Celebrating DEI Projects Supported By The Academic Innovation Fund

Rachel Niemer, Director of Outreach and Access

Last spring, the Center for Academic Innovation released a call for proposals soliciting ideas for projects at the intersections of DEI; teaching and learning; and technology and innovation. 

Eight projects were approved. 

Today, I’ll share brief descriptions of four of those projects. Come back tomorrow to learn about the other four, and join us on October 8 from 12 to1:30 p.m. in the Great Lakes South conference room in Palmer Commons at the first AIM for DEI event of the semester, where we will celebrate the work of these fantastic teams.

Digital Learning Objects for Pre-college Learners

Yulia Sevryugina, Chemistry Librarian

Nicolai Lehnert, Professor of Chemistry and Biophysics

This project proposes to develop and implement a series of online modules on information literacy for pre-college and entry level college students with interests in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Specifically, the modules will be designed for pre-college learners from historically underrepresented and underserved populations who participate in the seven-week summer internship program D-RISE (Detroit Research Internship Summer Experience).  By providing access to this content to high school students, this project exposes them to the high-quality education they can have in college, and hopefully, this motivates them to seek a college education in the STEM fields. These modules will also be available for University of Michigan faculty to include in their courses via Canvas.

Explorations in Participatory Engagement through the Wolverine Express

Sheri Samaha, Senior Program Manager, Center for Educational Outreach

Marissa Taylor, Program Manager, Center for Educational Outreach

The Wolverine Express is an initiative organized by the Center for Educational Outreach to promote college access, readiness and success for youth across the state of Michigan. This project aims to develop a toolkit to prepare faculty and staff to participate in this school visitation program. This initiative aims to promote academic preparation and success for high school students by having faculty and staff share information about their academic and/or personal journeys. Throughout the past few years, strong and consistent evaluations by faculty have stated the need for specific preparation for this outreach work. In order to meet those needs, the team is using a design thinking approach to ensure the toolkit meets the needs of faculty and staff so they can best prepare high school students for the future. 

Online Course on Undocumented College Student Access and Success in Michigan

National Center for Institutional Diversity (NCID) Knowledge Community on Undocumented Students

The population of undocumented students in the state of Michigan, including those covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, is estimated at 16,000 and growing. Yet, few have access to critical information, or “college knowledge,” that can incentivize them to attend and earn a college credential (at either a community college or four-year college). The goal for the development of this course is to provide college advisors and teachers in high schools and Local College Access Networks in the state of Michigan with actionable information and data to significantly improve the guidance undocumented students in Michigan receive about applying, funding, and attending college.

Pre­-College Preparation for the Performing Arts

Julia Hoffert, Recruitment Coordinator, School of Music, Theatre & Dance

Rikki Morrow­-Spitzer, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, School of Music, Theatre & Dance

Robin Myrick , Community Engagement Programs Manager, School of Music, Theatre & Dance

Staff from the School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD) are working to create a college pipeline program for high school students with limited access to arts­-specific advising. With early, comprehensive information and training, a greater number of students will qualify for admission to SMTD and other prestigious performing arts institutions. This program will be a hybrid of in-­person and online modules. The products from this project will include a suite of 5-10 minute videos for high school students and their parents and another set of videos for guidance counselors.

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