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September 04, 1986 - Image 22

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The Michigan Daily, 1986-09-04

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Page 2A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 4, 1986
,Geniusor autocrat?


V.P. Duderstadt arrives amidst controversy

James Duderstadt, the University's
new Vice President for Academic Af-
fairs and Provost, has never lacked
ambition. He has risen steadily: from
Yale graduate with highest honors in
1964, to professor of nuclear
engineering in 1976, to University
engineering dean in 1981. Yet three
months after reaching the ad-
ministration's number two post,
Duderstadt sometimes wishes he
*ere back in a classroom-or an
engineering lab.
"I don't think most people go into
academia with the objective of
becoming an academic ad-
ministrator," he says. "They go in
because they enjoy teaching, they en-
joy research."
"I miss teaching."
Pointing to the tiny windows in his
now office that make him feel "closed
in" from campus, he jokes, "If you
aecept the premise that the brain has.
two sides, my first five years as a
dean destroyed the creative half of
my brain and five years as provost
will destroy the analytical half, so I'll
be ready for retirement in five
.His bluntness, out of character for
most administrators, reflects a


straightforward, wired personality
that can be considered his greatest at-
tribute or his worst
drawback-depending on your per-
".He gestures vehemently with his
long arms as he speaks, and stares in-
tently at the interviewer. This inten-
tsity, combined with an intolerance
for mediocrity, have led some studen-
ts and faculty to call him an autocrat.
At the same time, he appears
relaxed; leaning back on a couch,
feet crossed. He laughs and jokes
throughout the interview. He is also
known as a young genius-the blond-
haired farm boy from Missouri who
can smooth-talk state legislators and
rebuild an entire college within five
The three computers lined up on his
desk provide a constant reminder of
IPuderstadt's engineering
background. Yet he is no
stereotypical engineer. His initiative
gnd vision have pushed the College of
Engineering onto a liberal arts path,
and the former dean regrets being
finable to lead the transition..
Leaving engineering
"I feel a little sad to leave - the
most exciting period will be in the
next 10 years," he says, referring to
the current review of the college's
undergraduate curriculum.
The review, triggered by Duder-
stadt's belief that today's engineering
students need a broader education,
may lead to increased humanities
requirements in the college.
Recalling his years in engineering
and his original academic goals,
Duderstadt gets sentimental. "I wish
t .had had the intellectual ability to
have progressed along the normal
academic route, won the Nobel prize,
and become a world-eminent scien-
tist. But very few people can do that."
4 He regrets the time constraints of
Pis new job, which may cause him to
slip behind the fast pace of
engineering research. And Jim
puderstadt hates mediocrity.

"Particularly in my field, it is very
hard to stay at the top, to really be
knowledgeable, without investing a
significant amount of time in scholar-
ship and research. I found as a dean
when I had a responsibility for 6,000
students and 300 faculty, that it was
very difficult to give priority to my
own personal intellectual activity.
You just can't when you've got that
kind of community depending on you.
And that's true in spades over here."
"So, unfortunately," he continues,
"that professional side of your career
really has to be cast adrift. That's a
bridge you burn behind you."
A new position
Duderstadt credits University
President Harold Shapiro with per-
suading him to take his new position,
despite his misgivings. The two ad-
ministrators will work together
closely to determine the University's
Though Shapiro is known for his
quiet, somewhat cautious style of
decision-making, Susan Lipschutz,
the president's executive assistant,
predicts that he and Duderstadt, "will
work together just fine."
"They are different people. I think
their styles are different," Lipschutz
says. "But we were looking for a dif-
ferent combination of personalities, a
different set of strengths."
She emphasizes that Duderstadt
may have to alter his brand of leader-
ship to adjust to his new role.
"A dean has to be on advocate for
the college, whereas the provost has
to look out for the interests of the en-
tire university, to blend the interests
of many different schools," Lipschutz says.
"I think you'll see a slightly dif-
ferent version of Jim Duderstadt."
Still, she points to Duderstadt's in-
tensity, his "ability to move things
forward" as a primary reason for
Shapiro's enthusiasm about him.
Duderstadt says the same factors
motivated him to leave engineering.
He cites his "convictions that the in-
stitution has both the opportunity and
the challenge of picking up the pace
and setting somewhat higher targets
for the performance of its students
and faculty.
"That's what I'm good at. That's
what I did in engineering. That's what
I did in my department prior to
becoming dean, and that's going to be
one of my principle roles over here."
Support from colleagues
Duderstadt's self-analysis is con-
firmed by officials throughout the
College of Engineering. They often
overflow with superlatives in
describing his tenure as dean.
"A tremendous revival has oc-
curred in the engineering college un-
der Duderstadt's leadership. It's
really been dramatic," says Lynn
Conway, an engineering associate
Conway credits Duderstadt's
magnetism with inspiring her to
come to the University last year from
the Xerox corporation.
"I could see how the college was
progressing. I could see what Duder-
stadt was accomplishing," she says.
"Duderstadt was always in a wired
and optimistic mood. He seemed like
he was always just on his way to do
"This tends to bring up the ex-
citement and confidence of people
around him-and it starts to rub off,"
she adds.
When be became engineering dean,

'Jim is blunt. He gets to the point and lets
you know exactly where he stands.'
-Charles Vest, new engineering dean


D aaD
Daily Photo by ANDI SCHR EIBER

James Duderstadt relaxes as he talks about his new post as the Univer-
sity's Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost.

