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August 2023 Director’s Update

Dear Center for Academic Innovation Community, 

Academic innovation is about coming together to solve problems and creating new ways of thinking, learning, and teaching. Creating a space where that can happen has been an important goal at the Center for Academic Innovation. With the opening of our new facility at 317 Maynard in downtown Ann Arbor, we are increasing our capacity for collaborative and learner-centered innovation.

Having the entire CAI team together under one roof creates new opportunities to achieve our mission and provide expertise and services to the U-M community. Among the features of our new facility is an events space where we can bring the campus community together for important discussions on learning innovation, how to promote student success and equity, and the policy and infrastructure required to support academic innovation.

We look forward to inviting faculty, guest lecturers, and community and industry partners to our event space to hold lectures, design meetings, workshops, and more. The space will allow us to hold multi-day summits focused on extended reality, educational technology, educational research, and online learning. 

Our new home in Maynard will also allow us to design online learning opportunities in more impactful, effective ways that benefit our faculty partners and global learners. Maynard will house six fully functioning film studios of various sizes, including the first virtual production stage designed exclusively for creating interactive online learning courses.

With our new studios, faculty will be able to collaborate with our expert learning experience designers and production experts to produce course material most suited to the audience, which could include harnessing the power of augmented, mixed, and virtual reality. 

Our move is the first opportunity in our center’s history that our entire workforce can have one place to call home, and this will open up new levels of creativity, teamwork and problem-solving. 

Our staff is full of industry leaders and thinkers in what is required to design online and hybrid courses, develop educational technology, interpret educational innovation policy, and conduct educational research. While we’ve always collaborated virtually and in person across our three previous locations, there is something special about being able to intentionally bring people together and bounce that creative energy off of one another. 

Seeing that creativity and enthusiasm manifest in real-time is always inspiring, and I can’t wait to see it in action with our essential partners. We will be hosting a series of open houses and events through Fall. Our first open-house events will be on Sept. 20 and Sept. 27.

I look forward to seeing you there.

In partnership,

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