The University of Michigan, an encyclopedic survey ... Wilfred B. Shaw, editor.
University of Michigan.

The Office of the Vice-President for State Relations and Planning was established by the Regents in January 1968 at the request of President Fleming, and the first incumbent was Arthur M. Ross, then Commissioner of Labor Statistics in the U.S. Department of Labor, who took office July 1, 1968. (R. P., 1966-69, pp. 981-82) After Ross's death on June 5, 1970, he was succeeded by Fedele F. Fauri, Dean of the School of Social Work since 1951, who took office August 1, 1970.

The three specific functions of the Vice-President for State Relations and Planning are described in the By laws of the Regents: to be the senior officer in charge of planning, coordinating, and supervising the University's approach to the State Legislature; to act as the University's contact with the State Board of Education; and to serve as senior adviser and consultant to the president and other vice-presidents on questions of planning. The first two of these functions had been carried out by the Executive Vice-President, Marvin Niehuss, who was nearing retirement age; when he left office on June 30, 1968, the position of Executive Vice-President was abolished. (R. P., 1966-69, p. 1,061) The third function, that of planning, had been divided among elements in the Office of the Vice-President for Academic Affairs Allan Smith, and in the Office of the Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer Wilbur Pierpont. President Fleming decided to consolidate these elements and place them in the same office that handled state relations because, in his words, "I thought our internal plans and our relationship with the Legislature were all part of one package." ("President's Letter," February 1968)

The traditional part of the responsibilities of the new office was state relations. Under Executive Vice-President Niehuss, liaison with the legislature had been handled by Robert N. Cross, who continued this activity until September 1969, when he joined the University's Office of State and Community Relations as a Research Associate and was succeeded as the University's Legislative Counsel by Richard E. Augenstein, who had worked with him since 1968. Augenstein was given responsibility for day-to-day relations between the legislature and the University, with the mission of ensuring that the University and its people were available to the legislature as sources Page  37of information, research, and advice on problems facing the state. Also in September 1969, A. Lawrence Fincher, a Research Associate who had joined Ross's staff in 1968, was given the task of providing technical liaison with the state fiscal agencies, chiefly in the statistical and budgetary areas. Consultation with state agencies involved in construction planning and allocation was the responsibility of Douglas R. Sherman, one of two assistant vice-presidents who had joined Ross's office two months earlier.

The nature of the University's relations with the legislature is indicated by the fact that, although constitutionally the University has autonomy, practically it is dependent on the legislature for public funds; and both the amount of the annual appropriations and the guidelines set by the legislature for their expenditure strongly affect the University's operations and growth. Since 1968, what President Fleming has described as a "friendly lawsuit" has been before the courts to determine just what the University's autonomy means in practice. As he described the issue at the beginning of his presidency: "On our part we have no trouble recognizing the legitimate interest of the state in the expenditure of public funds at The University of Michigan. We are entirely willing to provide all the justification and information which the legislature may require. Once the money is appropriated, however, we believe it is important that the University be allowed to control its expenditure." ("President's Letter," January 1968)

The innovative aspect of the new office was the consolidation of some of the University's planning functions into one place. One purpose of this consolidated planning was to provide the "justification and information" for which the legislature might ask. To convince the legislature that its budget requests are reasonable and proper is part of the University's responsibility. And as higher education in its requests for public funds in the 1960s faced increasing competition from such pressing social concerns as welfare, mental health, and public safety, it became far more urgent for the University to determine its priorities and to present them clearly and credibly.

Under Vice-President Ross much of the energy of the new office was devoted to the consolidation and growth of the planning function. During his first year, comprehensive reviews and planning studies were completed for the School of Education, Flint College, and the Dearborn Campus. The Page  38first of these was conducted by a group of outside consultants; the latter two were conducted by committees consisting of administrators, faculty, students, and representatives of the local community. Soon after he entered office, Ross scheduled a planning seminar, which consisted of a series of biweekly meetings during the first half of 1969, attended by President Fleming, the vice-presidents, the deans, major research directors, and other key staff members. The broad purposes of the seminar were twofold: to study the methodology and problems of resource allocation in the University and to encourage the acceptance, among all the elements of administration, of the necessity for University-level planning.

Collection and analysis of data for planning purposes were conducted under the direction of two economists, Malcolm Cohen and Donald C. Lelong, Director of the Office of Institutional Research (OIR). Under Lelong, OIR was responsible for the development and implementation of a program cost-accounting system known as the College Resources Analysis System (CRAS), which was designed to make possible a systematic analysis by the University of the utilization of its academic manpower. OIR was transferred in February 1969 from the Office of the Vice-President for Academic Affairs to the Office of the Vice-President for State Relations and Planning. Because OIR continued to do a substantial amount of work with the Office of the Vice-President for Academic Affairs, it served as an important organizational means of interrelating the functions of the two vice-presidential offices.

