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May 2023 Director’s Update

Dear Center for Academic Innovation Community,

Commencement is a moment of great joy and celebration for graduates in our U-M community, and for all those who have supported students’ success along the way. For many, it marks the start of a new career path. For students studying part-time, it marks a point in a continuing journey of career progression and advancement. Preparing people to be effective and fulfilled throughout their careers is one of the most important challenges we can tackle as an educational institution. It drives us at CAI.

We help students and learners achieve professional success in a number of ways. One of our newest contributions to helping students develop career-relevant competencies during their time at Michigan is Spire. Spire helps students build their professional skills and reflect on their growth throughout their student experience, on and off campus. Spire not only helps U-M students develop into great thinkers and problem solvers, but allows them to grow into great leaders, great communicators, and great teammates. It also gives those same students the tools to discuss their most valuable U-M experiences and skills with potential employers. 

A major and growing contribution to career effectiveness is found in our portfolio of open online courses and series, available to learners around the world and offering free certificates of completion to students and alumni. The portfolio offers something for everyone: residential students can supplement their studies with complementary courses, early career professionals can learn to accelerate their trajectory, global learners can experience a Michigan quality education to boost their career prospects, and alumni can dip in whenever their career or interest drives them. 

For those who seek deeper understanding and mastery, the university’s online certificates and degrees provide excellent options. We are proud to have supported several schools and colleges to launch online certificate and degree programs, including new programs created in partnership with the School of Information, School of Social Work, College of Engineering, School of Education, School of Public Health, and more.

As we welcome new students to our summer programs and look ahead to the upcoming academic year in the fall, I welcome the opportunity to discuss new ways to collaborate and to better equip students and learners to succeed in their careers through education. Together, we can work to create a blended future for our university. 

In partnership,

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