Nuclear engineer and eleventh President of the University of Michigan, James J. Duderstadt worked both to position the university as a leader in higher education and to transform the university into a new institutional "model" for higher education --an institutional model that could readily adapt to the changing needs of society.
Born on December 5, 1942 in Iowa, Duderstadt was raised in Carollton, Missouri, a small farming community of 4,000 persons. Duderstadt earned his B.S. in electrical engineering (summa cum laude), Yale University (1964); M.S. in engineering science, California Institute of Science (1965); and Ph.D. in engineering science and physics, California Institute of Technology (1967). Duderstadt's dissertation won the American Nuclear Society Mark Mills award, an honor presented to the nation's most outstanding Ph.D. dissertation in nuclear science and engineering. He married a high school classmate, Anne Marie Lock, in 1964. The Duderstadts have two daughters: Susan and Katharine.
After completing his master's and doctoral degrees in just three years, Duderstadt held a postdoctoral fellowship at the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission located in Los Alamos, New Mexico. The project involved the development of a nuclear rocket intended to fly to Mars. However, the NASA project lost funding, and in 1969 Duderstadt accepted an appointment as assistant professor of nuclear engineering at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Duderstadt was promoted to the rank of associate professor in 1972 and achieved the status of full professor in 1976.
In the classroom, Duderstadt was the recipient of many awards for both his teaching and research efforts including Outstanding Nuclear Engineering Educator Award in 1974 and College of Engineering Outstanding Teacher in 1980. He was the primary supervisor for twenty-two doctoral dissertations, co-authored several engineering textbooks, and published over sixty journal articles in the areas of nuclear reactor theory, radiation transport, kinetic theory and statistical mechanics, plasma physics, and computer simulation.
In 1981, Professor Duderstadt was appointed dean of the University of Michigan's College of Engineering. At age 38, he was the youngest person ever to be appointed dean in the history of the college. His appointment occurred at the same time the state of Michigan was suffering from a downturn in the economy due to the effects of a national recession in the automobile industry. However, despite the economic atmosphere of the early 1980s, Duderstadt established the college as a "high priority" both in the university and in the state. He secured additional financial support from state, corporate, and private sources. During this period, the College of Engineering general fund went from $11 million to $34 million; private fund-raising grew from $2 million per year to $7 million per year; and federal and industrial sponsored research support rose from $16 million per year to $36 million per year during the last year of his
As dean of the College of Engineering, Duderstadt was also instrumental in the development of several high technology research initiatives. Major programmatic initiatives included: The Center for Research on Integrated Manufacturing; The Center for Machine Intelligence; The Center for Advanced Electronics and Optics Technology; and the Computer Aided Engineering Network (CAEN). Academic programs introduced under his direction were the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) and Applied Physics programs.
By 1986, Duderstadt had "rebuilt" the Engineering campus and reestablished the prestige of the college within the university and state of Michigan. In that spring, Duderstadt stated, "The job in Engineering is winding down. We've accomplished what we set out to do." That spring he was appointed University of Michigan's Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.
As provost, Duderstadt's role was that of chief academic and chief budget officer. He also held approval responsibility for all faculty and academic staff appointments. The composition of the Ann Arbor campus at that time included 35,000 students, 3400 faculty, 15,000 staff members, a total operating budget of $1.2 billion per year, and a General Fund budget of $430 million per year.
Duderstadt's appointment to Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs marked another "first" at the University. He was the first engineer to be appointed to this position. Duderstadt's appointment began during the final year of the university's "Five Year Plan" a plan focused on budget reallocation and reduction implemented by the university in reaction to a dramatic decrease in state support that began in the early 1980s. As provost, Duderstadt worked to shift the university's stance from "reactive to pro-active" by instilling an approach towards the external environment that was challenging rather than threatening. To achieve this objective, he implemented a series of well planned strategic retreats with key university administrators and academic units.
Duderstadt was just in the second year of his appointment as provost when President Harold Shapiro announced on April 28, 1987 that he had accepted the presidency at Princeton University. Former President Robben W. Fleming served as Interim President and on June 10, 1988, the Regents of the University named James J. Duderstadt the 11th president of the University of Michigan.
As president of the university, Duderstadt maintained a full steam ahead, energetic management style. He can be credited for instituting several changes in the cultural and physical landscape of Michigan. Most significantly, Duderstadt worked to alter the ethnic and racial composition of students, faculty, and staff at the university. His vision was to "build a community that values and respects and, indeed, draws its intellectual strength from the rich diversity of peoples of different races, cultures, religions, nationalities, and beliefs." His vision of a multicultural community for the twenty-first century resulted in a strategic plan for the university titled The Michigan Mandate: A Strategic Linking of Academic Excellence and Social Diversity. In addition to the "Michigan Mandate," Duderstadt worked to create a more equitable environment for women at the university as evidenced in "The Michigan Agenda." In this paper, Duderstadt challenged the university -- "By the Year 2000, the University of Michigan will become the leader among American universities in promoting and achieving the success of women of diverse backgrounds as faculty, students, and staff." Taken together, the Michigan Mandate and the Michigan Agenda outlined his vision for the future of minorities and women at the university.
The contours of the campus landscape also shifted significantly during the Duderstadt tenure. New construction, renovation, and major improvements were realized through an enthusiastic fund-raising campaign called the "Campaign for Michigan." The Campaign effort raised over $1 billion dollars and paved the way for the implementation of a major plan to strengthen the university's infrastructure. In sum, the Campaign effort led to the rebuilding of the Central and Medical campuses, expansion of the North Campus, renovation of the Athletic Campus, and the development of a landscaping plan for the entire campus. New construction included the Lurie Engineering Center, the Media Union, Cancer and Geriatrics Center, Institute of Continuing Legal Education, and the Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Building for Aerospace Research.
In addition to his efforts in shaping the campus both culturally and physically, Duderstadt can also be credited with overseeing the development of several research initiatives. A selection of new initiatives includes the Media Union, the Institute for the Humanities, the Institute of Molecular Medicine, and the Davidson Institute for Emerging Economies.
On September 27, 1995, President Duderstadt shocked the university community with the announcement that he would be leaving the position effective June 30, 1996. In an open letter to the community announcing his decision Duderstadt stated, "Working together, we have indeed built a truly extraordinary university. But we have built a university for the twentieth century, and that century is rapidly coming to an end. It is now time to lead the University in new directions, to transform ourselves to better serve a rapidly changing world. And I believe that such new directions may benefit best from new leadership, fresh visions, and untapped energy."
Upon his departure as president of the University of Michigan, Duderstadt returned to the classroom as Professor of Science and Technology at Michigan. In addition, he heads the Millennium Project. The Millennium Project is a research center in the Media Union concerned with the impact of technology on research and teaching. Information about current research and a selection of Duderstadt's "legacy documents" are available on-line at: [http://milproj.ummu.umich.edu].
Summary of positions held at the University of Michigan
||Dean, College of Engineering
||Provost and Executive Vice-President for Academic Affairs
||President Emeritus and University Professor of Science and Engineering