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August 29, 1967 - Image 34

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1967-08-29

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State Board Maps Out Unified Educational


Associate Managing Editor
The State Board of Education,
frequent target of criticism in
S two-and-a-half years of exist-
ice, is beginning to acquire a
lore defined role in Michigan's,
ducational affairs.'' 1
The board's authority is vested
i Article VIII, Section 3 of the'
963 state constitution, which
ates the board "shall serve as
he general planning and coordi-
ating body for all public educa-
on, including higher education,
nd shall advise the Legislature
s to the financial requirements
n connection therewith."
However, Article VIII also makes
clear that all the state univer-.
.ties have autonomous governing
Respect 'U' Autonomy
The problem, as described by
oard President Edwin Novak, is
o coordinate and plan while re-
pecting that autonomy.
Autonomy has long been a first
rinciple in governing Michigan's
niversities. It is the only way,
ducators say, to insure that edu-
;tion will not be subject to the
vhims of politicians.

But how much autonomy does that would limit the individual

the constitution require? The rela-
tionship of the colleges and uni-
versities to the Legislature is some-
what clear. The institutions must
have their total state appropria-
tion figure approved by Lansing,
but the Legislature cannot spe-
cify how the money is spent.
In other words, if the Legisla-
ture dislikes a particular program
at the University, the most they
can do is reduce the University's
total general funds budget alloca-
tion by the amount needed to
support the program. They can-
not prevent the University from
diverting other funds to the pro-
Not Well Defined
However, the relationships of
the state schools and the Legis-
latureewith the state board are
not yet as well defined. The rela-
tively new institution is part of
a three-way struggle for power in
the state's education decision-
making process..
Most educators feel it is proper
for the board to concern itself
with general methods of growth,
even if this means insisting that
universities not further expand
with branch colleges - a position

school's ability to allocate its re-
sources at its own discretion.
(Since its birth, the state board
has decided that branches of two
universities-one was the Univer-
sity's Flint campus-should be-
come independent of their parent
institutions rather than continu-
ing expansion as branches.)
The consensus also favors board
involvement in determining the
development of major graduate
and professional programs. But the
board's -role in regard to partic-
ular graduate programs and un-
dergraduate departments remains
a gray area.
As schools grow, they naturally
strive to enhance their prestige:
community colleges often try to
model themselves after liberal arts
colleges, and smaller universities
race with each other to develop
some sort of graduate study pro-
grams. Michigan State University,
for example, has long been trying
to catch up with the University
by trying to gain a medical school
and a law school for its campus.
Last winter, MSU finally won
its battle for the state's third
medical school, but administrators
at the University and other critics!

fear that the MSU school devel-
opment will drain needed finan-
cial support from the two existing
medical schools at a time when
state funds are particularly tight.
Such competition has no place
in a well-balanced system of edu-
Thomas Brennan, who served as
board president of the eight-man
panel for its first two years, says
autonomy is not a "major" prob-
lem because the board has taken
a public stand that it "has no
right or intention of interfering
with the internal operations of in-
dividual institutions."
Long-Range Planning
The board then, confines its at-
tention to long-range planning,
approval of new programs, capi-
tal expansion and the creation
of new schools,
"The concept behind planning is
to insure a more efficient alloca-
tion of the money available to
higher education," Brennan ex-
While the board's authority has
been supported in an Attorney
General's opinion issued in 1965'
and in the position the Governor's
Office has taken in refusing to
approve any legislation establish-

ing a new program or school un-
less the board has made a recom-
mendation on it first, the board,
prefers to base its power on pres-
tige and respect for its decisions.
"It is most effective to work
co-operatively with the universi-
ties rather than being dogmatic,"
Brennan says. "We don't want to
run into court every week to main-
tain our authority.'
The long-awaited State Plan for
Higher Education is an example
of the boards efforts to move in
that direction. Discussed by educa-
tor, for almost a decade, the
"master plan" is intended to estab-
lish uniform guidelines which can
be applied to individual policy
decisions relating to Michigan's
rapidly expanding system of high-
er education.
The plan is expected to deal
with such issues as:
* The balance between the con-
stitutionally guaranteed autonomy
of the state's educational institu-
tions and, their obligations to co-
operate with the board's efforts
to coordinate higher education;
W The proper relationship be-
tween the board and the Legisla-
ture; and

