Susan M. Collins, a public policy and economics professor and former dean of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, has been appointed the University of Michigan’s provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

Susan M. Collins
Susan M. Collins

Collins had been serving as interim provost since March and, before that, in an acting capacity since early this year. The Board of Regents approved the appointment July 16.

Her appointment is effective immediately and runs through June 30, 2022.

“From the time of her appointment as acting provost in January and later as interim, she has provided inspired and steadfast leadership as the chief academic and budgetary officer for the university,” said President Mark Schlissel, in recommending the appointment.

“I very much appreciate the leadership, insights and stability she has provided to our institution during the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Her many years of experience as a distinguished academic leader and her expertise in public policy and financial systems make her ideally suited for the position of U-M provost.”

The provost is both the chief academic officer and chief budgetary officer of the Ann Arbor campus, and is responsible for sustaining and enhancing the university’s academic excellence in teaching, research and creative endeavors.

The provost oversees the activities of the university’s 19 schools and colleges as well as the many interdisciplinary institutes and centers.

“I’m honored to be part of the team that will lead the university as we navigate the uncertainties that the pandemic has brought to the world,” Collins said. “Higher education has a critical role to play in addressing these challenges. I look forward to working with U-M’s faculty, students and staff in developing responses that will strengthen our society and enrich our shared future.”

Collins steps into the role at a particularly challenging time for the university as it navigates fulfilling its academic mission amid the pandemic. Already, she has helped guide a universitywide transition from traditional to remote classes, an annual budget process marked by financial uncertainty from the pandemic, and the approval of updated policies governing the dismissal of tenured faculty.

Collins is the Edward M. Gramlich Collegiate Professor of Public Policy in the Ford School and a professor of economics in LSA.

She served as Ford School dean from 2007-17. Before coming to U-M, she was on the economics faculty at Georgetown and Harvard universities and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

During her tenure as Ford School dean, Collins launched the school’s first undergraduate degree program, and her achievements in diversity, equity and inclusion in graduate education were recognized by the university.

She also serves on the board of directors for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Peterson Institute for International Economics, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Collins earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Harvard University in 1980, and her Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1984.

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