Faculty News

Presidential Initiatives in 2021

2021: A Year Of Presidential Initiatives

The University of Michigan’s presidential initiatives align with our institutional mission of continuous excellence, engagement, and public impact by helping to address societal challenges and enriching lives in our community and beyond. With hundreds of posts published through U-M social media channels highlighting the Poverty Solutions, Sustainability, Biosciences, Arts, and other presidential initiatives, UMSocial and Public Engagement are committed to elevating the vital work being conducted at U-M. From a new website to help families navigate the Child Tax Credit to a collaboration with Yo-Yo Ma encouraging community reflection, here are some highlights from the initiatives this year: 

Poverty Solutions 

Poverty Solutions works to prevent and alleviate poverty through action-based research. In 2021, Poverty Solutions hosted a speaker series, had their director testify before Congress, developed partnerships with the city of Detroit, researched COVID-19 vaccination rates in Metro Detroit communities, and had faculty featured in the New York Times. 










Creating a sustainable environment for ourselves and the future is of the utmost importance at U-M. To get the campus community involved, this initiative is dedicated to elevating content that demonstrates how to live sustainably. U-M celebrated sustainability efforts during Harvestfest and Earthfest, President Schlissel and the Board of Regents ensured that this initiative was at the forefront by investing $140 million in renewable energy and sustainable infrastructure, and students were educated on ways to reduce waste and recycle more.  








Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion continued their work to create a better campus climate in 2021, hosting the DEI Virtual Summit that addressed difficult topics like the parallel pandemics of COVID-19 and racism, launched a survey to understand students and employees views on our campus climate, and ensured that all who are a part of the U-M community are represented and welcomed. 









Precision Health 

Precision Health works toward advanced research and cross-departmental collaboration. In the past year, Assistant Director for Precision Health Megan Haymart studied how to better understand the “whole patient” from diagnosis to treatment and beyond. Other faculty members like Erica Marsh, the S Jan Behrman Collegiate Professor of Reproductive Medicine, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical School, and Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, dived deep into understanding racial and ethnic disparities within the health care system. 









In 2021, the Arts Initiative collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma to create “Mapping Without Boundaries,” bringing performances and reflection to help address the challenges of the past year.









With nine major research sub-initiatives, the President’s Bioscience Initiative has kept U-M at the forefront of scientific research. In 2021, the Biosciences Initiatives awarded a $13.8 million grant to the new Michigan Center for Infectious Disease Threats to maximize the breadth of scientific expertise and collaboration across campus. The center, led by infectious disease expert Aubree Gordon, will support the work of researchers from diverse disciplines to address key infectious disease preparedness and response.  









Academic Innovation 

In 2021, the Center for Academic Innovation worked hard to bring campus to life with their XR Initiative — sharing iconic campus locations in a virtual space for all to enjoy. The initiative also funded 13 projects that develop course content and researched how XR will change the way brands advertise.








Public Engagement

The Public Engagement & Impact Initiative supports and recognizes faculty who contribute their research and expertise directly to communities to enhance the public good. By helping faculty promote their thought leadership through podcasts and written narratives, highlighting research in neighborhoods across the state of Michigan in the Michigan Impact newsletter, providing new outlets for important community conversations, and educating faculty on ways to engage, Public Engagement & Impact elevates U-M experts outside the academy and helps the public to understand the immense value of the institution.  









Firearm Injury Prevention 

The president’s newest initiative focuses on understanding how injuries due to firearms can be reduced or eliminated. This year, the new Institute for Firearm Injury Prevention launched, researchers conducted national surveys on firearm access in households, and the School of Public Health received a grant to investigate how green spaces in cities can potentially deter violence.