Campus briefs


U-M prepares for Higher Learning Commission accreditation process

As the University of Michigan approaches the reaffirmation of its accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission in 2020, the Office of the Provost recently redesigned the university’s accreditation website to add more context and promote transparency about the process. The website is: “The University of Michigan values the opportunities for review, reflection, and the emergence of new ideas that the accreditation process provides,” said Martin A. Philbert, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “We’ve designed this website as a resource for all who work on these processes. We hope it will also be useful to others who want to learn about the scope of research and education on our campus.” The accreditation process takes place every 10 years, and the updated website includes general information about accreditation, U-M’s institutional and specialized accreditation status and history, details regarding the next campus visit in 2020, and information about U-M’s previous reaccreditations. Accreditation of universities in the United States is intended to ensure the quality of education provided by an institution. It assures that students are able to transfer credits between accredited schools, as some graduate schools only accept students with degrees from accredited schools. Only accredited institutions are eligible to receive and distribute federal funds for higher education, including student financial aid and research funding.

UM-Flint to add Physician Assistant Department in College of Health Sciences

The University of Michigan-Flint will add a new Physician Assistant Department in the College of Health Sciences Oct. 1, as the campus prepares for a Master of Science Physician Assistant program, slated to launch in June 2020. The MSPA program will be the first physician assistant program offered at any of the three University of Michigan campuses. The new physician assistant department also will serve as the foundation for the future growth and expansion of related academic offerings. graduate residency programs and joint programs with UM-Flint’s Master of Business Administration and the Master of Public Health.

New online graduate degree receives final approval

The new Master of Applied Data Science degree to be offered by the School of Information recently received approval from the Michigan Association of State Universities. The program has been in development for eight months. The state association’s action marks the final approval step in the process of making the new degree. This will be the first online degree offered by UMSI, and it will be based on the Coursera platform. The degree was developed in collaboration with the Office of Academic Innovation to meet the growing demand for people with experience in applied data science. UMSI plans to open applications for the program in early 2019.

$2.2 million awarded to study loss of bone strength in menopausal women

An investigative team featuring U-M faculty members has been awarded a $2.2 million grant from the National Institutes for Health to identify key features that identify women most likely to lose bone strength during the menopausal transition. The grant will examine changes in bone structure and mass over 14 years in women as they transition through menopause. By combining engineering, imaging and epidemiological expertise, the team aims to improve understanding of how these different structural and mass changes affect bone strength.

Michigan Medicine to participate in annual food, fund drive

Michigan Medicine is participating again this year in the annual Michigan Harvest Gathering, a food and fund drive sponsored by the Michigan Hospitals and Health Association. The drive will take place Oct. 23-Nov. 3. In order for the food drive to be successful, contacts need to be identified for all participating off-site locations, including the Kellogg Eye Center, KMS, Domino’s Farms, etc. All off-site locations should complete the form at and submit via email to Carts and money boxes will be placed throughout the main medical campus (UH, CVC, C&W, Cancer Center).

Open Enrollment for 2019 benefits underway

Open Enrollment is the annual opportunity for eligible faculty, staff and retirees to change their U-M health plan, choose a different dental plan option, or enroll in the vision plan or legal services plan. Eligible faculty and staff may also enroll in a Flexible Spending Account (FSA). Faculty and staff may make benefits changes through Wolverine Access from Oct. 22 until 5 p.m. Nov. 2. Retirees may use Wolverine Access or complete and return the form included in their Open Enrollment books. Changes and new rates take effect Jan. 1. No action is required to keep current benefits — with one exception. IRS rules do not allow FSA enrollments to continue from one year to the next. Current FSA participants who wish to participate in an FSA for 2019 will need to re-enroll. For Open Enrollment details, visit For information on all U-M benefits, visit

— Compiled by Safiya Merchant, The University Record, and Lauren Love, Public Affairs


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