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Jenna Bednar appointed Faculty Director of UMICH Votes and Democratic Engagement

Dear Colleagues,

We are delighted to share the news that Professor Jenna Bednar has been appointed Faculty Director of UMICH Votes and Democratic Engagement. A political scientist with a joint appointment in LSA and the Ford School of Public Policy, Jenna is a specialist on federalism and democratic structures and norms, and her recent focus investigates how to encourage human flourishing within democratic systems. For five years she directed the Michigan in Washington program. She has also been involved in the framing of the campus’ democracy work since 2019.  She served on the Presidential Debate Academic Advisory Committee and was instrumental in shaping the 2020 theme semester’s curricular and extracurricular programming. More recently, she has served as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Ford and has taken the lead in the Ford School’s Resilient Democracies efforts.  She is also a member of the Committee on the University of Michigan Principles on Diversity of Thought and Freedom of Expression, chairing the subcommittee tasked with evaluating how the university is living up to the aspirations embodied by the Principles.  She will bring her knowledge, expertise, and collaborative spirit to the coalition’s work.

Bednar regards this new role as “an opportunity to support and augment the superb work of the coalition partners,” cementing the University of Michigan’s leadership as a model for campus democratic and civic engagement.

In order to continue to facilitate the cross-campus organizing and collaborative programming for which the UMICH Votes Coalition has been known, as Faculty Director Professor Bednar will maintain her faculty positions in LSA and Ford with an administrative reporting line to the Provost Office through the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education. VP Angela Dillard, who chaired the Presidential Debate Academic Advisory Committee, is delighted to be able to partner once again with Bednar and to work with the Coalition as we prepare, as a campus community, for the Fall 2024 election season. Please be on the lookout for further information and opportunities to participate in and support the work of the Coalition.

Warm regards,
Anne Curzan, Angela Dillard, Celeste Watkins-Hayes

Anne Curzan
Geneva Smitherman Collegiate Professor of English Language and Literature, Linguistics, and Education
Arthur F. Thurnau Professor
College of Literature, Science, and the Arts | University of Michigan
500 South State Street | LSA 2205 | Ann Arbor, MI | 48109-1382
Phone: 734.764.0322 | Email: [email protected]
Pronouns: she/her

Angela D. Dillard
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education
The University of Michigan
Ruthven Building, Suite 4300
1109 Geddes Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1079

Celeste Watkins-Hayes, PhD (she/her/hers)
Joan and Sanford Weill Dean
Founding Director, Center for Racial Justice
Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
University Diversity and Social Transformation Professor
Jean E. Fairfax Collegiate Professor of Public Policy
Professor of Sociology
The University of Michigan


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