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Updated 11:00 AM March 1, 2004



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Road Scholars tour on hold for 2004

The 2004 Michigan Road Scholars tour is being suspended because of financial constraints.

"This was not an easy decision," says Cynthia Wilbanks, vice president for government relations, whose department conducts the annual tour. "It has been a most effective method of educating the faculty to the unique characteristics of our state and its people, and fostering University-community partnerships around Michigan. A number of alternatives were considered, but none could measure up to the comprehensive program experienced by faculty on the five previous tours."

Wilbanks says it is hoped that the tour will resume in 2005. In that event, the faculty who had been selected from applications for this year's program will have a seat on the bus.

Up to 30 instructional and research-track faculty are selected each year by a Faculty Advisory Committee for the five-day traveling seminar on the state. The tour exposes participants to the state's economy, government and politics, culture, educational systems, health and social issues, history, and geography.

Designed to increase mutual knowledge and understanding between the University and the people and communities of the state, the tour introduces participants to the places the majority of the University's students call home, encourages University service to the public, and suggests ways faculty can help address state and local issues. In addition, the experience develops beneficial ties and promotes interdisciplinary discussion among the touring faculty.

"We are going to use the suspension period to do a serious assessment of what we have learned from the Road Scholars tour in order to strengthen the University's connections to the people of Michigan," says John King, chair of the Road Scholars Faculty Advisory Committee and dean of the School of Information. "We are firmly committed to partner with Michigan communities and want to consider the question of what course should be charted for our future engagements."

The Road Scholars trip is planned and conducted by State Outreach staff in the Office of Government Relations, including Lewis Morrissey, director of State Outreach, and David Lossing and Richard Carter, associate directors. Lossing is chief tour planner.

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