The Michigan Difference

{ Excellence & Achievement }


On May 12, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Clean Energy Prize announced that a U-M team beat out more than 100 student entries from 40 colleges and universities to win the $200,000 grand prize in the national energy business plan competition. It was the latest in a year of big wins for five students from the Ross School of Business and the School of Natural Resources and Environment and their business startup, Husk Insulation, Inc.

Husk’s innovative and patented technology converts rice husks, an agricultural waste product, into cost-effective vacuum insulated panels that are thinner and up to 10 times more effective than conventional insulation. With applications in a variety of markets—including refrigeration, housing, and transportation—Husk answers the global demand for energy conservation by delivering a product solution that could reduce U.S. energy consumption by more than 57 billion kilowatt-hours.

In March, Husk placed second in the first U-M DTE Clean Energy Prize competition, and won second prize in the Cleantech Venture Challenge hosted by the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado at Boulder. In February, the group took the Pryor-Hale Award for best business plan at the Michigan Business Challenge and was also a winner of the Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge. The enterprise was conceived by Ross 2009 graduates Erica Graham, Shally Madan, Siddharth Sinha, and Ian Dailey, and master’s candidate Elizabeth Uhlhorn.

Excellence & Achievement
Refrigerators insulated with rice husk ash could have 20 percent more interior space while increasing efficiency by up to 50 percent.

THE 2008 WORLD University Rankings rated U-M one of the top 18 universities in the world and the top U.S. public university. The rankings are based on a survey of academics and recruiters, research, international orientation, the number of academic papers cited, and staff-to-student ratios.

MEDICAL AND DOCTORAL student Abdul El-Sayed was one of 32 Rhodes Scholars named nationwide in 2008. Sayed, who plans to become a neurosurgeon, earned his U-M bachelor’s degree in biology and political science in 2007. Rhodes Scholarships provide all expenses for two or three years of study at the University of Oxford in England.

U-M ANNOUNCED in March the formation of the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute Consortium for Stem Cell Therapies. It is the first major embryonic stem cell program launched in Michigan since passage of a state constitutional amendment allowing for the creation of new stem cell lines using surplus embryos from fertility clinics.

Excellence & AchievementAFTER TWO YEARS of construction, the new Hill Dining Center and renovated Mosher-Jordan Hall opened its doors in August. The projects are major achievements in U-M’s Residential Life Initiative to revitalize and expand the student experience on campus, and to strengthen the living/learning connection at the university.

STEVEN WRIGHT, professor of civil and environmental engineering, was selected for the third annual Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year award presented by the President’s Council, State Universities of Michigan. Wright is one of three professors from Michigan’s 15 public universities selected for the award.

AKKENEEL TALSMA, assistant professor at the School of Nursing, was one of 15 winners of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s inaugural Nurse Faculty Scholar award. The three-year, $350,000 grant will support Talsma’s study of operating-room nurses.

THE NATIONAL INSTITUTES of Health awarded U-M $17 million to expand the Michigan portion of the National Children’s Study, the largest and longest study yet conducted of the health and development of more than 100,000 children across the nation.

FOUR U-M STAFF received 2008–09 Fulbright Scholar grants. From Ann Arbor: Srinika Jayaratne, associate dean and professor, School of Social Work; Thomas Phillips, assistant director, Graduate Career Services, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy; Alan Henry Tkaczyk, research fellow, Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering. From Dearborn: Adnan Shaout, professor of electrical and computer engineering.

JOHN KIM, Life Sciences Institute faculty member and assistant professor in the Medical School’s Department of Human Genetics, was named as one of 17 Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences for 2009.

RONALD INGLEHART was named to the American Academy of Arts and Science. Inglehart, who joined U-M in 1966, directs the Institute for Social Research’s World Values Surveys.

