The University Record, November 19, 1997

Didier is interim head of Academic Outreach


By Jane R. Elgass

Elaine Didier, director of Residential and Research University Programs, Academic Outreach, has been appointed interim director of Academic Outreach by Provost Nancy Cantor, effective Nov. 19. Didier also is an adjunct associate professor in the School of Information. She succeeds Douglas E. Van Houweling, who is serving as chief executive officer of the University Consortium for Advanced Internet Development.

Cantor also has asked Pamela Raymond, associate provost for academic and faculty affairs, to conduct a review of the Academic Outreach initiative, consulting with deans and others with expertise and interest in the goals and mission of Academic Outreach.

Academic Outreach works with faculty, administrators and technical staff to develop high-quality, distance-independent academic programs, classes and instructional resources, which comprise the University's extended learning community. Activities are focused in five areas:

  • Faculty support for the use of technology in research and teaching.

  • Program development services for academic units.

  • Independent learning opportunities.

  • Pilot programs and partnerships.

  • Leadership and coordination.

    In announcing Didier's appointment last week, Cantor noted that "with her years of University experience, which included academic administration, I am confident she will provide excellent leadership during the period of the review, expected to take at least several months to complete."

    Didier has been in her current post since 1996, serving as a member of the senior leadership team designing a broad array of outreach programs to enable the University to extend its traditional educational mission to deliver knowledge worldwide.

    In that position she also chaired task forces responsible for expansion of spring/summer programs and provision of campuswide academic outreach programs; facilitated the development of distance education programs in U-M units; and provided leadership for the ongoing development of intellectual property guidelines for an extended learning environment.

    Prior to that she was associate dean in the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies, providing oversight for the $29 million budget and 55-member staff, as well as supervising and coordinating the operations of the Graduate School's major offices.

    With the U-M since 1977, Didier also served as director of information resources at the School of Business Administration, director of the Microcomputer Education Center and assistant director of the University Computer Center, director and assistant director of instructional strategy services; visiting assistant professor in the schools of Education and Information, and library media consultant to the Bureau of School Services.