Campus briefs


UM-Flint welcomes new director of Frances Willson Thompson Library

Jennifer Dean
Jennifer Dean

Jennifer Dean has joined UM-Flint as director of the Frances Willson Thompson Library. Dean’s leadership, both as a scholar and engaged advocate for education, will ensure that the Thompson Library remains a cornerstone of excellence for UM-Flint stakeholders. Having served most recently as dean of libraries and instructional technology at the University of Detroit Mercy, Dean brings 28 years of higher education and library leadership experience to campus. In addition to her library leadership at Detroit Mercy, Dean worked collaboratively to support online academic programming — an area of increasing focus for UM-Flint. Dean holds a Ph.D. in higher, adult, and lifelong education from Michigan State University, a Master of Library and Information Science from Wayne State University, and a Master of Music from Northwestern University.

Series to explore racialized health, economic disparities from COVID-19

The Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy has kicked off a virtual event series with a discussion about the local impact of safety nets on communities of color during the COVID-19 pandemic. The first of three sessions in the series was April 1. Subsequent sessions are scheduled for May 6 and June 10. Organized by the Center for Racial Justice, the series aims to explore the local- and state-level policies responding to the racialized health and economic disparities stemming from the pandemic. Scheduled for May 6 is Cameron Webb, assistant professor of medicine and public health science at University of Virginia and senior policy adviser for COVID-19 equity on the White House COVID-19 Response Team. The June 10 session will feature Joneigh Khaldun, former chief medical executive for the state of Michigan and current vice president and chief equity officer for CVS Health. Register for the series.

Michigan Neuroscience Conference and NGP 50th anniversary event set for May 5-6

Registration is now open for the Third Annual University of Michigan Neuroscience Conference, which brings together neuroscientists from across all campuses and schools at U-M. The conference will be from 5-10 p.m. May 5 at the North Campus Research Complex, and from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. May 6 at the Biomedical Science Research Building. It is a joint effort between the MNI, U-M Neuroscience Innovators and the Neuroscience Graduate Program. The 50th Anniversary of the Neuroscience Graduate Program will be celebrated throughout this event and include featured presentations from invited alumni. Learn more or register.

Symposium to consider social media influencers’ effect in South Asia, Africa

An international cohort of social media influencers will arrive at U-M for a two-day symposium April 7-8. “Social Media Influencers and the New Political Economy in South Asia and Africa” will highlight the role of social media in societies around the world, especially the Global South, and showcase how influencers impact politics, economy and culture. Invited speakers represent social media influencers from a wide array of platforms, and include film stars, politicians, lawyers, journalists, artists, dissidents, comedians and scholars from two of the fastest growing internet-using regions in the world: South Asia and Africa. The event will be in-person at North Quad, Room 2435, and virtual. Learn more.

Households better financially at year end than pre-pandemic

U.S. households were in a better financial position, on average, at the end of last year than in 2019, despite widespread joblessness and economic uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new U-M report. Researchers at Poverty Solutions attribute this financial stability to the unprecedented, cash-based safety net response by the federal government during the pandemic, such as expanded unemployment insurance, stimulus checks, and an expanded Child Tax Credit. The analysis revealed that the percentage of Americans with poor credit scores fell in 2021 to the lowest rate in at least 16 years, and available measures of liquid assets indicate low-income households had more cash on hand at the end of 2021 than in 2019, even after accounting for inflation. However, early data from 2022 suggest the expiration of COVID-19 safety net policies may negatively impact the financial well-being of families in the year ahead. Read more about this study.

One-fifth of older Americans experience food insufficiency, U-M study shows

More than 20% of older adults in the United States will experience food insufficiency at some point in their 60s and 70s, according to a University of Michigan study. The study, led by U-M research professor Helen Levy, examined the probability that older adults will experience food insufficiency, or not having enough to eat, at some point over a long time period — about 20 years. She found the likelihood of food insufficiency over a longer period was about three times as high — 22% compared with 8% — as any single point in time. The study was published in the journal Applied Economic Perspective Policy. Read more about the study.

Compiled by James Iseler, The University Record


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