In July 1969, Ross was joined by two Assistant Vice-Presidents, David V. Heebink and Douglas R. Sherman. Heebink, whose responsibilities centered on academic planning, was assigned as a member of the Planning Committee on Extension and Adult Education, which was chaired by Dr. William Haber, Adviser to the Executive Officers. Heebink played a substantial role in preparing its report, which was issued in July 1970; and, subsequently, he served as chairman of the Library System Planning Committee, as well as the Committee on Long-Range Planning for the Health Service, both of which conducted studies. Sherman, whose responsibilities in. the state relations area have been mentioned, was given the title of Director of Capital Planning. Capital planning had previously been handled in the Office of the Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer. On July 1, 1969, this responsibility was transferred to the Office of the Vice-President for State Relations and Planning. Initially, Sherman's tasks consisted largely of forecasting needs, preparing the capital outlay budget, Page  39and working with state agencies on capital outlay matters, and consulting on specific capital outlay projects and space inventory and analysis. On January 1, 1970, major facets of capital planning, including building and campus planning, were consolidated when the University Architect's Office under Howard Hakken and the University Planning Office under F. W. Mayer were transferred from the Office of the Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer to the Office of the Vice-President for State Relations and Planning, where they reported directly to Sherman.

Thus, by the time that Fedele Fauri succeeded Ross in the summer of 1970, the organization of the Office of State Relations and Planning was substantially developed. Because of increasing pressures for public funds, Fauri shifted the emphasis of the office to give more attention specifically to relations with the legislature and state agencies, which often appeared to be questions of more urgency than were the issues of long-range planning. Nevertheless, both President Fleming and Vice-President Fauri, together with Fauri's staff, continued to see the two functions as closely related. And the necessity to select priorities, to allocate resources wisely, and to justify programs and expenditures made it clear that the development of planning would have to continue as a major concern of the administration of the University.

Shortly after Fauri took office, he and Vice-President Smith conferred with President Fleming about how best to interrelate the academic planning functions of the Office of Academic Affairs and the Office of State Relations and Planning. Their conclusions were embodied in a memorandum, "The Planning Function," sent by President Fleming to executive officers, deans, and directors on September 21, 1970. It provided that individual school or college reviews would be done under the auspices of the Vice-President for Academic Affairs, with advice from the Office of State Relations and Planning. Review or study of cross-college and noncollege agencies would be under the auspices of one of the two vice-presidents, depending on the individual case. The task of working with deans, directors, faculty, and the Commission on Resource Allocation on the question of identifying marginal activities to be reduced or eliminated to free money for higher priority uses, would fall initially to the Vice-President for State Relations and Planning. The Vice-President for State Relations and Planning would also keep deans, directors, and other vice-presidents informed of legislative "control" devices, such as student-staff ratios and "productivity" measures.

Page  40As the University looked ahead to the 1970s, it faced two profound questions: What are the basic purposes of the University, and are they adequate to meet the needs of today's rapidly changing society? How can the resources of the University best be allocated to achieve these purposes? These two questions implied a host of more detailed questions that could best be answered through the development of University-wide planning. But, because The University of Michigan is one of the larger and more decentralized of major American universities, with eighteen separate and largely autonomous colleges and schools, some opposition to the concept of centralized planning was expressed. Ross had emphasized that "the task of a planning office is not to do the planning but help get it done by continuing to insist, however tiresomely, on the need for more effective resource allocation; and by devising techniques, providing information, and arranging formats which will incorporate the planning element into university administration." Fauri continued Ross's efforts to include other elements of the University in the planning process, and he received tangible assistance from the faculty committee chosen by the Senate Assembly to advise his office. That ten-man committee, known officially as the Senate Committee on the Proper Role of The University of Michigan in the Educational System of the State, and chaired by Professor Wilfred Kaplan, held a two-day planning conference on February 24 and 25, 1971, and the following month issued a 33-page document, "The University of Michigan in 1971." Looking beyond the internal affairs of the University, the committee stated in this essay that "the University is prepared to support the goal of the state to maintain a higher educational system of high quality … The faculty and administration have shown a sincere desire to cooperate with the other institutions and state agencies in planning suitable long-range programs for all."

Just three years after its inception, it is too early for more than a tentative evaluation of the accomplishments of the Office of the Vice-President for State Relations and Planning. The effectiveness of its state relations function can be judged in part by the size of the annual appropriations for the University, in part on the increased credibility the University may have gained with state legislators, and in part by the legislature's acceptance in 1970 of the concept of long-range planning, through approval and funding of long-range planning for the Medical Center. The success of the planning function can be judged only in a longer term perspective. Historically, American institutions of higher learning have been slower than either Page  41government or business to employ program budgets and cost-effectiveness concepts in their own planning and decisionmaking activities. In creating the Office of Vice-President for State Relations and Planning in 1968, The University of Michigan was relatively early among universities in giving formal recognition to the importance of these modern planning techniques, and the crucial role of institutional planning seems to be generally recognized throughout the University. As the search for the optimum administrative structure continues, it proceeds with an awareness that both state relations and planning are functions that remain central to the future of the University.