Campus briefs


Deadline is March 15 for spending money left in 2019 Health Care FSA

University of Michigan employees who have money remaining in their 2019 Health Care Flexible Spending Accounts still have a few weeks left to spend it. FSAs are regulated by the Internal Revenue Service and the rules allow a grace period from Jan. 1 to March 15 for a person to incur eligible expenses and spend down any balance in their 2019 Health Care FSA. The IRS considers an expense to be “incurred” at the time a person receives the care, service or product, not when they are billed or pay for the expense. Reimbursement claims for 2019 expenses may be submitted until May 31. For more information, visit

Reminder: Register your international travel

With peak travel season approaching, all U-M faculty, staff and students who are traveling abroad for university-related purposes are reminded they must register their travel prior to departure. Registration enables U-M to reach travelers in the event of an emergency either abroad or at home. The Travel Registry also provides access to university-approved health insurance for those traveling abroad. Travelers should update their registrations as additional information becomes available or if changes occur during their trip. For more information, visit

Senate Assembly realigns committees

U-M’s Senate Assembly voted Feb. 20 to realign some of its committees in an effort to better meet the needs of faculty members. The new Committee on Oversight of Administrative Action was created to address issues related to the Office of Institutional Equity, the grievance process and the implementation of sanctions. The Committee on the Economic Status of the Faculty was given a new name — the Committee on the Economic and Social Well-Being of the Faculty — and an expanded charge that encompasses topics such as campus climate and social well-being. The Committee on Civil Rights and Liberties, Committee for an Inclusive University and Tri-Campus Committee were merged into a single committee called the Committee for Fairness, Equality, and Inclusivity. CFEI’s initial specific charge will be to address issues of inclusion on the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses. The Financial Affairs Advisory Committee and Building, Facilities, and Infrastructure were merged into one committee, FAAC, and will address issues related to financial affairs and building, facilities and infrastructure. Finally, the Rules, Practices, and Policies Committee was designated as an ad hoc committee with one-year terms for its members. For more information on Senate Assembly committees, visit

Themes emerge for Rackham mental health task force

Meghan Duffy, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and chair of the Rackham Graduate School’s Student Mental Health Task Force, recently announced the task force has identified five major themes that will guide its work. The themes include mentoring and navigating the mentoring relationship; department/programmatic requirements, expectations and culture; training and resources for individual students; and access to care and other resources. The fifth theme is categorized as other topics, which includes imposter syndrome, perfectionism, a mental health ally program, physical exercise, isolation and financial stress. The task force was launched in 2019 to better support the well-being and success of U-M graduate students. For more information, visit

MIDAS announces challenge to promote research reproducibility

The Michigan Institute for Data Science has announced the 2020 Reproducibility Challenge. Its goal is to highlight high-quality, reproducible work at the University of Michigan by collecting examples of best practices across diverse fields. A significant challenge across scientific fields is the reproducibility of research results, and third-party assessment of such reproducibility. Ensuring that results can be reliably reproduced is no small task. Yet a cornerstone of science remains the ability to verify and validate research findings. Besides incentivizing reproducible workflows and enabling a deeper understanding of issues of reproducibility, it is hoped that the challenge will provide templates that others can follow. There will be a cash-prize pool of up to $15,000 for the winning team or teams. U-M research teams in any research field that make use of data, broadly construed, are welcome to enter. Submissions are due March 15. For more information about the challenge, visit

University Record changes print, email schedule for spring break                 

The University Record will have a modified print and email schedule because of spring break. There will be no print edition March 2; weekly publication will resume March 9. The Record’s daily email will not be sent the week of March 2-6, although major news items may be posted to the Record website at The daily email will resume March 9.

Compiled by Ann Zaniewski, The University Record


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