University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman: Cost-savings will double, but the university still expanding
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.
The university's endowment - its multi-billion dollar nest egg - is down 20 percent, but Coleman didn't reveal specific numbers.Â 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.
- 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.