November 2021 Director Update

Dear Center for Academic Innovation Community,

It’s November and the leaves have turned in Ann Arbor. The gorgeous views of fall foliage across Tree Town from our CAI offices provides a reminder that we have many reasons to be thankful. 

We’re thankful for an amazing community of faculty innovators.

We’re thankful for faculty innovators like Dr. Minal Patel, associate professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education in the School of Public Health, who recently collaborated with the Center for Academic Innovation to create the new online specialization, Addressing Racial Health Inequity in Healthcare. Dr. Patel sat down for an interview with our team to talk about why she created this brand new MOOC series, her academic research, and everything she hopes learners will take away from the three courses.

We’re thankful for the opportunity to extend U-M’s mission.

Through the Academic Innovation Fund we’ve now supported well over 200 faculty-led initiatives. Each faculty innovator has helped strengthen Michigan’s culture of innovation in learning. As we trend toward our blended future, we aim to support and scale innovation that helps us create a more healthy and just world. We look forward to supporting more faculty-led projects through our open call for proposals, which is designed to address global challenges in an interconnected world. 

We’re excited to also launch a third cohort of our Public Engagement Faculty Fellowship (PEFF) program. Applications are due Dec. 1. Through the first two PEFF cohorts, we have been inspired by the work of 32 faculty fellows representing 14 schools and colleges and 26 departments. We look forward to expanding this important initiative which sits at the intersection of academic excellence and public purpose. 

We’re thankful for the regular opportunity to learn with and from each other. 

As we’ve seen our lifelong learning community continue to grow, with more than 16 million open enrollments, we continue to be thankful for the opportunity to Learn for Good together. Thanks to our faculty innovator community and an incredible group of colleagues at CAI, we have many opportunities to learn with and from each other throughout the year. One topic important to everyone is the art of good feedback. Join us for two upcoming events designed to help you give and receive better feedback. 

  • Join Michigan Law Professor Patrick Barry on Nov. 18 for a special session of the “Feedback Loops” course he teaches at the University of Michigan Law School. Learn how to give and receive better feedback. Perhaps the most important thing students and professionals of all kinds can do to improve their effectiveness in the future of work is to become good with words. Join Professor Barry in his Good with Words: Writing and Editing and Good with Words: Speaking and Presenting series. U-M students, alumni, staff, and faculty can enroll in the courses for free through Michigan Online.
  • Join Michigan Ross faculty Cheri Alexander and Jeffrey Sanchez-Burks on Dec. 3 for the next MOVE Series event. Professors Alexander and Sanchez-Burks will help us understand how much of our social life is shaped by emotional intelligence. They will draw from their research and global executive education experience to provide tips for giving useful feedback as well as preparing yourself to receive feedback from others. They’ll share different actionable methods for coaching, mentoring, and teaching in these key areas.

We’re thankful for talented and kind colleagues who are committed to transforming access to higher education. 

The Center for Academic Innovation team continues to grow. We’re incredibly thankful to have colleagues who bring wide-ranging talents to an organization committed to shaping the future of higher education. We’re excited to welcome a new leader to our organization through our open search for the inaugural Senior Director of Online Learning. Consider joining our team as we expand our staff, grow our student fellows program, and expand our community of faculty innovators in the months and years ahead. 

Thank you for giving us many reasons to be thankful. What are you thankful for? 

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