May Message from the Dean

Dear colleagues,

Happy start of the summer! It was great to see many of you participating in the host of celebrations related to graduation. I want to also extend my heartfelt thanks to our Staff Recognition Committee for planning and coordinating the annual faculty and staff awards event. Congratulations again to all who were honored. I really enjoyed hearing about the many impressive ways those recognized are creating a positive experience for our students and for each other here at Ross. These efforts, day in and day out, truly make a difference.

I am also pleased to announce that the Regents approved the promotion of Catherine Shakespeare to full professor of accounting. Please congratulate her next time you see her.

And thanks, too, to the 85+ faculty and staff who dedicated their time and ideas to our task force efforts. As promised, here is an overview of some of the preliminary next steps (see below). We will continue to work on putting many of these ideas into action over the summer and into the upcoming academic year. I also want to thank the 100+ staff and faculty who participated in our Ross strategy sessions. I greatly appreciate your input as we define our priorities for Ross and ensure that they align with the university’s vision for the next decade. The ideas you shared in the strategy sessions complement the student insights we gathered through this process, as well as the external stakeholder input we are in the process of collecting. We are in the midst of collating these insights and will share those with you when we have them together.

Finally, I want to share that I participated in the campus “Michigan Road Scholars” program earlier this month. It is an initiative offered by the university that is designed to give faculty participants an overview of the state of Michigan and its business, political, social, and environmental context. Over the course of five days, we visited the Michigan State Capitol and several other public and private, commercial and non-profit organizations that operate across the state, including a Detroit accelerator for business owners from underrepresented backgrounds, a sustainable farming co-op, a Daimler factory, a rural health system, regional museums, the Enbridge energy facility under the Mackinac Straits, community college vocational training programs, and many other sites. Additionally, we met with tribal community leaders, school superintendents, lobbyists, and other leaders throughout the state. It was a great way for me, as a newcomer to Michigan, to learn more about our state and how Michigan Ross fits into this larger context. It was also a very nice opportunity to interact with other participants across the Ann Arbor campus, Michigan Medicine, and the Dearborn and Flint campuses. For those faculty who would like to learn more about our state, you may want to consider checking this program out for yourself in future years.  

In closing, I want to thank you again for all that you do to advance our school and mission. I hope that everyone finds some time to enjoy this warmer weather and the upcoming holiday weekend!

Warm regards,


Task Force Goals and Recommendations

Goal: Accelerating research
Current action: We are in the process of launching a two-year experiment to solicit and fund proposals for research support that elevates research productivity and impact. More specifically, this initiative will include:

  • A set of grants on the order of about $50k per grant. We encourage a wide range of ideas and proposals. This may include support for field experiments, research assistants (e.g., a pre-doc), databases, contract programmers, etc. Proposals may request one-time funding or, in some cases, funding for two years.
  • Solicitation of proposals, due by June 1 each year to be reviewed by the Executive Committee. Proposals may be emailed to Tom Buchmueller.
  • Proposals will be evaluated based on their potential to lead to high quality research that has strong academic rigor and will have an impact beyond a narrow academic audience. In addition, preference will be given to (in order of priority): (1) junior faculty, (2) proposals that benefit multiple faculty, (3) proposals that commit to financial contributions from the participating faculty (or their areas), and (4) proposals from faculty from more than one area.

After this two year period, funded projects will be evaluated for impact. We will consider institutionalizing highly successful ideas from this pilot phase.

Goal: Amplify teaching excellence and innovation
Current action: We will stand up a teaching excellence and innovation task force for the fall to:

  • Update our “commitment to learning” statement and refine how we define teaching excellence.
  • Review our current awards and recognition for teaching and recommend any updates. 
  • Organize, convene, and deliver the inaugural Teaching Summit to inspire and enable innovation, encourage adoption of evidence-based pedagogical practices, and share evidence-based tools and resources.

We will work with area chairs to identify individuals who are interested in joining this task force.  
In the meantime, we have set up a google form for those of you who would like to request a volunteer to observe your teaching to provide developmental feedback. We have so many people who are truly outstanding in the classroom – this is one way to learn from each other as we strive to always continue to develop our teaching excellence. We are also working on other ways to share evidence-based best practices.

Goal: To build a sense of community and promote wellness among faculty and staff
Current action: We are launching more activities to encourage interactions between faculty and staff. More specifically:

  • During the academic year, we will offer a variety of monthly opportunities for faculty and staff to connect, including social gatherings and wellness events.

Goal: To build a sense of community and belonging, and promote wellness among our students
Current action: We will encourage interactions between students, faculty, and staff, as well as make pathways to wellness resources clearer and more consistent. Examples include:

  • Promote awareness of the need for flexibility for students in times of need, importance of consistent use of CAPS syllabus language, resources like Togetherall and Uwill, and training opportunities.
  • During the academic year, we will offer, at a minimum, a variety of monthly opportunities for faculty, staff, and students to connect.
  • Implement actions to improve student clubs so that one of the first salient student experiences is not that of exclusion (rather than inclusion).

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