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August 14, 1996 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1996-08-14

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, August 14, 1996
Edited and managed by LAURIE MAYK ERIN MARSH
students at the Editor in Chief PAUL SERILLA
University of Michigang Editoal Page Editors
Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials rflect the opinion of te
420 Maynard Street majorityof the Daibys editorial bord. All other articles, letters and
A nn A rbor, M 48109cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily

T he search for a new University
President, necessitated by the resigna-
tion of James Duderstadt last year, is cur-
rently in the stage where names are gath-
ered for consideration. As the search pro-
gresses, increasing and often divergent
pressures will affect the Presidential
Search Advisory Committee as it goes
about its business. From the academic
interests of undergraduate and graduate
students to the interests of minorities,
PSAC will have to balance the concerns of
all to find the 'perfect' candidate to lead
the University into the next century.
At the last regents meeting, yet another
factor was added to the mixture: a request
from members of the board that the next pres-
ident have some administrative medical cen-
ter experience. The notion was first men-
tioned by Regent Shirley McFee (R-Battle
Creek). In citing the planned downsizing of
the University's Medical Center (UMMC),
she stated that the next president should have
"knowledge of health care facility manage-
ment." Regent Philip Power (D-Ann Arbor)
expressed his wish that the next president be
familiar with the processes of academic

Narrow scope
PSAC should not limit range of search

teaching hospitals. Power cited as his reason
the substantial percentage of the University
budget the Medical Center uses and the sim-
ilarly large amount of revenue the hospital
brings in.
To some degree, these wishes have
already been considered. Included among
approximately 275 prospects already
under consideration are a number of med-
ical professionals and administrators.
At least two candidates with back-
grounds rooted in academic medicine have
confirmed they have been approached by
the University or its representatives about
the top job. One is the chair of the radiology
department at Michigan State University,
who earned a law degree at the University.
The other is the president of the University
of Texas Health Center in Houston. None of

the top 25 academic medical centers
nationwide can boast top female adminis-
trators. To focus only on top medical cen-
ter administrators would be detrimental to
stated goals of diversity.
Nevertheless, a president with medical
center administration experience could be
beneficial, even beyond business con-
cerns. With the recent resignation of
Medical School Dean Giles Bole and the
departure of executive director John
Forsythe, the UMMC administration is
also in a time of transition. If the central
University president were to have medical
experience, it might prove beneficial in
easing the transition for the new medical
campus leadership. However, PSAC must
not forget its primary mission: to recom-
mend a candidate that would best serve the

entire University community.
Because the medical center i
autonomous to a certain degree, the
University would be better served by hiring
the kind of highly qualified, compet
administrators that the institution can c
tainly attract to handle the medical schoo
and UMMC - thereby allowing the ne
president to concentrate his efforts on th
academic goals of the University. As impor-
tant as the hospital may be to the finances
of the University, greater emphasis shoul
be placed the area of undergraduate educ
tion. The biggest burden on the Universit
lies in its educational responsibilitie
especially in the field of undergradu
education, and it is that segment of
population to which the new president
must be most accountable.
This is not to say a candidate with a med-
ical administrative background cannot be the
next University president. If the best candiJ
date for the job does turn out to have that
type of experience, so be it; however, PSA
- and the regents, in the final stages of the
presidential search - should not place
undue influence on this single characteris4

