AII: the Future of Public Higher Ed

I have been on the faculty here at the University of Michigan for 21 years. During that time, I’ve had the good fortune to be involved in important experiments, to teach challenging courses, and to participate in life changing collaborations with students, faculty, and staff. But I have never been as excited about what I’m doing as I am today.

On September 29th, Michigan launched a new Academic Innovation Initiative. Its aim is to reimagine higher education for an information age, build on our strengths as a great public research university and substantially expand our impact. The initiative has three major themes: fostering broad and enduring participation at Michigan, exploring innovation in the residential experience, and creating catalysts for academic innovation.

Over the last five years, Michigan has prepared for this moment well, funding an array of Third Century education projects, creating a Learning Analytics Task Force and a Digital Innovation Greenhouse, launching more than 90 MOOCs enrolling 5 million learners, and creating the Office of Academic Innovation which is leading this effort.

The opportunity before us is real, and a tide of academic creativity is already rising in response. This tide is going to crest over the next few years, and when it does, higher education will be reborn in a form which suits a new century – more personalized, deeply engaged, and truly lifelong.

As a member of the Faculty Steering Committee for this initiative, I’ve set up this site to provide a space to share ideas that emerge during the course of this year. I know they will, because so many already have.

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