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Updated 11:00 AM January 23, 2006




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Committee set to steer multidisciplinary teaching initiative

The Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs has named the members of a steering committee that will guide the first phase of a major University initiative to increase multidisciplinary learning through team teaching.

Associate Provost Phil Hanlon has asked Ben van der Pluijm, director of the Global Change Program, professor of geology, and professor of environment, to chair the committee.

Following the recommendations of the Presidential Task Force on Multidisciplinary Learning and Team Teaching, President Mary Sue Coleman designated $2.5 million over five years to develop three multidisciplinary degree programs and three large-scale interdisciplinary courses.

"Our goal is to fund programs and courses proposed by groups of faculty from different units that are innovative in the ways they reach across disciplines and engage students as they work to solve problems related to the environment, poverty, human rights, terrorism and health care," Hanlon says. "This committee is comprised of leading faculty from across the University, many of whom already are engaged in multidisciplinary research, teaching and learning."

In addition to van der Pluijm, members of the Multidisciplinary Learning and Team Teaching Steering Committee are:

• Mary Ruffolo, associate professor, School of Social Work

• Tom Buresh, associate dean for academic affairs, department chair and professor, A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning

• Barry Rabe, professor of public policy and environmental policy, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE)

• Lynda Welage, associate dean and professor, School of Pharmacy

• Melissa Gross, associate professor, Division of Kinesiology, and assistant research scientist, Institute of Gerontology

• Carol Loveland-Cherry, executive associate dean and professor of nursing, School of Nursing

• Carl Michael Rodemer, associate professor, School of Art & Design (A&D)

• James Holloway, professor of nuclear engineering and radiological sciences, College of Engineering

• David Allan, professor of conservation biology and ecosystem management, SNRE

• Timothy R. B. Johnson, professor of obstetrics and gynecology, Medical School

• Alicyn Warren, assistant professor, School of Music and A&D

• George Hoffman, associate professor of French, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, LSA.

The steering committee will be responsible for: identifying priority areas for teaching proposals that align with the priorities of the academic units, as well as the University; actively generating proposals within the identified priority areas; evaluating submitted proposals and providing feedback when necessary; and recommending funding decisions to the provost.

The goal is to launch the first projects in fall 2006 or winter 2007.

In conjunction with the committee, a Web site to support multidisciplinary learning and team teaching has been created at: For additional information on the initiative, go to: or .

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