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January 05, 1995 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-01-05

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2 - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, January 5, 1995

Provost says 'it was time'to depart after 5 years


Continued from page
you don't always make friends."
The University will search nation-
wide to choose a person to fill its sec-
ond-rankingposition, Duderstadt said.
"We will look nationally. I think we
have to do that," Duderstadt said. "It is
absolutely essential that that pool has
strong women and minority candi-
But during the past years, provosts
have come from the ranks of dean at the
University's schools and colleges.
Charles Vest, who only served as
provost 18 months before becoming
president of the Massachusetts Insti-
tute of Technology, came from the
dean's seat in the College of Engineer-
ing. And Duderstadt, who was provost
before being named president, also first
served as Engineering dean.
"I don't know of an external pro-
vost or vice president for academic
affairs,"Whitakersaid. "I think they've
been internal foralong period of time."
But the dean of the University's
largest college, LSA Dean Edie N.
Goldenberg, said she will not be a
"I have informed President
Duderstadt that I won't be a candidate
in thecoming search," Goldenberg said.
"Given the complexities and strengths
of our University, an insider would
start with a head start in terms of know-
ing the traditions and thepeople, but an
outsider could learn over time."
Duderstadt said a committee com-
posed primarily of faculty, with one
or two students, will be used to help
him select the next provost. He said
the search will probably use an ex-
ecutive search consultant to find can-
The entire search process will re-
main confidential, Duderstadt said.
"Suppose we are considering people
who are sitting deans. It would under-
mine their capacity to continue in their
jobs," he said.
Duderstadt said he hopes to have a
new provost in place by September.
He said he would ask Whitaker to
extend his service until a new person
takes office if a replacement is not
found by then.
"Will I consider if asked, yes,"
Whitaker said. "If I hadn't already
fixed my ideas on doing something

else, I might do it."
Baker said the regents have had a
significant influence over past
searches for provost.
"There certainly will be some in-
volvement because it's a key position
within the University. What form it
will take is unclear," Baker said.
Over the past year, Whitaker has
conflicted with the Senate Advisory
Committee on University Affairs
(SACUA), a faculty governance com-
In May, SACUA asked the provost
to retract a portion of a letter he wrote
on behalf of Pharmacology Prof. Wil-
liam Pratt, who had been accused by
two faculty members of making racist
In a Feb. 11 letter, Whitaker said,
"I would like you to know that I am
not aware of any evidence that would
suggest that Dr. Pratt is a racist."
SACUA claimed that the provost's
actions interfered with apending griev-
ance filed by AssistantResearch Scien-
tist Peggie Hollingsworth against the
committee that refused her promotion.
Pratt was a member of the committee.
Jean Loup, chair of SACUA, said
she thinks the committee would have
come into conflict with any person in
the position.
"He happened to be in the spot
when the faculty were feeling most
pressured," Loup said. "I don't think
we would have gotten along with any
provost at this time."
Whitaker said tensions between the
administration and the faculty were
focused on him.
"I don't think those issues would
contribute to someone's staying or not
staying on the job. It's part of the job,"
Whitakersaid. "Thereality is thatthere's
things people disagree about and we try
to work them out the best you can."
Loup said she does not know how
much SACUA's attacks on theprovost
contributed to his stepping down.
"I'd hate to think it was the final
straw," Loup said. "We happen to dis-
agree on a number of issues. We don't
disagree on all issues."
Whitaker, a native of Oklahoma,
earned a bachelor's degree in econom-
ics from Rice University in 1953, a
master's in economics at the Univer-
sity of Wisconsin in 1958 and a doc-
toral degree in economics at Wiscon-
sin in 1961.

Provostand Executive Vice Presi-
dent for Academic Affairs Gilbert R.
WhitakerJr., the University's chiefaca-
demic officer, will leave office in Au-
gust. Daily Staff Reporter Ronnie
Glassberg spoke with Whitaker Tues-
day afternoon in his office.
Q: What do you think have been
some of your biggest accomplishments
during your years as the University's
A: I haven't thought that through.
I think getting the deans' and the
campaigns', priorities sorted out was
sort of the first thing. I think the
various searches for deans. One of the
things about this job is you can't re-
ally see much to conclusion yourself,
but you have to help others do the
things that they need to do.
With 19 different degree-granting
units, you can't really spend very much
time on any one of them, but you can
help them get themselves going. I think
we did agood job ofgetting anew dean
for Natural Resources. One of the im-
portant things is choosing deans. It

seems like there's three or four a year.
Q: There are now open dean seats
in Rackham, Public Health, Pharmacy
and Engineering. Do you think when
you step down, it will cause any prob-
lems for these dean searches?
A: I don't know. I'm sure that
when we get to the final part of each of
these searches we'll make sure that the
candidates meet the president. I don't
think that should be amajor factor. I'm
sure people will be concerned about it.
Life goes on, changes take place. I
hope it doesn't create any major prob-
lems. There's no time to quit ifyou wait
until there are no searches. There are
several every year.
Q: You have served at the Univer-
sity for 16 years, both as dean of the
Business School and as provost. What
do you see as your biggest accomplish-
ment at the University?
A: The Business School really
moved from a middle-level school to a
first-rank school while I was dean. I
wouldn't say I did it all, but I helped it
happen. I think in the all the time I've
been here, the University has continued
to improve. There seems tobe real spirit
of "Let's get better." I think I contrib-
uted to keeping that spirit going.
Q: During your years as provost
and dean, did you make any decisions
that you now regret?
A: Probably hundreds, but I try to
forget about them. They asked some-
body why he was such a great success
as a chairman of a corporation and he
said, "Good decisions." And how did
you learn to make good decisions? And
he said, "Bad decisions." You learn

