Campus briefs


U-M research data series awarded $14M to study 2024 elections

The American National Election Studies at the University of Michigan has been awarded $14 million by the National Science Foundation to conduct a study of the 2024 elections in the United States. The award extends the ANES, a widely used research data series at the Institute for Social Research and pre-eminent source for studying public opinion, political participation, representation, accountability and democracy. The 2024 study will include key questions asked since the study’s inception in 1948, alongside new questions on topics such as public health, democratic norms and electoral legitimacy. The centerpiece of the study will be the first eight-year panel in the history of the time series, connecting interviews with the same individuals from 2016, 2020 and 2024. Another innovation will be a social media study connecting individual survey responses to social media activity during the election. Read more about the study.

Four projects receive nearly $4.5M in LSA research initiative

LSA is investing nearly $4.5 million in grant funding for four innovative new faculty research projects. The four winning proposals address climate change, the carceral state, systemic racism, and the impact of microplastics on the environment. The grants are part of the Meet the Moment Research Initiative, a new program focused on faculty research and scholarship across the liberal arts that address today’s most pressing societal issues with the intention of creating real, lasting change. Proposals fall into two grant categories: “Change the World,” in which winning proposals each receive up to $2 million to be used over a five-year period; and “Vital Impact,” in which winning proposals each receive up to $250,000 for a two-year research project. Read more about the winning proposals.

Anti-Racism Collaborative awards more than $122K in research grants

The Anti-Racism Collaborative administered by the National Center for Institutional Diversity has awarded summer research grants to 27 U-M graduate students. The Rackham Graduate School and the Center for Racial Justice in the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy are co-sponsoring the awards, which total $122,062. The grants aim to support engagement in research projects focused on racial inequality, racial equity and racial justice while advancing graduate student progress toward degree. The NCID, Rackham and CRJ will host opportunities for the campus and broader communities to engage with the award recipients and learn more about their research during the 2022–23 academic year, as well as provide ongoing professional development and support to the grantees. See a list of projects and recipients.

U-M wins statewide energy conservation competition

The university recently won the 2021 Michigan Battle of the Buildings’ University Division with a 22% energy reduction at the Institute for Social Research building. More than 1,500 buildings competed in the competition, which encourages commercial, industrial, educational and other building owners and tenants across Michigan to reduce energy use. Systematic efforts to save energy are part of the university’s commitment to carbon neutrality. Initiatives that contributed to the ISR building’s significant energy reduction included: a tuneup of building and repair of energy-consuming issues; replacing an old steam chiller; optimizing heating, ventilation and air conditioning schedules; verification of Building Automation System sensor readings; and ongoing on-site checks of issues observed in the BAS system.

Faculty, staff eligible for funds to adopt educational technology

The Center for Academic Innovation is offering adoption funds to invite a wide variety of faculty to utilize an ed tech tool from its portfolio of 12 pieces of learning software. The adoption and implementation awards are available through the center’s Academic Innovation Fund for the following tools: role-playing simulation software ViewPoint, gameful learning platform GradeCraft, the Problem Roulette exam prep and studying tool, and LetterSmith, a tool that provides structured guidance to improve users’ writing skills. Accepted proposals are eligible for up to $5,000 to offset implementation costs and access to the center’s technical, pedagogical and behavioral science experts. Learn more about the funding and how to apply.

Become an MHealthy Champion, create a healthier workplace

Faculty and staff have an opportunity to play a role in their area’s well-being efforts by applying to become an MHealthy Champion. Employees interested in becoming Champions should apply online by Aug. 31 at Before accepting the application, MHealthy will contact the candidate’s supervisor for approval. Champions serve a two-year term and spend about two hours per month on their duties, which include: working with an MHealthy wellness coordinator to tailor activities for their area; helping their area achieve its health and well-being goals; communicating to co-workers about MHealthy programs and resources; encouraging participation in well-being activities; and fostering connection in today’s work environment.

SSW’s Dillon Cathro elected to Police Department Oversight Committee

Dillon Cathro, diversity equity and inclusion assistant director in the School of Social Work, has been elected to represent the non-bargained-for staff on the U-M Police Department Oversight Committee. The two-year term began this month. The oversight committee receives and makes recommendations regarding grievances against any police officer deputized by the university. The PDOC includes two students, two faculty members (one Senate and one non-Senate faculty), and two staff members (one union and one non-union) who are elected by their peers. Read more about the police oversight committee.

Tracy Smith named head coach of U-M baseball program

Tracy Smith
Tracy Smith

Former National Coach of the Year Tracy Smith has been named U-M’s head baseball coach, succeeding Erik Bakich, who accepted the head coach position at Clemson University. Smith comes to Ann Arbor with 25 years of head coaching experience. One of just eight coaches all-time to bring three different Division I schools to the NCAA Tournament, Smith most recently led the Arizona State University baseball program between 2015-21 and advanced the Sun Devils to four NCAA Regional appearances in six seasons. Smith earned National Coach of the Year and Big Ten Coach of the Year honors in 2013 after leading Indiana to the school’s only Men’s College World Series appearance in a 49-win campaign.

College of Engineering awarded $5.1M to advance nuclear energy

The College of Engineering’s Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences has received $5.1 million funding for three projects to advance nuclear technology. The department also is collaborating on three more of the 74 projects that the U.S. Department of Energy is supporting with a total of $61 million. The projects U-M is leading involve: $4 million from the Integrated Research Projects program, focused on compact heat exchangers, which would transfer heat from a nuclear reactor to the systems that use the heat directly or convert it to electricity; $600,000 from the Nuclear Energy University Partnerships program to speed up the modeling of neutron physics for the software tools developed under the Nuclear Energy Advanced Modeling and Simulation program; and $500,000 from the Nuclear Energy University Partnerships program to study how radiation damage evolves through creep, which can shorten the lifespan of a nuclear power plant by potentially affecting all components of a nuclear reactor’s core.

Public health training center receives $3.7M to expand workforce

The Region V Public Health Training Center recently was awarded $3.7 million in funding by the Health Resources and Services Administration. The award, which provides funding through June 2026, will help the center expand its goal to increase the supply, diversity and capacity of the public health workforce through a variety of tools and programs: student field placement stipends and professional development opportunities; regional training needs assessments; open access online trainings for public health professionals; and a new leadership institute for public health and primary care practitioners. The RVPHTC is located at the School of Public Health and serves the Health and Human Services-designated Region V states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. The center will continue its work to respond to strategic skill training needs by providing high quality competency-based training for public health practitioners. Read more about the funding.

Ross receives $1.5M for electronic business and financial center

As the Tozzi Electronic Business and Financial Center approaches its 20th anniversary, namesake donor John R. Tozzi has promised an additional $1.5 million to support the center and its growth for years to come. The Tozzi Center houses one of the largest academic trading floors in the United States. The Tozzi Center is used as a classroom for courses covering topics such as financial analysis, valuation, and portfolio management, while also providing a platform for action-based learning at the Ross School. To augment their coursework, students can test trading strategies in mock cases with trading simulation software. Read more about the Tozzi Center and gift.

Compiled by James Iseler, The University Record


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