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September 28, 1971 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1971-09-28

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Page Eight

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Tuesday, September 28, 1971

Page Eight THE MICHIGAN DAiLY Tuesday, September 28, 1971

Excerpts from Fleming's State of 'U'

The following is an excerpted text
of President Fleming's State of the
University Address, delivered last
night to the University's faculty.
This is the fourth time that
I have come before you to talk
about the State of the Univer-
sity, and I am strlck with how
much the mood has changed ev-
en during that short span of
time. In 1968 and 1969 we were
in the midst of the student tur-
bulence. By last year it had
abated somewhat, and the fall
of 1971 seems to offer adiffer-
ent clinate. I am inclined to
believe that the violence and
destruction of those earlier
years is not likely to be repeated
in the immediate future.
The current crisis is not stu-
dent turbulence, but financial
adversity. It has both short and
long-run aspects . .-.
Faculty Salaries
Though we understand that
any national economic policy
will apply to us, it is our duty
to advocate economic benefits
for our staff members which will
protect their present earnings,
preserve their competitive posi-
tion, and provide an incentive
for the future. We must submit
preliminary budget proposals
for next year this week, even
though we are still in the midst
of unraveling this year's bud-
getary tangle. Vice President
Smith has been working with an
11 percent compensation in-
crease figure, about 1 percent
of which would go into fringe
benefits. We believe that it takes
this amount of money to pro-
perly recognize the slippage
which has taken place in recent
years. Mr. Smith will discuss the
figure and its derivation further
w it h h is faculty advisory
groups ...
DEALING WITH THE
FINANCIAL CRISIS
The unhappy fact is that we
are going to have to rely almost
entirely on self-generated in-
ternal funds for program im-
improvement. There are a num-
'ber of ways that we can do this,
all of them painful. I shall men-
tion a few that occur to me, and
you will think of others.
Setting academic priorities
Our departments, schools' and
colleges conduct a continuing
review of programs. They match
retirements and other person-
nel departures with plans for
new programs and find ways'to
finance them. Now we are in a
period when we are going to
have to direct more concern at
studied evaluation of programs
with a view to weeding out
those which are deemed less es-
sential than others to the mis-
sion of the University. Given our
tradition of decentralization, the
best place to do this is the
school or college, but it may take
some central staff help and
guidance. The activation of this
kind of program must be very
high on our priority list, and it
must be a mechanism which we
can all accept. Within our ad-
ministrative circles we have
been giving a good deal- of
thought to this problem, and
there have beenpdiscussions
with various faculty groups. The
conversations will be accelerated
in the imediate future in an ef-
fort to work together to find
solutions to this difficult prob-
lem . .
During the past 25 years
there has been an enormous
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proliferation of courses. They
add to the luster of this Uni-
versity - and they increase
our costs. It is time to see to
what extent we can reduce our
course offerings without erod-
ing quality. Our course enroll-
ment figures are good enough to
enable us to identify the very
low enrollment courses. These
bear special scrutiny, although
many are in the area of the
more exotic languages where it
is difficult to produce large en-
rollments.
Teaching versus research
A change in time allocation
between research and teaching
would have an enormous impact
upon our funding pattern. State
appropriations are geared to a
student-staff ratio, which is. for
all practical purposes, a meas-
ure of the amount of teaching
that is done. However import-
ant we may think research time
is, and most of us think it is
very important, the incontro-
vertible fact is that state fund-
ing, which is the principal
source (about 60 percent) of our
ongoing operational budget,
does not give it the credit which
is given for teaching.
The academic world is extre-
mely sensitive about the split
between teaching and research
time. In part this is because the
public does not understand the
nature of a professor's work
and th'erefore tends to equate
his work week with formal class-
room time. In fact the profes-
sor's work week is one of the
longest in our society. Neverthe-
less, so long as the funding of
faculty personnel is so closely
tied to the student ratio until
costs will be high unless it is
possible to redistribute some of
the current load as between
teaching and research. This na-
turally implies that the reward
system must give greater cre-
dence to teaching than it now
does, otherwise the professor
will not perceive his interests as
being advanced by more teach-
ing hours . . .
EDUCATIONAL
INNOVATION
The generation of new dollars
within the present system is on-
ly part of our problem. The
other part is to restore confi-
dence in higher education
among its critics.
The most severe critics of
the status quo are almost in-
variably those who have espous-
ed a particular idea which has
not been adopted. They tend
also to exaggerate the degree of
dissatisfaction which presently
exists with the existing system.
The most recent comprehensive
survey of student and faculty
attitudes is one done for the
Carnegie Commission on Higher
Education in 1969 and report-
ed 1970. Only 13 percent of the
undergraduates and six percent
of the graduatesfreported that
they were dissatisfied.
Nevertheless, few of us would
be willing to rest on the propo-
sition that higher education
should be measured simply by a
headcount of attitudes. If the
University of Michigan is to be
the leader which it says it is,
we ought to be sufficiently con-
fident to experiment with new
programs which will permit
those students who are dissatis-
fied to pursue different avenues.
The 4-year program
Given the high cost of higher

