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as Brown's chief academic officer
and deputy to the president. In
his current role, Schlissel man-
ages the day-to-day operations
of the institution and oversees
Brown's strategic planning.
In a press conference after the
regents approved the appoint-
ment, Schlissel addressed the
challenges he expects to face
as the next president, including
enhancing diversity on campus,
increasing affordability and
developing relationships with
potential donors to the Univer-
Schlissel said his biggest chal-
lenge will be engaging with
students, faculty and staff on
campus, adding that he has a
lot to learn since he has never
worked at the University.
"In my experience, univer-
sities really don't get led top-
down," he said. "The best ideas
come from the people who do
the teaching and the learning, so
that's why I need to do some lis-
While Schlissel will face many
issues in his transition, one of the
most prominent matters he will
address is the demand for larger
minority enrollment and inclu-
sion at the University.
"You can't achieve excellence
as an academic institution with-
out being diverse because we live
in a world where people can look
at the same set of facts and inter-
pret them differently from each
other," he said.
In addition to diversity,
Schlissel appealed to a wide
scope of the constituencies, cit-
ing the University's alumni and
staff members as well as the Ann
Arbor community, in addition to
the expected listing of faculty,
students and regents.
He also noted the University's
stature as a public institution -
despite the challenges of declin-
ing state funding - as a key draw
to the University.
"Another thing that made me
say Michigan is a place I really
have to look at is my feeling
about the role education can play
in solving society's problems,"
Schlissel said. "And it's not that
we don't do this at great private
university - we do - but there's
something about the openness
and the accessibility of a public
universities that's really special
and it drew at my heartstrings."
Coleman lauded Schlissel's
experience and qualifications as
the next president of the Univer-
"I've often said the job of
being president at the University
of Michigan is the best job in the
country," she said. "I couldn't be
more pleased to know that you,
as the 14th president, will expe-
rience this firsthand."
Before approving Schlissel's
appointment as president, each
regent lauded his qualifications
for the position.
"This is a great day for the Uni-
versity of Michigan. We go today
from strength to strength; from
one great leader, Mary Sue Cole-
man, to another, Mark Schlissel,"
said University Regent Mark
Bernstein (D-Ann Arbor).
Bernstein recalled Schlis-
sel's answer to one of the central
questions that faced the search
committee: What makes a great
"You have to love and be
amazed by students. You have to
love and be amazed by faculty.
You have to love and be amazed
by research and discovery."
In an interview after the press
conference, University Provost
Martha Pollack, who will per-
haps work most closely with the
new president, praised Schlis-
sel's academic record, as well
as his interest in faculty and
research and commitment to
diversity and affordability.
"You heard the regents talk
about him having great ethics,
great values and a great heart -
that's just the combination you
want," Pollack said.
She added that she will have
a one-on-one meeting with the
president-elect Friday afternoon
as she begins to share knowledge
and understand how to best work
Though this was her first
introduction to the University's
14th president, E. Royster Harp-
er, vice president for student life,
said she saw Schlissel as some-
one who could build on Cole-
"Regent Bernstein said it
just right - we're going from
strength to strength," Harper
said. "I love the fact that he is so
student-centered, because our
students are used to that and
Schlissel will also direct the
remainder of the University's
Victors for Michigan develop-
ment campaign, which aims to
raise $4 billion in funds.
Jerry May, vice president for
development, said he thinks
Schlissel will easily form rela-
tionships with donors as he pre-
pares to raise about half of the
campaign goal. May also called
attention to Schlissel's apparent
willingness to listen and ability
to form a vision for the Univer-
"He is articulate, he is real,
he is genuine, he has an incred-
ible pedigree," May said. "I was
astounded that he could answer
things as if he's been on this
campus for months. The alumni
and donors are goingto love him.
The instinct that I've seen today
is that this is a no-brainer. This
guy is going to do great."
When Schlissel arrived at
Brown in 2011, he gave a convo-
cation address which called on
students to channel synergies
across disciplines, a theme that
he echoed in his first address as
"Don't simply accept what
your professors have to say, but
question us. Approach our teach-
ings like a curious scientist and
look for the facts that underlie
our interpretations and opinions;
the data that leads to our conclu-
sions," he said.
Schlissel graduated from
Princeton University in 1979
with a specialty in biochemical
sciences. He earned his M.D.
and Ph.D. at the Johns Hopkins
University School of Medicine in
1986, subsequently completing
his residency at Johns Hopkins
During his academic career,
Schlissel's research has centered
on development biology, specifi-
cally studyingthe genetic factors
that can lead to leukemia and
Schlissel attended the special
meeting of the Board of Regents
with his wife Monica Schwebs,
who also received accolades
from the regents. She is an envi-
ronmental and energy lawyer at
a large national firm. The couple
has four adult children.
In a press release, Brown Uni-
versity President Christina Pax-
son praised Schlissel's work in
his position as provost.
"Mark is an exceptional schol-
ar, teacher and academic leader,"
Paxson wrote. "He has been an
esteemed and valued colleague
to many here at Brown. His many
contributions will be realized for
decades to come."