Duderstadt faced a shrinking budget
and declining national rankings for
what had been a nationally-prominent
college during the 1950s and '60s. The
college's faculty had grown
apathetic, observers said, and its
long-delayed move to North Campus
had stalled.
Duderstadt provided the needed
spark. He took over direction of the
move to North Campus, which will be
completed this year. He also helped
increase the engineering college's
share of the University's General
Fund from $11 million to $34 million.
Sponsored research increased by
another $20 million.
And he re-instilled a competitive
fire among the college's faculty. His
methods, however, provoked op-
position to what seemed like his ac-
tion-at-any-price philosophy.
Resentment develops
Duderstadt helped recruit 100 new
engineering faculty members-many
of them highly-qualified-and began
a merit-based salary program that
rewarded quality, but deprived
faculty members who failed to meet
his higher standards.
The program caused resentment
among some professors who say they
weren't consulted on this and other
major decisions during Duderstadt's
tenure as dean.
"He's an autocrat," says one
engineering professor, who asked to
remain anonymous. "He should be
more open to hearing other people,
more receptive to influences from
other sources.''
Perhaps the most outspokes critic
of Duderstadt is Mechanical
Engineering Prof. Maria Comninou.
Comninou has been distributing
among engineering faculty a satirical
newsletter that mocks the former
dean's "authoritarian" methods.
The newsletter, called the "News
from the College of Manageering,"
characterizes Duderstadt as, "Dean
Van Der Marcostadt," and satirizes
what the author apparently saw as
Duderstadt's excessive demands on
engineering faculty.
Although Comninou could not be
reached for comment, one of her
newsletters described "Marcostadt's"
mythical installation of a 16-hour
work day, "to increase (engineering)
faculty productivity and morale."
"This leaves faculty plenty of time
to rush home for the late-late movie,"
the newsletter continues.
"Ambitious buckaneers are
urged, however, to set their

"He's got his opinions and he's
determined about them, but he's
always been reasonable," Chapo ad-
"Clearly, one can get the impression
that he's a little ruthless," says
nuclear engineering prof. Bill Martin,
who worked with Duderstadt before
he became engineering dean.
Martin adds that Duderstadt is
really, "not that way at all. He just
gets the job done."
"I think some people don't work
well with him because he moves so
fast. He expects a lot from people and
the people who don't produce may be
shunted aside," Martin says.
"He was always willing to give you
an ear, but he didn't always agree. He
was brutally honest."
Duderstadt's closest associate
during the past five years has been
mechanical engineering prof.

alarms for 4 a.m. for a
few hours of reading and
mastering the technology of
ET (Emerging Technology) for
the purpose of exchanging electronic
messages with the squadron of
associate deans."
Duderstadt, who sometimes comes
to work between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m.,
and carries a personal computer to
send electronic messages to his staff,
laughs when asked about Comninou's
"I think she enjoys it. People find it
amusing. I find it amusing, and that's
fine," he says. "She's using satire to
raise her concerns."
Student input
Some student leaders outside the
College of Engineering are not
laughing about what they see as
Duderstadt's low regard for student
input into University decision-
LSA junior Jen Faigel, who curren-
tly serves with Duderstadt on the
University's Budget Priorities Com-
mittee, describes his presence at
committee meetings as overbearing.
"He seems to be really trying to
manipulate the decisions toward what
he wants," Faigel says. "He pushes
for his arguments and doesn't listen
to other arguments."
Duderstadt, seemingly unpertur-
bed, once again chuckles when con-
fronted with this criticism.
"I've never had a student say that
to me," he says, insisting that he finds
student input, "terrible important."
Engineering students and Duder-
stadt's colleagues agree that he seeks
other opinions when making
decisions. They attribute the com-
plaints against him to his intense Der-
"Engineers seem to agree that he's
pretty fair and concerned with
student opinion. His reputation in the
college is pretty high," says Marc
Chapo, president of the Engineering
Council, the college's student gover-
Chapo and other engineering
students point out that Duderstadt
arranged three meetings each term
with Engineering Council represen-
tatives and leaders from various
engineering honor societies.
The meetings, which covered
everything from donut sales on North
Campus to parking at the new
engineering building, show that
Duderstadt, "is definitely concerned
for the engineering students and how
they feel about things," according to

reiterates that internal re-allocation 4
may again be necessary to insure
the University's high quality.
The reallocation presided over by
Duderstadt's predecessor, Billy Frye,
produced severe budget cuts in the
schools of education, business, and
natural resources. The cuts caused
deep resentment, and some officials
have speculated that the mental
anguish they engendered convinced
Frye to resign his position.
According to top University of- 4
ficials, Duderstadt's ability to secure
engineering funds indicates he will ef-
fectively lobby for state money.
"His experience, background, and
personality suggest that he will be
comfortable dealing with state
legislators. We think that will be a
plus," Richard Kennedy, the Univer-
sity's vice president for government

