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September 09, 1993 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-09-09

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 9, 1993

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420 Maynard
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Edited and managed
by students at the
University of Michigan

JOSH DuBow
Editor in Chief
ANDREw LEVY
Editorial Page Editor

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Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the majority opinion of the Daily editorial board.
All other cartoons, articles and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.

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Insight
What exactly does the president do?

By JAMES DUDERSTADT
In 1963, Clark Kerr, the president
of the University of California,
defined a university president as
follows:
"The university has become the
multiversity and the nature of the
presidency has followed this change
... The president of the multiversity
is leader, educator, wielder of power,
pump; he is also officeholder,
caretaker, inheritor, consensus
seeker, persuader, bottleneck. But he
is mostly a mediator."
Over the past 30 years, the job has
changed still more, but Kerr's
definition still rings true. But I would
particularly stress one descriptor' a
president is an educator. In the 175-
year history of the University of
Michigan, there have been only 11
presidents. Together with the Board
of Regents, faculty, students, alumni,
University officers and staff, they
helped set forth a vision and provided
the necessary leadership to
implement that vision.
Over its history, the University
has changed dramatically. In 1852,
there were 222 students enrolled at
the University of Michigan. Today,
there are 51,000. Beyond educating
51,000 students, we annually treat
thousands of patients in our hospitals
from 46 states, Puerto Rico and 66
foreign nations, conduct $400 million
of contract research, entertain over
one million fans at athletic events
(and hundreds of thousands through
television), create thousands of new
jobs, assist in international
development in Eastern Europe,
Asia, Africa and South America and
serve our state, nation and the world
in many, many other ways. So too,
the activities of the University have
broadened and increased to the point
today where its budget stands at $2.3
billion (all funds, all campus
operating budget).
What role does a president play at
a complex, dynamic, de-centralized
university like Michigan? Well, my
job is as multi-faceted as the
University. Most people see me at
the top of an administrative pyramid.
In reality, the pyramid is often
inverted since I serve all of those in
the University and millions more in
society who are dependent upon us.
And that's good. Because the
strength and intellectual vigor of the
University really lies in its schools

and colleges, with the deans and
faculty.
And my job? My job, to a large
degree, is to set a tone, to articulate a
vision, to capture the spirit of this
great institution and communicate
our challenges and our opportunities.
Through good times and difficult
times, my job is to make sure that the
value of the institution is understood
by a variety of internal and external
constituencies, and that this
understanding translates into active
support for our long-term goals. But
one of my most important jobs is to
listen. I listen to students, faculty,
staff, state legislator, members of
Congress, alumni, local officials, the
citizens of Michigan, and others who
offer counsel and advice. These
constituencies share with me good
news and bad news. I make sure that
their voices are heard, and working
with our senior management team,
the Regents, and the Deans, I strive
to incorporate their views into our
decision-making process.
In a typical week, I meet with 40-
50 groups or individuals. Among
them: alumni clubs, civic clubs, high
school students, individual faculty,
students and staff, donors, local and
national media, leaders from business
and industry, legislators, the
Governor, foreign visitors, Regents,
executive officers of the University,
athletes, NCAA officials, other
university presidents, and sometimes,
even a President or a Queen. I might
add that since I am a frequent user of
electronic mail, any student, faculty,
or staff member can easily
communicate directly with me
anytime they wish. (Here I should
note that I personally handle all my
e-mail traffic - as evidenced by the
spelling mistakes in the replies).
I seek funding on behalf of the
University, to support ongoing and
new programs; I encourage young
people to attend the college or
university of their choice; I
encourage businesses to locate in or
around Ann Arbor; I work with other
presidents to advance important
policy initiatives; such as the direct
student loan program or reforms in
intercollegiate athletics; I review
tenure recommendations; I review
internal policy recommendations,
such as proposed changes in
harassment policies; I preside over
the monthly Board of Regents
meeting; I host get-togethers for
young faculty and new students and
student leaders; and occasionally, I

