Nearly three dozen U-M faculty experts are taking to the road today (May 2) for the 12th annual traveling seminar known as the Michigan Road Scholars. For five days, they will drive the highways and back roads of Michigan with stops planned in Benton Harbor, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing, St. Ignace and Traverse City.
During their five-day seminar on wheels, the Michigan Road Scholars will directly learn from the people of Michigan about local and regional opportunities and challenges in industry and commerce, government and health care, education and philanthropy. The scholars will record this year’s trek on Facebook and Twitter.
The scholars program was established by the Office of the Vice President for Government Relations to increase knowledge and understanding between the university and the people and communities of Michigan; to demonstrate the many ways U-M is connected to the entire state; to cultivate an awareness among faculty of the state’s distinctive geographic, economic, cultural and political attributes; and to encourage public service and research that ameliorate problems and advance solutions.
Over the years, the program has sparked numerous academic-community collaborations that continue to enhance local assets and solve local issues, including expert consultations with industry, direct interactions in schools and communities across the state, the development of new course offerings to U-M students and outreach to prospective students.
Long-standing collaborations — with environmental issues around the state, community development and education needs in Detroit and other urban areas of Michigan, and health and education topics with several Native American communities — continue years later, organizers say.
May 2: Visit Lansing Community College and the Lansing Delta Township Assembly Plant, meet with legislators at the Capitol and attend the Community Panel Presentation in St. Ignace.
May 3: Tour the St. Ignace District Schools, consult with Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians liaison and tour Tribal Health Center, discuss the Mackinac Bridge Authority at Bridge View Park, and tour the Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Center at Traverse City.
May 4: Tour the Great Lakes Maritime Academy and U.S. Coast Guard Air Station, participate in a discussion on the Traverse City-area wine industry, participate in a panel discussion on “City and Counties: What’s Going On?” in Traverse City, and attend the Foundations Panel in Grand Rapids.
May 5: Roundtable discussion on education, hunger and poverty, public service and philanthropy in the Grand Rapids area; a visit to the Whirlpool Corp. in Benton Harbor; a community reception in Detroit, which is co-hosted by the City of Detroit, the Board of Education of the Detroit Public Schools and the Skillman Foundation. This event will kick off the program’s longest sojourn in Detroit and introduce the scholars to city leaders and to Detroit-area students who have been admitted to U-M’s entering class of 2011. The Cass Technical High School String Quartet and the Detroit School of Art Jazz Ensemble will perform.
May 6: A tour of Detroit’s Focus: Hope and presentation on the Hope Village Initiative, a tour of the City of Detroit and panel discussion on “Detroit: The City That Works” at the U-M Detroit Center at Orchestra Place. Detroit Public Schools will cap the day with a tour of five high schools, a panel discussion on “Detroit Schools Moving Forward” and closing remarks by Robert Bobb, financial manager, Detroit Public Schools.
Brigitte Maassen, international visitor coordinator, International Center, on her youth, and the influence of international culture: “I grew up in a family that was so inclusive of people of all different religions, races and backgrounds … so I’m very grateful.”
Gifts of Art presents “The Tie that Binds: Book Arts Group Show,” featuring School of Art & Design student works through June 13 in the Taubman Health Center South Lobby, Floor 1.