Campus briefs


Nominations sought for candidates to fill three SACUA seats

The University of Michigan’s central faculty governance system is seeking candidates to run for three seats on the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs. The positions will be filled in a Senate Assembly election March 21. Members of the university Faculty Senate who have served on Senate Assembly or on a Senate Assembly committee are eligible to serve on SACUA. Nominations, including self-nominations, must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Feb. 14 to the Faculty Senate Office at [email protected]. The top vote-getters will fill the seats of three members whose terms are expiring: Sara Ahbel-Rappe, professor of Greek and Latin in LSA; Elena Gallo, associate professor of astronomy in LSA; and Donald Freeman, professor of education in the School of Education. Terms last three years. SACUA is the nine-member executive arm of U-M’s central faculty governance system. For more information about SACUA, visit the SACUA page on the Faculty Senate Office website at

Lessons learned about environmental justice screening tools

State-level environmental justice screening tools are being supported by environmental justice advocacy groups in Michigan and across the country, according to a new U-M study. These screening tools document communities hardest hit by environmental injustices. In the new study, published online Feb. 1 in the journal Environmental Law Reporter, U-M researchers reviewed state-level environmental justice screening tools and conducted in-depth interviews with nearly 30 stakeholders across the United States to determine their views about the utility of employing such tools to advance environmental justice goals. The researchers identified states that have developed state-specific environmental justice screening tools, analyzed existing state-specific screening tools and how they informed their respective states’ environmental justice policies and programs, and identified the benefits of screening tools. Read more about this study.

Great Lakes scientists teaming up to study ‘the changing face of winter’

Nearly all scientific sampling of the Great Lakes is done between May and October, when the lakes are free of ice and the water is warmer. But this month, scientists from more than a dozen U.S. and Canadian institutions will brave the elements to sample all five Great Lakes and Lake St. Clair in a first-of-its-kind coordinated campaign called the Winter Grab. Teams will drill through ice to collect water samples, measure light levels at various depths and net tiny zooplankton as part of a broader effort to better understand the changing face of winter on the Great Lakes, where climate warming is increasing winter air temperatures, decreasing ice-cover extent and changing precipitation patterns. The specific goal of the Winter Grab is to help fill key wintertime knowledge gaps about ice properties, water movement, nutrient concentrations and lake biology. Funding was provided by the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research, which is hosted by the School for Environment and Sustainability. Read more about the project.

Detroit unemployment rate sits at 20 percent, new U-M survey shows

Detroit’s unemployment rate — the proportion of adults who are in the labor force but not currently employed — remains at 20 percent, virtually unchanged over the course of 2021, according to a new U-M survey. This is less than half the unemployment rate observed when unemployment peaked at 43 percent in June 2020, but twice the pre-pandemic unemployment rate of about 10 percent. The most recent survey from the Detroit Metro Area Communities Study highlights significant disparities in who is most affected by unemployment in Detroit. Among those in the labor force, people of color, low-wage earners and residents without four-year college degrees are more likely to be unemployed than other residents. Lower-income Detroit residents stood out, with more than four out of 10 Detroiters who are in the labor force and have annual household incomes of less than $30,000 indicating they were not currently working. Read more about the survey.

Number of Earth’s tree species may be 14 percent higher than currently known

A new study involving more than 100 scientists from across the globe and the largest forest database yet assembled estimates that there are about 73,000 tree species on Earth, including about 9,200 species yet to be discovered. The global estimate is about 14 percent higher than the current number of known tree species. Most of the undiscovered species are likely to be rare, with very low populations and limited spatial distribution, the study shows. That makes the undiscovered species especially vulnerable to human-caused disruptions such as deforestation and climate change, according to the study authors, who say the new findings will help prioritize forest conservation efforts. U-M forest ecologist Peter Reich is one of two senior authors of a paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Read more about the study.

Compiled by James Iseler and Ann Zaniewski, The University Record


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