You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Mon, Oct 5, 2009 : 5:58 p.m.

University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman: Cost-savings will double, but the university still expanding

By Juliana Keeping

University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman warned cost-savings efforts at the university will double in light of falling revenue and declines in U-M's massive endowment fund.

While cuts impacting the classroom will be avoided, "Everything is a moving target," she said.

The U-M president delivered a 35-minute "State of the University" speech today at Blau Auditorium at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business in Ann Arbor.


University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman delivers her "State of the University" address.

Angela Cesere |

The university's endowment - its multi-billion dollar nest egg - is down 20 percent, but Coleman didn't reveal specific numbers. The last report from the U-M Board of Regents meeting noted the endowment stood at $5.6 billion at the end of 2008.

Private giving and state revenue have fallen by millions, she said.

In the speech, Coleman noted $135 million in past cost savings - achieved by cutting operating expenses over six years. Coleman also mentioned task forces that have been organized to explore more ways to save.

When an audience member pressed Coleman for more information about what it meant to double cuts, Coleman didn't provide many details, noting the state hasn't passed its higher education budget yet.

Despite talk of cuts, Coleman said U-M is in good financial shape and highlighted different ways the university is expanding and changing. It can expand, she said, because fiscal discipline has "softened the economic blow" that has left other institutions reeling.

Highlights include:

  • U-M will shore up its emphasis on climate change through teaching, research and hands-on initiatives involving students. Don Scavia, engineering and natural resources professor and the director of the Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute, will be the new sustainability point person.
  • The University is in the process of hiring of 100 new faculty members by 2012, a $30 million initiative. Coleman said funds for 49 new faculty members have already been identified.
  • U-M could top $2 billion in research spending by 2017.
  • Coleman said the university will establish a forum this winter to study ways to rapidly move students between North and Central Campus.
  • Identifying ways to keep study abroad abundant and affordable is a priority, Coleman said.

Juliana Keeping covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-2528. Follow Juliana Keeping on Twitter



Wed, Oct 7, 2009 : 5:39 a.m.

It looks like when I write something it does not stay long, so I will try this again. The person that wrote about how she does love working at the University of Michigan, I do agree with her. I enjoyed working there for 17 years until I spoke up about having co-workers sleeping during work time and soon later, I was fired. The sleeping workers got promoted to manager and the manager promoted her friend to supervisor. When this happen to me, I did share this to every one from the president on down and no one cares. A few patients almost died at the Medical center of the University of Michigan. Another thing that she wrote about the administration that does not work a 40 work week like the hourly workers do. Every department has a Supervisor, manager and then a director. Only the hourly workers do the work and have to work a 40 hour work week. The administration does not. I did not write a persons name this time, so maybe my comment will get to stay this time.


Tue, Oct 6, 2009 : 1:17 p.m.

Hey Outofthebox, af3201sps stated "Spending at the most basic level is out of control." I think that covers the lower level employees. I agree with everything af3201sps says. I have seen enough to verify it. As for the endowments, spending needs to change. All income to a State funded school should go to student, you know, why the university was created. Every building on campus is new or remodeled, and tuition increases yet again. Why not stop building and spend that money on STUDENTS. As for the $150,000 average professor salary...


Tue, Oct 6, 2009 : 12:25 p.m.

While I make no claim to have detailed and comprehensive knowledge of the entire university, I do know my school well. On one point, I must agree with af3201sps's comment about supervisors and administrators not working 40 hours per week. That is absolutely correct--the people I work with work well in excess of that amount. The people I work with are dedicated, responsible employees whose top concern is for getting the work done, far over and above concerns about numbers of hours worked or amount of compensation. I don't doubt that in an institution as large as U-M there are some people taking advantage of their opportunities and doing wrong--but they are the rare exception, not the norm.

Rork Kuick

Tue, Oct 6, 2009 : 6:51 a.m.

I've been worried about what Aaron was saying too, and particularly this year, when most employees got little or no increase in salaries (doesn't matter how successful their unit was), it would be interesting to know a bit better what people's total compensation is. The salary data made public might make it look like nothing happened, but I'm not sure we have a handle on other means of compensation, and that this blindness in the state of affairs may be desired by some. I cannot determine which forms of compensation are included in the public data and which are not. Thanks, Aaron.


Tue, Oct 6, 2009 : 6:13 a.m.

Speaking of administrative waste... in 2007, top UM-Ann Arbor officials (deans) chose to spend thousands of unnecessary dollars to lock down security on a then-new IT system (M-Reports), just because one part of this system made it easier to see how much more money UM's top earners were receiving on top of their base compensation (i.e. the base rate is what the public can see in the salary survey). This is by no means a conspiracy theory-- I'm pretty sure it is for purely PR reasons. Top officials at UM want to hide the amounts of total compensation that top earners receive from the public, in order to avoid scrutiny from the public and from students.


Tue, Oct 6, 2009 : 3:39 a.m.

After working for the university of Michigan medical Center for over 17 years, every thing that the other person wrote is so true. Most every Department has a supervisor, manager and then a director. None of them work a 40 hour work week. There is one director that makes over 100 thousand for many years for doing nothing and she even bought a flower shop for her daughter to run. The manager below her bought a new home, a new care every year and does nothing, they both come and go while the hourly workers do all the work. When a workers does speak up with facts, dates, times and names nothing is done. I know because I did speak up and I wrote to every one from the President Coleman on down and I was fired. The workers during the midnight shift were sleeping and patients almost died in the medical Center at the university of michigan Medical Center. One of the Sleeping workers was the then supervisor, now Manager, she got promoted and then promoted her friend to the supervisor. When I contacted Darrell Campbell, M.D. he did not care, that I was fired and we are members of the same church. This type of thing goes on all the time at the university of Michigan, I know because I saw it for years and saw enough and no one cares. They are just concern about making alot of money and promoting their friends that do not care also. The person that wrote the other post, she needs to be so careful, becaue of the Administrators find out who she is, she will be gone soon. So, many times I saw when some one does speak up, they are soon fired.


Mon, Oct 5, 2009 : 8:46 p.m.

af3201sps, My first reaction on reading your post was not positive. You seem to identify waste and fraud at the highest level while giving the "low level employees" kudos... seemed a little self-serving. Let's see some real information backed up by data before just throwing "red meat" to all the U of M "elites" haters...


Mon, Oct 5, 2009 : 6:25 p.m.

I love working at the UM. It has been the best place to work of any in my career. It is far from perfect though and there is terrible waste of tax payer dollars there. Spending at the most basic level is out of control. The attitude of most supervisors is one of if we want it, we will get it. That has to stop. More than anything there are far too many administrators with huge salaries and supervisory level employees who are not accountable. While this is not meant to be a slanderous statement, it is a statement of fact. Highly paid supervisors and administrators DO NOT work 40 hour work weeks. They come and go as they please or dont show up at all. This is especially true in the Facilities and Operation section (I don't want to be more specific than that). There is simply no accountability and people are drawing huge salaries while sitting or staying at home. The UM Police Department is purchasing a whole new fleet of Chevy Tahoes. How is that saving tax payers dollars and how is that environmentally sound? President Coleman needs to care about these very issues if she is serious about cutting waste at the UM. Where are the checks and balances President Coleman? As a Michigan tax payer and as a person who has first hand knowledge of administrators and supervisors defrauding the UM, I say it is time you get serious about cutting spending at UM. Begin by weeding out fraud and waste. I hope this is not just lip service and that you are serious. If so, include low level employees who are at work everyday and see the fraud and waste going on and who care about their future employment at the UM.