University of Michigan

Martha Pollack / Google +

Martha E. Pollack was selected to serve as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of Michigan. She was selected by University President Mary Sue Coleman.

Her two-year appointment will begin on May 6 should the UM Board of Regents approve the selection.

Pollack is filling a vacancy left when Phil Hanlon announced his departure last November to become the president of Dartmouth College.

The University of Michigan is researching an ultrasound scalpel that can detach a single cancer cell from surrounding tissue.

The team found a way to change laser light into sound energy with a beam smaller than a human hair.

The beam blasts and cuts with pressure, rather than heat.  

It may make nearly painless surgery possible since the beam is small enough to avoid nerve fibers.

Hyoung Won Baac worked on the project as a doctoral student.   He says it may allow a surgeon to be extremely delicate.

UM3DLab /

Some printers at the University of Michigan can make unusual prints.

Machines  in the University's 3D Lab can produce three-dimensional sculptures, car parts and even model human body parts. A student or faculty member can design a model, take it to the U-of-M's 3-D lab and leave hours later with their object in hand.

Here's how it works:

A student or faculty member designs a model on a computer. Technicians send the design to the refrigerator-sized machine, then a mechanical arm applies layers of material in cross-sections that slowly build up the model.

The machines layer plaster or heated plastic models as large as basketballs.

University of Michigan researching ultrasonic scalpel

Dec 20, 2012
Hyoung Won Baac / University of Michigan

The University of Michigan is researching an ultrasound scalpel that can detach a single cancer cell from surrounding tissue. 

The team, led by Professor Jay Guo, found a way to change laser light into sound energy.  The technology works with pressure, rather than heat. 

Hyoung Won Baac worked on this project as a doctoral student.  He says the beam will allow surgeons to be extremely delicate because of its size. 

"Our hair is a single hair which is around 100 micrometer.  So our focal spot, the sound beam focus spot is actually smaller than that."

user AndrewHorne / Wikimedia

A 'seat license' is a fee fans pay just to reserve the right to buy the tickets.

They call it a donation, even though every single one of us apparently decided to donate the exact same amount, or lose our tickets. But that allows us to call it a tax deduction.

It's hard to call that honest, or cheap.

In fairness, Michigan was the last of the top 20 programs to adopt a seat license program, in 2005.

It started gradually, and left endzone fans alone.

But this week, Michigan pushed the seat license for the best tickets up to $600, and even people in the endzone will have to cough up $150 per ticket, just for the right to buy them.

In the past decade, the total cost of my two tickets on the ten-yard line has more than tripled, to over $1,700, which makes you wonder just how we got here.

Stateside: Peeking at cell phones is contagious

Dec 12, 2012
texting with a cell phone
Alton / Creative Commons

Conversations for some have become a scramble between maintaining eye contact and checking one’s phone.

University of Michigan professor Daniel Kruger explained the relationship between cell phone usage and one’s attention span.

“It seems like a feedback loop and it happens quite frequently. We think it’s related to social attention- imagine you have attention as a limited resource and you’re dividing it between those people in your real space and those people in your virtual networks,” said Kruger.

Jordan Miller / Facebook

Update 12:03 p.m.

The anonymous Reddit user who posted the information was Jordan Miller's ex-husband, Dan. You can read the entire, sad story on the original Reddit post here.

Tuesday, December 12, 4:36 p.m.

The University of Michigan's social media director, Jordan Miller, resigned yesterday.

That news came three days after an anonymous user on the social media information site Reddit posted allegations that she had lied about her credentials while applying for the position.

From the Reddit post "UM Social Media Director Jordan Miller lies on resume about bachelors degree, keeps job":

I don't like seeing my tax and your tuition money going toward paying someone ~ $100k/yr in earnings obtained through fraud, so I'm posting a little FOIA dump you all may be interested in.

The University's choice to hire Miller as their first social media director made headlines early this year when she was selected from dozens of applicants. reported that the position came with a $90,000 to $100,000 salary.

