University of Michigan to Invest $50M in Academic Innovation

The Center for Academic Innovation will support faculty and academic units that wish to develop online and hybrid programs, those using innovations such as teach outs to engage the public or those conducting research in learning analytics.

by Martin Slagter, MLive.com / October 7, 2019
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(TNS) — The University of Michigan has committed $50 million toward the creation of a Center for Academic Innovation aimed at supporting faculty in curricular innovation, educational data and research and educational technology.

The Center for Academic Innovation’s creation was announced by UM President Mark Schlissel during his annual leadership breakfast on Oct. 3.

UM will commit $10 million per year over the next five years in an effort to build on new teaching technologies and expand faculty and student fellowships and project grants. James DeVaney has been named as the center’s founding executive director, Schlissel said.

The center will support faculty and academic units that wish to develop online and hybrid programs, those using innovations such as teach outs to engage the public or those conducting research in learning analytics, Schlissel said.

“A goal is to create not just new tools and platforms, but new models for education – ones that are more effective and equitable and that provide access to learning experiences that are global, engaged and lifelong,” Schlissel said. “These can reach learners on our campuses and around the world – from K-12 students, to employees seeking career advancement or updating skill sets for an evolving economy, to alums and others with a thirst to learn about pressing societal issues.”

UM launched its academic innovation initiative in 2016, helping more than 200 faculty work on projects while developing 28 teach-outs on topics ranging from the effects of hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico to gun violence in the United States.

It also created new technologies and platforms to enhance it mission, including the GradeCraft learning management system at UM Dearborn and the role-playing simulation technology Viewpoint that allows students to hone skills on the UM-Flint campus.

The center has incorporated three values that will guide its work: Extend academic excellence, expand public purpose and end educational privilege, Schlissel said.

“Our innovations have already personalized learning to students of diverse backgrounds, identified possible biases in testing and empowered learners to make data-driven choices about how to allocate study time,” Schlissel said. “They are leveling the playing field, and identifying opportunities that were previously unseen.”

©2019 MLive.com, Walker, Mich. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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