ms. Coleman). My suggestion would be Jim Duderstadt, if available, for the next year, let things cool down, and then engage in a serious Presidential Search. Does no one tell you about these things??
Henry J. Meyer Collegiate Professor of Social Work Emeritus
I worked at UM for 27 years and retired in 2018, 4 years earlier than I had originally planned. As a conservative, I felt not only unwelcome at UM, but in the last 6 years of my employment I felt unsafe and under increasing threat of dissmissal for my political views. The culture of an institution is usually set by the leadership, and the President of the University had made it clear that he did not value conservative input. This hostile work environment has likely affected a significant minority of students and staff.
I hope that this university still exists in 10 years, or 20 years. Given the current mood, I am not sure universities will survive but I hope UM does. I would like a President who respects the views of the community and the state in which it is situated (and whose taxes are used to fund it).
Emeritus Clinical Professor, Division of Geriatric Medicine and Palliative Medicine