One of the most distinctive features of the University of Michigan is our culture of collaboration. This culture is supported to a great extent by the University’s institutes, centers, and interdisciplinary initiatives (hereafter: centers) that contribute to our academic research and education enterprise by bringing together clusters of faculty and students from disparate intellectual backgrounds to collaborate on inherently complex and often interdisciplinary challenges. In addition, they assist our faculty by facilitating development of research grants and programs, and may also provide space, infrastructure, and services to carry out these research projects.
Additional roles played by these centers in transcending disciplinary boundaries are numerous and include, for example, intellectual homes for seminar series, visiting scholars and seminal guest speakers, and inter-university collaboration via local, national, and international consortia. Similarly, they often help ensure rich educational opportunities for our students and postdoctoral fellows.
By providing both the culture and space for interdisciplinary inquiry, our centers allow our faculty and students to tackle and make a difference in complex and vexing problems facing modern societies at local, national, and global scales.
Arguably, the continuing excellence of the University is tied to its ability to sustain a rich variety of highly successful centers. Therefore, we have identified best practices, attributes, and structures within our centers, helping them to continue to be vibrant, productive, successful, and efficient.