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May 2022 Director’s Update

Dear Center for Academic Innovation Community,

Campus is a little quieter as the students have left for graduation, internships and visits home for the summer. But the Center for Academic Innovation offices continue to buzz with excitement, enthusiasm and hard work as we continue building, innovating, and connecting with faculty, partners and higher education peers. 

We use this time to continue building new online courses, conducting research and developing our educational technology portfolio. We also look at it as a great time to share what we’re learning with our community on campus and around the world. It is a time to reflect on where we are and where we are going and identify priorities to best position U-M for its blended future. 

One of our priorities is to lead and seed – to leverage our unique combination of scale, breadth of excellence, and commitment to public purpose. We explore new modalities of learning, the power of novel technology, and translational research to solve educational and societal problems. But leading the way is not enough. Guided by our public mission, we must share what we learn to seed ideas across the higher education ecosystem. Our expert staff and community of faculty innovators and student fellows share their expertise in a broader academic innovation network, through published research, at conferences and in the media. 

Recent highlights include Rebecca Quintana, our associate director of learning experience design, who recently served on a Times Higher Education task force panel on how technology can support teaching innovation. Lauren Atkins Budde, our director of open learning initiatives, who was featured in Inside Higher Ed talking about how extended reality can shape the future of learning. Cait Hayward, our associate director of research and development, was a featured speaker at the Pandemic Pedagogy Research Symposium, a joint effort from CAI and our peers at Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, Stanford, University of Georgia, North Carolina State University and Duke University. 

We also have fantastic Student Fellows who lead projects. The recently graduated Taylor Faires authored a new copyright guide focused on the appropriate use of web-scraping and web-crawling technologies, for just one example.

We facilitate knowledge sharing through several communities of practice, bringing members of our community together to solve big problems, collaborate and inspire new teaching and learning innovations. If your academic unit is thinking of developing an online or hybrid degree program, join our OHP Community of Practice. We have also authored an Online & Hybrid Program Development Playbook to serve as a how-to guide for launching and managing new OHPs for faculty to explore. We also have CoP’s dedicated to our educational technology in gameful learning and simulation software. 

We share knowledge with learners on campus and around the globe by co-sponsoring and hosting several events throughout the spring and summer. We recently hosted the season’s final Michigan Online Visionary Educators (MOVE) event. It was  with a conversation between Liz Gerber, a faculty innovator in residence at the center and professor of public policy and political science; M.S. Krishnan, professor of technology and operations at the Ross School; and our partners at Siemens for a talk titled “The Future of Electrification, Sustainability and Society.” 

Our MOVE series features faculty innovators and partners bringing timely topics and conversations to a global audience. We are also hosting our next AIM Research event on U-M’s Ann Arbor campus in June. The seminar will focus on “incidental learning” and feature research from Andrew Moffat, a postdoctoral research fellow at U-M. Moffat is partnering with CAI and Engineering Education Research on combining his research with a Tandem – CAI’s educational technology tool that helps students and instructors with teamwork, personalized coaching and potential interventions to help students working in teams. 

The end of the academic year and the arrival of spring is a great time to shift gears, reflect, and engage with innovators everywhere in new and exciting ways.  We love connecting, being inspired by and sharing knowledge with those who share our interests in expanding access, enabling student success, and supporting and scaling innovative teaching. 

It’s always thrilling to reflect on all this fantastic work, and none of it would be possible without your continued engagement, partnership and support. Thank you for helping us in our mission 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