Susan M. Collins named University of Michigan acting provost

Collins steps in amid sexual misconduct allegations against Provost Martin Philbert

Susan M. Collins was appointed acting provost at the University of Michigan on Jan. 30, 2020. (University of Michigan)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Susan M. Collins, former dean of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, has been appointed acting provost at the University of Michigan, the university announced Thursday.

Collins, the Edward M. Gramlich Collegiate Professor of Public Policy in the Ford School and a professor of economics in LSA, will step into the role immediately due to the administrative leave of Provost Martin Philbert as allegations of sexual misconduct are investigated.

University of Michigan provost Martin A. Philbert is on administrative leave as the school conducts an investigation with an external law firm into sexual misconduct allegations.

“I’m incredibly appreciative of Dr. Collins and her willingness to accept this crucial appointment,” President Mark Schlissel said in making the appointment. “With a decade of service as the Ford School’s dean and experience partnering with the Office of the Provost, she is well positioned to lead the office at this challenging time.”

Collins served as Ford School dean from 2007-17. Before coming to U-M, she was on the economics faculty at Georgetown and Harvard universities and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. She served a term as president of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs and as a senior staff economist on the President’s Council of Economic Advisers.

Collins serves on the board of directors for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and National Bureau of Economic Research and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She earned her bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard and her doctorate in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research interests center on understanding and fostering economic growth in industrial, emerging market and developing countries.

“Under the leadership of Dr. Collins, the Office of the Provost will continue its important work, uninterrupted, for our students, faculty and entire campus community,” Schlissel said.

The president placed Philbert on administrative leave Jan. 21 after the university received allegations that the provost engaged in sexual misconduct and received initial information from an external investigation. The investigation continues and no findings or conclusions have been reached, the university said.


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Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.