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April 22, 2014 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-04-22

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 3B

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 3B


University President Mary Sue Coleman sits down for an interview with The Michign Daily on March 31 in her office in the Fleming Administration Building.
Coleman leaves legacy of empowerment

First female president
brought more women
to administrative
Daily StaffReporter
University President Mary
Sue Coleman was named the first
female presidentofthe Universityof
she announced her retirement last
April, seven of her 12 executive offi-
cers were female as well.
While this combination brings
the University to the forefront
of changing gender demograph-
its in higher education, Coleman
does not define her presidency by
this milestone.
"I think these jobs are very
hard and I think they are equally
hard for men and women," Cole-
man said. "When I look at some
of my colleagues I don't think
there is a female way of being a
president and a male way. I think
there is much more commonality
and more differences individual
to individual then there is across

gender roles."
In a2008 speech to the Women
as Global Leaders conference at
Zayed University in Dubai, Cole-
man said there has been drastic
change over the last 40 years in
the influence of women leaders.
"I am proud to have been the
first womanto lead the University
of Iowa, and now the University of
Michigan; I believe my leadership
helps open the doors for women at
other universities," she said.
According to the American
Council on Education, in 1986,
only ten percent of university
presidents were female. Today,
that number has risen to 26 per-
ident of Mercy College and the cur-
rent president of Higher Education
Resource Services, an organization
dedicated women's leadership, said
the number of women presidents
increases around one percentevery
two years.
"It is really hard to pinpoint
exactly what it is, but statistically
there is something wrong in the
system," Lapovsky said. "There is
no reason that there aren't 50 per-
cent women presidents. We have
more college degrees and equal

amount of doctorate degrees."
University Provost Martha
Pollack attributed the fewer num-
ber of women in top leadership
roles to a "pipeline effect."
"I think overall, historically,
there have been more men in aca-
demia than women and so then
of course there is a pipeline issue
as you move into administration
roles, you are drawing from the
faculty," Pollack said.
Coleman broke new ground in
2002 when she began her tenure
as the University's first female
president. Today though, her sta-
tus as a female leader is not par-
ticularlyunusual among other Big
Ten Universities.
Sally Mason succeeded Cole-
man as president of the Univer-
sity of Iowa, Lou Anna Simon is
the president of Michigan State
University, Rebecca Blank is the
chancellor of the University of
Wisconsin-Madison and Phyllis
Wise is the chancellor of the Uni-
versity of Illinois.
In the University's administra-
tion, Coleman created a strong
executive team not by looking for
gender, but by judging ability.
"I have had great men provosts
and Ihave had great women pro-

vosts," Coleman said. "I have had
men and women in all those posi-
tions. What you try to do is try to
pick the best person. You don't
look and say I have got to have
a woman for this position. You
never do that."
The trend of female empower-
ment is increasing in other fields
outside of academia, as well.
When recently appointed Gen-
eral Motors CEO Mary Barra was
selected as this year's springcom-
mencement speaker, Coleman
said Barra likely doesn't define
herself as General Motors' first
female leader.
"I know she probably down-
plays the symbolism of the role,
but I do think it's significant,"
Coleman said in a March inter-
view with The Michigan Daily.
Moreover, the landscape is
changing at the University. E.
Royster Harper, vice president
for student life, worked with four
male presidents before Coleman's
"There has been something
easier, in some ways, about under-
standing complexity when I have
been working with women,"
Harper said. "I think it is because
they just get human development,

and the ways in which students
develop, in a fundamentally dif-
ferent way."
Harper said despite the grow-
ing number of women in leader-
ship roles, gender continues to
influence perceptions. .
"What your social identity is
plays a role in how you lead and
how people receive you as lead-
ing," Harper said.
In Coleman's 2008 speech in
Dubai, she acknowledged thatthe
decisions of female leaders are
often viewed through a gendered
lens, but is also rooted in the gen-
eral scrutiny received by men and
women assuming a presidency.
"Whether I am defending our
policiesortryingtohire anewfoot-
ball coach, Iam subject to the most
outrageous e-mails, letters and
commentary on radio talk shows,"
Coleman said. "I am 'stupid' ...
'ignorant' ... 'unable to appreciate
sports' because I am a woman ...
and profanities I won't repeat."
Cynthia Wilbanks, vice presi-
dent for government relations,
attributed the high number of
female officers to the types of
role models women have at the
University, as well as programs
through entities such as the Uni-

