Diversity and innovation are keywords for fall


Second-year MSI student Stephanie Balagot (center in blue shirt) leads an ice-breaker session at fall orientation for new master’s students.

By Judy Lawson, Assistant Dean of Academic and Student Affairs

As a new academic year opens in Ann Arbor, many enjoy the shift from warm summer days to crisp fall days and the change of pace, both hectic and invigorating, that the fall term brings. Somehow, I think, being at a university located where four distinct seasons provide frequent changes in the air aligns with our inclination to keep things fresh and new, both in our minds and in our endeavors. Now there’s a rationalization for the Midwestern weather we both love and endure!

At UMSI, we continue to advance our academic programs, engagement programs, and efforts supporting diversity and inclusion. Here are a few highlights:

As we begin the second year of the Bachelor of Science in Information (BSI) program we have some 95 entering juniors joining 65 returning seniors. We have several exciting new courses for BSIs on the fall schedule.

The Master of Health Informatics (MHI) program continues to build steam with 30 entering students, its largest entering cohort to date. The internship and job outcomes of MHI students and graduates have been outstanding!

We are welcoming 165 new Master of Science in Information (MSI) students this fall. This year, the MSI program enters year two of a substantial curriculum reform effort which will be implemented starting with students entering in fall 2016.

Fourteen new students are joining the UMSI Doctoral Program. They will benefit from the continued rollout of new doctoral research seminars and new space configurations that support both collaborative and independent work.

The Initiative for Information Impact (I3) will help advance the expansion of the Citizen Interaction Design program and will introduce a change in destination for the Global Information Engagement Program. After two successful years in India, GIEP will move to South Africa in summer 2016. The UMSI Entrepreneurship program is expanding through its newly launched Design Clinic featuring new credit-based opportunities in development.

Our school-wide goals for diversity and inclusion have sparked numerous efforts to make diversity part of the fabric of everything we do. We have completed an ADVANCE climate study and are joining the university level efforts led by President Mark Schlissel to keep moving forward in realizing the benefits of diversity in our Composition (people), Capabilities (skills), Culture (environment), and Contributions (results).

So much going on! Such energy and engagement in our interdisciplinary and innovative school! Stay in touch and stay involved.