By Ian Dillingham, Summer Editor in Chief
Published May 15, 2014
DEARBORN, Mich. — The University’s Board of Regents traveled to UM-Dearborn on Thursday afternoon for their monthly meeting, convened in the Fairlane Center.
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The regents used their time in Dearborn to approve three new programs of study on the campus. Janine Janosky, dean of UM-Dearborn’s College of Education, Health and Human Services, presented the three new programs to the board, which approved the measure unanimously.
Two of the programs — Public Health and Community Health Education — will be offered to undergraduates and the other — Health Information Technology — will be offered at the master’s level.
The programs will utilize classes already offered at the Dearborn campus, augmented with specialized courses, to provide a well-rounded perspective on health education, Janosky said.
She said the college developed the programs, in part, to meet the increasing need for child health specialists under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. These professionals, whose services are now often covered under Medicare and Medicaid, provide counseling to children and families undergoing traumatic health events.
Janosky said the program was doubly beneficial, given its ability to leverage resources already available at the University along its ability to train students in a field with excellent employment prospects.
“We know what we need to do to transform health and healthcare, but we’re lagging in having those educational health programs that are going to prepare that workforce that are needed to transform health and healthcare,” Janosky said.
Pescovitz honored with resolution
Prior to the meeting, the Regents took time to honor Ora Pescovitz, CEO of the University of Michigan Health System and executive vice president of medical affairs. Pescovitz announced in March that she would step down from her position at the end of her term June 1.
University Regent Shauna Ryder Diggs (D), read the resolution, which praised Pescovitz for her accomplishments as head of the health system. In particular, the resolution noted Pescovitz’s work to develop the North Campus Research Complex and C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital, as well as her efforts to form institutional partnerships with Trinity Health and MidMichigan Health.
“Dr. Pescovitz has been a conscientious steward of the Health System budget, research funding and philanthropic opportunities,” Diggs read from the resolution. “She has worked tirelessly to improve quality, safety, patient care, access and satisfaction.”
Pescovitz, who was selected for her current role by University President Mary Sue Coleman in 2009, was the first woman to serve as head of UMHS. She will be succeeded by Michael Johns, professor of otolaryngology and health policy at Emory University.
CSG calls for increased funding
Public Policy senior Bobby Dishell, the newly-elected Central Student Government president, spoke with the regents regarding CSG’s increase to the mandatory student fee, which is used, in part, to fund student activities across campus.
CSG is proposing a $2 increase to the fee, which would bring the total to $9.19 per student annually. This would be the first increase since 2005.
Dishell said the increase would increase CSG’s budget by $75,600 — 32 percent — while only increasing tuition by 0.015 percent for in-state students.
“We need to find a way to meet the needs of our student organizations,” Dishell said.
University alum Jeff Sorensen, founder of the student organization optiMize, and Alex Crawford, president emeritus of the men’s rowing team, both spoke during the open comment section in support of increased funding for student organizations on campus.
Sarah Elhelou, UM-Dearborn student government president, joined Dishell in addressing the board, discussing her government’s efforts to promote inclusive athletics and to increase campus safety. She highlighted the success of Dearborn’s “safety walk” program and said the student government would work in the coming year to increase lighting in and around campus to uphold the campus’s reputation as one of the safest in Michigan.
Law students speak out for formation of divestment committee
Three University law students — Scott Bloomberg, Jacob Barde and Aaron Schaer — representing Law Students for Responsible Divestment from Fossil Fuels addressed the regents in the public comment portion, calling for the formation of a University committee to examine investments and explore the process of divesting from companies that contribute heavily to the process of climate change.
While the group had addressed the regents at previous meetings, the movement appeared to have gained new momentum in recent weeks, as Stanford University became the first large American university to divest its endowment in response to student protest over sustainable energy policies.
Though Stanford’s financial records are private, Bloomberg estimated that the institution most likely divested about one percent of its $18.7 billion endowment, adding that the University of Michigan likely has a similar percentage of its funds invested in these companies.
The students said the University set a precedent for divestment in 1999 and 2000, when they withdrew investments from tobacco companies citing the need to promote public health. Bloomberg said if the University wanted to uphold its commitment to sustainability, then the formation of a fossil fuel divestment committee was a reasonable request.
Following the conclusion of the winter semester, the Regents approved a large number of instructional track promotions across all three campus: 147 in Ann Arbor, 11 in Dearborn and 12 in Flint. University Provost Martha Pollack and UM-Dearborn Chancellor Daniel Little both spoke to the importance of recruiting and retaining the best teachers and scholars as a means of maintaining the University’s high standing.