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May 30, 2002 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2002-05-30

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, May 30, 2002 - 5

Female educational leaders
becoming more accepted

By Karen Schwartz
and Maria Sprow
Daily News Editors

"The only thing
more challenging
than being
president of the
University would be
being interim

Mary Sue Coleman, elected yesterday to be the next Univer-
sity of Michigan president, is one of three women currently
leading Big Ten universities. Coleman, who will start her term
as president Aug. 1, has held leadership roles in the higher
education community for many years.
She is joined by former University provost Nancy Cantor,
who is now chancellor at the University of Illinois at Urbana
Champaign, and Sharon Stephens Brehm, the chancellor of
Indiana University at Bloomington.
But despite Coleman following in the footsteps of 12 male
presidents and being the first woman to hold this position, she
and others are placing the emphasis on the job and not the
"My sense is that it is important for us to note that Mary
Sue Coleman was the first woman to be elected president, but
that is not the entire story," said Earl Lewis, chair of the Presi-
dential Search Advisory Committee.
He added that though she is the first woman president, she
was chosen because of her qualifications across the board.
"Mary Sue was named president because she combined
experience, ability and vision and if she lacked those things
,she would not have been selected. That's part of who she is,
that's not all of who she is," he said.
When asked if she considers herself a role model for young
women who might aspire to the presidential position, Coleman
again addressed the role she is taking on as opposed to focus-
ing on the fact that she is a woman. "This is a hard job, it is a
difficult job for both men and women," she said.
Coleman added that she hopes young people, regardless of
gender, recognize their potential and the possibilities for their

"I would hope that all young people know that they can
aspire to be whatever they want (to be)" she said.
Charles Colbert, vice-chancellor for administration and
human resources at the Urbana-Champaign campus, is work-
ing for a woman for the first time in an administrative capaci-
ty. Though he was not involved in Cantor's hiring process,
Colbert said he would not have thought that her being a
woman would influence the decision "at all," as the University
of Illinois has had women leaders at both its campuses.
"(Cantor) is a very good person to work for - very smart,
very highly regarded in the local community as well as the
national scene" Colbert said, adding that although working for
a woman is a new experience for him, he has not noticed any
difference between her and the men he has worked under.
"I have been doing this work for 30 years," he said. "I
don't notice that she's different than any males I've worked
for." He added that he has been "quite pleased" with how
things are going so far and said she is a "very exciting per-
son to work for."
As far as women's roles on campus over the years, women
were not allowed in the Michigan Union until 1954. They took
the initiative to find their own place in the University with the
creation of the Michigan League in the 1929.
Women have always been eligible to be selected for the role
of University president, though educational circumstances in
earlier years made it all but a practical impossibility.
With more women holding high positions in the academic
community, that is no longer the case.
"Clearly now there is a deeper cohort or pool of women in
key academic leadership positions,' Lewis said. "And so as a
result, each time we search for a new University president, we
include the possibility that women candidates will emerge in
the pool," he said.

- Regentf

David Brandon
R-Ann Arbor

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Coleman to fill
interim positions

By Eizabeth Kassab
Daily Staff Reporter

"There is one
finalist and she is
with us (now)."
- Regent Laurence Deitch
D-Bingham Farms

University General Counsel Marvin
Krislov said he recalls being
approached by the president of the
University of Iowa after he gave a talk
on diversity and affirmative reaction a
few years ago.
"I remember her coming up to me
and talking to me and being very sup-
portive and positive," Krislov said of the
University of Michigan's newly elected
president, Mary Sue Coleman.
Krislov's first impressions were rein-
forced when he met Coleman again and
listened to her accept the nomination
offered by the University Board of
Regents yesterday.
"She strikes me as a very warm, posi-
tive person who will take Michigan by
storm,"he said.
Coleman's dedication to diversity is
important for an institution that has long
placed an emphasis on the same thing,
Krislov said.
The University's first female presi-
dent may likely oversee a date with the
U.S. Supreme Court if the court agrees
to hear one or both of the lawsuits chal-
lenging the University's use of race as a
factor in admissions. Both cases were
heard by the 6th Circuit Court of
Appeals in December. The court ruled
5-4 in favor of the University in the case
challenging the University's Law
School, and the plaintiff is expected to
appeal the decision to the high court.
"I am delighted with her selection,"
said University Vice President for Com-
munications Lisa Rudgers, who worked
closely with Coleman in preparing yes-
terday's press conference. "I think she
will be a very strong voice for public
education and the life sciences."
Coleman has a background in bio-
chemistry, and the University of Iowa
increased its funding for research by
more than $100 million during her

seven-year tenure. One of the University
of Michigan's larger projects in recent
years has been the development of the
Life Sciences Initiative.
"I was impressed with her deep pas-
sion and commitment to the role of a
great public university in higher educa-
tion," said Cynthia Wilbanks, University
vice president for government relations.
Wilbanks also mentioned Coleman's
enthusiasm for fundraising as an asset.
Interim Provost Paul Courant said he
and other executive officers will begin
discussing issues and information with
Coleman in the two months until her
Coleman has the opportunity to fill
three of the nine executive vice presi-
dential positions in addition to the
provost position. The provost position
has been vacant since last summer,
when Nancy Cantor left to become
chancellor of the University of Illinois
at Urbana-Champaign. Two executive
officers accepted offers from former
University of Michigan President Lee
Bollinger to join his executive board at
Columbia University. Executive Vice
President for Medical Affairs Gil
Omenn announced he will step down
from his post to concentrate on
Gary Krenz, special counsel to the
president, said it is too early to tell when
searches will begin to fill the vacant
positions. "Right now I think we're in
celebration mode "he said.
However, Coleman said filling in the
vacant positions will be a "very high pri-
ority" for her as soon as she arrives at
the University.
Although she said she was
impressed by many of the adminis-
trators she has met here, she said she
will still conduct searches for all the
positions that are currently held by
people only temporarily.
"We have a process that we must go
through,"she said.


U _

"If anyone has any
reservations, you
should see that list.
It is something that
would make you
very proud."
- Regent Martin Taylor
D-Grosse Pointe Farms
(spoken in reference to the list of
over 200 presidential candidate
nominees reviewed by the Presi-
dential Search Advisory Commit-

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