9 The distinctive roles to be seven stdy committees will be re- stitutions proposing a new pro-

played by the three major state leased to several advisory commit-
universities (the University, MSU te, s of students, faculty, public
and WSU), smaller state institu- and private college administrators'
tions, private colleges and com- and a general citizens' committee
munity and technical colleges in representing business and profes-
expanding Michigan's educational sional interests, as well as the gen-
facilities. eral public.
The plan is being developed by The advisory groups will study
Project Director Harold Smith of this "provisional plan" and report'
the Upjohn Institute with the as- their criticisms and suggestions to
sistance of a study steering com- the board. After a review of all the
mittee composed of deans and study and advisory committee re-
vice presidents from state colleges ports, the board will draft another
and universities. provisional plan, public hearings
Broader Questions will be held and the final plan will
The steering committee is hand- be issued, hopefully sometime this'
ling the broader questions, such I fall, according to Smith.
as institutional autonomy, the Brennan explains that involving
roles of the board, the Legislature members of the two other groups
and the individual schools as well vying for planning authority-,

gram to prove that they can ful-
fill that need, Novak explains.
The constitutional mandate of
the board includes advice on fin-
ancial matters as well as edu-
cational planning and, while the
board has not yet actively entered
the area of budgeting, greater in-
volvement is predicted for the
The feeling of the board has
been that it shouldn't go into bud-
geting until the board has an un-
derstanding and the proper staff
to provide information on this
"extremely complex" area, Bren-
nan explains.
"I'm not sure at this point what
form our involvement will take,
since we don't want to duplicate
the work of the Governor's Office
We want to be meaningful and
helpful," Brennan adds.
Nonetheless, University officials
may find themselves barginning
with the board instead of the
Legislature for a larger share of
the appropriations pie in the not-
too-distant future, with the board
presenting a combined budget re-
quest for the state's educational


as directing seven study commit-
tees dealing with such specificl
problems as handling growing en-
rollments, financial aid programs
for students and community col-
lege districting.
The study committees are com-
posed of college, legislature and
business and professional group
representatives who are expertsI

namely the Legislature and the
individual governing boards-leads
to prestige for the board's deci-
sions. Novak adds, "The large de-
gree of involvement will be the
springboard for implementation of
the State Plan and the role of the
board in coordination."
The role of the board is'to in-
vestigate the educational needs of


in their fields. The final reports the state. It is then up to those
of the steering committee and the proposing a new school or the in-


Fleming To Succeed
Hatcher as 'U' Head
(Continued from Page 1) should not take a stand on a
ers, and refining the intercourse moral issue." When he arrived in
ofriadtelifinnAnn Arbor and was asked for
of private life, his view on the University com-
"If its object were scientific and piling class ranks for use by the
philosophic discovery," Newman Selective Service System, he said,
once remarked, "I do not see why "I have no strong feelings on it
a University should have any stu- one way or another."
dents." Training Ground
The University's new president, On the idea of a university act-
like Kerr, Cornell's James Perkins, ing as a training ground for fur-
Michigan State's John A. Hannah ther service, Fleming'says, "If a
and others, is an expert me~iator university is nothing more than
and diplomat. There are two ma- a place where one goes to fulfill
jor tasks for the president of a career requisites then we) have
Smultiversity: avoiding and resoly-been engaged in an exercise of
ing conflict within the" multiver- futility." Five months before that
sity to keep it producing knowl- statement he is quoted as re-
edge, and maintaining good rela- marking, "There is a question ask-
tions with the outside institutions ed too infrequently: What are we
who support the multiversity in training people for? . . . We do
order that they, will keep funds not. know nearly as much as we
coming in. should about what our long range
Fleming's stature as one of the manpower needs are, nor do we
nation's leading mediators and his correlate this properly with our
experience as a corporate advisor educational facilities . . . This is
and government consultant must one of our major long-term prob-
be regarded as major factors in lems."
his rise to the first chancellor- On the questions of the type of
ship of the University of Wiscon-h
Madison campus and his ap- relations a university has with
sin's M onthemundrsiyp- other sectors of society, Fleming
pointment to the University presg-
Ann recognizes the dilemma but of-



