As University President-elect Mark Schlissel makes the transition from Rhode Island to Michigan, the Brown University provost will leave a positive legacy behind in his dealings with students and the rest of the Brown community.
Brown University senior Daniel Pipkin, a member of the University Resources Committee — a standing committee chaired by Schlissel that is responsible for recommending Brown’s annual budget to the president — said he has had nothing but positive experiences with Schlissel.
As a member of Brown’s Undergraduate Council of Students, the university’s student government, Pipkin met with Schlissel during his sophomore year to discuss the best way to distribute funding for student organizations. Within one meeting, Schlissel and Pipkin fixed the funding issues, which Pipkin said is just one example of the problem-solving chops Schlissel will bring to the University.
“Provost Schlissel was brilliant,” Pipkin said. “He’s a fixer; he’s a problem-solver. I love that about him.”
And Schlissel will need those problem-solving skills when he comes to Ann Arbor. With high-profile issues such as higher education funding, the ongoing efforts behind the #BBUM campaign, Theta Xi’s controversial party and subsequent suspension and even the issue of whether or not to hang the Men’s Basketball Final Four banners all still fresh in the minds of many at the University, it is clear Schlissel will face a diverse array of new challenges.
However, Pipkin said Schlissel doesn’t shy away from addressing controversial issues on campus, and will keep the best interests of the community in mind when making decisions, regardless of personal opinion.
“I know he’s going to do a great job over there (at the University),” he said. “I’m happy I’m a senior, because I couldn’t imagine Brown without Provost Schlissel.”
Brown medical student Justin Glavis-Bloom, who also serves on the University Resource Committee with Schlissel as the Medical School representative, echoed Pipkin and said Schlissel is receptive to student ideas and input.
Glavis-Bloom said he was “deeply impressed” when, after work one evening, Schlissel drove to the Brown Student Community Clinic, a student-run clinic that helps underserved populations in the area. Schlissel, who has both an M.D. and a Ph.D., stayed for more than an hour, sharing his own experiences and perspective with the students at the clinic.
“Provost Schlissel has a really amazing ability to elicit different perspectives and to summarize and build consensus,” Glavis-Bloom said. “I thought Provost Schlissel was a truly talented leader.”
Brown senior Todd Harris, the president of the Undergraduate Council of Students, also had positive experiences working with Schlissel. Like the others, he said the president-elect works directly with students and the student government at Brown, giving him firsthand insight into the needs of students. According to Harris, this tendency to work intimately with students has garnered him respect across campus.
He added that Schlissel’s background in science will give him an edge at the University.
“Provost Schlissel has always had an interest in Brown as a research institution, and I believe he’ll do a great job as the president of a research university,” Harris said.