Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The most advanced scientific instruments to be used on the surface of Mars will land at 10:31 p.m. (Pacific Time) Aug. 5 in an effort to assess whether the planet is, or ever was, able to support microbial life. Click the image for a digital multimedia experience that outlines the Mars rover Curiosity's mission and the contributions of faculty, staff and students from the College of Engineering.

Department of Public Safety re-accredited by CALEA
The U-M Department of Public Safety was awarded law enforcement re-accreditation, as of Aug. 1, by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Interim Executive Director Joe Piersante has announced. To achieve the recognition, the department had to show compliance with several hundred professional standards measured by the commission.

Dynarski to Congress: College tax credits should work like a grant
Testifying Wednesday before the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, Susan M. Dynarski, professor of education and public policy, advocated for a simplification of the financial aid process that would allow families to better understand exactly how much the federal government can help pay to send their child to college. 

Three U-M researchers receive early career presidential awards
Three U-M faculty members — structural biologist Georgios Skiniotis, dental researcher Margherita Fontana and mental health researcher Amy Kilbourne — are among the 96 recipients of the 2012 Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, the nation's highest honor that is given to professionals at the outset of their independent research careers.

U-M has left its mark on the Olympics over the years
The 2012 Olympic Games open Friday in London, and when they do, U-M will be well represented with more than two dozen current or former U-M athletes and coaches participating. The university has left its mark on the Games in a variety of ways. Since 1900, more than 200 U-M students and coaches have participated in the Summer and Winter Olympic Games, representing the U.S. and 23 other countries.

MCubed update: Getting closer to cubing
For most faculty members eagerly waiting to sign up for the innovative MCubed research funding initiative, organizers say keep brainstorming and networking, but no other action is required until fall semester — unless they're in the Medical School or LSA. Interested researchers in those units must register for virtual tokens in advance at websites designated by each unit. In the Medical School, the deadline is 4 p.m. Friday.

University selects new prescription drug plan vendor
New prescription drug plan ID cards will be issued in September as the university teams with MedImpact Healthcare Systems Inc. to administer its prescription drug benefit plan. Prescription drug plan members will see little or no changes when MedImpact replaces informedRx/SXC on Oct. 1.

U-M to play leading role in national project to move research to market
In a move designed to fast-track more research from the lab to the real world, U-M was named one of two new nodes of the National Science Foundation's Innovation Corps program, NSF officials announced July 18 at an I-Corps anniversary celebration in Washington, D.C.

Solar Car Team wins fourth straight American title, breaks own record
The U-M Solar Car Team and its car, Quantum, won the 2012 American Solar Challenge on July 21 for a fourth consecutive American title — and broke a previous national record that U-M set with Continuum in 2008. Quantum finished the eight-day, biennial 1,650-mile competition in an elapsed time of just less than 45 hours, with a 10-hour, 18-minute lead on its nearest competitor.

University leaders invest in two Voices of the Staff programs
University leadership has made another financial investment in Voices of the Staff, recently approving funding for two VOICES initiatives: the Career Development Passport, a 12-month pilot initiative to enhance knowledge of career navigation strategies among employees; and two bi-annual conferences focusing on sharing best practices that can help improve workplaces across all U-M campuses.

Kinney named new dental hygiene director at School of Dentistry
Janet Kinney, clinical assistant professor in the Division of Dental Hygiene at the School of Dentistry, has been named the new director of the dental hygiene program, effective Sept. 1. Kinney will succeed Wendy Kerschbaum, associate professor of dental hygiene, who directed the program from 1988 to 2012.

Some college loans may be forgiven for those working in public service jobs
U-M employees and students working in or considering a career in public service may qualify to have the remaining balance on eligible federal student loans forgiven through the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

Center for Japanese Studies awarded $450K from Japan Foundation
The Center for Japanese Studies has been awarded a $450,000 Institutional Support Grant from the Japan Foundation to create new fellowships for graduate students enrolled in its interdisciplinary master's program. Meanwhile, U-M was selected as one of three new test sites to host the Japanese Language Proficiency Test for 2012.

Joint biomedical engineering department aims to improve health care technologies
In an effort to develop more technologies that improve health care, U-M will establish a Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering with footholds in its top-ranked College of Engineering and Medical School, in an action approved July 19 by the Board of Regents. The change takes effect Sept. 1.

Athletic director Brandon's contract extended an additional three years
David A. Brandon, the Donald R. Shepherd Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, has had his contract extended through June 30, 2018. The three-year extension was approved July 19 by the Board of Regents.

Regents approve Institute for Social Research addition
The Board of Regents approved moving forward with construction of a $29 million addition to the Institute for Social Research at its July meeting. The five-level addition, which will be located on the Division Street side of ISR's Thompson Street building, will add approximately 56,700 square feet to the existing ISR-Thompson building.
• Regents also approved a Schembechler Hall renovation and marquee project at Michigan Stadium, and schematic designs for a new parking structure on Wall Street and the new School of Nursing building

In the current University Record
• Research: Generation X is surprisingly unconcerned about climate change
• Research: College students likely to disagree with religious teachings on homosexuality
• U-M in History: Students study on a walking bridge over the Huron River
Read these stories and more in the Record, on racks across campus.

The Michigan Difference

Scaling Mount Kilimanjaro
Gary Was, Walter J. Weber Jr. Professor of Sustainable Energy, Environmental and Earth Systems Engineering, and professor of nuclear engineering and radiological sciences, and materials science and engineering, has reached another accomplishment in life — the summit of Africa's Mount Kilimanjaro. Was completed the trek on July 2, accompanied by his sons Alex and Adam. The trip to the summit was part of a seven-day hike. “We started at about 6,000 feet in a rain forest and ended at the summit at 19,341 feet in what was probably 20-degree Fahrenheit temperatures and a pretty stiff wind,” Was said.