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Interim University President Mary Sue Coleman outlined her priorities for the upcoming months in an email to the campus community Thursday morning.
“I am truly heartened by the outpouring of support from our community and the shared desire to move forward as a university committed to learning, scholarship, health care and public service,” Coleman wrote.
Following the removal of former University President Mark Schlissel, the campus community expressed confusion but also hope for the interim president’s term. Coleman noted her confidence in the University’s foundation and for the campus community’s ability to move forward. Coleman also thanked the community for the support and dedication to move forward as a university.
Coleman said she is first prioritizing rebuilding trust within the community to promote a safe and accessible environment on campus.
“The regents and I share a profound commitment to ensure that each member of the community can thrive in a safe, welcoming, supportive environment,” Coleman wrote. “Your well-being as students, staff and scholars is of utmost importance to me. I hope, too, we will pledge to respect one another, listen to one another, and to care for one another.”
Coleman also continued to express urgency in finding new permanent leaders. She shared that she will be involved in the search for the new provost in preparation for the conclusion of current University Provost Susan Collins’ term in June 2022. Coleman also added that the regents will announce plans for the presidential search soon.
Despite open letters that were penned earlier this semester asking for an e-pivot– or a temporary return to online classes– Coleman wrote she supports the return to in-person learning and the University’s current pandemic mitigation strategies.
“I fully support our in-person winter term instructional plan, which is based on sound academic reasoning and prudent public health measures, and I appreciate the efforts of so many to make the semester successful,” Coleman wrote.
Positive COVID-19 cases have declined in recent weeks following an initial surge of nearly 1,800 cases the week of Jan. 8. The University has reported over 700 positive cases so far for the week ending in Jan. 22 – which is still over 300 more cases than the University’s previous record of 406 positive cases in a single week back in Oct. 2020.
Looking ahead, Coleman explained her optimism for the University’s future. She emphasized that the future is bright, as the University prepares to admit students for the class of 2026 shortly.
“I have complete confidence in the executive team and leadership across all three campuses,” Coleman wrote. “And I see everyone in our schools, colleges and units using their talents to carry out our mission of serving the world around us. I care very deeply about this university, and it is an honor to work beside you.”