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  • Make A Significant & Visible Societal Impact

Comments Apr 30, 2018 1:30 pm

Thanks for the good conversation last week. As promised, here are some notes:

  1. The way that we communicate about ourselves matters. A focus on the way we are publicly engaged and have societal impact should be central to our communication efforts. Advancement events, celebrations of research and teaching, conventional vehicles like billboards and news releases should seek to foreground these efforts. Yes, the red LED, but to what ends? Yes, medical automata, but how will these drive down costs and increase impact? More importantly, a focus on those efforts that are pure efforts of advancing life and culture (e.g., crops in Africa) should be a focal piece. Importantly, these things should dominate our communication efforts.
  2. Seek meaningful ways to promote faculty and researchers who excel in these areas. Whether in the P&T process or in rewards, a willingness to see societal impact and engagement with the public as hallmarks of success goes a long way to advancing the institutional mission and our efforts to have societal impact.
  3. Invest in efforts that engage with the public and have impact on society. We should find ways to improve up- and down-state communities in education, health, agriculture and other ways. If we have internal venture capital funds like the IFG funds, why not invest in these things? Consider Michigan’s “semester in Detroit” as a model. Fund efforts like the Road Scholars tour with an intent to get our best and brightest into communities around the state, e.g., on buses.


Reply to at 1:30 pm