June 2022 Director Update

Dear Center for Academic Innovation Community,

Author Gail Sheehy once wrote, “If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.” That is as true for an organization as it is for each of us individually. An amazing team fuels the Center for Academic Innovation’s success, and we are always thrilled when new people come on board to help us change and grow. 

Some recent changes have me particularly excited about our future at CAI. We are adding two additional members to our leadership team that will help drive our success in the present and guide our future. Rashonda Flint is joining us as the senior director of educational equity and inclusion, and James Cleaver will be our new senior director of marketing and market strategy. 

RaShonda brings an incredible breadth and depth of experience to CAI. As the LSA Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education and Student Academic Affairs, she provided leadership and vision to a diverse team; her portfolio included responsibility for student success, academic advising, policy and technology, and integrity and misconduct. She will help lead CAI’s efforts to shape the future of undergraduate education through innovations supporting expanded access and inclusion. She will also coordinate the center’s DEIJ strategy and activities. 

James joins the center from the Ross School of Business, where he was director of brand management and was involved in developing the marketing strategy for the launches of the school’s Online MBA, Master of Business Analytics, and Summer Business Academy pipeline program, as well annual planning for the school’s portfolio of existing academic degree programs.. He will lead the center’s market growth strategy and all aspects of marketing, communications, ed-tech market strategy and fundraising efforts. 

We are thrilled to be adding these two creative and proven leaders to the center’s core leadership team. We are also looking for others who share in our mission of transforming the future of education to explore our open positions in learning experience design, software development, and more. 

Of course, change doesn’t just come from the top. We are also thrilled at the continued growth and collective efforts of the students in our Student Fellows program. Seventeen new student fellows are joining the 23 student fellows staying on this summer. This diverse team will help shape the center’s work as we position U-M for a blended future through curricular innovation, educational technologies, and educational data and research. Our student fellows receive cross-functional first-hand experience working across our academic innovation portfolio and help shape the residential experience of future Wolverines and millions of lifelong learners around the world. Many student fellows have told us their work at the center helped spark new passions, provided them with relevant experience as they entered the job market and profoundly shaped their learning and career journeys. 

The Center for Academic Innovation can be a great partner for U-M faculty looking to shape their path of growth and change. We team with faculty innovators throughout the university to break down educational barriers, build tools that help students make informed decisions about their education, and explore how new technologies can transform education for learners worldwide. 

I’d love to connect with you to 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

screencap of Sean Swider using ViewPoint tool