Campus briefs


Statistics department to celebrate 50 years with symposium

The teaching of statistics has a long history and tradition at U-M, dating back to 1912, when James W. Glover taught the first course devoted entirely to statistical theory. The Department of Statistics will celebrate its 50th anniversary Sept. 20-21 with a symposium at the Rackham Graduate School. It will include talks by former professors and alumni, as well as panel discussions. Statistics alumni who have gone on to work in industry, academia or other sectors are expected to attend, as well as many current department members. Created in 1969, the Department of Statistics initially awarded master’s and doctoral degrees, and expanded to undergraduate courses in 1977. Today, it hosts more than 800 students and offers three undergraduate majors and two minors, as well as master’s programs and a Ph.D. program. “Our department has undergone many changes in the past 50 years,” said department chair Xuming He, Harry Clyde Carver Collegiate Professor of Statistics and professor of statistics. “We are now extremely well-positioned for another 50 years as a premier statistics department in the country.” Learn more about the Department of Statistics at

Michigan Materials Research Institute to unite disciplines

A newly formed institute at U-M will establish a hub for materials research by integrating the capabilities of materials research across the university. The Michigan Materials Research Institute was launched in part to address the Grand Challenges identified by the National Academy of Engineering, most of which depend on breakthrough developments in materials science. Those challenges include low-cost solar power, advanced medicine and re-engineered urban infrastructure. Funded by the College of Engineering and U-M Office of Research, the institute will be a central point of contact for federal agencies and industry, providing easy access to the many disciplines that underpin materials science research and driving collaboration within the university. Alan Taub is the founding director of the MMRI and professor of materials science and engineering and mechanical engineering. Read more about the MMRI at

Applications being accepted for LSA Collegiate Fellows program

LSA and the National Center for Institutional Diversity are accepting applications for the 2020 LSA Collegiate Fellows program. The program was launched in 2016 as a major college initiative aimed at promoting an inclusive scholarly environment, recruiting and retaining exceptional early career scholars, and supporting outstanding scholars who are committed to building a diverse intellectual community. LSA Collegiate Fellows include natural scientists, humanists and social scientists who also have strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in higher education, as demonstrated by their research, teaching or service. The program aims to provide fellows with up to two years of support to pursue independent scholarship, gain pedagogical experience, engage with a strong community of scholars and mentors, as well as prepare them for possible tenure-track appointments in LSA departments. The application deadline for most departments is Oct. 1. For more information, visit

Life Sciences Symposium explores scientists optimizing proteins

The 18th annual Saltiel Life Sciences Symposium, “Protein Engineering and Biological Design,” will bring experts to U-M to discuss new technologies and applications that are advancing the role of protein engineering across scientific disciplines. The symposium will take place from 8:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Sept. 25 in Forum Hall, Palmer Commons. “The range of speakers we have this year highlights the enormous impact of protein engineering in increasing our understanding of proteins’ myriad essential functions, as well as in translational research to promote drug discovery and development,” says David H. Sherman, professor at the Life Sciences Institute, College of Pharmacy and Medical School, and chair of this year’s symposium planning committee. This year’s speakers include:

  • Donald Hilvert, professor of chemistry and applied biosciences, ETH Zürich.
  • Amy E. Keating, professor of biology and biological engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Dan Tawfik, professor of biomolecular sciences, Weizmann Institute of Science.
  • Alice Y. Ting, professor of genetics, biology and chemistry, Stanford University.
  • James A. Wells, professor of pharmaceutical chemistry, University of California, San Francisco.
  • Huimin Zhao, professor of chemistry, biochemistry, biophysics and bioengineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The event is free and open to the public. More information and a detailed schedule are available at

ITS publishes guiding principles for accessibility to its services

U-M’s Information and Technology Services has published guiding principles to ensure that people with disabilities enjoy the services it offers to campus. The goal is that all Michigan IT is as effective, available and usable for people with disabilities as they are for those who do not have disabilities. In addition, ITS is committed to promoting the concept and principles of Universal Design so that its products and environments are usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. Read more about developing for accessibility at, and view a video about how U-M is advancing this strategy at

Compiled by James Iseler, The University Record


Leave a comment

Commenting is closed for this article. Please read our comment guidelines for more information.