Six projects get major grants through Third Century Initiative


The University of Michigan has awarded nearly $6.4 million in Third Century Initiative funding to six faculty projects that show promise to transform learning for students.

The second round of Transformation grants will go to four projects that received smaller awards previously to test their viability as forward thinking teaching or scholarship opportunities. Two of the projects are new.

The Transforming Learning for a Third Century program is part of the TCI, established by the president and provost to encourage faculty to develop innovative ideas for enriching student learning, as U-M prepares to celebrate its bicentennial in two years.

Leaders earmarked $25 million for three levels of grant funding to spur creativity.  Transformation grants are the largest awards, ranging from $100,000 to $3 million.

“These six projects represent exciting directions for learning and teaching at the University of Michigan,” said James Holloway, vice provost for global and engaged education.

“We are striving to create learning environments in which students are engaged by unscripted learning experiences, in which students are really motivated to synthesize their learning across disciplines and challenge themselves to produce high quality outcomes — not because the work leads to a grade, but because an authentic stakeholder is invested in the student’s output.

“The projects will give students an opportunity to develop their own creative processes, to develop the ability to work in teams and understand the role of diverse values in decision making, to understand their own agency in the world and their responsibility to it. They represent engagement with authentic clients and with the cultural assets of the university, and give students self-agency in their own learning.”

The projects, funding and faculty involved are:

• Gameful Assessment in Michigan Education (GAME): Building a Community of Engaged Learners and Teachers Supported by GradeCraft *

​$1.89 million

This is a project to grow and scale a learning community at Michigan around gameful learning and teaching, supported by a software tool called GradeCraft. Gameful learning encourages students to take risks as they find their own paths toward personal goals.

James DeVaney, Digital Education & Innovation; Barry Fishman, schools of Information and Education; Elizabeth Keren Kolb, School of Education; Mika LaVaque-Manty, LSA; Rachel Niemer, Center for Research on Learning and Teaching; and Scott Taylor, Information and Technology Services.

• Reimagining Legal Education: Early Experimental Learning and Community Engagement in Legal Education

$1.57 million

The program will involve changing the curriculum for approximately 320 first-year law students to give them hands-on experience practicing law while providing more than 15,000 hours of free legal services each year to the poor in Washtenaw County and beyond. It also will establish a law clinic to allow first-year students to work alongside upper-level students on more complex cases.

Daniel Crane, Law School; Stephen DesJardins, School of Education and Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy; Monica Hakimi, Law School; and David Santacroce, Law School.

• Michigan Engaging Community Through the Classroom (MECC) * 


This initiative provides multidisciplinary, experiential learning opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students pursuing professional careers that involve direct public service or that engage work on behalf of public clients and nongovernmental organizations (e.g., urban planning, public policy, public health, law, engineering, environmental management, social work, information science, business, natural resources).

Elisabeth Gerber, Ford School; Gail Hohner, College of Engineering; Patricia Koman, School of Public Health; Jim Kosteva, Government Relations; and Richard K. Norton, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning.

• Engaging the Archives


Engaging the Archives is a project to develop pedagogical practices and provide learning experiences for undergraduates in using primary historical sources, while fostering engaged collaborations between faculty ad archivists to develop new learning objectives, tools and analytics for use and reuse by faculty and students.

Nancy Bartlett, Bentley Historical Library, and Terrence McDonald, Bentley Historical Library and LSA.

• Changing the Way We Teach the Ancient World *


This project will scale the teaching tools already developed for enriching the student experience in learning about the ancient world through the Kelsey Museum Experience (hands-on and app-based engagement and research with artifacts), video clips, teleconferencing and an interactive image database.

Tom Bray, Digital Media Commons; Nikki Branch, LSA; Yaron Eliav, LSA; Julie Evershed, LSA Language Resource Center; Sharon Herbert, LSA; Steve Lonn, Learning Education & Design Lab; and Chris Quintana, School of Education.

• Citizen Interaction Design *


The Citizen Interaction Design program is an engaged-learning platform that provides opportunities for students to reimagine citizenship in the context of designing new information and communication services for local municipalities.

Kelly Kowatch, School of Information; Cliff Lampe, School of Information; Scott TenBrink, School of Information.

* Denotes projects that received Quick Wins or Discovery grants through the TLTC program, or funding through the Learning Analytics Task Force.


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