education, and the numbers to
be accommodated, I see nothing
sacred about the four-year for-
mula for attaining the under-
graduate degree. Would it not
be better to make a deliberate
effort to give credit for work
done prior to coming to the
University, but for which we
would give credit if taken here?
We do some of this now through
allowing students to take profi-
ciency tests which exempt them
from taking certain courses
which would receive credit. Nor-
mally, however, they simply go
to a higher level of work. If a
student is good enough on ar-
rival to opt out of a year's work
which a fellow first year stu-
dent is taking for credit, why
not give him credit and let him
shorten his total university pro-
gram?
Individualized education
We have done a good job in
the Literature, Science and the
Arts College in providing the
Pilot and Residential College
programs. Why not go a further
step, often urged by some very
good students, and experiment
with highly individualized edu-
cation? Suppose we had 25 stu-
dents who wanted to come to
campus, have access to the li-
brary, be a part of the student
life, but study largely on their
own for a period of a year or
two. Are we so big that we can
not accommodate that kind of
interest?
There are many students who
do not wish to take the round-
ed program which we believe
properly leads to a degree. Sup-
pose we ,experimented with a
reasonable number of students
who did not aspire to a degree
on our terms, but who wanted to
be in residence, to take a full
load of courses of their own
choosing, to remain on campus
for a fixed period, and to sim-
ply be certified in terms of the
work they had done. Might we
contribute more both to that
student's learning and happiness
than we now do and would the
price be too high to pay? I am
inclined to think not.
'University without walls'
Finally, the idea which seems
most to have caught the public's
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fancy at this point in time is
what is being variously referred
to as the "open university," the
"university without walls," the
"external degree" program, etc.
There is a substantial seg-
ment of the population, some of
it well beyond the normal age of
college students, which can
never hope to attend a residen-
tial college or even an on-site
night school. Often the reason
is financial, that is, it is neces-
sary for the -student to support
himself or a family while he
proceeds with his education.
That is why the idea of attain-
ing a college degree without
having to be bound to a campus
has so much public appeal. - -
By working with our neighbor
institutions I believe a package
program could be put together
which would greatly expand the
opportunity for citizens of the
state who cannot now attend

campus instruction to advance
their own education. If we find
a way to meet this need, we will
substantially improve our image
with the public...
More planning at 'U'
It is clear that we are going
to havecto devote more time to
both long and short-range plan-
ning. I hope to elaborate on this
shortly. The organization of a
satisfactory planning mechan-
ism is an extremely difficult
problem. I have, as you know,
never accepted the proposition
that there isea real difference
between those of us who are
professors momentarily assigned
to full-time administration, and
those of us who are professors
momentarily assigned to full-
time teaching and/or research.
Because they spend all their
time on administration, profes-
sors who are assigned to admin-
istrative positions are naturally

speech
more fully informed. They want
and need the advice and coun-
sel of their colleagues who are
not spending large amounts of
time on administrative matters.
This is difficult to arrange be-
cause the amount of work which
one must do to be sufficiently
well informed to deal with com-
plex administrative problems is
substantial and tends to impinge
unduly on the time which any
full-time academician can de-
vote to it. Yet we must learn to
square that circle, ana I hope
we shall begin experimenting
more fully with it very shortly.
I am, as always, grateful for
the support which the faculty
has provided through these re-
cent difficult years. Such suc-
cess 'as we have had is, I am
sure, attributable to our ability
to work together to maintain
the basic values without which
a university is lost.

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