Charles Vest, who replaced him as
engineering dean. Vest
acknowledges Duderstadt's blunt
style, but discounts anyone who calls
him an autocrat.
"Jim is blunt. He gets to the point
and lets you know exactly where he
stands," Vest says. "He's capable of
analyzing and thinking issues through
much quicker than most people.
Some people react to this by
assuming he's not thinking things
through. But he is-he's just doing
it faster."
The budget
Duderstadt's greatest challenge
as vice president will be formulating
the University's budget each year.
Declining state allocations combined
with increased costs have caused a
fiscal crisis.
He says he will attempt to "re-order
the state's priorities" toward higher
education, in addition to seeking a
more corporate and alumni funds.
Like other administrators, he

"It gives our presentation of needs
to the state a good deal more
credibility since we've got a
acknowledged expert in these areas,"
Kennedy adds.
Duderstadt will tackle these
problems with an appetite for
working long hours that amazes his
He. tends to work at a speed about
two-fold above everybody else," says
Elaine Harden, an assistant to the
engineering dean who has worked in
the college for more than 25 years.'4
Other than planned vacations, Har-
den insists, Duderstadt never missed
a day of work during his time as dean,
unlike five other deans she has
worked with.
And according to Dean Conway,
this intensity will add an element of
unpredictability to the ad-
"You never knew quite what was
going to come next in the engineering
college. Now the entire University
has that to look forward to."

Minority enrollment
low, despite'U' efforts'

Although last fall's minority studen-
t population of 12 percent was the
highest ever at the University, crucial
social and economic factors are
preventing black and Native
American enrollment from making
proportional progress.
The rise in overall minority,
enrollment is mainly due to increases
in Hispanic and Asian students on
campus. Hispanic students now com-
prise 1.8 percent of the total student
population, the highest figure ever.
And with Asian enrollment rising by
21 percent last year, Asian students
now represent 5.5 percent of all un-
Native American students, however
still remain below one percent of the
total student population, despite an
increase from 58 students in 1972 to
156 students in 1985.
Black enrollment also has not been
as successful as among Hispanics and
Asians. Black enrollment dropped as
low as 4.9 percent in 1983, from a high
of 7.2 percent in 1976, before reboun-

ding slightly to 5.2 percent last year.
Black enrollment stressed
Black enrollment is a top priority.
Leaders of the Black Action
Movement (BAM) held protests in
1970, demanding that the University
raise black enrollment to 10 percent.
In March of 1985, Niara Sudarkasa, a
BAM leader in the early 70's, and now
the University's administrator
responsible for minority affairs,
pledged to double black
enrollment within three to five years.
These promises, however, have not
translated into concrete results.
Moreover, the focus upon blacks
alienated other minority students like
Asians. Because Asian students are
now considered a "non-
underrepresented" minority on cam-
pus, they receive none of the special
financial aid and recruitment
programs used to lure minorities to
Ann Arbor.
Efforts to increase the number Qf
black students on campus, however,



For people concerned about sexual orientation
(their own or others')


See 'U', Page 11



Counseling & Referral, "Coming-Out" & Other Support
Groups, Education, Civil Rights, Community Outreach
& Consultation, Liaison to U-M & Community Resour-
ces, Info on U-M Policy Statement on Sexual Orientation



- - - - - - - - - - - -

Don't Let aBad Break
Disrupt Your College Budget
Whether it's an intramural football injury or a surprise attack of appendicitis, an unantici-
pated sickness or accident can result in large medical bills. And if you're like most college
students, your budget doesn't allow for any "bad breaks."
That's why it's a good idea to help protect yourself against the medical expenses of an unex-
pected sickness or accident by enrolling now in the 1986-1987 Accident and Sickness Insurance
Plan, approved by the UMIC* for University of Michigan Students and their dependents.
Underwritten by Mutual of Omaha, this plan provides hospital-surgical-medical benefits -
even major medical benefits up to $50,000 - for both outpatient as well as inpatient

. .. . .
Jobs with Housing Divisions Food Service offer:
$4.20/hr. starting wages
Phone or stop by the Food Service Office at East Quad
as soon as you arrive on campus this fall.
Call 763-0136
;: An Equal Opportunity Employer
* U
CIT TRb c'T(r\1

5 I1

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