Schlissel's Open Letter to the University

Schlissel's Open Letter to the University

President Schlissel with Alumni Association President Steve Grafton. By Leisa Thompson.

Mark S. Schlissel has officially completed his first semester as University of Michigan President. In an open letter to the University community, he looks back on the work he has done in the past four months.

Positioning U-M for Perpetual Excellence

“One of my priorities is ensuring we provide schools and colleges with the necessary resources and tools to plan together so that investments in infrastructure, faculty, and programs are purposefully complementary. 

Schlissel has consistently championed U-M’s academic excellence since his inauguration. Specifically, he believes that U-M can change the world. In his inaugural address, Schlissel said, “Our mission always will be to improve the world through research and education — to build a better place for our children and grandchildren.” 


“I know we have a lot of work to do to be our best in this area, and those efforts are underway … This work includes creating a university-wide strategic plan for diversity, with clear metrics for measuring our progress.”

An on-going issue on campus, Schlissel has dealt with diversity head-on. “Talent is uniformly distributed across the populace,” Schlissel said. “But opportunity most certainly is not.”

He convened a faculty committee to address the issue and has appointed administrators that will be focused on diversity. Going forward, each school and college will develop a plan unique for their unit.

University Leadership

Schlissel isn’t the only University leader to join us in the fall.

  • Robert Sellers, vice provost for equity, inclusion and academic affairs
  • Kedra Ishop, associate vice president for enrollment management.
  • Provost Martha Pollack’s appointment has been extended for three years.
  • Marschall Runge, executive vice president for medical affairs.
  • The search continues for the university’s executive vice president and chief financial officer. 


Jim Hackett, interim athletic director, also joined the university community this fall.

“Jim is a highly experienced and respected leader, a person of integrity, and a devoted Michigan alumnus, who has remained involved with us since playing on the football team and graduating from U-M in 1977.”

As the permanent athletic director and head football coach are still uncertain, Hackett will have his hands full in the coming months. 


“To realize the full scope of our ambitions in this area, I have asked for a comprehensive review of our current priorities and progress to date.”

 While the University has made progress in this area, Schlissel recognizes there are still areas of opportunity. Faculty, staff, and students will review the current state of U-M sustainability, looking at three indicators:

  • Greenhouse gas reduction
  • Waste reduction
  • Campus culture regarding sustainability

What do you think President Schlissel should focus on next semester?

Michigan Alumnus is made possible through the generous support of Alumni Association members. Join today to help sustain the future of Michigan Alumnus and other alumni programs. Visit