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Updated 9:30 AM September 8, 2009

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U-M welcomes new faculty at fair, luncheon

U-M welcomed new members to its scholarly ranks Wednesday during the New Faculty Orientation, which featured an information fair and luncheon with top academic leaders at the Michigan League.
During New Faculty Orientation, Vanita Sanders and Carole Lapidos of the Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives talk to Julian Mortenson, who is new to the Law School. (Photo by Martin Vloet, U-M Photo Services)

Approximately 150 new professors, assistant professors and associate professors, ranging from a national expert on prison reform to a proponent of using cell phones as musical instruments, turned out for the event that served as the first public gathering of the university's 2009-10 academic year.

"I am particularly excited about your decision to join the Michigan faculty, because at perhaps no other time in our history have we looked to teaching, research and scholarship as critical to our wellbeing as a state, region and country," President Mary Sue Coleman said in her luncheon address.

Also addressing the crowd were Teresa Sullivan, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs; Lester Monts, senior vice provost for academic affairs; and Constance Cook, associate vice provost for academic affairs and executive director of the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching, which co-sponsored the event with the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Sullivan told those at the luncheon they would find their work at U-M to be similar to the learning and teaching they engaged in at graduate school or in their post-doctoral studies.

"You've been doing this for some time now and have demonstrated that you're good at it. That's why we invited you to join us," Sullivan said. "And now we want you to continue doing what you're good at, examining new questions and developing collaborative research and teaching with new colleagues."

At the information fair, representatives from key university offices provided materials and answered questions.

During her remarks, Coleman pointed to the diverse range of talents joining U-M. Among those she highlighted were:

• Margo Schlanger of the Law School, an expert in civil rights, prison reform, torts and empirical legal studies who clerked for Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court.

• Eric Bell, associate professor of astronomy, one of the leading researchers in galaxy formation and evolution.

• Georg Essl, with a dual appointment in the College of Engineering and the School of Music, Theater & Dance. His current research is in mobile phones as musical instruments.

• Osman Khan, assistant professor of art and design. He was not on hand for the orientation because he is participating in a 20-day artist residency/expedition to the Arctic Circle.

"All of these broad, deep, fascinating interests are why you are here. You bring unique professional experiences and personal histories that strengthen our university. You make Michigan more interesting intellectually," Coleman said.

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