The anonymous Reddit user posted a link to documents they said they had received from the University in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

User Kafuffle / Wikimedia Commons

The University of Michigan will receive some unusual applicants next year.

Several dozen current and former National Football League players are expected to apply to the Ross Business School to learn how to open franchise businesses.

Dubbed the "NFL Franchising Boot Camp," the program will educate 30 of these athletes from across the country about the ins and outs of running a food, hotel or fitness chain.

During the four-day program this April, former professional football players will stay on the Ann Arbor campus and attend workshops with the school's faculty and business owners.

Chris Zollars

The University of Michigan’s got about 15 hundred unhappy lecturers to deal with.

Non-tenured faculty from the University of Michigan's three campuses want a bump in pay, to put them on par with their tenured colleagues.

Economists cast doubt about Right to Work benefits

Dec 6, 2012
dannybirchall / flickr

A number of other mid-west states have already passed Right to Work laws .   Some Economists say proponents may be misleading the public about the positive effects of Michigan’s Right to Work.

Manufacturing jobs are about 15 percent of the United States economy and that's the job segment Right to Work focuses on.  That’s according to Dr. Gordon Lafer, Economics Professor at the University of Oregon. 

Jazz great Dave Brubeck dies at age 91

Dec 5, 2012
Heinrich Klaffs / flickr

In 1954, jazz went to college.

That's thanks to music legend Dave Brubeck.

He was looking for a way to bring jazz to a wider audience, and decided on a North American tour of colleges and universities.

One of those schools was the University of Michigan.

The tour resulted in the album Jazz Goes to College, with five of its seven tracks recorded in Ann Arbor. Here's one of the tracks recorded on the campus of the University of Michgian, The Song is You:

Fake wedding prank disrupts U of M biology class

Dec 3, 2012
412nathan (screenshot) / youtube

It used to be that a good college prank just meant finding a way to get a horse into Dean Wormer's office.

These days, media-savvy college students are putting together elaborately organized, digitally recorded productions, ready-made for YouTube.

Animal House it is not, but a group of students from the University of Michigan deserves credit for the fake wedding they put on in the middle of a biology lecture.

Here is the video:

Dartmouth College

It was announced yesterday that University of Michigan provost Phil Hanlon will become the next president of Dartmouth College starting July 1, 2013.

Hanlon, 57, is a graduate of Dartmouth and will become the college's 18th president.

In a New York Times piece, Hanlon indicated that university funding, in its current form, is reaching a breaking point:

Dr. Hanlon, who will be the 10th Dartmouth graduate to become its president, said he expected to focus closely on the college’s cost structure and finances. “The historic funding model for higher ed is close to unsustainable,” he said. “We can’t continue superinflationary tuition increases.”

University of Michigan Provost Philip Hanlon will be the new president of Dartmouth College. Hanlon has served as provost since 2010.

"(Hanlon) has steered the University through some of its most fiscally challenging years, all the while advancing our academic excellence and impact," U of M President Mary Sue Coleman said in a statement.

Hanlon started with the university in the mathematics department in 1986. He's a graduate of Dartmouth.

Stateside: When body parts become commodities

Nov 28, 2012
Gray's Anatomy

For some, the idea of body parts functioning as units of exchange is unsettling.

But for Dr. Adam Lutzker, the concept is one worth investigating. Lutzker teaches at the University of Michigan- Flint, where he recently gave a lecture entitled “Human Body Parts as Commodities.”

Born from a teaching strategy used to spark his students’ attention, the lecture challenges what we view as viable commodities.

“A commodity is anything that is produced for profit and bought and sold. With a commodity, we tolerate the fact that not everyone will get them. This was the debate- should things be treated as commodities? Should they be treated as rights?” said Lutzker.

It's not every day that researchers learn something completely new about how the human body works.

