The University Insider is The Daily’s first faculty and staff-oriented newsletter. This weekly newsletter will give U-M faculty and staff the ability to see the most important issues on campus and in Ann Arbor — particularly those related to administrative decisions — from the perspective of an independent news organization. It will also provide a better understanding of student perspectives.


Patricia D. Hurn and D. Scott DeRue were appointed as the new deans to the School of Nursing and the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, respectively, at the University of Michigan’s Board of Regents meeting held Thursday afternoon in downtown Grand Rapids.

The meeting served as an opportunity for the University’s administration to connect with alumni, community leaders, government officials and educational leaders in the Western Michigan region — many of whom have previously collaborated with the University.

At the start of the meeting, Schlissel thanked leaders in Grand Rapids for meeting with him earlier in the day, pointing out that roughly 20,000 University alumni live in the Grand Rapids area— a testament to the importance of the region to the University, according to Schlissel.  

Schlissel was additionally pleased to announce that the number of University students involved in the Grand Rapids Entrepreneurship Action Trek (GREAT) tripled within the past year. GREAT is a University program that provides students with entrepreneurial experience by exposing them to startups and businesses within West Michigan, encouraging them to network and learn from University alumni working in the Grand Rapids area as well.  

Dean Appointments

Thursday’s meeting also saw the appointment of Patricia D. Hurn as the new dean of the University’s School of Nursing for a five-year renewable term, effective August 1, 2016, and professor of nursing with tenure, effective August 1, 2016.

According to a letter of recommendation from University provost and executive vice president for academic affairs Martha Pollack, Hurn currently serves as vice chancellor for research and innovation at the University of Texas at Austin, where she oversees research at six of the system’s health organizations — in addition to serving as a research professor in neurobiology at the school’s College of Natural Sciences.  

According to Pollack’s recommendation, Hurn is nationally recognized for her research on strokes and other neurological conditions and directing an interdisciplinary research laboratory that focuses on biomedical research. Hurn is also recognized on an international level for her research on the cellular and molecular basis of gender differences following brain injury.

“Dr. Hurn is an exceptional leader. Drawing on her own experience as a transdisciplinary researcher and teacher, she brings an open and collaborative approach to leadership,” Pollack wrote in her recommendation.

Pollack added that both Hurn’s research and teaching experience prepare her for success in leading the School of Nursing within the University’s efforts to expand innovation in interprofessional health education.

The Board of Regents also approved the appointment of Scott D. DeRue as the newest dean of the Stephen M. Ross School of Business for a five-year renewable term, effective July 1, 2016. According to Pollack’s recommendation letter, DeRue previously served as an assistant professor of management at the Ross School of Business beginning in 2007 — before he was promoted to professor with tenure in 2013.

During his tenure, DeRue served a wide variety of leadership positions within Ross, including faculty director of the Sanger Leadership Center — which promotes character and dynamic business skills —  and faculty director of the Emerging Leaders Program, a program for mid-level managers that promotes leadership reflection.

In 2014, DeRue became the associate dean for executive education, and — in the past six months — served as associate dean for the part-time MBA and Executive MBA programs.

“D. Scott DeRue is widely recognized for the importance of his research and the rigor of his teaching,” Pollack said in her letter. “In each area he poses questions that challenge assumptions and require innovative and thoughtful responses. These qualities guide his work as a teacher and a researcher and will make him an effective leader for the Ross School as it builds on its already impressive contributions to business education at every level.”

Approval of Brighton Health Care Center

The Regents approved the construction of a new ambulatory health care, or outpatient care, facility after receiving a presentation from one of its architects during Thursday’s meeting

The $175 million project will be constructed in Brighton, south of Challis road, and will serve the residents of Livingston County.

The facility will be a satellite of the University of Michigan Health System, making it the fourth such facility in the county, alongside the Kellogg Eye Center of Brighton, the Howell Pediatric and Teen Clinic and the current UMHS Brighton location that is also located on Challis road.

A concern was raised during the meeting regarding whether or not the block M would be present on the building, though was dismissed as a concern voiced too early in the project. Plans for construction anticipate the completion of the center in 2018.

Central Student Government Report

In his second address to the Regents as Central Student Government president, rising LSA senior David Schafer outlined the initiatives the assembly will pursue at the beginning of the fall semester, including an expansion of the University’s mental health services, methods of increasing diversity among student organizations and increased communication between CSG and other student organizations.