get to watch a group of students cross
the finish line at an event like the
Solar Car race.
The University has a first-rate
management team. These individuals
are responsible for helping talented
people in key areas make policies
and implement them: Student
Affairs, Academic Affairs, Business
and Financial Operations,
Government Relations, University
Relations, Development, Research,
and other areas. Many people think
that I know everything that happens
in each of these areas. That would be
impossible. And it would be bad
management. At an institution as
complex and as large as the
University, the president cannot try
to manage every single detail in these
areas. I rely on the judgment and
counsel of the people who run these
areas, and they advise me on
important policy decisions on a
regular basis.
The real strength of the
University lies in our ability to bring
the best people here and to provide
an environment where they can be
creative. We try to make sure that
they feel challenged and that they
feel appreciated. If we can fulfill
these goals, then all of us -
president, Regents, deans, executive
officers and others - will have done
our jobs. But the key is that the job is
never done. None of us ever sits
back, even for a minute. Because not
only are universities competitive;
society is competitive. In the
classroom, on the athletic field, or in
the laboratory, it is important to
know that the terms of "excellence"
are continually changing and being
re-defined, just like the University is
taking on new challenges and setting
new goals.
The president's job? It's one of
the best jobs anywhere. How many
people have the opportunity to be
associated with a mission so
inherently worthwhile? It's a chance
to lead, and at times, a chance to
follow some of the most creative
minds on the planet.
My favorite time of the day is just
before daylight, when I jog around
campus. I think about all of the
activity to come, but I listen to the
quiet - listen, and think about what
the day will bring. For me, there's
never a day when I don't wake up
excited about being here. It's been
that way for 25 years, since I was a
young assistant professor. Maybe it
will be that way for you as well.

From the editor...
Reaching out to you, the reader

Duderstadt is President of the
University of Michigan.

't has come to our attention that
many of you, our readers, believe the
,Daily is out of touch with the campus.
Whether or not this is true -and
there are compelling arguments onboth
sides - it is our job as a "campus"
:newspaper to respond to campus con-
cerns.
Beginning today, you will notice
some changes in the Daily's editorial
page, changes designed to promote
debate on the issues, to provide more
exposure for opinions other than our
own, and most of all to make the Daily

Daily (excerpts from these comments
will appear in the Daily each Friday);
dissenting opinions, written by
Daily staffers, to give a different or
opposing point of view on Daily edito-
rials;
contributing writers and colum-
nists representing a broader cross-sec-
tion of the political spectrum; and
editorials from other Big Ten
newspapers to give you a glimpse of
issues of importance to students on
other campuses.
Along with thesechanges, ofcourse,

tions, comments, and suggestions -
or if you have compliments or com-
plaints. We need to hear from you to
know how we're doing, in order that
we can respond to your needs as read-
ers.
You can reach us by way of the
readerresponse line, 764-0553, by send-
ing e-mail to "daily.letters" on MTS or
by sending a letter to the Daily at 420
Maynard, Ann Arbor, MI 48109.
As we have in the past, we will
continue our policy of running all let-
ters we receive - though we reserve

Beware the payphones
To the Daily:
This fall, a new consumer hazard
has appeared on the sidewalks of
South University: pay phones. Many
of these familiar innocuous devices
are capable of taking a big bite out of
one's wallet.
As part of the splitting up of
AT&T in 1984, pay phones now can
be purchased and operated by just
about anyone, with very little
government control over pricing of

installed them.
I had a particularly nasty confron-
tation with a phone I found outside
Ulrich's on the corner of South
University and East University. This
phone, operated by a company called
"The Telephone Company" (no
relation to Ameritech or Michigan
Bell) insisted that I pay for a call to a
cellular telephone number that is free
on most pay phones.
Further investigating revealed that
there are no numbers, with the
exception of 911, that can be made

presumably channeled to one of the
local businesses. The phone is
programmed so you cannot select a
less expensive long distance com-
pany to handle the call.
It's best to approach pay tele-
phones with some caution. The name
of the local and long distance
company is displayed on the phone.
Try dialing "0" for a Michigan
Bell operator and ask to speak to
your favorite long distance operator,
some long distance companies like
AT&T will not charge you extra for

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