To be sure, researchers already knew that human beings have a unique kind of sweat gland, not found in any other animal.

But they didn't know everything those sweat glands do.

Laure Rittié of the University of Michigan says it was assumed that our hair follicles create new skin cells to heal wounds - because that's how rodents and pigs do it.

user: jdurham / morguefile

Though expensive, the lifetime return of a college education continues to be unequivocal.

On today's show, University of Michigan Vice Provost Martha Pollack and Michigan State University College of Education Dean Don Heller address the long-term value of a college education.

They both say state funding cuts continue to propel tuition increases.

“Our state funding at University of Michigan on a per student basis has declined by 50%,” said Pollack.

In what is being called "the most lucrative insider trading scheme ever charged," federal prosecutors are filing a criminal case against Mathew Martoma, a former trader at a division of  SAC Capital.

Here's the press conference where the charges were described:

Martoma is charged with making around $276 million in avoided losses and combined profits on a deal based on insider information from a University of Michigan professor.

Will minority enrollment increase after federal court ruling?

Nov 16, 2012

On Thursday, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Michigan’s 2006 constitutional ban on affirmative action unconstitutional.

Some argue that the ruling will have a major impact on minority enrollment at the state’s public universities.

Monica Smith, a lawyer opposed to the affirmative action ban, began attending Wayne State Law School a year before it took effect, MLive reports.

The following year, the number of incoming black students was cut in half, Smith says.

She thinks this recent court ruling should transform the admissions process:

"This means a lot to me," said Smith. "This means that my brother, my cousins, other people in Detroit, the Latino and black students can go to Wayne State Law School and Medical School."

"I graduated from the University of Michigan. I graduated from Wayne State Law School. My brother graduated from Michigan State University. All because of affirmative action," she said. "I am 100 percent a product of affirmative action. Not because I'm not 100 percent qualified to be there. But because all three of those universities couldn't discriminate against me or my brother or other similarly situated people."

Despite yesterday’s victory, Smith and other opponents of the ban will have to wait before they see any significant changes.

user joi / wikipedia

I still get the question from relatives, "what do you use Twitter for?"

Twitter is no Facebook, so the value of a 140 character "tweet" just doesn't appeal to them as much as status updates, "likes," and photo albums from friends and loved ones.

But while not as meteoric as Facebook (more than 1 billion users worldwide), Twitter's base of users continues to grow - there are now more than 500 million Twitter users worldwide.

In its most recent report, the Pew Research Center found that 15 percent of online adults user Twitter:

...the proportion of online adults who use Twitter on a typical day has doubled since May 2011 and has quadrupled since late 2010.

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo (or @dickc) is a University of Michigan graduate (#goblue). He will return to campus this Friday to talk about his business (Nov. 16).

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - The University of Michigan says 40 of its students have received Fulbright grants from the State Department for overseas education.

The Ann Arbor school announced Monday that more of the grants were awarded to its students than any other U.S. institution for the 2012-13 academic year. Harvard University is second with 31 recipients, and Brown University is third with 29.

Michigan says this marks the sixth time in the past eight years it has held that honor. It also led the nation in Fulbrights in 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

University of Michigan researchers have created a mobile phone app that helps people who suffered a concussion track their symptoms.

Amy Teddy is an Injury Prevention Program Manager at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital.  Teddy says the app, called “Return2Play”, will help patients communicate better with their doctors by asking them questions about their recovery from a concussion.

“It may prompt them to consider things they didn’t realize they should be tracking,” says Teddy.

Michigan vs. Notre Dame. The two teams play their final game in 2014.
Michigan Football / Facebook

Notre Dame announced this week the school is suspending its century-old rivalry with the University of Michigan after the 2014 season.

The only constant is change. 

Yeah, yeah.  We know that – and in case we didn’t, there’s always some office blowhard too eager to say it, as if it’s some profound truth.

But that’s why, the more things change, the more we appreciate things that don’t.

