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August 2022 Director’s Update

Dear Center for Academic Innovation Community,

It is the first week of class for University of Michigan students in Ann Arbor. Students from all walks of life suddenly converge onto our campus, and there is energy and excitement in the air. 

The Center for Academic Innovation supports current, future, and former Wolverines, both students and faculty, through our educational technology portfolio. We recently announced five awards that will help faculty and staff utilize ed tech in their classrooms and offices, with more new awards coming soon. We are teaming with faculty innovators to co-design courses. They share our passion and are eager to explore the possibilities of how these technologies can transform the learning experience. Together we will be building the future of education. 

We continue to strengthen our ties within the residential learning community, and while more than 95% of U-M students utilize our ed tech tools, we know more work is needed. We continue to partner with faculty innovators in online learning and extended reality technology. We will also soon announce an undergraduate symposium for the new academic year. We work hard so that whatever a learner’s path, they find the opportunities they need, delivered in an impactful way and with the flexibility their lives often demand.

Some of those learners are found in our global community taking online courses. This includes Sivadath Menon, a law student from India who enrolled in the Successful Negotiations course. Learners like Sivadath enroll in these courses because they see them as an invaluable part of their learning journey. No two pathways are the same for our more than 10 million online learners. Their goals include exploring a personal passion, job training, or even changing careers. 

Often, our residential and online global communities intersect. The portfolio of online learning opportunities available on Michigan Online is used as a pathway to first take a course, which can then lead to a MasterTrack, and then enrolling in an online or residential degree program. Many residential students also use Michigan Online to complement their in-class coursework in fields such as programming, data science, health education, and business. 

I’m excited for what is coming in the new academic year. If the idea of defining the future of education excites you, I’d love to hear from you so we can discuss how we can work together to transform the future of education. 

Go blue! 

James DeVaney
Associate Vice Provost for Academic Innovation
Founding Executive Director of the Center for Academic Innovation