Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

U-M President announces childcare upgrades

24. April 2005 • Matt Hollerbach
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University President Mary Sue Coleman sent an e-mail today announcing plans to ‘enhance’ childcare services for faculty, staff and students. Comments and responses to

To: “U-M Community”:;
From: “President Mary Sue Coleman”
Date: Sun, 24 Apr 2005 12:15:44
Subject: Enhancement of child care services

I am very pleased to announce a major new effort to enhance child care services at the University of Michigan that will actively explore opportunities for increased capacity, infant and toddler care, and significant improvements in the facilities where these services are offered. Planning for this work will begin immediately.

The University has a longstanding history of providing high-quality child care and early childhood education programs to its faculty, staff, and students, and we have dedicated substantial resources in this area. But child care needs change over time. This is the moment to develop our next steps.

This is a highly complex undertaking, and one that touches our community at a very personal level. That is why I have invited Associate Vice President for Human Resources Laurita Thomas to lead this process. I know that Laurita, who is respected for her insightfulness and for her commitment to inclusive and collaborative practices, will guide our community through a comprehensive process that will produce a solid and broadly endorsed plan.

I believe strongly in the importance of this initiative. In both the public and private sectors, studies show that family-friendly policies and resources are a growing priority to the workforce.

The work of two U-M faculty committees in 2004 affirmed that the demands of child care responsibilities can place substantial roadblocks in the path to tenure and other professional achievements. Clearly, enhanced child care resources are a strategic necessity as we continue to diversify our faculty, as well as the pipeline that will produce the faculty of the future. In addition, a number of work groups have documented the need for child care to support student parents at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

These efforts will strengthen the University as a whole. Reliable access to child care services can significantly enhance the ability of students, staff, and faculty to contribute fully to the University and to pursue their academic and professional goals.

I appreciate the dedication of all those who have studied this issue in the past, and look forward to the fine work to come of those who soon will engage in the process of enhancing these essential resources.

Faculty and staff members and students who want to share thoughts about the University’s child care services may write to


Mary Sue Coleman