Taking otfens
Concerns voiced about new ONSP director
A s the summer's new student orientation winds down, a storm of criticism is being
levied against Office of New Student Programs Director Penni Reed. From accu-
sations of racism and ineffectiveness to personality conflicts, many student orientation
leaders were extremely dissatisfied with their experience. As a result, the administration
must make an inquiry into what went wrong during this year's summer orientation.
Many disagree on what is important to relay to new students during summer orien-
tation. Over a three day period, it is impossible to teach a new student everything he or
she will need to know for a smooth academic career. But the current problems at the
Office of New Student Programs run much deeper than professional differences of opin-
ion or end-of-the-summer second-guessing. Many of the student leaders, the actual indi-
viduals that orient new students, said they felt discouraged during the program and per-
sonally alienated by Reed.
Several student orientation leaders cited specific problems. They accused Reed of
making statements with questionable racial overtones. They cited specific meetings in
which she made disparaging remarks while gesturing to students of color. Student lead-
ers said they offered legitimate suggestions of how to improve certain aspects of the pro-
gram. But their opinions were not taken seriously, despite the fact student leader feed-
back has traditionally been an important component of past orientations.
Reed said that, in general, the program was "wonderful," but that it was a "tough"
summer. Due to the restructuring of the ONSP this year, a few things didn't go accord-
ing to plan. Concerning specific accusations, she mentioned students had misunder-
stood their roles in the program. Reed claimed student leaders were hired as employees,
not as "consultants." As far as offending students of color, she implied some students
were being oversensitive. While it is difficult to pinpoint her response to the accusations
of specific students, one thing is for certain: Reed did not run summer orientation as
smoothly as it should have been run. Beyond problems that might have been caused by
restructuring, many student leaders reported Reed was very difficult to deal with and
alienated someone at almost every meeting.
The administration must look into the concerns of the student orientation leaders. If
they are confused or demoralized because of poor leadership at the top, they will not be
able to carry out their jobs effectively. As orientation is the first in-depth look at the uni-
versity for new students, it is crucial that it be as informative, helpful and educational
as possible.
Even if no action is taken against Reed in response to the accusations of racism and
the outright dismissal of student feedback, the administration must take action to deter-
mine their worth. A prime quality of leadership is the ability to make others work togeth-
er to follow your lead. At the very least, problems with summer orientation have indi-
cated that Penni Reed may not possess these skills.

Handpicked regents
Engler must not place his favorites
arly next month, state Republicans will come together to nominate their candidates
for November regental elections. They will nominate two candidates who will
pitted against the two Democratic nominees for election. Gov. Engler - a longtime
critic of the way University regents are chosen - is publically contesting the nomina-
tion of the University's infamous Regent Deane Baker (R-Ann Arbor). Instead, he
would rather see a candidate more to his liking nominated. If Engler had his way, he
would have the regents' table resemble a dinner party of his staunch supporters. That
must not happen.
Republicans have long opposed the method that regents for Michigan State
University, Wayne State University and the University are chosen. As part of Michigan's
Constitution, university regents are selected by the people in a general state election.
Republicans like Engler contend the problem inherent in this system is that the vot*
do not know what each candidate stands for, or even who the candidates are. Instead,
Engler has proposed the regents for the three largest state universities be appointed by
the governor - the same way they are selected for the other 10 state universities in
Michigan. But such an action would be a major step backward.
The current system is not without its faults. Each party selects two candidates - usu-
ally little more than heavy financial backers to the party - and are elected more by
political trends or party lines than by issues or experience. However, the current system
leaves the choice with the people and gives them some control over the people who over-
see the universities their tax dollars support.
Engler has argued that when the regents table becomes too politically polarized, fruit-
less bickering ensues and little progress is made. However, the solution to gridlock
the administration building is not to pack it with gubernatorial appointees. Engler-
not had a friendly history with the University Board of Regents - in fact, it has occa-
sionally turned nasty. When former University President James Duderstadt resigned last
fall, Engler turned his fury full-force on the regents, blaming them for ousting
Duderstadt. Engler publically accused several regents - including Regent Baker,
Regent Laurence Deitch (D-Bloomfield Hills) and Regent Rebecca McGowan (D-Ann
Arbor) - of "plotting a coup" to force Duderstadt out. Engler used Duderstadt's high-
ly public departure as a springboard for his campaign to pick and choose future regents.
With the convention impending, many fear Engler will try to put his game plan into
action. He has said that "petty people" end up on university boards when the decisions
left with the public. That Engler gives the public so little credit is lamentable; thatW
wants to strip it of responsibility is abhorrent. The University remains a public, tax-sup-
ported institution - it is not the governor's pawn for political advancement. The current
system of regental election - although it has flaws - must be preserved if gubernato-
rial appointments are the only alternative.

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