The University of Michigan, an encyclopedic survey ... Wilfred B. Shaw, editor.
University of Michigan.
Page  87


1956-63: The Dearborn Center

In 1956, the Ford Motor Company approached The University of Michigan with a proposal to establish a branch campus in the Dearborn area in order to provide University of Michigan quality educational opportunities in the area. The company's objective was to increase the number of University of Michigan graduates, particularly in professional fields, in order to relieve severe shortages of manpower in Detroit area business and industry. The company offered to provide land and money for buildings on a 210-acre site of the former estate of Henry Ford. The University responded by proposing the establishment of an upper division campus (with junior and senior classes only), offering degree programs in business administration, engineering, and literature, science, and the arts. An integral feature of the new campus would be its cooperative internship program in which students alternated semesters between the classroom and the professional world of business and industry. On December 17, 1956, the University and the Ford Motor Company Fund announced the gift of 210 acres of land and $6,500,000 for the construction of the Dearborn Center. The land included portions of the late Henry Ford's estate and his former residence Fair Lane.

In accepting the gift, the University committed itself to a series of mutually agreed upon features of the new Center:

  • 1. to provide, within the limits of the gift, facilities, including laboratories and libraries, for approximately 2,800 students;
  • 2. to attempt to provide cooperative work-study opportunities for undergraduates — and probably graduates — in mechanical and industrial engineering, and business administration;
  • 3. to offer only the junior and senior years of work and one year of graduate work in engineering and business administration;
  • 4. to work cooperatively with Henry Ford Community Page  88College to provide four years of college work in the Dearborn community;
  • 5. to provide an instructional staff that was not inferior to the University's faculties;
  • 6. to offer programs of study that were not inferior in quality, although they may be somewhat different from those offered on the Ann Arbor campus;
  • 7. to confer degrees parallel to those conferred for comparable work on the Ann Arbor campus;
  • 8. to provide at least a minimum of student service facilities;
  • 9. to consider the "quarter" system instead of the "semester" plan;
  • 10. to offer a complete program of studies in engineering and business administration in each of the four quarters;
  • 11. to consult with business and industry in the planning and administration of the cooperative programs;
  • 12. to secure adequate operating funds.

Facilities for the new campus included a four-building complex — a faculty office building, a classroom and office building, a student services building (housing the library and food service), and an engineering laboratory building. Construction on the buildings began on May 22, 1958, and was completed by the fall of 1959.

Initial academic development of the new Center was handled through the loaning of personnel from the Ann Arbor campus. The first executive committee, authorized in the Regents By laws, consisted of Ann Arbor campus faculty representatives. Over a period of time the Executive Committee became composed of Dearborn faculty, and ultimately the Regents By laws recognized Dearborn as a self-governing faculty. Three academic divisions — engineering, business administration, and literature, science, and the arts — were organized. The governing faculty of each division was granted the power to determine suitable admissions requirements, the curriculums, and appropriate graduation requirements for undergraduate degrees.

Page  89On September 28, 1959, the Dearborn Center opened its doors to a first class of 34 students, somewhat below the anticipated 500. From its inception, the campus operated on a year-around calendar with semesters beginning in June, October, and February. Administering the Center was a small staff, headed by University Vice-President Dr. William E. Stirton. Dr. Stirton's influence on the Center's early development was pervasive. The cooperative education concept of study and professional "on-the-job" experience was a keystone of Stirton's educational philosophy.

1963-71: The Dearborn Campus

Enrollment at Dearborn grew modestly during the decade of the 1960s, with 624 students registered in the fall 1964 semester. The campus continued to offer only junior and senior level courses, with its first graduate program, a master of science in mechanical engineering, instituted in 1964. The name Dearborn Center was changed to Dearborn Campus in 1963. All of the undergraduate students transferred to the Dearborn Campus from community colleges and other four-year institutions, mostly within the State of Michigan. About one-third of the enrollment transferred from neighboring Henry Ford Community College. Others came from nearby community colleges in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties. The University's Ann Arbor campus provided the largest number of transfers from four-year institutions.

State appropriations also grew during the 1960s, from an initial $320,985 in 1959-60 to $966,960 in 1963-64. A total of ten concentration programs were offered in the Division of Literature, Science, and the Arts, including biophysical science, chemistry, economics, English, experimental biology, history, mathematics, psychology, sociology, and political science. Three concentration programs leading to a bachelor of science in engineering were offered in the Division of Engineering: electrical, mechanical, and industrial. In addition, the Division of Engineering added Dearborn's first graduate program in 1964, a master's in mechanical engineering, offered through the Rackham Graduate School. The Division of Business Administration offered a bachelor of business administration program.

In 1964, the first addition to the campus' physical plant, a 30-unit student apartment building, was completed at a cost of $734,734. This marked the first attempt Page  90by the campus to provide "residential" status for its student body.

