From the Desk of the Chancellor - Dec. 6, 2010

December 6, 2010

Greetings on a cold but cheerful December day!

The day is particularly cheerful for the campus because we have had good news from the Michigan Legislature as they completed their work before the holiday break last week. In the final moments of the 2010 legislative session the House and Senate approved capital outlay legislation, and the UM-Dearborn capital request is included in the final bill. This means that the campus will receive $30 million in support of our highest priority capital project, the renovation of the Science Building as well as the Computer and Information Science Building. This is particularly good news for our faculty in the natural sciences and for the large numbers of students they serve in biology and chemistry labs and courses. The buildings are two of the four original buildings on campus and have not had a major renovation since they opened. This renovation will greatly improve the ability of our faculty to provide a state-of-the-art education in the natural sciences for our students.

A good deal of preliminary planning has been done for this renovation, but much remains to be done as well. The largest challenge is finding replacement space for the classrooms and labs that will be closed during the renovation. A group of faculty members and Dean Jerry Hale have given attention to a preliminary plan that will help with this, and this planning process will now accelerate.

Our last capital outlay project was funded in 1999, so this is indeed an important moment in the history of the campus. This renovation will significantly improve the teaching environment for our campus, and provide our faculty with the tools they need to help students become innovative, rigorous scientific thinkers.

We expect that financial planning and program development will begin during the winter semester.

As Ed Bagale shared with the campus a few weeks ago, the new governor and state Legislature face many challenges as they begin their terms in January. We are grateful for last week's capital outlay legislation even as we recognize the economic challenges that lie ahead for our state.

From the Desk of the Chancellor is a regular column by Daniel Little, chancellor of the University of Michigan-Dearborn. He serves as professor of philosophy at UM-Dearborn and as faculty associate at the Institute for Social Research and the Center for Chinese Studies at the University of Michigan.

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