Citing confusion about the academic unit’s name and a desire to put the program on par with other schools at the University, Provost Teresa Sullivan has requested that the name of the Division of Kinesiology be changed to the School of Kinesiology. The University of Michigan Board of Regents will decide whether to approve the request at its Thurday meeting.

In an interview Monday, Sullivan said the request came from the Kinesiology Student Government and the faculty search committee in charge of finding the next kinesiology dean, both of which raised concerns about the school’s name.

Sullivan said students pushed for the name change to prevent confusion when applying for jobs and internships.

“The students pointed out that nobody knows what ‘Division’ means,” she said. “So then they’ve got this on their resume, and nobody knows what it is.”

Shaun Spinner, president of Kinesiology Student Government, praised the proposal, saying the Division of Kinesiology deserves a name comparable with those of other academic programs on campus.

“We are a school in the same sense that (the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts) is its own school, that (the College of) Engineering is its own school and that the Ross School of Business is its own school,” he said. “I am absolutely all for this.”

Sullivan agreed, saying the program’s name shouldn’t distinguish it from others.

“They hire their own faculty, administer their own grants, develop their own curriculum, graduate their own students. I mean, what’s different about them from another school?” she said.

Sullivan said she hopes the change will also aid the faculty search committee looking for a replacement for Beverly Ulrich, the Division of Kinesiology’s dean for the last 10 years, by making the name of the academic unit clearer.

Spinner said he hopes this change will help the Division of Kinesiology’s reputation for not being as academically rigorous as other programs on campus.

Of the Ph.D.-granting kinesiology programs in the United States, the University’s was third in funding from the National Institutes of Health and first in the Big Ten, Sullivan said.

According to documents released Monday in advance of Thursday’s Board of Regents meeting, the Division of Kinesiology began as the Department of Physical Education, which was housed within the School of Education in the late 1800s.

The School of Education experienced significant restructuring in 1984 and the Department of Physical Education was relocated out of Education to be a free-standing unit, with its chair becoming the director and reporting directly to the provost.

“The old roots of kinesiology in physical education have been supplanted by something that is much closer to engineering, medicine, bioengineering, business,” Sullivan said. “So that what they do today is very different from what physical educations departments did years ago.”

If the regents approve the proposal Thursday, the name change will be effective Dec. 1.

Coleman asks for $35-million state funding increase

In the annual state funding request published online yesterday, University President Mary Sue Coleman asked for an increase of 10 percent, or $36 million, in appropriations from the state for the University’s Ann Arbor campus for the upcoming fiscal year 2010.

Coleman specifically requested that the Ann Arbor campus’s state appropriations be increased from $327 million, the appropriations total for the fiscal year 2009, to $363 million, which was the amount the University received for the fiscal years 2002 and 2003.

In the fiscal year 2009, state funds accounted for 23 percent of the General Fund budget for the University’s Ann Arbor campus — a 12 percent drop from the 2002 fiscal year.

Coleman’s letter, addressed to State Budget Director Robert Emerson, said that if the state appropriation stays flat or declines further, it will require the University to further reduce expenditures while continuing to increase tuition costs.

“The preservation and advancement of the University’s excellence, and our ability to contribute to the stabilization and growth of the Michigan economy, become increasingly more difficult as the level of expenditure reduction increases,” the letter said.

The letter also includes information on the University’s efforts to contain spending costs, including increasing the University’s energy efficiency and health improvement programs for employees, while also emphasizing the importance of the University in boosting the state’s economy.

The difference in state funding between the 2009 and 2002 fiscal years is the result of a $36.4-million decrease in state appropriations that occurred during the 2002-2003 and 2003-2004 academic years.

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