A Harvest of Ideas

Eric Joyce, Marketing Specialist

According to History.com, a notable autumn feast was held in November 1621 after the first corn harvest of the newly settled Plymouth colony. Now remembered as America’s “first Thanksgiving,” the three day festival brought together English colonists and the Wampanoag native people in a celebration of gratitude after a successful harvest.

We are gathering our own harvest at Academic Innovation this fall – a harvest of ideas.

The University of Michigan community, including faculty, students, staff and local residents, are invited to share their ideas, recommendations and past (or present) U-M experiences to help us engage in a conversation to shape the Michigan academic environment of the future. We have called this the Ideas2017 Challenge and we invite the Michigan community to contribute more than 2,017 ideas, recommendations and/or experiences by U-M’s Bicentennial Celebrations in September 2017.

President Schlissel and Provost Pollack have charged Academic Innovation to steward a University-wide conversation called the Academic Innovation Initiative to “consider how U-M will lead the way for higher education through the information age and further strengthen our impact on society.” Your contributions to the challenge will help spark new innovation at U-M as well as support the University’s legacy of public leadership and academic innovation.

With this challenge, we aim to gather ideas, explore opportunities and design solutions for the best Michigan experience of the future. Join us in celebrating the harvest of these new ideas, recommendations and experiences by adding your contribution to the Ideas2017 Challenge.

Do you need inspiration? Here are a few of the ideas submitted to the challenge so far:

“Let’s help all students develop a richer understanding of implicit bias in social life, and supply them with tools to limit its influence in their decision making.”

“Combine U-M MOOCs with intensive face-to-face short course experiences on campus to give U-M undergrads unique 1 credit crash courses in elective topics. Along with access to open courses, U-M students would participate in intensive peer-to-peer learning environments with access to top U-M faculty.”

“Create a ‘diverse team’ requirement for all undergraduates where every Michigan student must work on a project on a diverse team and reflect on those experiences prior to graduation.”

“Create a smart syllabus project that allows faculty teaching residential courses to leverage the modular digital assets created for MOOCs and flipped courses. Instructor teams of interdisciplinary courses and learning experiences could more seamlessly pull from expertise across Michigan’s colleges and schools to enrich student experiences.”

“Michigan should develop MOOCs that allow U-M alumni to engage in meaningful discussion with current Michigan students. Generation-spanning MOOCs would enrich perspectives for lifelong learners.”

“Let’s make our research environment more responsive to current events. When things like the Flint water crisis, the Zika epidemic, or the 2016 election occur, our students, faculty, and staff should be able to bring the research muscle of the University of Michigan to bear on the topic in a nimble and efficient way.”

“We should experiment with the transcript of the future, providing ways for students, faculty, and staff to explore new ways to represent what happens during their time on campus.”

“Create virtual U-M supported alumni chapters organized around issues/problems in addition to existing geographic and school affinity groups. Intergenerational, intersector, multidisciplinary, lifelong learning, problem solving, affinity clusters. Provide them with new knowledge disseminated from U-M and opportunities to engage with one another and to contribute to the learning environment for on-campus learners.”

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