Campus briefs


MHealthy seeks to recognize departments, units for reducing ergonomic risks

Nominations for the annual MHealthy Ergonomics Awards for Departments are being accepted through March 31 for departments and units that have reduced ergonomic risk factors by modifying equipment, redesigning work processes or adding new equipment. U-M faculty or staff can submit nominations. To qualify, the ergonomic solution must have been implemented during calendar years 2019-21. If an application was submitted in 2019 or 2020, it does not need to be resubmitted. The team will review applications submitted before the pandemic. Nominations are reviewed by the Ergonomics Awareness Team and judged on the significance of the ergonomic issue and the success of the ergonomic solution. More information about the awards and how to submit a nomination are available on the Human Resources website.

Police Department Oversight Committee sets listening session

Faculty, staff and students are invited to a U-M Police Department Oversight Committee community listening session at 6:30 p.m. March 10 in Room 1110 of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. Attendees will be encouraged to share thoughts, experiences and ideas to help shape the model of policing at the university. The committee is conducting this session to enrich its understanding of the public perspective of policing at U-M. Read more about the PDOC.

Journalists to share insights as part of U-M’s Democracy in Crisis series

As law enforcement agencies and a congressional committee investigate the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, and bitter debates rage over voting rights, access and security, U-M’s Democracy in Crisis series will feature four award-winning journalists sharing their insights into the forces threatening and protecting democratic structures and systems. It also will explore the current state of journalism and the role of the press in upholding democratic institutions — at a time of demagogic attacks on the media and dramatic shifts in media ownership and independence. Speakers are Molly Ball of Time magazine on March 9, Barton Gellman of The Atlantic on March 23, author Sarah Kendzior on March 31, and author Anne Applebaum on April 4. For more information about each of these events, visit

Padnos family gift of more than $1M aids Judaic studies, interfaith communications

The University of Michigan continues to strengthen its commitment to interfaith studies with a new gift exceeding $1 million from the Padnos family to the Jean & Samuel Frankel Center for Judaic Studies. The gift will transform an existing visiting professorship into a full-time faculty professorship named the Stuart B. and Barbara Padnos Professorship in Jewish Thought. The Frankel Center for Judaic Studies is housed within LSA. The gift was made by brothers Doug, Daniel and Jeff Padnos, as trustees of the Stuart and Barbara Padnos Foundation. The full professorship will enable scholars to teach and research in-depth questions of fundamental human concerns, offering students the opportunity to explore and examine the relationship between philosophical questioning and doctrines of Judaism. Read more about this gift.

Program promoting youth empowerment, Black culture helped reduce violence

An after-school program specifically designed to address racial and economic disparities affecting Black youth and empowering them to be a positive change in their community has long-term effects on behavior, according to a new U-M study. The analysis looked at five years of data and compared results of students participating in regular after-school programs to those who took part in the Youth Empowerment Solutions program, which focuses on implementing a curriculum that acknowledges structural, historical and contemporary racism, said lead author Elyse Thulin, a postdoctoral research fellow at the School of Public Health. Students enrolled in Youth Empowerment Solutions attended the program four days a week for about 15 weeks. The curriculum included developing youth leadership skills, increasing ability to work with peers, developing critical thinking skills, and planning and implementing community change projects. Read more about the study.

Higher levels of biodiversity appear to reduce extinction risk in birds

A new U-M study has found that higher levels of biodiversity — the enormous variety of life on Earth and the species, traits and evolutionary history they represent — appear to reduce extinction risk in birds. Prior research has established that biodiversity is associated with predictable outcomes in the short term: Diverse systems are less prone to invasion, have more stable productivity, and can be more disease resistant. The new study, published online in Ecology Letters and led by evolutionary biologist and ornithologist Brian Weeks of the School for Environment and Sustainability, has revealed yet another positive outcome in potentially reduced extinction rates. The study utilized a new dataset collected by researchers using natural history museum specimens that covers more than 99 percent of all species of birds in the world. Read more about the study.

Compiled by James Iseler, The University Record


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