Paxson said Schlissel led sev-
eral searches for administrative
positions for Brown's faculty,
including the search for its vice
president of research and its
dean of medicine and biological
The University has several
dean searches underway as
Schlissel makes his transition
into the presidency, including the
appointment of the LSA dean and
the vice president for research,
currently held by Susan Gelman
and Jack Hu, respectively, in
At Brown, Schlissel helped
lead a new strategic initiative
titled "Building on Distinction:
A New Plan for Brown." The plan
established goals for investment
in academic programs, scholar-
ships and campus expansion.
The four goals of the cam-
paign include integrative schol-
arship, educational leadership,
academic excellence and cam-
pus development. The plans are
Monday, January 27, 2014 - 5A
designed to be implemented over
the course of the next 10 years.
While a dean at UC-Berkeley,
Schlissel also spearheaded a
cross-campus cost containment
and procurement initiative -
efforts which have also been
underway at the University for
the past few years.
In an article by the Daily Her-
ald, Schlissel detailed changes
in Brown's curriculum develop-
ment. One of the projects Schlis-
sel championed includes the
implementation of a theme for
the school's International Stud-
However, Brown's faculty
raised several concerns about
the strategic plan. Paxson and
Schlissel created forums to
address their questions, includ-
ing questions of heightening
student enrollment to alleviate
increasing tuition costs.
"We are a very tuition-
dependent university," Schlis-
sel said. "The idea is to strike
the right balance, to hit the
sweet spot without giving up
the kind of highly interactive
mode of education that makes
the undergraduate program
so special to allow us to get to
the scale where we can capture
In a short speech after his
appointment Friday, Schlissel
expressed excitement about
joining the University commu-
"I am amazingly honored
to be chosen to lead a jewel
of the American educational
system," he said. "The Univer=
sity of Michigan is held in such
regard. Words almost escape
CSG leaders look
ahead to Schlissel
engage with them
By MICHAEL SUGERMAN
and KRISTEN FEDOR
The search for a new Univer-
sity president lacked a student
representative on the search
committee. Now, the search is
over and it seems that for Uni-
versity President-elect Mark
Schlissel, improving commu-
nication with students will be a
The University's Board of
Regents announced in a special
meeting Friday morning that
Schlissel, Brown University's
Provost, will succeed Mary Sue
Coleman as the University's
Central Student Government
President Michael Proppe, a
Business senior, said he was
proud of the work students con-
tributed to the selection process,
despite the absence of a student
voice on the search committee.
In lieu of direct representation,
he urged student participation in
community forums held by the
regents as well as CSG's campus
Thursday night, the eve of
the announcement of Schlis-
sel's selection, Proppe outlined
three major issues he hoped the
new president would strive to
address: diversity on campus;
education affordability and the
incorporation of student voice
into major University decisions.
"When I heard him speak,
I wondered if he had been
dropping in on some of my
phone calls," Proppe said after
the press conference Friday.
"He was echoing all of those
themes, which was exactly
what I wanted to hear."
Proppe added that he was
enthusiastic about Schlissel's
which he was known for at
Brown. Todd Harris, presi-
dent of Brown's Undergraduate
Council of Students, said work-
ing with students was one of
Harris said Schlissel helped
the council acquire representa-
tion in discussions about Brown's
12-year strategic plan, allow-
ing student delegates to voice
concerns and contribute ideas.
Schlissel was also the chair of
the University Resource Com-
mittee, with which the student
government worked to increase
funding for student activities.
CSG Vice President Bobby
Dishell, a Public Policy junior,
said he is optimistic for Schlis-
sel's approach to decision-mak-
working with students at every
opportunity that he had,"
Dishell said of Friday's press
conference with the president-
elect. "That's something that
we're very much looking for-
ward to, and every student
should be very excited about."
Rackham Student Govern-
ment President Phil Saccone, a
Rackham student, said increased
communication between the
administration and student body
is necessary -especiallyinlightof
recent friction over the construc-
tion of new graduate residences
donated by Charles Munger. The
project has faced opposition from
students who criticized the hall's
"It comes off occasionally like
sometimes student input seems
like an afterthought," Saccone
said. "One thing I would say to
the new president is to go out and
touch base with the real pulse
of the University, and that's the
Proppe agreed with Saccone,
identifying the football seat-
ing policy as another topic that
has created conflict between
students and the administra-
tion. He said meetings between
CSG executives and the Athletic
Department about improving
student ticketing policies have
helped identify the need for stu-
dent input in University deci-
"They have seen, 'If we con-
sult with students before we do
something, we will have a bet-
ter output for it,"' Proppe said.
"When the students can work
with the administration in a pos-
itive way to create win-win situ-
ations, and when the students
demonstrate that we can do that,
we see the student voice grow a
little bit more."
Proppe alluded to poten-
tial "good news" in the coming
months that will help to increase
student representation at the
administrative level and said he
hopes that Schlissel would facili-
tate this kind of growth.
In Schlissel's first steps toward
outreach in the student commu-
nity, he held a meet-and-greet for
30 to 40 students following Fri-
day morning's press conference.
To cap off the day's events, some
students showed him how to spin
the Cube - a daily pre-work tra-
dition of Coleman's.
For Schlissel, there will be
many more spins to come.
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