and Integrity

The University's Mission


Core Component 1a: The organization’s mission documents are clear and articulate publicly the organization’s commitments.
Core Component 1c: Understanding of and support for the mission pervade the organization.

The faculty, administrators, and staff at the University of Michigan articulate and embody the University’s mission in three key and intertwined ways:

  • Articulate mission or goal statements, some of which include statements of vision and values.
  • Study key topics and plan for initiatives.
  • Plan, set, and execute budgets.

For this reason, we believe that Core Components 1a and 1c are inextricably linked, so we address them together in this section. These interwoven activities take place at all levels of the University: by the executive officers, by the deans of the schools and colleges, and by the heads of academic departments, individual offices, and supporting units. Here, too, the academic decentralization of the University respects the differences among individual units and the strengths of respective leaders who, by working with others, plan and carry out the University’s many activities. This practice of articulating missions and goals also allows units at every level to revisit their actions over time to better align them to changes in unit leadership and in the evolving nature of academic disciplines and professional practices.

Mission and Goal Statements of Offices and Units

The mission and goals of the University’s executive officers, deans, and unit heads are articulated in formal mission and goal statements, website welcomes, and strategic frameworks, as well as in key speeches, reports, and initiatives. We provide several examples below.

Office of the President

President Coleman communicates her goals for the University through frequent publications and speeches to the University community and others; speeches, letters, and commentaries are publicly posted on her website. Since assuming the Presidency in 2002, she has outlined her main goals in two key speeches to the Senate Assembly, the elected University-wide representative body of faculty. In her speech in April 2004, “Future Directions: Shaping the Michigan Difference,” she outlined her key initiatives as president, many of which led to the activities described below. In 2007 she followed with an address entitled, “Five Years Forward” that outlined the plans for her second five-year term as president. In addition, the president broadly communicates the University’s mission and goals to other constituencies, for example, through her annual testimony to appropriation committees in the Michigan legislature (e.g., her testimony in 2008 to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education).

Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

The Office of the Provost has responsibility for academic affairs and budgeting on the Ann Arbor campus. As stated in the website’s welcome, the office supports the research, teaching, and public service missions of the University. In collaboration with the president, the deans, faculty leaders of the academic units, and the larger faculty, the provost sets academic priorities, supports initiatives, and allocates funding to carry them forward.

Schools and Colleges

The University’s schools and colleges communicate their missions in a variety of ways, including traditional mission and vision statements, as well as website welcomes, “About Us” sections, and, in the case of the Ross Business School, a statement about admissions. Examples from across the spectrum are listed below.

Departments, Units and Offices

The hundreds of departments, units, and offices across the University also make their mission information available in a variety of formats. Examples of online resources include:

Making Our Mission and Goal Statements Accessible

Units at the University describe their missions in various ways, but most of the key information is available online. Units share information through online newsletters, letters from the deans, the use of collaborative learning infrastructures such as CTools, and, increasingly, through unit-sponsored blogs. Many of these materials are also available as written materials in brochures, handbooks, bulletins, and written policies. In-person activities, such as welcome events and orientations, individual and small group meetings, and town hall meetings, remain an important avenue of dissemination as well.

Study, Planning and Budgeting

The University’s missions are closely integrated with study, planning, and budgeting processes at all levels, especially in the University’s activity-based budget system that will be discussed more in the section on Future. The concluding paragraph in “Budgeting with the UB Model at the University of Michigan” explicitly links the budget model with the University’s missions in this way:

The system allows the University’s leadership to see clearly the fiscal implications of the activities at the school/college/research unit level, while allowing considerable flexibility to determine how best to adjust to fiscal circumstances in light of the University’s missions. The system is well designed for an active provost who is willing to reallocate resources towards the academic mission and among academic units.

The planning and budgeting process is directed by the provost, who works closely with the president and with the leadership of the schools, colleges, University Library, and other major units (e.g., the Institute for Social Research and the Life Sciences Institute). Each summer the provost presents a budget to the Board of Regents (see budgeting website) that highlights a set of important University initiatives. For example, the provost’s budget presentation in June 2008 accentuated several critical investments: faculty expansion, financial aid, graduate student stipends, academic program initiatives--with a focus on globalization and international experiences for our students, the University Library, research and technology initiatives, and facilities. In addition, the provost’s office periodically convenes groups to examine and make recommendations about topics important to the University and its missions. Topics have included data collection and reporting for race and ethnicity, gender salary studies, online placement examinations, textbook sales, and faculty mentoring (website). At times, these discussions lead to formal initiatives such as the current Space Utilization Initiative, whose purpose is to better plan and manage the University’s facilities to serve its missions now and in the future.

The president influences budget decisions through the provost, and also dedicates resources to specific initiatives that are linked to the University’s evolving missions. Several examples that mirror the University’s commitment to its multiple missions are illustrated here.

