The University Board of Regents will hold its monthly meeting at the University’s Flint campus today to learn about opportunities at the satellite school. They will also discuss a series of proposals from College of Engineering Dean Stephen Director to improve engineering facilities on North Campus.
Proposals include a new 100,000 square-foot computer science center which would unite the faculties currently occupying several different buildings. Also included are a facility to unite cellular and molecular biotechnology research, and renovation and expansion of the solid state electronics lab. Director said more faculty and graduate students are now studying these areas at the University.
“We have had significant growth in research, especially in areas we have targeted such as biomedical engineering, information technology and microsystems and nanosciences engineering,” Director said.
“They will provide not only for faculty but for students, both graduate and undergraduate … and will help us to be well positioned for the future.”
Director said the facilities will complement other University priorities, such as the life sciences initiative, and will include new laboratories and classrooms to help enhance the undergraduate programs.
Director said the entire $88 million facilities will be funded entirely by private sources. One of those will be $25 million dollar gift from philanthropist Ann Lurie, the largest gift ever given to the College. Lurie has donated more than $45 million to the University and is the namesake along with her late husband, a College of Engineering alum, of the Ann and Robert Lurie Bell Tower on North Campus.
Regent Larry Deitch (D-Bingham Farms) said he was supportive of the proposals.
“I am very supportive of Dean Director and I would look forward to the continued development of the engineering school. It is one of the jewels of the University,” he said.
Regent Andrea Fischer Newman (R-Ann Arbor) also said she feels good about the proposals, but expressed the importance of discussing the plans at the meeting. She also said she is looking forward to meeting on the Flint campus.
“We will be seeing what is going on (at the Flint campus), and meeting with the community and student leaders. That is a very important aspect of the meeting since we only get up there once a year,” she said.
The meeting today is the last before statewide elections are held Nov. 5. Newman is seeking another eight-year term, while Regent Daniel Horning (R-Grand Haven) has declined to run again.
The other candidates for regent seats include Democrat Ismael Ahmed of Dearborn, director of the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services; GOP state Rep. Andrew Richner of Grosse Point Park, and Greg Stephens, a Democrat from Saline and a business manager and financial secretary of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 252.
Third party contenders include Green Party candidates Susan Fawcett and Matt Petering, Libertarian candidate William Hall, Natural Law Party candidate David Arndt, Reform Party candidate Nick Waun and U.S. Taxpayers Party candidate Rick Gualdoni.