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From the Desk of the Provost: March 2024


Campus is brimming with fascinating work and inspiring stories. That is a testament to the vibrancy of our community. 

In the Office of the Provost, one crucial means of supporting our academic mission is connecting people, especially across departments and disciplines. Early in his tenure, President Ono said that he was struck and encouraged by the low barriers to collaboration at our university. This may not always feel accurate across our famously decentralized institution, but plentiful evidence exists in every sector of campus; collective efforts like the Arts Initiative, the Center for RNA Biomedicine, and the ASSET Research Group working on our student success initiatives demonstrate that worthy goals have the power to unite people. By focusing a wide lens on campus in this newsletter, I hope to promote collaboration across this vast landscape. 

Another key part of our office’s mission is keeping the impact and ingenuity of our faculty and staff front and center. This includes everything from aligning budgetary resources to facilitating the promotion and tenure process. It also includes shining a light on opportunities like CEW+’s Financial Empowerment Initiative or Global Michigan’s new education abroad grant program. 

Speaking with people about their jobs across our enterprise through the years, I have noticed two prevalent themes: 1) We are curious about the professional lives of others on campus. 2) Most people feel their area/discipline is not well-understood. In this newsletter, we have an opportunity to better explore, in people’s own words, how our faculty and staff transform our mission into action. 

In this issue, the inaugural vice provost for undergraduate education, Angela Dillard, walks us through what it’s like to take on a colossal imperative in a new position. In our first podcast, CEW+ Director Tiffany Marra and financial therapist Lindsay Bryan-Podvin talk about how assembling strangers to discuss financial anxiety has created surprising bonds across age, background, and economic status. And in a feature called “Mythbreaking,” experts from the U-M budget team dispel common misconceptions about the university’s financial ecosystem. 

On behalf of the many who contributed to its contents,  we hope you enjoy the newsletter. 

If you have questions or feedback, please share it with me at: [email protected]


Laurie K. McCauley, DDS, MS, PhD
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
William K. and Mary Anne Najjar Professor

The letter above appeared in the March 2024 Office of the Provost newsletter.