Throughout the 1960s, at a time when many campuses were expanding rapidly, Dearborn's growth was modest. Enrollment stood at 777 in the fall of 1968. Although its graduates were readily accepted by employers and graduate schools, the number of Dearborn graduates remained small and the scale of operation was a dissapointment to many.

Two administrative changes in 1968, however, signaled the beginning of a new status for the Dearborn Campus. In January of 1968, Robben W. Fleming succeeded Dr. Harlan Hatcher as University President. Later that same year, Dr. William Stirton retired as University Vice-President and Director of the Dearborn Campus. In May 1968, Dr. Norman R. Scott, a professor of electrical engineering at the University's Ann Arbor campus, was named Dean at Dearborn.

On November 27, 1968, Arthur Ross, University Vice-President for State Relations and Planning, appointed an eight-member Dearborn Planning Study Committee to "evaluate the operation of the Dearborn Campus since its establishment and to chart its future development." Members of the Committee included Dean Scott; Paul Carter, Professor of Education at Dearborn; Thomas Baggott, a Dearborn Campus student; Stephen Spurr, Dean of the Rackham School of Graduate Studies; William Porter, Professor and Chairman of the University's Department of Journalism; James Ford, a Ford Motor Company executive; and Leonard Sain, assistant superintendent of the Detroit Public Schools. The Committee was chaired by Richard Balzhiser, Professor of Metallurgical Engineering.

The Committee met as a committee-of-the-whole on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to consider information on the past, present, and future operations of the Dearborn Campus. A number of outside resource people met with the Committee. Individual committee members, by virtue of their involvement with other University units and committees, or their participation in the urban affairs of the Detroit area, were able to provide a broad base of informational input into the four-and one-half month deliberations of the Committee.

The Committee's discussions followed a path of studying the higher educational needs of the area, and formulating a plan whereby the Dearborn Campus could best contribute Page  91to meeting those needs. In the Committee's judgment, "increased autonomy in programming and adequate funding are the two most vital components in implementing a plan" for Dearborn's growth.

In May 1969 the Committee's report was released. The report made nine specific recommendations to the Board of Regents. These included:

  • 1. Academic programs at Dearborn should be directed toward the needs of the western Detroit metropolitan area and should consider specifically the needs of urban youth, local public service agencies, and institutions and local industry. Special attention should be given to innovation in developing programs to meet these needs.
  • 2. Dearborn Campus should offer four-year academic programs in the liberal arts and sciences, education, business administration, and engineering. It should continue its present cooperative programs but on an optional basis rather than as a requirement, and it should create additional areas for cooperative programs within the Literature, Science, and the Arts Division.
  • 3. Master's-level programs should be initiated where faculty strengths and resources permit without distracting from the development of undergraduate options. Graduate programs should be given under the general supervision of the Rackham School of Graduate Studies and the direct supervision of a director of graduate studies on the Dearborn Campus. The director should also serve as Associate Dean of the Rackham School and be a voting member of the Executive Board. A Dearborn Graduate Board should be established to plan the orderly development of graduate programs on the Campus. Initial composition should include three members of the Dearborn faculty and three members of the Ann Arbor graduate faculty with the Ann Arbor members phased out over a three-year period.
  • 4. The name of the Campus should be chosen to connote the autonomy of the Campus and facilitate its future transition to independent status. Yet it should indicate that, like the Ann Arbor Campus, it is presently governed by the Regents of The University of Michigan through the President and Executive Officers. The present designation "The University of Michigan Dearborn Campus" could be continued during the developmental period.
  • 5. The chief executive officer of the Campus should Page  92report to the President and other executive officers of the University. He should carry a title other than "Dean" (perhaps Provost or Chancellor) to allow him flexibility in internally structuring the Campus.
  • 6. The Dearborn Campus should be advised by a citizens' committee appointed by the Board of Regents and broadly representative of the metropolitan area.
  • 7. The Campus should plan for growth to 5,000 full-time students by 1980. The five-year development phase should bring the Campus to a level of 2,200 students.
  • 8. A capital building program should be initiated at once. The most urgent needs are:
    • a) A new library building,
    • b) Student activities facilities,
    • c) Additional campus housing.
  • 9. A long-range plan for campus physical development should be undertaken that will provide for the projected enrollment.

1971 — : The University of Michigan — Dearborn

The first of the Committee's recommendations was put into effect in April 1971 with the renaming of the campus — The University of Michigan — Dearborn. This was done concurrently with the renaming of the Flint Campus as The University of Michigan — Flint.

To implement another of the recommendations, a 12-member committee of faculty, students, alumni, and community residents were appointed by Dean Scott to screen and recommend candidates to the President and Board of Regents for the position of Chancellor at The University of Michigan — Dearborn. After a lengthy search procedure, Dr. Robert Maier, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, was appointed by the Board of Regents. Dr. Maier, a specialist in earth sciences, had been instrumental in formulating University of Wisconsin — Green Bay's unique academic program stressing environmental and ecological studies. In May, however, Dr. Maier informed President Fleming that, because of problems of health, he would be unable to accept the position at The University of Michigan — Dearborn. A second recommended candidate, Dr. Leonard Goodall, was subsequently approved Page  93by the Regents. Dr. Goodall, who had been Vice-Chancellor at the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle, was a specialist in urban politics and public administration. The new chancellor-designate assumed his position on July 1, 1971.