Schafer began by repeating a previous campaign promise made by NewMich —  the ticket upon which he ran and secured the office —  regarding mental health reform at the University.

“We will continue the previous CSG administration’s support for mental health initiatives,” Schafer said. “There is still a need for more funding, staffing and support options.”

Schafer aims for the University to achieve a ratio of one counselor for every 1,000 students. Currently, the University has one counselor for every 1,300 students. Additionally, Schafer said CSG would focus on faculty training concerning issues of mental health in students as well as pushing for the expansion of mental health services on North Campus.

Regarding improvements in diversity, equity and inclusion to aspects of student life, Schafer mentioned a the potential of a new program through CSG which could provide funding to students lacking the financial ability to participate in extracurricular activities through the University.

“It makes it difficult for lower income students, especially those that have to work to pay for school,” Schafer. “Every Michigan student, regardless of income, should be free and able to join Greek life or even run for student government.”

Schafer cited a leadership engagement stipend, which if enacted would provide scholarship-like funds to low-income students to be used for club participation, as a possible method of increasing the diversity of students participating in clubs and activities on campus.

Schafer also briefly touched on student health by mentioning the adoption of the Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Policy, which CSG worked to help amend this past year and will go into effect July 1st.  

Regarding collaborative efforts, Schafer mentioned efforts moving forward to unite CSG not only with other student governments within the University of Michigan system, but with those that exist on the Ann Arbor campus.

The University Council, a collaborative effort chaired by the CSG Vice President and is comprised of representatives from each of the 19 schools and colleges in the University and its satellites, is another area Schafer mentioned requires work.

University of Michigan, Flint

The University has been working with the University of Michigan Flint campus in relation to the ongoing water crisis there. UM Flint hosted the inaugural Tri-Campus Community Engagement Summit in February aimed at uniting the three campuses and promoting the wellbeing of Flint.

Susan Borrego, Chancellor for the UM Flint campus, said the university was working with Google to create an app that would help residents identify high concentrations of lead in water sources.

“This is something helping the community. Our students are helping to do the research,” Borrego said. “It will be a tool that’s useful in the community for a time to come.”

The creation of the app comes in response to the Flint water crisis, in which the erosion of lead pipes caused to the poisoning of Flint residents.

Borrego also referenced the Riverfront property that the Flint campus acquired in March. The donation of the 340,000 square foot Riverfront Conference Center, a former Hyatt Regency, Hotel, was approved by the Regents last December and was the largest gift property donation received in the school’s history.

Borrego said the building is already being utilized by the school, with students already moving in for the summer semester.  

“The gift of that building is important in that it’s a partnership with Flint that demonstrates their commitment to the University and the partnership,” Borrego said. “And right now, given that we had an unexpected kind of issue in Flint, it was particularly important that the community has it that we’re not going anywhere.”

Community Concerns

Ann Arbor resident Sandy Aldrich, Co-President of the Northeast Ann Arbor Community Coalition, spoke against the upcoming proposed Transportation Operations Complex during the Regent’s Thursday meeting.

The proposal for the Complex, a project anticipated to be at the intersection of Green and Hubbard road, was met with opposition from residents who cited complaints such as increased noise and gas pollution the complex would bring to the area.

“It has become a lightening rod for your North Campus neighbors,” Aldrich said. “Our neighborhood is valued for being family-friendly, green and quiet.”

The coalition and its affiliates have convened in protest at numerous meetings held by University and City of Ann Arbor officials. According to Aldrich, the coalition was formed in February, soon after the group met with University staff. She said the union of the more than 60 neighbors of north campus against the construction was unprecedented.

“We respectfully ask the University staff to stop underestimating us,” Aldrich said. “We are using our community voice to show we have a seat at the table about a decision that will have a profound impact on our community.”

Kevin Bohnsack, Vice President of the Glacier Highlands Neighborhood Association in Ann Arbor, said though he does not hold the same cynicism as those who claim the University ‘does whatever they want’, he believed the University failed to properly vet the project.

“Unfortunately we’ve seen very little responsibility, flexibility or creativity from the University officials in their own staffing of this proposal, even after we raised our voices and concerns back in February,” Bohnsack said.  

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