from experiences and then you try to
forget them. There have been a lot of
things. I don't remember anything that's
left me shaken.
Q: What do you think are the
strengths academically at the Univer-
A: I think what it has going for it is
its very comprehensive nature of units
all of which are very strong. I think
that's rare in higher education where
every unit has strengths. They're not
all ranked No. 1, but there's probably
not anything that's not in the top dozen
ofpeerinstitutions. And given the num-
berof things we're in-about the only
thing we don't do is agriculture and
veterinary medicine. Everything we
do, we do extremely well.
Q: Which academic units do you
see among the strongest at the Uni-
versity or that have improved the most
while you've been provost?
A: I think they all seem to have
different dimensions. I'll pick on the
Business School. I think they've done
really remarkable, innovative work in
the MBAprogram. That's all happened
since I've left there.
I think what LSA's doing with un-
dergraduate education is really strength-
ening it.... I think you could say some-
thing about some dimension of every
one. I think as they find problems, they
go to work on them. I'm very pleased
that people have that attitude. I think
much of this has been done in recent
years in the face of limited financial
resources. I think in the '60s and '70s
the University was so well supported
by the state that they could try and fail

a s-n. * - - . -


more than you can afford to try and fail
at now. The success rate may be better
because you have to think harder about
it. So, maybe there's some advantage
to financial stringency that I hadn'
thought of before. It makes you think
harder about what you're doing.
Q: How has the University changed
since you've been provost?
A: I think it's been incremental,
everyday. I think we've raised our con-
sciousness a bit on diversity for both
women and minorities and made some
limited headway in those arenas. I think
the rebuilding of the campus facilities
has happened during this period a
well. We're kind of living through a
war zone right now, but when it's done
it will be a fantastic improvement,

Provost serves as 'on-campus nerve center'

Daily Staff Reporter
As provost and executive vice president for
academic affairs, Gilbert R. Whitaker Jr. works
with administrators throughout the University.
"I think it's kind of the on-campus nerve
center for the academic programs," Whitaker
said. "One of the opportunities is to see where
cooperation would be better than going alone."
And as provost, Whitaker spends many hours
on the job - about 70 per week.
"I get up at 5.I don't come here until 8,8:30.1 do
some work at home, I do some exercises," Whitaker
said. "I stay until 6, take something home with me.
About three nights out of seven, I have to do some-
thing that's job related. Some weeks it's seven days.

"Many people spend many hours on their ca-
reers because it's what they like to do. It's my
hobby as well as my job."
Jean Loup, chair of the Senate Advisory Com-
mittee on University Affairs, said the provost is the
central position in the University.
"I think it's, from my perspective, the position
that guides the quality of the University," Loup
said. "We are here to teach and to learn and to do
research. That's the key appointment. Everything
else revolves around it."
As provost, Whitaker said he often needs to step
aside to let the deans make their own decisions.
"Having been dean yourself, you always have
ideas of the best way to do it," Whitaker said.
"You've got to let them do it their way because they

know their school better than you do."
But, Whitaker said, there's less pleasure in
stepping aside.
"That's one of the frustrations of the job,"
Whitaker said. "One of the real joys of it, though,
is to really get to know more about the entire
University than any other position at the Univer-
sity, at least on the academic side. You see it all and
you meet people all over campus."
LSA Dean Edie N. Goldenberg said the position
of provost is critical to the University.
"The provost and vice president for academic
affairs is the second-ranking academic voice on
campus," Goldenberg said. "He played a major role@
in breaking a long logjam in infrastructure support
and stimulating a rebuilding of central campus.",

Continued from page I.
ery and get a 10-percent increase in
productivity," Whitaker said. "The
CPI (Consumer Price Index) is one
point on acontinuum of price changes.
It's an average of the expenditures of
an urban family. We don't buy the
same things that an urban family
Whitaker said the University's
primary costs are salaries and equip-
ment and those do not increase at the
same rate as the CPI.

"I think it would be foolish for us
to make such a pledge and I think our
students would not want to come to an
institution that didn't have the aspira-
tions that we have," Whitaker said.
Michigan State's 2.3-percent in-
crease in state appropriations last year
fell below the rate of inflation, which
is about 3 percent.
"I don't think Michigan State can
do it. It will be very difficult,"
Duderstadt said. "If the state had been
increasing our appropnates at the rate
of inflation in the last years, it might
have been possible."

'U' pres. to stay at helm

Daily Staff Reporter
As the second-ranking official at
the University prepares to leave his
post, President James J. Duderstadt is
not yet preparing to pack his bags.
"I made acommitment when I took
the job that I would do my best to stay
on for 10 years," said Duderstadt, who
became the University's 11 th presi-
dent in 1988. In five years, this com-
mitment will end.
Duderstadt noted that on various
occasions he has talked about leading
the University into the 21 stcentury. "I
don't expect to be the president of the
University when I'm 60," Duderstadt
said. That would mean the 52-year-old
president will be out of office by 2003.
Even if he departed today,
Duderstadt would have arelatively long
tenure for a university president: He is
now the loniest-serving oresident in

the Big Ten, he said.
Before becoming president,
Duderstadt served as provost. And be-
fore that, he was dean of the College ofO
Duderstadt's predecessor, Harold
Shapiro, also served as provost before
becoming president. Shapiro now is
president at Princeton University.
Charles Vest, who served as pro-
vost for 18 months before Provost Gil-
bert R. Whitaker Jr., left to become
president of the Massachusetts Insti-
tute of Technology.
"Anybody in the provost's position
at Michigan is looked at to be a poten-
tial president," Duderstadt said.
But, he said, when he leaves, the
Board of Regentsshould not only look
at its No.2 officer. "When I step down,
I hope the Board of Regents has the
capacity to consider a broad range of
candidates," Duderstadt said.

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