“The University of Michigan will continue to define the great public university of the world”

President Mary Sue Coleman proposed to create a new ethics center in an address to the Regents yesterday outlining her “vision and goals” for the university, connected to the kick-off of a new capital campaign. From her remarks:

On a second front, we will continue to pursue a host of long-range ambitions as we launch the public phase of our comprehensive capital campaign next month. Private giving will animate our vision and goals, in every campus unit and collectively for the institution.

We will focus on the difference our University will make in the future ? as it has made for almost two centuries ? both on the lives of our students and in the world beyond our campuses. Appropriately, we will title the campaign “The Michigan Difference.”

In addition, we must prepare young people for the problem-solving, team-based environment that they will encounter not only in the workplace, but as informed and entrepreneurial citizens in a diverse democracy.

President Angell famously described the University of Michigan as providing an “uncommon education.”

I believe that the uncommon education we create in the information age must be built upon interdisciplinary scholarship and team-based learning opportunities that are supported with digital tools. …

We must ensure access to the vast intellectual opportunity and knowledge this great public university generates ? for the sake of the societies we serve, and for the intellectual ecosystem that provides our academic distinction. A public university has little value for our society if its resources are not accessible.

This will mean asking ourselves some tough questions.

* We need to know if there are financial barriers that place a Michigan education out of reach for some academically qualified students, and how we can lower those barriers. This discussion must include a significant study of our financial aid programs ? along with an emphasis on scholarship support as a centerpiece of the upcoming capital campaign”

Although I’m glad she stressed the importance of access, let’s not forget what President Angell’s full quote was: “An uncommon education for the common man.” I hope in her goals president Coleman doesn’t lose sight of that vision of a truly public University. Here’s her “vision”:

” * We will sustain academic excellence
* We will foster active engagement
* We will build collaborative learning communities
* We will create greater access to Michigan?s academic quality”

> President Coleman’s Address: “Shaping the Michigan Difference”
> DetNews: “U-M president plans ethics center”
> AP: “University of Michigan president unveils latest priorities”

Author: Rob