The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, December 1, 2004 - 7
Continued from page 1
the field and the needs of the particular
faculty member. The money partially
pays for salary and benefits and often
includes money for research.
Weiss said the University seeks
endowed positions to attract "superstar"
faculty from other universities, to retain
current faculty members and to allow
But getting money for endowed chairs
is not easy. Most donors have some ties
to the University, and so the College
of Engineering has been searching
for alumni willing to fund the chairs.
It tries to educate potential donors on
the value an endowed chair adds to the
institution, Director said. In the end,
the decision comes down to two fac-
tors: financial capability and interest in
donating, he added.
the University to
in an unexplored or
A number of
LSA and the Col-
lege of Engineer-
ing, are vigorously
fundraising and try-
ing to add more
"It's been one
Endowing a full-
currently costs at
least $2 million
at the University,
spread over a
number of years.
"We don't have
chairs to give to
those who deserve
are often tailored to
In 1999, for
man Samuel Zell
that chair to the most deserving person
in the college," Director said. But it is
looking for funding in all areas. "We
have extremely deserving faculty in all
of our departments," he said.
For some, this situation creates a
number of problems. John Curtis,
director of research for the American
Association of University Professors,
expressed concern that these posi-
tions could stifle academic freedom
and exploration. Private funding for
one chair can come with conditions
attached, restricting the discretion of
the institution and its faculty to spe-
cific types of research.
"The faculty should be the ones pri-
marily making decisions about who is
qualified to be a faculty member, who
should be promoted and those sorts of
things," Curtis said.
He added that these gifts could also
foster an uneasy faculty environment,
where professors no longer "work
together" and are consumed with "rank-
Cumberworth acknowledged the
focus of endowed chair gifts is some-
times narrow, but she said LSA's
campaign allows for some faculty dis-
"We are more interested in having
donors see something that they want
to happen to invest in," she said. But "I
think the dean's inclination is to sup-
port as many of the LSA faculty as he
can, to empower faculty to reach their
The University does pay to endow
some of its own professors. Currently
30 faculty members have the highest
academic honors on campus: a Dis-
tinguished University Professorship,
Continued from page 1
profit Conference Board painted a
slightly different picture. The Board's
Consumer Confidence Index declined
in November for the second straight
"With consumers' assessment of
current conditions holding steadfast
and intentions to spend for the holiday
season up from a year ago, the outlook
for retailers is mildly encouraging,"
Lynn Franco, director of The Con-
ference Board's Consumer Research
Center, said in a news release. "But
looking beyond the upcoming holi-
days, the continuing erosion in expec-
tations suggests consumers do not feel
the economy is likely to gain major
momentum in early 2005."
While Franco predicts that consum-
ers intend to spend more this holiday
season, they will probably be driven
to do so because of lower prices rather
than due to consumer satisfaction with
goods and services offered by busi-
"We look at the data we collect at the
American Customer Satisfaction Index
and we are seeing that the satisfaction
of customers is not growing enough,"
Fornell said. "Instead, companies have
been training consumers to be price
shoppers. Wal-Mart has been a leader
in this, and it's biting them back now."
Fornell used the auto and retail
industries as examples, saying con-
sumers don't spend unless prices are
Over the weekend Wal-Mart, the
world's largest retailer, announced that
its sales for November grew at a dis-
appointing 0.7 percent from last year.
This was significantly less than the 2
to 4 percent growth rate the company
In an attempt to bolster consum-
er spending in its stores, Wal-Mart
announced yesterday that it will cut
prices during the weeks leading up to
Christmas due to weak sales, Reuters
"Luxury and middle-income shop-
pers flooded stores en masse this Black
Friday, some of them even showing up
at 1 a.m. to be first in line for door-
buster promotions and special sales.
But Wal-Mart's more value-oriented
customers decided to sleep in," the
International Council of Shopping
Centers said in a news release.
Following the presidential elec-
tion last month, uncertainties about
high oil prices and terrorism are also
weighing on consumers' minds as they
head into the holiday season, Fornell
said. While oil prices have fallen from
record prices in early fall, they remain
a concern as consumers head into the
heavy travel season and cold winter
"Higher oil prices are seen as an
additional tax. It takes a bite out of
consumers' discretionary spending,"
But determining the effects of
November's presidential election on
the holiday economy is much more dif-
ficult than interpreting other signals,
"People are more concerned now
than in spring about safety, terrorism
and war," he said. "Everybody is more
concerned and that leads to some cau-
tion. But American consumers are not
known to be very cautious. They tend
to overspend and put themselves heav-
ily into debt."
Though Wal-Mart has declared it
will further cut prices in the coming
weeks, some local businesses have not
found the need to do so.
"A lot of the products we have don't
need sales. We put items on sale only
if they aren't moving quickly," said Ed
Davidson, owner of Bivouac on State
Street. "The things we sell are worth
it and people realize that items we sell
will last longer.
"We were pleased with the weekend.
It was better than last year," Davidson
This past weekend, the Ann Arbor
Chamber of Commerce helped pro-
mote local businesses by having some
of its members go on radio shows on
local Clear Channel stations.
The chamber is also promoting
the Ann Arbor Gold program, which
encourages consumers to shop at local
businesses. Started in 1994, the pro-
gram allows people to purchase gift
certificates that can be used at almost
150 local businesses currently partici-
"The goal is to help local businesses
and keep money within the local Ann
Arbor economy," said Brandt Coultas,
director of governmental affairs at the
chamber. "There are a number of busi-
nesses in the area that do a significant
amount of their business during the
holiday season, and we will have to
wait until the season is over to see how
they have done."
Since its inception, about $2 million
worth of Ann Arbor Gold certificates
have been sold, Coultas said. Current-
ly, the certificates can be purchased at
several local banks and at the chamber
at 425 S. Main St.
of my objectives since I became dean,
and it's been a high priority item in our
fundraising campaign," Engineering
Dean Stephen Director said.
The college started a four-year cam-
paign in May to raise $300 million. One
goal of the campaign is to raise money
for 16 more endowed chairs, which
would raise its total to 50.
LSA, now about halfway through its
own $300 million campaign, has set a
$75 million goal for faculty support,
and endowed professorships are the pri-
mary component. The college currently
has 41 full professorships, but it does
not have a numerical goal of how many
new chairs it seeks to create. It hopes
each position will receive between $2.5
and $4 million.
and philanthropist Ann Lurie - who
donated for her deceased husband
Robert, one of Zell's partners - gave
$10 million for entrepreneurial studies
to the Business School. At the time,
the school did not have any tenured
professors studying entrepreneurship.
Their funds eventually created the
Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneur-
Since endowed professorships are
often tailored to specific research
interests, they can restrict colleges in
which current professors can receive
these coveted awards. Sometimes,
a professor receives an endowment
because of his or her field, and not just
"The college is not free to award
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