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Schlissel says he can always teach after U-M presidency

University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel (Photo: Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The president of the University of Michigan, who is stepping down in 2023, said Thursday he’ll return to teaching and research “if nothing more interesting comes along.”

Mark Schlissel gave his annual leadership address, two days after announcing he would leave his post after nine years. He said during a question-and-answer portion that he’s a tenured member of the university faculty.

“Before I started doing academic leadership work, I was just an old biology professor. ... I ran a research lab trying to understand the mechanisms of the immune system," he said. “If nothing more interesting comes along, I am going to go back to what I know how to do and love, which is teaching and research.”

Schlissel, who is paid $927,000 a year, will have a soft landing. He will be paid his presidential salary for up to two years after June 2023, under an agreement with the Board of Regents.

The university will provide a lab and $2 million to get it running.

Schlissel, 63, noted that he'll be president for almost two more years. He said he wants to help the next leader “keep the momentum of the university.”

The Detroit Free Press has reported on tensions between Schlissel and the school's governing board. But a regent, Sarah Hubbard, told The Detroit News that he didn't need to step down.

“I think he decided to leave early. He wanted to exit at the right time that is right for the university,” she said.