FIVE FACULTY MEMBERS were honored with Arthur F. Thurnau professorships for outstanding contributions to undergraduate education. Recipients retain their titles throughout their careers at U-M. They are: Charles Bright, professor of history, professor in and director of the Residential College, LSA; August Evrard, professor of physics and astronomy, LSA; Andrei Markovits, the Karl W. Deutsch Collegiate Professor of Comparative Politics and German Studies, professor of Germanic languages and literature, professor of political science and professor of sociology, LSA; James Walsh, the Gerald and Esther Carey Professor of Business Administration, and professor of organizational behavior, human resource management, corporate strategy, and international business at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business; Margaret Wooldridge, professor of mechanical engineering and aerospace engineering at the College of Engineering.

U-M ENGLISH PROFESSOR Ralph Williams was selected as the 2008 Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching Michigan Professor of the Year. Williams, an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of English, retired after winter term 2009. He had been with U-M since 1970.

U-M WILL BE home to an Energy Frontier Research Center that will explore new materials to better convert solar energy to electricity. It is one of 46 centers across the nation and one of two in Michigan that will pursue advanced research on energy. The Department of Energy will fund the center for five years with about $19.5 million.

TWO PROFESSORS received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers at a White House ceremony on December 19. Anna Michalak is an assistant professor in the College of Engineering. Max Shtein is an assistant professor in the College of Engineering and the School of Art & Design.

Excellence & AchievementIN 2008–09 VARSITY sports, the Wolverines captured Big Ten Championships in men’s and women’s gymnastics, softball, men’s swimming and diving, and women’s water polo. Women’s water polo also won the Collegiate Water Polo Association’s Eastern Championship title. In varsity club sports, men’s lacrosse won the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association national championship and men’s rowing swept the heavyweight eights at the American Collegiate Rowing Association Championships.

THREE PROFESSORS WERE elected as members of the National Academy of Sciences: David Meyer, director of the Psychology Department’s Brain Cognition and Action Laboratory; Allan Gibbard, the Richard B. Brandt Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy; and Yu Xie, the Otis Dudley Duncan Distinguished University Professor of Sociology.

AMERICAN SCHOOL & UNIVERSITY magazine selected UM-Flint’s $5.6 million renovation of David M. French Hall for “Outstanding Design” recognition.

AFTER 20 YEARS of construction, CERN’s Large Hadron Collider—the world’s largest—finally began its mission in the fall of 2008. More than 100 U-M researchers have worked on the historic multibillion-dollar project, which aims to answer lingering questions about the prevailing theory of particle physics. CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) is located in Geneva, Switzerland.

FOR THE THIRD TIME in the past four years, U-M led the nation in the number of Fulbright recipients with 31 awardees. Harvard University followed with 29, Yale University with 26, Northwestern University and the University of California-Berkeley with 24, and the University of Chicago with 23.

TWO FACULTY MEMBERS received 2009 Guggenheim Fellowships. They are: Laura Kasischke, an associate professor in the Department of English and the Residential College, and Heidi Kumao, an associate professor in the School of Art & Design. This year’s winners included 180 artists, scholars, and scientists selected from nearly 3,000 applicants.

Excellence & AchievementU-M HOSPITALS AND Health Centers were again named among the nation’s best, ranking 14th overall in the annual U.S. News & World Report honor roll of “America’s Best Hospitals.” Both the Consumers’ Checkbook ranking, published by AARP The Magazine, and the Thomson/Reuters Top 100 Hospitals ranking, published in Modern Healthcare, also cited UMHHC for high-quality care. U-M was the only Michigan hospital to make the lists.

THE CHARLES R. WALGREEN, JR. Drama Center and Arthur Miller Theater received the Architecture Merit Award from the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, an association of professional designers and technicians in the performing arts.

THE SCIENCE AND Technology Foundation of Japan awarded David E. Kuhl, professor of radiology at the Medical School, the 2009 Japan Prize for technological integration of medical science and engineering. The prize is one of the world’s most prestigious awards in science and technology.

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