Instead of laying off staff, the Ann Arbor campus is hiring faculty. The university is in the midst of a $30 million effort to add 100 instructors to broaden its interdisciplinary studies program, on top of normal hiring.
Because U-M's historic competitors for faculty nationwide -- Harvard, Stanford and the University of California at Berkley, for example -- are not hiring, it has been able to scoop up more of its first choices for faculty.
Meanwhile, the sounds of construction echo across the sprawling campus. Nine major buildings have been completed recently or are under construction, with five more prepared to break ground. Coupled with the $108 million purchase of the 30-building, 174-acre former research site of Pfizer Inc., it's one of the biggest building booms in school history, totaling more than $1.7 billion and adding or renovating 17 million square feet.
The growing budget gap -- Michigan spent $34,000 per student in 2009 while MSU spent $20,000 per student -- is the result of several factors: endowment (U-M's endowment is $6 billion), percentage of out-of-state studnets (U-M has more), and fundraising (U-M is able to raise more money from loyal donors and alumni).