University of Michigan

Twenty years or so ago, I got up the nerve to ask the late Coleman Young, the controversial and acid-tongued mayor of Detroit, why affirmative action was necessary.

Nobody ever thought of Mayor Young as shy, retiring or diplomatic, and I was fully prepared for a caustic and profane reply. But he instead grew almost philosophical.

He mentioned a case where white students were complaining that affirmative action in college admissions gave an unfair advantage to lesser qualified students of color.

Facebook

March Madness tips off for Michigan and Michigan State on Thursday at the Palace of Auburn Hills, but for fans of the two schools, the madness has already started online. 

Earlier this week, Facebook unveiled a set of maps showing the most-liked college basketball team in every county across the United States. The map is based on more than 1 million Facebook likes.  

And while U-M and MSU were pretty evenly matched on the court this year — the teams split two meetings during the regular season — Wolverine fans are delivering a butt-kicking on Facebook. 

Only seven counties in the whole state support the Spartans over the Wolverines, according to a map comparing the two schools directly. Nationally, wide swatches of the country are painted maize, showing support for Michigan, with only a few patches of green. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Yesterday, Republicans on a Michigan House Appropriations subcommittee voted to punish universities they believe are trying to avoid the state's new right-to-work law.

The state's new right-to-work law goes into effect on March 28. It outlaws contract agreements with unions that require dues or fees as a condition of employment.

But some public schools and universities are working out new contracts ahead of the deadline.

Wayne State University and the University of Michigan recently struck contracts with their unions causing some legislators to cry foul.

The subcommittee voted to strip public universities of 15 percent of their funding if recently passed contracts or contract extensions did not achieve at least a 10 percent savings.

At this point, it's just a subcommittee vote. To go into effect, the bill would have to pass both the state House and Senate and then be signed by Governor Rick Snyder.

MLive's Jonathan Oosting wrote about Gov. Snyder's thoughts on the bill:

"It's early in the legislative process," Snyder said Tuesday evening when asked about a proposed higher education budget bill that could cost his alma mater, the University of Michigan, millions in state funding next fiscal year.

"What I would say is, if people are coming in and bargaining in good faith and showing real benefits, I don't believe people should be penalized. Now, the real issue would be if somebody were doing that with no substance to simply extend the date, then I could see legislators having a concern. So it's just something to watch in the legislative process."

If it's passed, the universities stand to lose a lot of money:

The University of Michigan...could reportedly lose up to $41.1 million in state funding... [and Wayne State University] could lose up to $27.5 million of a possible $184 million in state funding next year under the proposed budget bill.

Today I am going to talk about something in which I could be accused of having a conflict of interest. Normally, we try not to do that, and if it were only something affecting me, I wouldn’t. But the people really being threatened here are thousands of young people in Michigan, and the state‘s future.

I am talking about a vote yesterday in a state house of representatives subcommittee designed to punish schools and universities who agree to contracts with their faculty and staff that lawmakers don’t like for ideological reasons. This has to do with the anti-union, right to work legislation that was rammed through a lame-duck session of the legislature last December. This bill doesn’t take effect until eight days from how, so technically Michigan is not a right to work state yet.

On a 4-3 party-line vote, a Michigan House Appropriations subcommittee voted to punish universities the Republicans believe are trying to avoid the state's new right-to-work law.

That law goes into effect on March 28th.

Wayne State University and the University of Michigan have struck contracts with their unions ahead of that deadline.

Public universities that signed new contracts or contract extensions that did not achieve at least a 10 percent savings would face a 15 percent cut in state funding under a budget bill approved this morning.

Kirsten Kortebein / Michigan Radio

A small number of University of Michigan students and administrators have been meeting for months to examine the feasibility of offering undocumented students from Michigan in-state tuition.

Undocumented students pay international rates to attend U-M and they aren't eligible for federal financial aid.

For about the past year and a half, the Coalition for Tuition Equality has advocated to change the policy. The student group has run an aggressive campaign; among other things, they've held rallies on the Diag at the center of the Ann Arbor campus, staged sit-ins at meetings of the university's board of regents.

NASA / wiki commons

What would it take to get humans to Mars?

For the last seven months, NASA's rover 'Curiosity' has crawled all over the planet's dusty red Gale Crater.

As it explores, the rover has sent back all sorts of information to Earth for further investigation.

Most recently, a report of a rock sample collected by Curiosity shows that, yes, ancient Mars could have supported living microbes.

But let's go one step further. What would it take for human beings to get to Mars?

Ben Longmier is an Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Michigan College of Engineering and researches electric propulsion, spacecraft design and basic plasma physics.

Michigan Radio's Cynthia Canty spoke with Longmier about the challenges and possibilities of getting humans on Mars.

Click the link above to hear the full interview.

Mercedes Mejia/Michigan Radio

The University of Michigan's "Understanding Race Project" will examine race through storytelling tomorrow evening at the Michigan Theater.

La'Ron Williams  is a member of the National Storytelling Network, the Detroit Association of Black Storytellers, and the National Association of Black Storytellers.

He is set to perform his work Elm Park, 1955, in which he shares his interaction with race as a kid growing up in Flint, Michigan.

Michigan Radio's Lester Graham spoke with Williams about the power of storytelling, race, and the University's project.

Listen to the full interview above.

Courtesy: University of Michigan

Future University of Michigan writers can focus on their work – and not on finding work, thanks to a $50 million gift by The Zell Family Foundation.

