THE UNivERsiTY OF Michigan (also known as Michigan, or UM) was established in 1817 and today is one of the premier research universities in the United States. The university has a strong reputation in all academic fields, with more than 70 percent of
Michigan's 200 major programs, departments, and schools ranking in the top 10 nationally. The university has one of the largest annual research expenditures of any university in the United States (nearly $800 million in 2006), and the university's endowment was valued at $5.65 billion also in 2006, making it the ninth-largest endowment in the United States and the third largest among public universities. The university has over 6,200 faculty members, 73 of whom are members of the National Academy and 400 of whom hold an endowed chair in their discipline. The university consistently leads the nation in the number of Fulbright Scholars and has matriculated 25 Rhodes Scholars, while having produced seven Nobel Prize winners.
The Michigan library system comprises 19 libraries with 24 collections, totaling 8.13 million volumes, with 177,000 volumes being added each year. The campus libraries include the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library. Over 40,000 students attend UM, including 25,555 undergraduate and 14,470 graduate students in 600 academic programs. Students come from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. One quarter of all undergraduates are members of ethnic minority groups. The university also has a strong social conscience. It was on the steps of the Michigan Student Union on October 14, 1960, that President John F. Kennedy proposed the concept of the Peace Corps. Lyndon B. Johnson's speech outlining his Great Society program also occurred at Michigan.
Over 300 Michigan faculty members are engaged in research on environmental issues. Likewise, there are a number of institutes and centers at the university that are actively engaged in research concerning global warming and climatic change, as well as related issues such as sustainability and alternative energy. For example, the UM Climate Change Consortium is an initiative of the School of Engineering that runs an electronic forum about climate change. The School of Engineering is also renowned for its Solar Car Team, which placed first in the American Solar Challenge four times and third in the World Solar Challenge three times. The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute provides leadership in interdisciplinary transportation-related research and also has experts conducting research on energy efficiency and emissions. The Frederick A. and Barbara M. Erb Institute for Global Sustainable
Enterprises is affiliated with the School of Business and fosters global sustainable enterprise through interdisciplinary research and education initiatives. Even the operations of the university itself strive to be environmentally sensitive, with UM Waste Management Services encouraging recycling on campus. The university operates a 13,000-acre (53 sq. km.) biological station in the northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan—one of only 47 biosphere reserves in the United States.
The university also houses the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute, which focuses on identifying and using secure, affordable, and sustainable energy sources. The institute uses public policy, economics, business, and social sciences to lay the foundation for successful implementation of scientific and technological achievements. Created in 1947 as a memorial to UM grads who gave their lives in World War II, the institute originally sought to explore peaceful ways to use atomic energy for the benefit of humankind. Then in 2004 the regents of the university broadened the charter of the Phoenix Project beyond atomic energy to encompass interdisciplinary research on and education about the development of energy policies that promote world peace, responsible use of the environment, and economic prosperity.
The UM Center for Sustainable Systems is located within the School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE) and focuses on the identification of systems-based approaches to sustainability through creative and effective teaching and research. SNRE also hosted in 2007 a national summit on climate change as part of the Clinton Global Initiative. The purpose of the summit was to bring together global leaders and key stakeholders to examine what is known about the composite regional effect of climate change and what management and policy options can help regions deal with changes in average conditions, as well as with extreme events.
SEE ALSO: Alternative Energy, Solar; Climate Change, Effects; Education.
BIBLIOGRAPHY. Facts and Figures, University of Michigan Office of Budget and Planning, http://sitemaker.umich. edu/obpinfo/facts_figures; Edward B. Fiske, Fiske Guide to Colleges 2005, 21st ed. (Sourcebooks, 2004); Howard H.
Peckham, The Making of the University of Michigan 18171992 (University of Michigan Press, 1994).
Michael J. Simsik U.S. Peace Corps
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