Preparing for the Future


Preparing for the Future: Conclusion

In contrast to many other institutions of higher education, the University of Michigan does not have a campus-wide long-range planning process for its academic mission. The highly decentralized structure of the University asks units to develop such plans at the school/college level and, for large units, at the departmental level. Central administration supports these plans through budget allocations and strategic funding, creating a flexible planning environment.

Campus-wide goals for the University are supported through presidential initiatives that target themes and structures with a distinct forward-looking perspective. Major examples during the past decade include the Life Sciences Initiative, which established the Life Sciences Institute and a host of related research endeavors, and the Interdisciplinarity Initiative, which has supported educational innovation and cluster-hiring of interdisciplinary junior tenure-track faculty members. As part of the current self-study toward reaccreditation in 2010, the University selected the topic of internationalization as a special-emphasis study (section on Internationalization), which includes the proposal of a new presidential initiative in this area, with both off-campus and on-campus components.

The University faces a challenging environment for our core teaching and research activities because of unprecedented and continuing reductions in our state appropriation. This is illustrated by the figure below showing the inversely proportional increase in LSA tuition relative to state appropriations over time.

tuition increase
Ten year record of percentage change in undergraduate tuition and fees for LSA students and state appropriations. From: Financial Report 08

With state support steadily declining during the past decade and an uncertain outlook for the upcoming years, the University must act internally and increasingly rely on other funding streams for its mission. The University has responded responsibly by examining its expenditures and by aggressively promoting efficiency in all areas of operation. An unwavering commitment to preserving the quality of core academic activities remains our highest priority in today’s otherwise challenging environment.