Faculty transition team focuses on new school


A faculty team will be responsible for planning the transition to a new school at the University of Michigan that will address global sustainability challenges at the intersection of environment and society.

Provost Martha Pollack has charged the New School Faculty Transition Team with developing a set of recommendations to guide the inaugural dean in building a new type of school.

Expected outcomes include a process for identifying sustainability themes around which to organize the school and for reviewing and changing themes over time, proposals for curricular innovations for the new school, and recommendations for faculty administrative processes.

“The new school will have permeable boundaries with enhanced and innovative ways to connect to faculty and students across campus. It will be organized around themes that will evolve over time, and it will pursue new forms of action-based education, using both the campus and local community as living laboratories,” Pollack says.

“It also will be designed to engage faculty from around campus in a variety of ways.”

Seeking broad faculty input and perspectives, the team includes members from the School of Natural Resources and Environment, the Graham Sustainability Institute, U-M’s Water Center, the School of Public Health, the School of Education, the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, the Law School, the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, the College of Engineering and LSA.

The team will report to Dan Brown, interim dean of SNRE, and is chaired by Bill Currie, professor of natural resources and environment, SNRE.

“The new school seeks to leverage faculty strengths across the breadth of the university to both generate solutions to some of the most challenging problems of our time and train a new generation of sustainability leaders. For this reason, broad participation in the work of this team from across campus is critical,” says Brown.

Members of the team include:

• Brad Cardinale, professor of natural resources and environment, SNRE, and professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, LSA.

• Tim Dvonch, associate professor, environmental health sciences, SPH.

• Paige Fisher, assistant professor of natural resources and environment, SNRE.

• Seth Guikema, associate professor of industrial and operations engineering and associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, CoE.

• Gabrielle Hecht, professor of history, LSA.

• Drew Horning, managing director, Graham Sustainability Institute.

• MaryCarol Hunter, associate professor of natural resources and environment, SNRE.

• Eric Kort, assistant professor of climate and space sciences and engineering, CoE.

• Tom Lyon, Dow Professor of Sustainable Science, Technology and Commerce, professor of business economics and public policy, Ross School, and professor of natural resources and environment, SNRE.

• Jen Maigret, associate professor of architecture, Taubman College.

• Josh Newell, assistant professor of natural resources and environment, SNRE.

• Ivette Perfecto, George Willis Pack Professor and professor of natural resources and environment, SNRE.

• Jennifer Read, director of the U-M Water Center.

• David Uhlman, Jeffrey F. Liss Professor from Practice and director of environmental law and policy program and lecturer, Law School.

• Michaela Zint, acting associate dean for academic affairs and professor of natural resources and environment, SNRE; professor of environment, LSA; and professor of education, SOE.

“The team is an important opportunity for faculty from across campus who have been working on topics and programs related to environment and sustainability in their own schools to envision a new kind of school that brings together a broad range of perspectives,” says Currie.

“Faculty input is critical to developing a school structure that is broadly participatory, rigorous and innovative.”

The creation of a new type of school comes as the university pursues major changes to its sustainability education structure to strengthen its position as a leader in interdisciplinary education.

The recommendation for a new school followed external and internal faculty assessments of the university’s academic programs in environment and sustainability, including SNRE, the Graham Sustainability Institute and the Program in the Environment, a joint program between SNRE and LSA.

The new school will replace SNRE by building on its strengths while expanding its mission and the quality of its partnerships with other schools and programs at U-M.

It will be formally named later this fall, and a search for its dean has begun.


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