Susan E. Borrego, Ph.D Chancellor, University of Michigan-Flint


As the top official in a university setting, a chancellor is responsible for the entire faculty and student body as well as the financial health and well-being of the school.

There are Vice Chancellors and Deans responsible for particular areas and the curriculum and academic programs are overseen by the faculty. Ultimately, everyone reports to a chancellor just as they do the president in Ann Arbor. “There is no typical day for me!” exclaims Susan Borrego, Ph.D., Chancellor of the University of Michigan-Flint. Her days are long and full but she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It isn’t just about representing the university – Flint is now my home.”

chancellor-8“I’m so happy to be here in Flint,” she smiles. “People here really care about the relationship between the city and the university.” She regularly meets with the mayor and others who are interested in collaborating on issues that affect Flint. The eighth leader of UM-Flint, she officially began her tenure in August 2014. She has an extensive background in enrollment management and student services and above all else, she is an advocate for the students. “My job is to align and find resources to support student success,” says Sue. “I meet with students individually and in open forums.” The position keeps her busy from 5:30am until late at night, as she is very involved in the Flint community and has assumed a number of roles. She is a member of the Hurley Medical Center Board of Managers and was recently selected to serve on the Board of Directors for the Greater Flint Health Coalition. She believes that by doing so, she is being a good neighbor and steward. It also helps her identify areas of needed cooperation between the university and the community. “There is a lot of expertise at U of M that can be shared with the community, and we can also learn a lot from the community,” she says.

Every Tuesday, Sue spends the morning at U of M in of Ann Arbor meeting with the executive team there. Periodically, there are days that call for travel to Ann Arbor and then to Lansing and back to Flint to attend meetings, all in a day. Many of her evenings are spent attending community events or dinner meetings in Downtown Flint with students or community members. “I should buy stock in Cork and 501 Bar & Grill!” she exclaims. Here is what a day in the life of Susan Borrego looks like.

Sue’s day begins very early. She uses the quiet time in the early morning hours to review a staggering number of e-mails. As the university’s top advocate, she corresponds with students, community groups, officials and the Hurley board, among others. Six to eight hours of her days are spent in meetings. “I try not to schedule anything before 9am, but sometimes it is necessary,” she says.

Meeting with Flint Mayor, Dayne Walling
The chancellor and the mayor discuss what the university can bring to Flint, and ideas for cooperation between the city and UM-Flint that will benefit the community. For example, they talked about creating a picnic area on university property across from the Flint Farmers’ Market.

Impromptu meeting with the Human Resources staff

Interview with My City Magazine

Meeting with the provost
“We’ll talk about the status of priorities for the university in the spring,” explains Sue. “We also will discuss the work that provost is doing with the dean and the facility.”

Budget and Strategic Planning Meeting with the Chancellor Advisory Committee
“We reviewed the strategic plan in the fall so we can review existing strategic plans and priorities,” says Sue. “Then we will identify priorities to take us though 2016.”

Senior Executive Leadership meeting
Sue meets with the team. “We touch base on everybody’s area of expertise and determine what issues need to be addressed and how they are progressing toward their established goals,” she says.

Dinner meeting
“Tonight, I have a dinner meeting with a group of students,” Sue smiles. And it’s developing those relationships that matters most to her. “This is what we get into this business for!” she exclaims. “It’s the most important part of my job.” Interaction with students and faculty is crucial in decisions about developing policy and institutional practices. She has started Tweeting with some of the students. She says Student Body President, Nakshidil Sadien, is remarkable to work with.

In the evenings, Sue usually spends a couple of hours on paperwork and ties up the day’s loose ends.

It isn’t just a five-day work week for the chancellor. “I sometimes work both days of the weekend,” she says. She attends community and fundraising events as a representative of the university.

So, what does “free time” mean to Sue? “There is not a lot of it,” she laughs. “It isn’t just about representing the university – Flint is now my home. It’s about being able to participate and become a part of my hometown.” When she does get some free time, she enjoys collegiate athletics and goes to cultural events. What’s missing from her daily routine? “I have to get back to the gym,” she sighs. “I miss going to the gym in the mornings!”

When asked what she enjoys most about her job, Sue doesn’t hesitate. “All the different things I get to do every day. I love the opportunity to provide leadership at a place that has such a great team of faculty, staff and students. I get to represent all the good work they do.”

Inauguration of the Chancellor

April 13-17 is Inauguration Week at UM-Flint. The week-long tribute to the campus and community highlights the academic achievements of students and faculty. The festivities will culminate on Friday, April 17 with the investiture ceremony of Chancellor Susan E. Borrego at 2pm at The Whiting. All members of the campus and community are welcome to attend. General admission tickets for the ceremony are available at the UM-Flint Office of University Relations, The Whiting or the Flint Farmers’ Market.

Chancellor borrego has high praise for the um-flint faculty and staff. she is pictured (TOP) with Jennifer Hogan, Exec. Dir. Of University Relations and Mary Jo Sekelsky,Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. above, susan meets with mary Jo Sekelsky, Barbara Dixon, Interim Provost/Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Greg Tewksbury, Vice Chancellor for Business & Finance.

Photography by Mike Naddeo


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