20 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, December 6, 1996
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black cube spins perpetually outside the Fleming Administration Building.
The cube continues turning on the same axis day after day, but leadership
inside the administration building is not as constant.
Leaders in high-
er education - mirror-
ing society in general -
don't stay in the same job for
long anymore. The era when
University presidents like James Angell stayed
in their positions for more than 30 years no
"I never envision a time when there is the
same group of executive officers and deans for
five years," said Walter Harrison, vice president
for University relations.
Still, since former President James
Duderstadt said he was stepping down last year,
the senior administration has been marked by
interim leadership and transition.
"There has been more change than normal
over the last couple of years," Harrison said.
Because of a handful of resignations and antici-
pated departures, the University has been led by
an interim president and some interim vice pres-
idents during the past few years.
"This is an unusual turnover in the vice pres-
idencies in the Fleming Building," Duderstadt
said, adding that leadership at other levels, like
the University's deans', "can keep the ship mov-
Much of the uncertainty during the past year
has been in anticipation of permanent leadership
- recently codified in the selection of Lee
Bollinger as the next University president.
Bollinger will begin his term on Feb. 1.
Until then, there is likely to be much specula-
at the exec- 7
ing con- r
e r a I
it in the
possible terms, you might look at it as a hemor-
rhaging of leadership," said University historian
and history Prof. Nicholas Steneck. "My guess
is that it has to be a high priority for the presi-
dent to establish stability. He might quickly
make a few decisions about people to keep on.
If he feels it is stable enough ... he may take
time to fill those posts."
In an Oct. 24 candidate interview with the
Board of Regents, Bollinger said the next
University president would have to assemble
a strong executive team early in the presiden-
tion is much more than in the last two
Assembling tha crew
Harrison, who has said in the past that he
would respect the next president's wishes to
retain the current executive officers or choose a
new team, said he plans to stay in the Fleming
"Lee asked me if I'd stay on, and I said I
would," Harrison said.
But other positions are less certain, including
Bollinger's plans for the provost position, the
top academic post under the president.
Provost J. Bernard Machen has spent the last
two years waiting to see who the next president
would be and when he would begin. In October
1995, Machen signed a two-year contract to
serve as provost. His future in the administra-
tion has since been the subject of constant spec-
Machen would not comment on possible
changes, noting that Bollinger hasn't yet
announced any decisions about the shape of the
new leadership team.
"Usually presidents pick their own provosts.
The president and the provost form a tight
team," Duderstadt said. "I think Dr. Machen,
although he has done a marvelous job, that is
President-designate Bollinger's decision to
make. That is an uncertainty."
Prior to becoming provost, Machen served as
dean of the School of Dentistry. As provost, he
get to know one another, work
and make a mutual decision."
the 12 mem-
bers of the
"It is a mat-
ter of chem-
is t r y,"
said. "I would
with each other
'I think you have to find somebody who
attracts really good people, where really good
people say, 'I want to work with that person,"'
Bollinger said. "I have seen it in a number of
places where you get people, you build an insti-
tution around them ... and that's what I think
has to happen."
Harrison said Bollinger will probably spend
the first few months meeting with University
leaders and trying to develop his own agenda
and set of priorities.
"Lee has an interesting and inviting opportu-
nity to create his own team if he wishes,"
Harrison said. "The question is, who does he
want on his team?"
Steneck said the possibilities for change are
unique compared to other times in the
"I think the extent of the change is unprece-
dented at this point,"
"4T h e
t a transi-
Although the status of the provost position is
uncertain, there definitely will be at least two
changes - Chief Financial Officer Farris
Womack will step down Dec. 31 and the Board
of Regents recently approved the new position
of executive vice president for medical affairs.
"Because of the circumstances, there looks to
be a lot of openings," Harrison said. "It will be
up to Lee to decide once he's steering
Two people who most
likely will sail under
the Bollinger mast are:
Vice President for
Maureen Hartford and
"As long as there's a
match, certainly," said
Hartford, whose contract was
renewed for five years in
The change to a new pres- t
ident brings mixed emotions 4
for Hartford - as the
University shifts away from
the Duderstadt era,
poignant feelings still
"Lee's coming is a very
nice touch, because he does
know the institution,"
Hartford said. "It's a bitter--
sweet time for me, because
I came to be part of Jim
Duderstadt's executive t
team. I did and do admire him greatly."