When Carole King sang, “Doesn’t anybody stay in one place any more?” she probably wasn’t talking about NFL franchises, but she could’ve been.

Michigan Ranked 8th Worst in funding

Sep 26, 2012

Michigan ranks 8th worst in the nation for state support of public research universities.  That’s according to an 8 year study by the National Science Board. 

Funding from states averaged 20-percent lower - and universities’ reliance on tuition for revenue was up to 50 percent higher during the study.  Michigan per pupil funding has dropped almost a third during the study.

Denard Robinson avoids a rush from the Fighting Irish.
Michigan Football / Facebook

It appears that a storied college football rivalry is coming to an end. The two teams first met in 1887.

More from the Associated Press:

Notre Dame has notified Michigan it is exercising a three-year out in their contract, meaning their last scheduled game against each other will come in 2014.

A letter from Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick to Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon cancelling games in 2015-2017 was obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The AP reports the teams were scheduled to take hiatus for the 2018 and 2019 seasons.

The Notre Dame football team is required to play five games against Atlantic Coast Conference teams. The school recently joined the conference, but kept its football team independent. reports the two teams have taken long breaks in the past.

They've played every year since 2002 and regularly since 1978 after not meeting from 1944 to 1977 or 1910 to 1941.

Michigan Athletic Director David Brandon was handed a letter before last Saturday night's game (which Michigan lost 13-6). Brandon said he hopes to work with Notre Dame on another contract in the future:

"The ball is in their court because they've triggered the three-game notice," he said. "We'll play them next year at Michigan Stadium for the last time in a while -- it appears -- and we'll make our last scheduled trip to South Bend in 2014. There will likely be nothing on the board for five years after that. Beyond that, I don't know what will happen." reports "the Wolverines have an NCAA-best .735 winning percentage in football, and the Irish (.732) are second. Michigan leads all-time series 23-16-1."

No word on Notre Dame's game contract with Michigan State University.

Denard Robinson avoids a rush from the Fighting Irish.
Michigan Football / Facebook

Last week, the University of Michigan football team beat up University of Massachusetts, 63-13.

Okay, U-Mass was pretty bad. Even lowly Indiana crushed them.

But the Wolverines did exactly what they were supposed to do, and did it very well. Many Michigan fans complained anyway.

This is not uncommon.

A few years ago, Michigan blew out 15th-ranked Notre Dame team 38-0, the first shut out over the Irish in over a century. The next day, I challenged listeners on a sports talk show to find something to complain about.

University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman and several researchers will travel to Brazil this coming Saturday for a very busy week of meetings and working sessions.

The U-M group hopes the visit will strengthen relationships with several leading universities and foundations. Coleman previously led U-M faculty to China, Ghana and South Africa.

Coleman said this trip presents a wonderful opportunity to listen to colleagues in Brazil. She hopes to provide new opportunities for collaboration and attract more Brazilian students to the University of Michigan.

The MGoPatio in Ann Arbor.
Martin Vloet / Facebook

Marketplace's Tess Vigeland handed out their "Piggy Bank Award" to Ann Arbor's Martin Vloet.

Vloet and his wife bought a house in Ann Arbor a few years ago near Michigan Stadium.

They knew the garage needed some work, so when they re-built, they decided to make the space big enough for tailgaiting events.

"I found through some of the people that I worked with and through some of my connections in town, that there was a lot of interest in a space like that, because it was so close to Michigan football. "

With the 2012 college football season around the corner, Ann Arbor-native Pat Stansik found a new way to express his home team fandom. Follow the link to watch the music video for his song "I Love You, Denard."

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is in Michigan today touting a major advance in Smart Car technology.

By October, three thousand cars, trucks and buses outfitted with a special Wi-Fi system will travel around Ann Arbor as part of a one year test of the system.

A few hundred are already on the road.

LaHood says the Smart Car system allows vehicles to “talk” to each other and hopefully avoid accidents.