International Institute’s Enterprise Fund promotes academic innovations


The International Institute at the University of Michigan has awarded the 2018-19 Enterprise Fund to three proposals generated by U-M faculty across various disciplines.

The projects will share more than $71,000 from the Enterprise Fund.

Launched in 2015, the Enterprise Fund supports faculty-led projects and initiatives that spur intellectual and academic innovation, address topics of global importance, and stimulate conversations and collaborations across disciplines and area studies boundaries.

In total, the International Institute has funded nine such projects and initiatives that not only showcase the depth and breadth of U-M’s faculty expertise, but also continue to have an intellectual and pedagogical impact on the entire university community.

The 2018-19 Enterprise Fund projects and initiatives are described briefly below, along with the faculty principal investigators.

The Campus Human Rights Index aims to develop a reliable, quantitative measure of university human rights practices and commitments.

The interdisciplinary project will produce measures of human rights commitments at universities across the world, and capture campus activities, institutions, policies, and statements promoting human rights and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The index will be updated annually with the aim to become the authoritative source for campus human rights climate data. It will generate comparative research at institutions of higher education and public attention to campus human rights that will incentivize university leaders to improve their practices.

Project PIs: Michelle Bellino, co-director of the Conflict and Peace Initiative and assistant professor of education; Christian Davenport, co-director of the Conflict and Peace Initiative and professor of political science; and Kiyoteru Tsutsui, director of the Donia Human Rights Center and the Center for Japanese Studies, and professor of sociology.

The Michigan Islamic Studies Hub seeks to strengthen Islamic studies at U-M by expanding ties between campus scholars and the local community through a website portal and annual conference.

The website will serve as a directory, providing a list of Michigan scholars working in Islamic studies, local Muslim cultural centers and programs, and a calendar of cultural and educational events taking place at area institutions.

The annual Global Islamic Expressions Conference will focus on the arts, histories, cultures, and spiritual practices of Islamic communities.

Project PIs: Karla Mallette, director of the Islamic Studies Program, and professor of romance languages and literatures, and Middle East studies; and Gottfried Hagen, professor of Middle East studies.

The Sustainability and Development Initiative will focus on sustainable development, utilizing publications, training, and an annual cross-disciplinary Global Conference on Sustainability and Development.

The goal of the conference is to provide a vehicle for students, scholars and practitioners to collaborate with U.S. and international partners, sharing and developing research on sustainable development goals. In addition, the journal World Development will publish at least one special issue each year from papers presented at the conferences.

Project PIs: Arun Agrawal, professor of environment and sustainability; Ella August, assistant professor of public health; Bilal Butt, associate professor of environment and sustainability; Ivan Eastin, professor of environment and sustainability; Joseph Eisenberg, professor of public health; Leela Fernandes, professor of women’s studies and political science; Elisabeth Gerber, professor of public policy; Meha Jain, assistant professor of environment and sustainability; Ken Kollman, former director of the International Institute, and professor of political science; Maria Carmen Lemos, professor of environment and sustainability; Nancy Love, professor of civil and environmental engineering; Shelie Miller, associate professor of environment and sustainability; Brian Min, associate professor of political science; Joshua Newell, associate professor of environment and sustainability; Anne Pitcher, professor of Afroamerican and African studies and political science; Lutgarde Raskin, professor of civil and environmental engineering; and Cristy Watkins, research manager in the School for Environment and Sustainability.


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