Palmer said she is not worried about so many
new people coming on board the administration.
"This university is accustomed to change," she
said. "There's a lot of unknowns yet, but I'm
sure they'll be cleared up."
Palmer said she "certainly" expects to stay on
as University secretary if Bollinger asks her to.
Hartford said that although Bollinger will
ultimately assemble an excellent team, the
future of the executive officer positions is
nonetheless heavy on her mind.
"It's something I worry about a lot," she said.
"It's wonderful for Lee to be able to put togeth-
er his own group. ... It is hard, however, to lose
a lot of people at once."
While Harrison, Hartford and Palmer will
most likely remain with Bollinger, decisions
on other positions are in flux.
Vice President for Development Thomas
Kinnear said he "anticipate(s) a very smooth
transition" to the Bollinger presidency, but as
for his own future as an administrator, Kinnear's
expectations are somewhat less definite.
"Bernie Machen and my appointments are
both up at the end of next summer," Kinnear said.
Kinnear, who was appointed in 1994, said
he took over development responsibilities
only because the University was unable
to rearrange its resources to conduct a
more exhaustive, national search.
"The appointment was that I would be
able to stay three years," Kinnear said,
adding that he loves teaching and
research and looks for-
ward to returning
to those activ-
Vice President for Student Affairs Maureen Hartford, who came to the University during James Duderstadt's presidency, said the upcoming
changes in the University's executive team are a natural part of the transition to a new president.
Moreover, he said "it's slightly rare" fort
such a large number of turnovers to occur,
but it may put Bollinger in an easier positionY
- he won't have to push some executive offi-
cers from Duderstadt's administra-
tion out of office.
"There would have been turnoverh
anyway," Kinnear said. "I don't think
it's a problem."
Interim President Homer Neal, f
who served as vice president for
research before taking the presiden-
tial reins after Duderstadt stepped
down, has not announced his perma-
nent plans after Feb. 1.
"I will be working closely with Lee Bollinger
through January to make sure he is
briefed on all current pending issues, trans-
ferring the reins on Feb. 1, and making myself
available for a few weeks afterwards," Neal
said in an e-mail message.
Neal also said he plans to take a research
leave at the European Organization for
Nuclear Research in Geneva, but he did not
comment on plans to return to the vice presi-
dency position, which is currently held in an
interim capacity by Frederick Neidhardt.
Search committees for Womack's replace-
ment and for the new executive vice president
for medical affairs are expected to be
Besides choosing the next executive offi-
cers, Bollinger also will set the tone of the team
and the role that it plays in University policy
While the vice presidents each have specific
management functions that control different
aspects of the University, their policy-making
roles are set by the president.
"The question is: Will they be the main
focus of policy making? Will the new presi-
dent look to them to set policy or are there
other bodies that he works with?" Steneck
asked. "It is possible the new president will
want to go back and vest more decision mak-
ing in the dean structure rather than
in the executive officers."
Bollinger has mentioned that he
hopes to give deans more influence;
he served as the University's Law
School dean before leaving in 199
for Dartmouth College.
Duderstadt said the University's
executive officer team is unusual
compared to other universities'
because there are only seven vice
presidents - about half the number
of positions at other universities.
"We depend somewhat more heavily on the
quality of our vice presidents," Duderstadt
While the executive officers played a strono
role under Duderstadt, Steneck said there was
a time when the deans held more power-they
were called "the barons," referring to a term
for medieval nobility.
"The deans have the leadership for their aca-
demic units. The University is much more than
the academic units," Duderstadt said, mention-
ing that the University is a "$3-billion opera-
tion" that needs"detailed management."
Duderstadt admitted yesterday that when
he was a faculty member, he thought t
Fleming Building "could be made into"
But after spending eight years inside as pres-
ident, Duderstadt said the vice presidents con-
tribute greatly to keeping the University in
"Lee Bollinger will be spending a lot of time
recruiting," Duderstadt said. "It is not worn-
some, but it clearly dictates the priorities of the
president. You need to get the very best peo-
ple in place."
s i 4
Former University President James
Duderstadt, Chief Financial Officer
Farris Womack, and Provost J.
Bernard Machen share a joke during
Duderstadt's administration. The
University's top administrator posts
have been in a state of flux over the
last year and may face more shake-
ups when President-designate Lee
Bollinger begins his term in February.
Photo courtesy of News and Information Services
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