fers no way out of it. Funds from

As a mediator, Fleming is de- the federal government, he says,
voted to the principle that con- "are a blessing because the mon-
flict and controversy can be re- ey makes progress greater in many
solved by impartial and unemo- necessary areas, but they can also
tional discussion. be, a curse because they can dis-
"You can't escape controversy tort the pattern of what we do."
and you can't escape bad public- "The continual battle is between
ity," he says. "Controversy is oft- what you think the University
en a pretty healthy thing. I guess ought to be and what the Univer-
I believe that you can keep these sity really is because of the em-
things from exploding if they're phasis brought about by outside
handled with some care and un- money," explains Fleming.
derstanding." If
Immediately after his appoint- Fleming thinks the University
ment here, the Student Advisory ought to be a training and service
Committee on Presidential Selec- center, he will have very little
tion said that Fleming, "appears mediation, to do in Ann Arbor, for
to approach situations with a re- this University is clearly moving
spect for diversity while under- toward this model, which Clark
standing the reasons inherent in Kerr says is "justified" by history
differences of opinion and acting and by consistency with' the sur-
in a way consistent with the best rounding society.
interests of the University." With the faculty secure in its
Fleming views himself as a fortress of mobility, inner-disci-
strong supporter of academic free- plinary review and government
dom. He is a member of the Amer- and corporations grants; and with
ican Civil Liberties Union and increasing numbers of students
says, "The university (is a place) entering college to become rather
where you can say and teach and than to 1be, convinced that they
think what you like and no one will ought to spend four or more years
tell you what to say and what showing what good listeners they
to think and what to teach." He are, mastering authoritative view-
has a penchant for discussion and points and carefully neglecting to
a belief that discussion is the "form and test their 'own; and with
foundation of conflict resolution. government, business, labor and
Community Concept the others waiting with lucrative
The view which he brings from grants, there should be little con,
the mediation table to the Uni-j flict.




versity is dependent on a con-
ception of the University as a com-
munity, where its various sectors
have a deeply-rooted and virtu-
ous community of interests. But
is the University really a commun-
ity, when many of the decisions
which crucially effect its direc-
tion are being made somewhere
else, with its mobile faculty seek-
ing the rewards offered by gov-
ernment and business, suspended
from student pressure for bet-
ter teaching.
Whether the new president views
the University as a community of
scholars or a community of ex-
pert service men, one of human-
istic goals or utilitarian ones, can
only be inferred. His public state-
ments are contradictory.
Fleming is quoted as saying
(May 15, 1965) that a university
must "always stand up for what
it thinks is right." But when dem-
onstrations broke out at Madison
'to protest CIA recruiting, he said,
"The university as a corporation

Intellectual Frontiers
If Robben Fleming want a uni-
versity which "aims at expanding
the intellectual frontiers of each
student by stimulating him to ex-
plore the unknown and by provi-
ding him with knowledge, not in
the narrow sense of facts alone,
but in the broadest sense of new
awareness about man and his sur-
roundings"-if he believes in a
college which "hopes to help every
student understand himself and
the world around him," and which
"in addition strives to give a stu-
dent the ability to compare, con-
trast, analyze, classify, discrim-
inate, criticize, evaluate, and
choose intelligently from among
the myriad experiences and ideas
which confront him"*-then Rob-
ben Fleming will find few s:up-
porters and few of these ideals

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*From the official e
ment of the College of]
Science and the Arts.


I .......ice. mm .dam mAdmollk

- p M I -LM HAlF


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