Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Friday, June 18, 2010

University budget provides for expanded student research, hands-on programs

Approval of the university’s fiscal year 2011 General Fund budget will provide for the expansion of academic programs, including two noted for providing students with more research opportunities and hands-on experience.

The university is expanding the Law School’s skills-based curriculum and the LSA Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP).

“These programs underscore our support of unique learning opportunities, quality teaching and undergraduate research experiences,” says Phil Hanlon, vice provost for academic and budgetary affairs and provost-designate. “This is what makes a University of Michigan education one of the best in the world.”

The newly approved General Fund budget injects additional resources into programs that make the university’s students more competitive as they apply for jobs and future academic programs.

The expansion of the Law School program will add clinics and more skills-based courses to better prepare graduates to practice law immediately.

While Michigan Law graduates have always been rated very highly by employers as being well prepared for the practice of law, there have been tremendous changes in the profession with globalization and competition, Law School Dean Evan Caminker says.

“We want to be leaders in shaping today’s legal education to meet new demands by making sure our students can hone their lawyering skills and gain real-world experience as part of their portfolio,” Caminker says.

In addition, he said, a number of the school’s clinics offer “cutting edge” opportunities for students to gain experience in practice areas that “very few other institutions” offer, such as its human trafficking, innocence and international transactions clinics.

LSA will broaden UROP to allow more students to assist in research projects. The program plans to add 60 research sponsors and expand the number of off-campus research opportunities.

“Many participants cite UROP as the single most important activity they engaged in during their first two years on campus,” says Terrence McDonald, dean of LSA.

“Currently, the number of students who can participate is limited by the number of research sponsors and student mentors,” McDonald says. “We believe the expansion of the program is critical to maintaining and enhancing the quality of our undergraduate experience.”