March 22, 2022

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Welcome back to The University Insider. 

This week, Interim University President Mary Sue Coleman recommended Laurie K. McCauley as the University’s next provost, the U-M community reflected on the severe lack of female representation in building names on campus, the University divested from Russian investments and more.

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Dentistry Dean Laurie K. McCauley recommended as next UMich Provost

On March 15, Interim University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman announced she is recommending the appointment of Laurie K. McCauley, the current dean of the School of Dentistry, as the University of Michigan’s next provost and vice president for academic affairs. The Board of Regents will discuss and vote to approve McCauley’s appointment at their next meeting on March 24.

If her appointment is approved, McCauley will succeed Susan Collins, who is planning to step down from her role as provost on May 15 to serve as President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Collins has served as provost since Martin Philbert, her predecessor, was placed on administrative leave in January 2020 due to numerous sexual misconduct allegations. McCauley’s term would begin May 16 and will tentatively conclude on June 30, 2023, or when a permanent provost is appointed.

McCauley has served as the dentistry dean since 2013, making her one of the longest-serving deans at the University today. She has worked at the University since 1992, when she joined as an assistant professor of dentistry, and received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from The Ohio State University. In addition to her role as dean, McCauley is also a professor of periodontics at the School of Dentistry and of pathology at the Medical School. 

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U-M community reflects on only one academic building on campus named after a woman

Out of 85 academic buildings on the University of Michigan’s campus, only one is named after a woman: Mary Sue Coleman Hall, which was named in March 2021 and houses the Life Sciences Institute.

The process to name a University building begins with a naming committee that discusses options based on naming guidelines, which are outlined based on the building’s purpose. The name then must be approved by the Board of Regents, the University president or a unit head. The Office of Budget and Planning finally must be consulted to ensure the name does not overlap with any existing buildings.

According to the Facilities, Spaces and Streets Naming Policy, building names may represent financial contributions, honor a donor, honor an exceptional individual or commemorate the University’s history and traditions. 

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University divests from Russian investments following invasion of Ukraine 

The University of Michigan announced Tuesday it will make no further Russian investments and will pull its current investments “as quickly as practical.” The investments are part of the University’s endowment, which was valued at approximately $17 billion at the end of fiscal 2020. 

Pulling the investments comes as a result of the “increasing financial risks associated with such investments” according to a University press release.

“I condemn this invasion and the ruthless attack on freedom,” Coleman wrote in the announcement. “The grief, anger and hurt are devastating, and I feel such sorrow for the many members of our community whose loved ones and communities are in harm’s way.” 

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No more unserious celebrity candidates

Daily Opinion Columnist Devon Hesano discussed the implications of celebrities considering a run for political and public office. In the shadow of Matthew McConaughey’s declination to run for Texas governor, daytime television host Mehmet Oz, commonly known as Dr. Oz, announced he would be running to become the junior senator from Pennsylvania, joining a growing group of celebrities turned politicians. Read more about Hesano’s thoughts on the popularity of celebrity candidates and their lack of qualifications.

Campus Blueprint now reflects the percentage of students, faculty and staff who have received a booster shot. 88% of students have reported receiving a booster shot, 1% of students are waiting to be verified and 6% have not reported a COVID-19 booster shot, despite being eligible for over 30 days. The dashboard also reports 93% of faculty and 85% of staff are verified as having received their COVID-19 booster shot. 

Last week, U-M students accounted for 8% of COVID-19 cases in Washtenaw County as a result of cases also decreasing at the county level. Quarantine and isolation housing occupancy fell to  1.4% following last week’s 1.9%.

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