Multidisciplinary Learning and Team Teaching

Interdisciplinary scholarship and research is a core mission of the University. In 2004, President Coleman charged the Presidential Task Force on Multidisciplinary Learning and Team Teaching to identify the best ways to strengthen interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary opportunities for undergraduates. She subsequently allocated $2.5 million to support team-teaching efforts and interdisciplinary undergraduate degree programs. The Multidisciplinary Learning and Team Teaching website describes activities to date, including support for eight courses, one new undergraduate degree program, and two new undergraduate minors.

Interdisciplinary Junior Faculty Initiative

President Coleman committed $30 million to hire 100 new junior tenure-track faculty members through the Interdisciplinary Junior Faculty Initiative, which illustrates central support for decentralized academic efforts. Faculty members with research interests in emerging fields are hired to enhance interdisciplinary teaching and research. The program runs for five years, from the 2007-08 academic year through 2011-12. Each year the president and the provost invite faculty groups to submit proposals for new faculty clusters. As of May 2009, funding has been approved for 49 new positions.

Life Sciences Initiative

The cornerstone of the Life Sciences Initiative is the Life Sciences Institute (LSI), a hub of scientists from life science disciplines who collaborate on the biological problems of human health. These scientists work in interdisciplinary teams, studying vast stores of information generated by the capacity of modern scientific and informaticsbased tools. Researchers with different backgrounds and approaches work together in a unique open-laboratory facility that sparks new ideas and projects to accelerate our understanding of life and to make progress toward treating disease. Located between the medical campus and central campus, the institute’s work crosses academic boundaries. The LSI is a bridge linking the life sciences with medicine, public health, engineering, law, and business, and is a booster for the region’s economy by developing, licensing, and spinning off new technologies and discoveries.

Ethics in Public Life

President Coleman launched an initiative in 2005 to restore ethics to a pivotal place in education and research at the University. The centerpiece of this initiative is the new Center for Ethics in Public Life that promotes University- wide activities and engages undergraduates regarding ethical issues they encounter on campus and beyond, through course-related and co-curricular activities. The Center also supports faculty research on ethics, creates opportunities for public discourse on ethics in public life, and promotes teaching and research on ethics in the professions.

Residential Life Initiative

President Coleman’s Task Force on Residential Life and Learning, convened in 2004, produced a report to guide renovation and expansion of housing facilities on campus, and to define the campus community of the future. The University is now implementing plans to create exciting residential environments where students of all backgrounds and experiences can grow both intellectually and personally, connect with each other and with faculty, and succeed. The University is expanding and revitalizing student residence halls and dining facilities, including the new Hill Area Dining Hall that freed up space for other purposes. The ambitious North Quad Residential and Academic Complex, scheduled to open in 2010, will house 460 students and provide space for five informationand communications-related academic programs. The complex will incorporate 21st century technology with a contemporary residential space unlike any other at the University, and is expected to be a model for international living and learning communities.

Michigan Healthy Community Initiative

The Michigan Healthy Community Initiative harnesses the University’s intellectual strengths to develop and test cost-effective interventions and policies for health and wellness of the University’s faculty, staff, students, retirees, and dependents. The University encourages members of its community to focus on their health as a commitment to themselves and to the community. MHealthy, an offshoot of the initiative established in 2005, encourages a culture of health at the University, promoting health and wellbeing and developing more cost-effective delivery of health care as a model for the broader society.

The University’s Internal and External Constituencies

The University’s internal constituencies include everyone who is enrolled in or employed by the University of Michigan -- students, faculty, and staff. The University serves students in countless ways. We provide them with a range of services such as room and board, classroom instruction, academic advising, social and cultural opportunities, an ever-expanding array of information technology resources, psychological and health services, and many special services to meet their needs. The University serves its faculty by supporting all aspects of their research and creative work, providing and maintaining laboratories and specialized equipment, caring for research animals, supporting them as instructors, and offering them professional and leadership development. Although staff provide a full range of services to students, faculty, and other staff, the University also serves them through on-the-job education and training, with career and personal development opportunities, and by engaging them inidentifying and solving problems. The University similarly provides an array of other services to meet the needs of other constituents on campus, including groundskeeping, facilities and building maintenance, security services, and transportation.

cadAs reflected in the mission statement, the University of Michigan defines its external constituencies in the broadest terms: the people of Michigan and the world. A perusal of the University’s rich Community Assistance Directory shows a wide range of external constituencies, including patients in our health system and health care providers; students of all ages in such venues as childcare centers and schools at every level; legislators; people in business and industry, government agencies, non-profit agencies, foundations, philanthropic organizations, faithbased organizations, and communities; and underserved populations that include the elderly, migrant workers, and the homebound. In serving these people and organizations outside the University, we offer such activities as written and online information; lectures, classes, workshops, and other education and training; networking;, research; community forums; financial assistance; consultation; artistic, musical and other cultural opportunities; recreational sports; mentoring and counseling; portable educational resources; athletic events; and many activities to help individual people meet their needs.

A sample of the many ways the University of Michigan serves its external constituencies is provided in the section on Engagement. Also, in the section on the University’s special emphasis study on Internationalization, offers examples of the ways in which the University collaborates with and services its external constituencies on an international scale.