Campus briefs


U-M launches Asian Studies Open Access Books Collection

The University of Michigan Press is launching the Michigan Asian Studies Open Access Books Collection, making 100 significant books about Asia published under its auspices freely and publicly available online. U-M’s centers for Chinese, Japanese, South, and Southeast Asian studies are collaborators on the collection, which is offered through the Humanities Open Book Program, jointly sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The program makes out-of-print and hard-to-find humanities books available to a wide audience. The project’s goal was to select, digitize and enhance 100 titles published by the centers over the past 50 years. Titles included in the collection aim to advance public understanding of the diversity of society, culture and history in East, South and Southeast Asia. Read more about the Michigan Asian Studies Open Access Book Collection at

New Ford School website includes added features, modern look

The Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy has launched a new website, providing the school with an inviting and modern look, streamlined architecture and a major technological upgrade.  “We wanted to have a site that represented the mission and vision of our school as a community dedicated to the public good,” said Ford School Dean Michael S. Barr. “It was important, too, that our site convey the energy, innovation, collaboration, and impact that are hallmarks of our school. The new site beautifully captures who we are and how we go about our work.” One new feature of the website is the inclusion of “impact areas” — portals that enable the Ford School to tell a collection of stories about key areas of work, starting with Detroit, Democracy & Debate, Racial Justice, COVID-19, and Diplomacy. These impact areas will expand and rotate to highlight topics of deep interest to the Ford School, emerging strengths, and urgent issues of the day. Visit the new site at

U-M researchers join effort to improve solar storm forecasts

Solar storms and other space weather events have the potential to impact society on a national or global scale, and U-M researchers lead two multimillion-dollar projects to improve forecasting. These torrents of charged particles and electromagnetic fields from the sun can damage power lines and satellites, and even astronauts. The National Science Foundation and NASA are investing $17 million in a program to develop next-generation space weather modeling software, NSF announced Sept. 1. U-M faculty members lead two $2.9 million projects. The NextGen Space Weather Modeling Framework project, funded by NSF, aims to accurately predict solar storms and coronal mass ejections a full day in advance. Gabor Toth, Bram van Leer Research Professor and research professor of climate and space sciences and engineering, is principal investigator on the project.  Aether, funded by NASA, aims to improve models of Earth’s upper atmosphere. It is led by Aaron Ridley, professor of climate and space sciences and engineering. Read more about these projects.

FutureLearn, U-M seek MOOCs to enhance professional skills, social learning

FutureLearn and U-M’s Center for Academic Innovation are seeking proposals from faculty to create massive open online courses that provide real-world skill-building and social learning experiences. Accepted proposals receive up to $10,000 in initial investment from FutureLearn for the development of the online course and up to a $25,000 stipend and in-kind development support from the Center for Academic Innovation, and a share of any potential revenue the course generates. The call for proposals is available online. The submission deadline is Oct. 15. Decisions will be announced in early November, and accepted courses are expected to launch beginning in June 2021. FutureLearn’s online courses emphasize social learning, storytelling and celebrating success through the achievement of small goals. While proposals are encouraged in any topic area, FutureLearn and U-M are particularly interested in potential courses on business and management, computer science, economics, health care, psychology and statistics. Proposals are also welcomed for series of courses in these areas.

Study shows early COVID-19 news coverage amplified political divide

Newspaper coverage of COVID-19 is at least as politicized and polarized as climate change coverage, say U-M researchers. Both newspaper and network news COVID-19 stories were polarized in early coverage of the pandemic, which may have shaped pandemic attitudes, according to a new U-M analysis of U.S. media coverage from March to May 2020. Using multiple computer-assisted content analytic approaches, researchers found that politicians appeared in newspaper coverage more frequently than scientists. Both politicians and scientists were equally featured in network news. The divide in pandemic opinions has been immediate — unlike other issues such as global warming coverage, which became politicized over several decades, said Sol Hart, associate professor of communication and media and the study’s lead author. Read more about the study.

— Compiled by Ann Zaniewski, The University Record


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