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October 2023 Director’s Update 

Dear Center for Academic Innovation Community, 

It has been a month since our Open Houses, during which more than 300 friends, partners, and future collaborators toured our new home at 317 Maynard Street. It was great to see so many new and familiar faces and talk about how to create equitable, lifelong educational opportunities for learners on campus and around the world. 

That energy and excitement has not let up for the center or its partners. As a gathering place for innovation, collaboration, and connection, we’ve hosted five Innovation Insights talks since the beginning of September, inviting a wide range of experts in online pedagogy, virtual reality, student success, online education, and artificial intelligence, and welcomed more than 250 guests from the majority of U-M’s 19 schools and colleges. 

Just this week, we welcomed leaders from Coursera, including CEO Jeff Maggioncalda and Chief Content Officer Marni Baker Stein, to talk about how generative artificial intelligence could impact higher education and online teaching and learning. Deans from 11 schools and colleges sat down with leaders at the center and Coursera to discuss the important role online education will play in higher education and priorities for U-M’s digital transformation. 

We greatly value our decade-plus relationship with Coursera, which has allowed U-M to establish itself as a leader in global online education: just this month the 11 millionth learner enrolled in a Michigan Online course, joining peers from 195 countries and territories around the world. I also can’t say enough about our continued relationships throughout the U-M community and the trust leaders at U-M’s 19 schools and colleges show in working with us to fuel new innovations in teaching and learning. 

Building an interdisciplinary team of experts is a big part of building the future of education, and our Student Fellowship program is a great example. We connect students throughout U-M with opportunities to gain valuable experience in a professional setting and prepare them to enter the workforce ready to lead and solve complex problems. 

We’re excited to welcome 26 new students from seven of U-M’s 19 schools and colleges into our Student Fellowship program this fall. These students have a wide range of interests and skills and represent the leaders and best as they were selected from more than 250 applicants from 15 schools and colleges. 

In total, we currently have 44 student fellows in roles such as behavioral science, copyright, data science, 3D artistry and user experience. We’re excited to give all our Student Fellows the space to apply their disciplines in action, build their skills, and work on projects they are passionate about that also help further the center’s mission to create equitable, lifelong educational opportunities for learners everywhere. Our current fellows join more than 350 student fellows who have completed the fellowship program since it was established in 2015.

Another valuable partnership and initiative we are excited to see in action is an exclusive opportunity with the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan for U-M’s alumni and association members to enroll in our “Purpose At Work: A Course for Employees and Leaders.” U-M alums from around the globe will discuss how to create cultures of meaning and purpose in the workplace, including an exclusive online workshop with course instructor and Professor of Health Behavior Vic Strecher. 

We are excited to continue creating these valuable learning experiences, hosting essential conversations about the future of education, creating valuable connections to new and existing partners, and welcoming Student Fellows who will contribute to the future of education for the next generation of Wolverines and global learners. 

We will keep this positive energy going, and I welcome you to join us. 

Go Blue!

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