The gift is the third-largest to the U of M and the largest ever received by the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.  Helen Zell has been supporting the college for several years.

michigangreenlaw.com

The University of Michigan is undertaking a broad review of the effects of Michigan’s growing natural gas industry.   U of M researchers met with environmentalists and industry officials today in Lansing.

Most natural gas is extracted using a process called hydraulic fracturing, otherwise known as fracking. There are concerns that fracking might cause health and environmental problems.   But supporters say fracking is helping boost Michigan’s economy. 

user: vitualis / flickr

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - A new $7.5 million fund aims to help University of Michigan medical discoveries move from the laboratory to the market.

The Ann Arbor school says Monday the effort will help its Medical School and its Office of Technology Transfer identify and advance medical research projects with a high potential of commercial success.

The fund will be called the U-M MTRAC for Life Sciences. MTRAC stands for Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization.

The effort is funded in part by a $2.4 million grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation's 21st Century Jobs Fund.

It's one of several research commercialization efforts funded by the MEDC.

http://www.snre.umich.edu

The challenge of food insecurity is a fact of life for some 50 million Americans.

Researchers at the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment are taking part in a major study to probe the causes and solutions to food insecurity in Michigan.

In short, their research will look into how to link up the people who are not getting enough fresh healthy food, to the producers and the sources of that safe healthy food.

University of Michigan Professor Dorceta Taylor is one of the lead investigators. She is a professor of Environmental Justice at the School of Natural Resources and Environment and she was kind enough to tell us about the issue of food security.

To hear the full story click the audio link above.

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

A study by researchers at the University of Michigan links lead exposure in children to lower achievement on standardized tests.

It's published in the March issue of the American Journal of Public Health.  Click here to read the study

From the study:

Detroit has an extensive lead poisoning problem. Although only 20% of Michigan’s children younger than 5 years lived in Detroit in 2010, childhood lead poisoning in Detroit has consistently accounted for more than 50 percent of the state’s total lead burden.

Detroit Free Press reporter Keith Matheny's article explores the research further and the schools affected.

The greater the lead poisoning in a Detroit Public Schools student's blood, the higher the likelihood he or she will do poorly on achievement tests -- even after accounting for contributing factors such as poverty. That's the finding of a collaborative study that provides one of the most detailed assessments yet of the impact of lead poisoning on students' learning ability.

University of Michigan

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - A University of Michigan history professor is being honored for his contributions to education research and policy.

Jeffrey Mirel has been elected to the National Academy of Education. As a member of the academy, Mirel will participate in professional development programs and serve on expert panels to discuss education issues.

He's one of 12 members from across the country elected this year.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Feeling the blues?

University of Michigan researchers say so called ‘retail therapy’ can help.

Mark Gurman / www.markgurman.com

You think your freshman year was crazy? Ha. You never had to balance finals with your part-time job as the “World’s Best Apple Reporter.”

Mark Gurman can't legally buy himself a drink to celebrate his new unofficial title, which BusinessInsider recently bestowed on the 19-year-old University of Michigan freshman.

Actually, Gurman's been painstakingly tracking Apple since high school, when he first picked up an iPod.

University of Michigan

The following is a summary of a previously recorded interview. To hear the complete segment, click the audio above.

As funding for higher education experiences drastic cuts, tuition continues to increase nationwide. 

Now, colleges and universities are looking at how they have contributed to the economic situation facing institutions of higher education. 

Michigan Radio's Cynthia Canty spoke with James Duderstadt concerning the economic climate among institutions of higher education.

James Duderstadt,a former president of the University of Michigan, is an important voice in the national conversation among higher education institutions. Mr. Duderstadt currently serves on the National Academies Commission on the Future of the American Research University.

wikipedia.org

The following is a summary of a previously recorded interview. To hear the complete segment, click the audio above.

Almost everyone who goes online and searches for some bit of information knows about Wikipedia.

For a lot of us it is a great way to answer trivia questions, or settle those friendly arguments among friends over any topic.

But this free encyclopedia that anyone can edit has not been widely accepted in the world of academia. Largely because it is a free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.

In recent years, Wikipedia has gained a new respectability in the world of academia and cultural institutions.

Why is this, and what might it mean in bringing the treasures of those cultural institutions to a wider audience?

We sat down with Professor Cliff Lampe from the School of Information at the University of Michigan and Michael Barerra, who became one of the first "Wikipedians" in residence at the Gerald R. Ford Library.

They told us what this means for the way we gather information in the digital age.

The ArduCopter from DIY Drones can take pictures in the sky.
DIY Drones

The following is a summary of a previously recorded interview. To hear the complete segment, click the audio above.

When you hear about unmanned aircraft your first thought might be "drones."

There is plenty of debate about using unmanned aircraft for spying and lethal attacks, but there are other uses for unmanned aircraft, and that’s what we are going to take a look at right now.

The University of Michigan is teaming up with the Michigan Unmanned Aerial System Center Project in Alpena, Michigan. 

The Michigan Economic Development recently pledged a half million dollars to the research test site and fly zone for unmanned aircraft systems.

Michigan Radio's Lester Graham spoke with Professor Ella Atkins of the University of Michigan Aerospace Engineering about the new site.

Mercedes Mejia/Michigan Radio

As part of the theme semester Understanding Race, the University of Michigan has brought in a special exhibit to further examine what race means. "Race: Are We So Different" is currently on display at the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History. I met up with Dr. Yolanda Moses, Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Riverside  - to take a walk through the exhibit.

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