LSA dean calls for increased undergraduate diversity

At their monthly meeting Thursday, members of the University’s Board of Regents heard a report from LSA Dean Andrew Martin on the current state of the University’s liberal arts college.

During the presentation, Martin emphasized LSA’s unique positioning among other liberal arts colleges nationwide, particularly due to its breadth of excellence. Of the 101 top-10 programs at the University, as ranked by U.S. News and World Report, he noted that 46 are in LSA. He also highlighted the college’s commitment to an education that is both personalized and provides opportunities for experiential learning.

Despite recent increases in enrollment, LSA has improved its student to faculty ratio: moving the ratio from 14:1 to 12.8:1.

The dean also addressed student and faculty diversity within LSA. According to Martin, underrepresented minorities compose 15 percent of the LSA graduate student body.

However, underrepresented minorities make up 9 percent of LSA undergraduate students. Though he noted the figure is disappointing, he expects the numbers to show improvement when freshman enrollment data is released later this fall.

A special team is also working to improve diversity among LSA faculty.

“We need to put everything on the table and take seriously this diversity strategic planning process,” he said. “I have a group of talented faculty and administrators that are focusing squarely on these data and our strategy to do better in the years to come.”

Martin discussed LSA’s ongoing commitment to the Comprehensive Studies Program, which assists underrepresented minority, first-generation and low-income students as they adjust to the University. The program also serves students transitioning to college from rural high schools or schools without Advanced Placement programs.

LSA is currently investing in CSP to expand the program’s resources to serve students throughout their time on campus.

Martin also discussed the progress of the University’s Victors for Michigan fundraising campaign, a $400 million effort to support programming within the college. By June 30, Martin reported, LSA had achieved 83 percent of its fundraising goal.

Regents appoint interim Taubman dean

In addition to changes within the Medical School and University Health System, the regents approved the appointment of Robert Fishman as interim dean of the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning.  

Fishman has served as the Emil Lorch Professor of Architecture and Urban Planning since 2006.

CSG president delivers first report of the semester

The regents also received their first report from Central Student Government President Cooper Charlton, an LSA senior.

Charlton provided the board with a positive update on the collaboration between CSG and Michigan Dining to offer early breakfast for students on Football Saturdays. Charlton reported that, because of the joint effort, Dining served 2,635 students last Saturday during hours the dining halls are traditionally closed. CSG proposed this pilot program to curb the impacts of dangerous drinking on game days.

“CSG wants to meet students where they are at,” Charlton said. “Although we understand that this objective and this tactic is not a comprehensive solution, we believe it is a step in the right direction.”

Charlton also spoke about CSG’s efforts working with the University’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center to develop a peer-led educational program for student-athletes aimed. Charlton said he hopes the program will encourage more students to take a lead in educating their peers about sexual assault and prevention.

Torn Family Trust advocates voice concerns with University of Michigan Health System

During the public commentary portion of the meeting, the regents heard from members of the advocacy group Torn Family Trust, an organization that raises awareness of families separated from their children based on wrongful accusations of child abuse following hospital visits.

In many instances, commenters discussed how they were wrongfully accused of Shaken Baby Syndrome, or violently shaking an infant, causing swelling of the brain and internal bleeding, among other symptoms. The commenters recounted details of their own separation from their children after visits to the University’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

In response to these claims, UMHS released a statement Thursday afternoon claiming that, due to patient privacy concerns, details of each case could not be released. UMHS also stressed that the hospital’s child protection team is not responsible for the legal measures taken following reports of suspected child abuse.

“Our C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital child protection team has extensive expertise in analyzing medical evidence to evaluate whether injuries may have been caused by abuse,” the statement read. “This team, a valued resource at UMHS, does an exhaustive review of cases at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital when there is suspected abuse of an infant or child … but U-M providers do not make decisions or recommendations about whether or how cases are pursued. Any questions about the merits of the legal decisions should be directed to the appropriate legal entities in Livingston County, MI.”

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