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Monday, August 31, 2015

Chancellor Person plans for final year

By Natalie Broda and Web Editor

After 26 years of administrative work, Chancellor Ruth Person announced her departure during the State of the University Address earlier this month. When her contract came up for renewal, Person asked President Mary Sue Coleman to give her just one more year as chancellor to wrap up current projects. She plans to take some time off after next year is through.

But Person isn’t going anywhere. She says she will return to teach at the School of Management following her break.

“I asked her to give me one more year,” Person said. Director of University Relations Jennifer Hogan echoed this. Hogan said it was the Chancellor’s decision to not come back for a full term.

Person says frankly she’s going to miss the people she met and worked with during her time here. What isn’t she going to miss?

“Driving up and down US-23 in the snow,” Person said.

She knows a year isn’t a long time, and there’s quite a list of things still yet to be accomplished. Near the top of the priority list is to begin the first ever doctorate program and doctorate of education program at University of Michigan-Flint. The proposals for the programs have been reviewed, and the school expects a visit from the Higher Education Board in April. It will take a while before they approve the accreditation, but Person feels they are all well prepared.

“For this campus it’s like taking the next step. The people who wrote the proposals did an extraordinary amount of work and left no stone unturned. To even invite the board here and have them say ‘yes’ says something,” Person said.

Growing dual enrollment programs follows close behind. Genesee Early College and a program with Lapeer high schools have been growing at a steady rate. With a new dual enrollment opportunity blooming in Utica, the University is finding the demand is now exceeds the supply.

“I want to make sure they stay on solid ground. We have more schools asking us for classes than we give,” Person said.

A student success center has been in the works as well. Person says has a lot of moving parts. The University has to find the physical space and figure out just how they want to line up all the resources. The center wouldn’t offer anything new; it would simply put them all in one place.

Staff and faculty development programs are also on her radar. With names like Excel and Lead, staff and faculty have the opportunity to better themselves as instructors.

“We’re going to do it again next fall, make sure it is fully funded and developed. It turned out well but we’re going to tweak it a little,” Person said.

She mentioned that the veterans program is always important, and she wants to make sure it stays in great shape. Enhancing alumni relations with UM-Flint’s nearly 30 thousand graduates is also a priority.

President Coleman must now begin the search for the new chancellor of the University of Michigan-Flint. When asked what qualities she believes it takes to be chancellor, Person smiled.

“Number one, the ability to take the long view, because you’re never chancellor forever. You’re a piece of a much bigger landscape. You have to understand finances, and the context and vision of how the University operates,” Person said.

Natalie can be reached at

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