Campus briefs


U-M Africa Week highlights university’s relationship with continent

A five-day virtual conference Feb. 15-19 will bring together thought leaders in higher education, industry and government for a series of discussions on the key issues and opportunities that will shape Africa in the coming decades. U-M’s African Studies Center and the Office of the Provost are presenting Africa Week, a virtual conference highlighting the ongoing engagements of U-M with Africa and providing a forum for identifying strategic directions to accelerate partnerships and Africa’s growth. The conference is free and open to the public, including students. Registration is required to receive the Zoom links for the individual conversations and panels. The morning-only scheduling in Ann Arbor is intended to enable those in African time zones to join. Visit to register and learn about the speakers and presentations.

UM-Dearborn’s cocurricular programs uniting under new banner

It’s become a fact of modern university culture that preparing students for life after graduation requires programs and services that extend beyond academics. UM-Dearborn has a healthy menu of such personal development options, including co-ops and internships, student research, Career Services, the Talent Gateway and study abroad — just to name a few. Now, many of those “cocurriculars,” which are dispersed throughout the university, are uniting under a new umbrella called Experience+. Maureen Linker, associate provost and Mardigian Library director, is spearheading the effort and says the primary goals are to better coordinate these kinds of experiences for students and help staff collaborate on new initiatives. Linker says Experience+ also will emphasize a virtual version of the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience that includes a revamped slate of professional development programming. For more on Experience+, visit

New Ross faculty award to recognize commitment to diversity

The legacy of J. Frank Yates, who died in November and served more than 50 years as a U-M faculty member, will live on through a new faculty award at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business. The J. Frank Yates Diversity and Inclusion Teaching Excellence Award will recognize a member of the Ross teaching faculty “who demonstrates a commitment to diversity and inclusion and makes a significant positive impact on the learning and personal growth of our students.” Yates was known for his effective teaching, his impactful research and publications, and his commitment to diversity and inclusion. His groundbreaking research defined the field of judgment and decision making, and throughout his career he was recognized with numerous awards and honors, including election to the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Science. In recognition of his contributions to diversity, equity and inclusion at U-M, Yates received the Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service award in 2019. Read more about the award.

Associate professor appointed to FDA medical device security post

There’s a good chance that everyone’s life will at some point depend on a piece of computer software. Lines of code drive pacemakers, insulin pumps, hospital imaging machines and just about every other electronic medical device that’s manufactured today. But where there’s software, there are hackers. And a steady stream of hospital ransomware attacks and other malicious activities have shown that medical devices are not immune to attack. U-M computer science researcher Kevin Fu is joining the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in its ongoing effort to ensure the safety and effectiveness of medical devices. Fu, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science and the Dwight E. Harken Memorial Lecturer, has been named acting director of medical device cybersecurity in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. The newly created 12-month post began Jan. 1. As an acting director, he’ll retain his U-M appointment. To read a Q&A with Fu.

Study shows disparities between Black, white COVID-19 survivors

Black COVID-19 survivors experience worse outcomes related to care access, recovery, and social and economic factors when compared with their white counterparts, according to research on the impact of COVID-19 on Michiganders. The work, part of the Michigan COVID-19 Recovery Surveillance Study, is being conducted through a partnership with the School of Public Health and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Researchers hope data from the study will inform future response and health equity efforts for the ongoing pandemic as well as future public health crises. Key findings from the study, which consisted of 637 surveys from COVID-19 survivors in Michigan, include: More Black than white respondents reported severe or very severe symptoms (73 percent vs. 61 percent) or required an overnight hospital stay (45 percent vs. 28 percent), and more Black respondents reported increased social stressors since the start of the pandemic, with 26 percent being unable to pay important bills like mortgage, rent or utilities (versus 10 percent of white respondents). Read more about the study at

— Compiled by Jeff Bleiler, The University Record


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