In the fall of 1971, The University of Michigan — Dearborn took an initial step in reorienting its academic programming as it accepted its first freshman class of 250 students. The break with the "senior college" concept resulted after numerous discussions between various faculty and administrative groups. In the Balzhiser Report, it was noted that "… although the upper division campus is turned naturally toward the community college for its enrollment, the community college is not oriented toward the upper division college. Thus the upper division college has no substantial and natural base of students from which to draw." Planning for the freshman-sophomore program began in 1969 and continued at a vigorous pace for over two years. A curriculum planning committee, composed of faculty representatives from The University of Michigan — Dearborn's three academic units, developed an interdisciplinary Core Curriculum for lower division students.

Within the next three years the campus was to recognize a 500 percent enrollment growth, as increasing numbers of freshmen transfers, and graduate students enrolled. Conscious of its physical location near the heart of a large metropolitan area, The University of Michigan — Dearborn developed a broad student constituency which included the "traditional" eighteen to twenty-one year-old undergraduate and larger numbers of graduate students. Essentially a commuter-type campus, The University of Michigan — Dearborn also began to attract "non-traditional" students: minorities, returning women, mid-career professionals, the handicapped, and retirees. A developing late afternoon and evening program, expansion of liberal arts offerings, new graduate and professional programs in management and engineering, a joint nursing program with Henry Ford Hospital, and individualized learning programs began to gain broad acceptance within the metropolitan Detroit area. The development of a strong "urban-oriented" campus of a major state university in Michigan was consistent with national trends in the late 1960s and early 1970s as universities developed "where the people were."

Campus governance at The University of Michigan — Dearborn had historically been in the hands of a Faculty Page  94Congress, with specific academic and administrative duties delegated to an Executive Committee, comprised of faculty members from each of the three academic units. Similar in nature to the executive committees of the schools and colleges on the Ann Arbor campus, the Dearborn Executive Committee was recognized in the Regents' By laws as the governing unit for the campus. As enrollments at Dearborn grew, and as the number and interests of faculty also increased, it became evident that a new system of governance was necessary. A Bylaws Revision Committee, chaired by Dr. Paul Carter, professor of education, developed a series of alternative structures for organizing the faculties. After considerable discussion, the Faculty Congress approved a revised set of bylaws calling for five academic units: the School of Management (replacing the Division of Business Administration); the School of Engineering (replacing the Division of Engineering); the College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters (replacing the Division of Literature, Science, and the Arts); the Division of Urban Education (incorporating the former Department of Education within the L. S. and A. division); and a new Division of Interdisciplinary Studies. The new bylaws were approved by the Regents in 1973. In addition to the structural reorganization into schools and colleges, the new bylaws dissolved the former campus executive committee and replaced it with two campus-wide committees — the Academic Affairs Advisory Committee, to advise the dean of academic affairs on academic matters; and the Faculty Advisory Committee, to advise the Chancellor on campus-wide matters.

Expansion in enrollment also necessitated the development of additional buildings and facilities to accommodate the larger student body. A campus master plan, developed by an independent planning firm, presented its proposals to the campus in 1973. The plan called for the construction of several new buildings, including a Library and Learning Resources Building, a General Instructional and Laboratory Building, a University Center, a Physical Education facility, and a Performing Arts Center. It was accepted by the Regents with implementation beginning in 1974.

In late 1971 the Michigan Board of Education requested from the Chancellor a statement on the role and mission of The University of Michigan — Dearborn. The statement, which continues to serve as the Campus' goals, notes:

It is the special role of The University of Michigan — Dearborn to make available higher education from The Page  95University of Michigan to the population of the Detroit metropolitan region in Southeastern Michigan, and to provide those programs in which it has traditionally been strong, e.g., cooperative education, to students from throughout the state. The excellence of the educational programs of The University of Michigan is widely recognized and sought after, and the University has attempted to make itself accessible to more students, particularly those who must or prefer to live at home, by developing campuses in Dearborn and in Flint. The major purposes of UM-Dearborn are the offering of educational programs that provide both a broad liberal education and preparation for one's life work, the encouragement of research, and the provision of appropriate public service. Recognizing the great economic, ethnic and racial diversity of an urban population, and the strong vocational interests of the UM-D student body, the University recognizes a responsibility to provide an educational experience that will offer opportunity for upward social and economic mobility to its students. The Campus, as an urban institution and as a part of The University of Michigan, is also committed to increasing the number of minority students enrolled at The University of Michigan — Dearborn."