versity's Center for the Education
of Women.
"I see an enormous sensitivity
and outreach to develop leader-
ship for both men and women,"
Wilbanks said. "But I think there
have been very specific programs
developed to support women who
seek leadership roles."
Lisa Rudgers, vice president
for global initiatives and strategic
communications, credited col-
leagues such as Harper and Wil-
banks for paving the way.
"Ihaveneverfelttherewere any
barriers because I am a women
executive officer, but I credit that
in a large measure to those who
came before me and who shoul-
ders I stand upon," she said.
Coleman said is encouraged by
the fact that currently many more
provosts and deans are women,
providing increased opportuni-
ties to assume leadership roles.
"I think what has brought
opportunity for women is simply
being in the pool and being con-
sidered," Coleman said. "They
still have to be the best. No one
is going to give you a job just
because you are male or female,
these days. I think Schlissel will
view it the same way."

President left lasting impact on
leaders in higher education

During her tenure,
Coleman delivered
speeches at venues
around the country
Daily StaffReporter
When it comes to influenc-
ing higher education, University
President Mary Sue Coleman is
among the leaders and best.
In speeches at universities and
conferences across the nation,
Coleman has touted the Univer-
sity of Michigan's achievements
as well as addressed higher edu-
cation's most pressing challenges,
ranging from entrepreneurship to
student engagement and financial
Lou Anna Simon, president of
Michigan State University and
a close colleague of Coleman's,
praised Coleman's leadership
among educators in a statement
to The Michigan Daily.
"Mary Sue Coleman is the kind
of leader who can turn her vision
into action,not just for the Univer-
sity of Michigan, but for all of us
in higher education," she said. "I
know I'll be seeking her advice in
the years ahead."
It is this understanding of

higher education that earned
Coleman her role as chair of the
American Association of Univer-
sities, a nonprofit organization of
leading research universities from
the United States and Canada. She
was elected by the AAU to serve
a one-year term in October 2011
after previously serving as vice
AAU president Hunter Rawl-
ings said Coleman was selected
in part due to her reputation as a
strong supporter of federal fund-
ing for research.
Institutions gain membership
by invitation only, as determined
by an AAU committee. The Uni-
versity was one of the 14 found-
ing members of the AAU in 1900,
only three of which were public
institutions. At the time of Cole-
man's leadership, the association
boasted 59 members.
As chair, Coleman headed
the AAU executive committee,
serving as spokesperson for the
association. Additionally, she
represented the AAU at meet-
ings with national policymakers
focused on the role of research in
undergraduate, professional and
graduate education.
Rawlings said Coleman also
focused on issues related to her
support for affirmative action in
college admissions and increasing
college affordability.

Coleman's widespread influ-
ence on higher education also
garnered recognition from the
federal government and some of
the nation's highest officials.
In 2010, U.S. Secretary of Com-
merce Gary Locke appointed
Coleman co-chair of the National
Advisory Council on Innovation
and Entrepreneurship. Coleman
served on the council with fel-
low university administrators
and entrepreneurs. The council
advises President Obama on how
to foster entrepreneurial growth
and ways to stimulate the job
Additionally, President Barack
Obama chose Coleman to help
lead the Advanced Manufacturing
Partnership, which launched in
2011. AMP focuses on investing in
technology that will result in the
creation of manufacturing jobs.
Coleman represented one of six
universities that worked alongside
industry executives and federal
government agencies in the part-
And in March 2014, Coleman
received the American Council
on Education's Lifetime Achieve-
ment Award in recognition of her
contributions to higher education.
Time magazine named Cole-
man one of the "The 10 Best Col-
lege Presidents" in2009, citingthe
record-breaking Michigan Dif-

ference campaign as one of Cole-
man's outstanding achievements.
Coleman has also received
numerous honorary degrees from
other institutions. Most recent-
ly, she was the commencement
speaker for the winter graduation
ceremonies at Indiana University
and Michigan State University,
where she promoted collaboration
between Big10 schools.
Though the campaign started
with a goal of raising $2.5 bil-
lion from 2000 to 2008, over the
course of the campaign from 2000
to 2008, it exceeded this expec-
tation with a total of $3.2 billion
In October, Coleman
announced the next fundraising
campaign, Victors for Michigan,
with a goal of $4 billion - the larg-
est public university campaign
goal in history.
When Coleman travels to
other institutions, she frequently
emphasizes the , importance of
fundraising at public universities
to offset pervasive declines in state
"It's not the most important les-
son - but it's one most of the public
institutions that I would compare
with Michigan are doing as well
because they understand they will
have to doit if they're goingto gar-
ner the resources they need," she

University President Mary Sue Cleman applauds she selection of University
President-elect Mark Schlissel at his appuintment tn anuary 24 in the Michigan





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